Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

I recently got a copy of The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet book from the library and it has a great recipe section at the back. I’m definitely going to buy a copy of my own though because it’s an invaluable resource for following the low FODMAP diet, as is the cookbook. As I was reading, one of the recipes that caught my eye was one for a gluten-free carrot and pecan cake.

Now let me tell you, I love cake, but I hate gluten-free cakes that have that horrid granular texture and whip all of the moisture out of your mouth whilst you try to chew them. Nope. Just nope. However, I’m very pleased to tell you, friends, that this cake is not like that. It’s moist, moreish and massively tasty!

The official recipe in the book calls for a blend of cornflour, rice and tapioca flours, but who has time for that? I just used a Doves Farm Gluten-Free Plain White Flour blend (which I’m going to start buying in bulk) and it worked just fine. The recipe also just states that you’re to use “2 small carrots”, but I hate that sort of instruction, particularly when it comes to making things like cakes when the quantities you use can make a massive difference to the overall result of the cake. Instead, I weighed my carrots and ascertained that 250g of carrots was the optimum carrot quantity needed. You’re welcome.  😉

I must admit, I tweaked the recipe that was in the book, so this is my version of the one you’ll find in The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet book. However, I’ll justify this ‘tweakage’ by stating that I think the different flours used called for a bit more rice milk and a bit less egg. And some nutmeg because all carrot cakes should have a bit of fresh nutmeg grated into them. And a coconut milk frosting too because all good cakes deserve to be draped in yet more sugar, don’t you think? What can I say, I’m a rebel.

This makes quite a large cake, so although the book recommended baking it in a single cake tin I actually baked mine in two smaller sandwich tins. My intention was to sandwich the two cakes between a dairy-free coconut icing, but the icing let me down because it wasn’t thick enough to join the cakes together. As a result, I just drizzled the coconut frosting over the carrot and pecan cake as you would with cream and it was delicious none the less.

If you fancy a slice of a good carrot and pecan cake, regardless of whether you’re gluten-free or not, I’d really recommend using this recipe. It makes a wonderfully delicate, but moist cake that’s speckled with sweet little carrot pieces and soft, yielding, tasty fragments of pecan nut. It’s definitely one of the best gluten-free carrot and pecan cakes I’ve ever had.

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

250g grated carrots

270g gluten-free flour

220g sugar

100g pecans

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsps of baking powder

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsps ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

130ml rice milk

2 large eggs

125ml vegetable oil

For the frosting:

1 tsp lemon juice

The coconut cream from a can of coconut milk (the solid fat that sits at the top)

350g icing sugar

Method:

Preheat your oven to 170C/150C Fan/325F/Gas mark 3.

Prepare a pair of cake tins by lining them with greaseproof paper.

Put all of your wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Add all of the other ingredients (apart from the frosting ingredients) and whisk together until it’s all fully combined.

Pour into the two cake tins making sure an equal amount of cake mix is in each tin.

Bake for around 35-40 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.

In the meantime, make your frosting by putting all of the frosting ingredients into a jug or bowl and whisking together. Add more lemon juice if it needs loosening up or more icing sugar if it’s too liquid.

Once baked, remove from the oven and let them cool.

Once they’re cold, serve with a drizzle of coconut frosting.

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

Gluten-Free Carrot and Pecan Cake made by The Fat Foodie

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Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

I really fancied a sweet breakfast muffin yesterday morning and after I remembered that I had frozen blueberries in the freezer I decided I’d make blueberry muffins. These are really easy to make and don’t take very long at all to cook, making them a real winner for a lazy Sunday morning ‘get up, make muffins, go back to bed to eat them with the Sunday papers’ kind of breakfast.

I don’t like blueberry muffins to be too sweet (especially breakfast muffins). There’s nothing worse than feeling as though you’re eating cake for breakfast as opposed to what is actually quite a healthy and nutritious bake. These blueberry muffins contain chia seeds which are packed with protein, fibre, iron, antioxidants and Omega-3 fats. The inclusion of blueberries also adds not only a healthy dose of vitamin C to the nutritional content of the muffins, but folate, potassium and fibre too. So, they’re not as guilt-inducing as you’d think and they’re certainly better for you than a lot of the sugary cereals that we’re all so familiar with.

I baked some of my blueberry muffins with sunflower seeds and some without, but I preferred the ones with the sunflower seeds on top because along with adding texture they added a lovely toasted nut flavour to the muffins. I’d love to experiment with these muffins in future. I’m particularly intrigued by the thought of trying them with fresh raspberries and brambles baked into them when the autumn bounty comes around.

These blueberry muffins are delicious enough and moist enough to be eaten on their own, but after tasting a bit of one I opted to have mine with vegan butter and jam. It’ll be entirely your own choice, but either way you’ll have a delicious breakfast muffin to tuck in to.

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

200g gluten-free plain flour (or normal flour)

100g brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

100ml almond or rice milk (or normal milk)

2 chia eggs (2tbsps of chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsps of cold water and soaked for half an hour before using) (or 2 normal eggs)

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g blueberries (they don’t have to be frozen)

50g sunflower seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6 and lay out 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.

Keeping the blueberries and sunflower seeds aside, put all of the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined.

Stir the blueberries into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases and then sprinkle the sunflower seeds over the top of the muffins.

Bake for 30-35 mins or until a skewer poked into the middle of them comes out clean.

Leave to cool slightly before serving with butter (or vegan alternative) and jam.

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Blueberry Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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Sweet Potato Brownies (makes 8)

Sweet Potato Brownies by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Brownies by The Fat Foodie

My friend Jen, is a doula (who is, in her words, a person who “provides physical, emotional and informational support to families helping them to reduce fear, pain and uncertainty during their birth experience“). Jen runs her own doula business, Your Birth Scotland, and she recently asked me if I’d develop a few recipes that were quick to cook and healthy for women who are either pregnant or have recently given birth and I accepted her challenge.

These sweet potato brownies were created because I was looking to create a recipe for a snack that would contain a decent amount of nutrients and fibre for mums who had recently given birth. Now I’m not going to lie, they didn’t turn out quite as healthy as I’d envisioned because they have quite a bit of sugar in them. However, on the plus side, they ended up being literally the best brownies I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

Sweet potatoes are a really healthy vegetable and, unlike normal white potatoes, they count towards our five-a-day quota because they have lower starch levels than other carbohydrates. They also contain four main micronutrients: vitamin C, which keeps our immune system healthy and aids iron absorption within the body (very important for both pregnant women and women who have recently given birth); thiamin, an essential B-vitamin which supports the nervous system and ensures good heart health; potassium, which normalises blood pressure and along with thiamin takes care of the nervous system; and manganese, which ensures healthy bones and general cell health. I think it’s fairly clear that they’re nutritional powerhouses within the vegetable world!

These sweet potato brownies also contain other ingredients which are high in nutritional density, such as walnuts which are an excellent source of antioxidants as well as omega-3 fat, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that the body and mind needs to function properly. The brownies also contain chia seeds, a high protein seed which along with providing the body with fibre, also contains omega-3s and a whole host of micronutrients, such as calcium and magnesium, all of which support overall health. The brownies have also got coconut oil in them, a source of healthy fat which helps to remove bad fat from the blood and lower cholesterol and therefore, promotes heart health and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Lastly, the brownies have a healthy whack of antioxidant-rich cocoa and dark chocolate in them, which contain minerals like potassium, iron, zinc and selenium, and has been found in a Finnish study to lower stress in pregnant women while also producing babies who smiled more in comparison with babies born to non-chocolate eating mothers. Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical which encourages the release of feel-good endorphins.

After I baked the brownies and let them cool slightly I started to take my photographs and once that was done I figured it was time to have a taste. And wow! Without overly blowing my own trumpet (but I will because they were outstanding) I was blown away by how good they were. I’m not a fan of most brownies because I hate that undercooked texture of the cake mix that so many of them have, but these didn’t have that. They retained the fudgy element of a brownie that you’d expect, but weren’t thick and claggy. Quite surprising considering they contain sweet potato!

Another bonus to these sweet potato brownies is that they are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free and you cannot tell at all. The cake base is light, but fudgy, and is speckled with little chunks of walnut and their overall chocolate quota is further enhanced by the addition of dark chocolate chips lying atop the brownies. Sigh… They’re just out of this world!

I’d recently treated myself to a little pack of mini loaf baking boxes and they were perfect for baking the brownies in because they helped them to retain their shape and worked perfectly as individual bakes (as opposed to having to cut them out of a tray). This also meant that they were ideal for slotting into my packed lunch box to take to work.

This sweet potato brownie recipe has most definitely become my new go-to brownie recipe and although they may not be the healthiest pregnancy or postpartum snack, doesn’t every new Mum deserve a little treat once in a while for all her hard work? I certainly know that Jen the doula would think so.

Ingredients:

420g peeled raw sweet potato cut into small cubes (or around 250g cooked weight)

140g sugar

100g self-raising flour (or gluten-free self-raising flour)

50g cocoa powder

100g walnuts (keep 16 walnut halves aside to decorate the brownies)

100g dark chocolate chips

2 chia eggs made from 2 tbsps. of chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsps. of cold water and left for half an hour before using (or 2 eggs, if non-vegan)

1 tsp. baking powder

100g melted coconut oil (or butter)

1 tsp vanilla extract

7 tbsps. of alt-milk (or standard milk, if non-vegan)

Method:

Make the chia seed eggs, if using.

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Lay out your mini loaf baking boxes on a baking tray.

Peel your sweet potato and cut into small cubes (about 2cm square). Place in a bowl and cook on high in the microwave (stirring a couple of times) until the sweet potato is soft.

Keeping the decorative walnut halves and dark chocolate chips aside, put all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Once the mixture is fully combined, spoon into the mini loaf baking boxes (making sure there’s an equal amount in each) and then top with the walnut halves and sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins (or a little less if you prefer your brownies to be gooier).

Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before eating.

Sweet Potato Brownies by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Brownies by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Brownies by The Fat Foodie

Sweet Potato Brownies by The Fat Foodie

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Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

A Slice of The Fat Foodie's Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

A Slice of The Fat Foodie’s Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’ve got a really sweet tooth, so it won’t come as a surprise to hear that since going dairy-free I’ve been really missing things like chocolate sweeties and cakes. However, I decided to take this problem in hand and create my own dairy-free traybake slice, resulting in this incredible date and oat chocolate traybake.

This recipe produces an incredibly easy to make caramelly traybake that’s packed full of nutrients, minerals and fibre. It has a crispy, biscuity toasted oat and date base and is topped with a thick, gooey caramel-like date puree which acts as a wonderful, healthier substitute for real (dairy) caramel. It’s topped with a generous layer of dark chocolate which has been softened slightly through the addition of a little bit of coconut oil, ensuring that the chocolate top isn’t rock hard and melts all over your fingertips as you munch (like any decent chocolate treat should!).

I’ll be honest, a food processor, blender or Nutribullet is pretty essential for this recipe because the base and filling need to be blended until smooth. However, with the aid of my food processor this literally took me all of 15 mins to make, so I think that’s worth any initial outlay concerns you might have regarding treating yourself to one.

This date and oat chocolate traybake recipe is very simple to follow. The only thing I would say is that the amount of coconut oil required for both the base and middle layer depends on the moistness of the dates you’re using, but if you’re struggling to bring it together then you can just either add a bit more melted coconut oil to your mixture or a bit of hot water. It’s no problem and won’t affect the overall taste at all.

I loved this traybake recipe and it made a very generous tray full of delicious chocolate treats. The main problem was simply trying to stop at munching only one…

Ingredients:

For the base:

350g pitted dates

200g oats

3 tbsps of coconut oil (melted)

For the filling:

350g pitted dates

50g ground almonds

4 tbsps of cashew nut butter

100g coconut oil (melted)

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsps of hot water

For the topping:

200g dark chocolate

2 tbsps coconut oil

Method:

To make the base layer:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Spread the oats in a thin layer on a baking tray and bake in the oven until golden brown. Leave to cool.

Place the dates and toasted oats into the food processor/Nutribullet and pulse until it forms a sandy texture. Add the coconut oil and blend again until it forms a dough that sticks together. (If necessary, add a bit of hot water to help bind it together.)

Pour into a traybake tin (roughly 20cm by 30cm in size) and press it down so it forms a base. Put it in the fridge to harden.

To make the filling:

Put all of the filling ingredients into the food processor/Nutribullet and blend until it forms a very smooth paste. (If it’s not coming together add a little bit of hot water to loosen the mixture a bit.)

Spread the filling over the base layer and put it back in the fridge.

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The Filling Being Placed in The Fat Foodie’s Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

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The Filling Layer in The Fat Foodie’s Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

To make the topping:

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a jug and once it’s liquid pour over the traybake.

Place in the fridge and once it’s set, cut into slices and serve.

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The Chocolate Topping of The Fat Foodie’s Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

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A Slice of The Fat Foodie’s Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake

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Date and Oat Chocolate Traybake by The Fat Foodie

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Thug Kitchen’s Peanut Butter and Banana Nut Muffins (Makes 12)

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Thug Kitchen’s Peanut Butter and Banana Nut Muffins made by The Fat Foodie

A while ago, one lazy Sunday morning I fancied something sweet for breakfast and had recently bought Thug Kitchen’s first cookbook so I made their peanut butter and banana nut muffins. In general I’m not a massive fan of the American ‘cup method’ of baking, but in this instance it works brilliantly, allowing you to pretty much chuck all of your ingredients into your mixing bowl and just whisk it all together. It’s certainly a very quick and easy way to produce a delicious bake!

They also don’t take very long to cook at all, so if you make a snap decision one morning to have them for breakfast (or a snack) you’ll only need to wait half an hour or so until you can get stuck into them. I expected the peanut butter and banana nut muffins to be very sweet, but they weren’t overly so and in actual fact they paired really well with a little bit of vegan butter and jam on the side. I’ll bet they’d be divine with some vegan caramel spread on top of them too.

I think you could really take some liberties with the ingredients of these muffins, if you wanted to. For instance, you could substitute the peanut butter for any other nut butter you had in your kitchen. Likewise, I think the walnuts could be swapped with pecans to great effect. And I dare say that the addition of half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the mix would be welcomed.

These muffins do have quite a dense texture, probably due to the inclusion of the heavy peanut butter and banana, which results in an almost ‘bready’ crumb, but they’re really tasty and made for a wonderfully easy and luxurious Sunday morning breakfast in bed. Needless to say, they’re firmly on my go-to breakfast muffin list now.

Ingredients:

2 cups of self-raising flour

1 tbsp. of baking powder

1/2 tsp. of salt

1/2 a cup of peanut butter

1/2 a cup of brown sugar

3/4 cup of non-dairy milk (or normal milk if you’re not a vegan)

1 & 1/2 cups of mashed ripe banana

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1/2 a cup of chopped walnuts

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5 and lay out at least 12 large muffin cases in a muffin tin.

Put all of your wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases ensuring a roughly equal amount in each of them.

Bake for 18 to 22 mins or until a skewer poked into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Leave to cool slightly and then enjoy either plain or with butter/vegan butter, and jam or vegan caramel.

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Thug Kitchen’s Peanut Butter and Banana Nut Muffins made by The Fat Foodie

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Thug Kitchen’s Peanut Butter and Banana Nut Muffins made by The Fat Foodie

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