Flowerpot Muffins (makes 6)

Flowerpot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

The other day I was in Lakeland when I spied a box of silicone flowerpot baking pots and a set of leaf-shaped icing cutters and I couldn’t resist buying them to make a summer-themed bake. I’ve written before about the fact that you can use edible flowers to decorate your cakes, so I figured I’d pillage my hanging baskets and cottage garden to find some lovely blooms to adorn these beautiful little cakes.

The chocolate cake itself is made from my chocolate muffin recipe because it’s always a reliable bake, is seriously tasty, and keeps moist for days. In fact, I genuinely think that this is my go-to chocolate muffin recipe from now on because they are soft, light, moist and incredibly fudgy and you certainly can’t tell that they’re gluten-free and contain sweet potato.

I debated about whether I should remove the flowerpot muffins from their moulds before serving them, but I decided that the visual impact comes from the silicone flowerpots, so I just kept them in them. I did however, remove the cakes from the flowerpots after they’d been baked to make sure they weren’t stuck inside them before I put them back in, just so they came out easily and the person who was trying to eat them wasn’t faced with having to try to remove their cake from the pot.

These flowerpot muffins look really impressive and taste fantastic, but they are actually a really simple bake to make because the flowerpots and leaf cutters do most of the work for you. The cake sponge is rich, chocolatey and moist, the cocoa icing is creamy and smooth, and the green icing leaves really enhance the natural beauty of the edible flowers. I think anyone would be thrilled to receive one of these celebrations of summer, don’t you think?

A Pansy Flowerpot Muffin by The Fat Foodie

A Rose Flowerpot Muffin by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

140g peeled raw sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)

60g brown sugar

35g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

15g cocoa

35g chopped peanuts (optional)

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

50ml vegetable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

50ml rice milk

1/4 tsp salt

 

For the chocolate icing:

200g icing sugar

25g cocoa

Around 1 tbsp of water (but depends on how thick you want the icing to be)

A pack of ready to roll green icing

A selection of edible flowers (click here for a comprehensive list of edible flowers)

Method:

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

Place the silicone flowerpot baking pots in a muffin tray or on a baking tray.

Prepare the sweet potatoes and cook them on a plate in the microwave until they are soft. Put the cooked sweet potato in a large mixing bowl, mash well and leave to cool.

Once the sweet potato is fairly cool, add all of your wet ingredients and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 6 silicone flowerpot baking pots and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one comes out clean. Leave to cool.

To make the icing, slowly stir the water into the icing sugar and cocoa to blend the icing together (you can make it as thick or thin as you like) and once you’re happy with the consistency pour it over the chocolate muffins.

Roll out the block of green icing and use your leaf-shaped icing cutters to cut out leaf shapes. Attach them to the chocolate icing so that they drape over the edge of the muffins.

Add your edible flowers and serve.

Flowerpot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Muffins (makes 12)

Chocolate Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Sometimes I make things that aren’t originally intended for my website, but when I taste the finished result I kick myself for not paying more attention and noting the ingredients down because it’s turned out to be a really tasty recipe. These chocolate muffins were one of those recipes. I’d had a number of sweet potatoes in the fridge that needed to be used up so I thought it’d be nice to make a batch of chocolate muffins to take into work the next day. Of course, it was only after I’d taken them into work and tasted them that I realised how lovely they were, leaving me to resolve that I’d make another batch very soon.

Although these chocolate muffins have sweet potato in them you can’t tell at all. The sweet potato simply bulks out the muffin mixture while adding moisture, body and sweetness to the sponge. The beauty of using the sweet potatoes in the chocolate muffins is that you can use less flour in the mix and it also adds a number of vitamins and minerals into the muffins that you wouldn’t ordinarily get from only using gluten-free flour.

I genuinely think that this is my go-to chocolate muffin recipe from now on because they are soft, light, moist and incredibly fudgy and you certainly can’t tell that they’re gluten-free. They’re everything you could possibly want in a chocolate muffin really.

Ingredients:

420g peeled raw sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)

200g brown sugar

100g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

50g cocoa

100g chopped walnuts (optional)

2 large eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

140ml vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

140ml rice milk

1/2 tsp salt

For the chocolate muffin icing:

200g icing sugar

25g cocoa

Around 1 tbsp of water (but depends on how thick you want the icing to be)

Method:

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

Lay out 12 muffin cases in a muffin tray.

Prepare the sweet potatoes and cook them on a plate in the microwave until they are soft. Put the cooked sweet potato in a large mixing bowl, mash well and leave to cool.

Once the sweet potato is fairly cool, add all of your wet ingredients and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one comes out clean. Leave to cool.

To make the icing, slowly stir the water into the icing sugar and cocoa to blend the icing together (you can make it as thick or thin as you like) and once you’re happy with the consistency pour it over the chocolate muffins.

Munch!

Chocolate Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread

Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread by The Fat Foodie

I recently acquired a breadmaker from a friend and I’ve been looking for something to bake in it for a while. I remember that when breadmakers first came out they were really expensive and cost well over £100 to buy, but nowadays you can pick them up really cheap. In fact, I’ve just Googled it and you can buy one for £21:49 from Argos! It’s insane how much prices decrease after the initial fad dies down, huh?

Anyway, as I was saying, the breadmaker I inherited from my friend is only a Tesco version (I think she paid around £30 for it a number of years ago), but it does the job very nicely because for all that it’s only a supermarket version it’s still got 3 crust colour settings and a range of cooking options to suit whatever bake you’re making. That’s good enough for me!

After a couple of failed attempts at making gluten-free loaves in it (spoiler alert – these were massive failures!) I decided to park my lofty notions of creating the perfect, light and airy gluten-free loaf aside and try to make a banana bread instead. Thankfully this was a much more successful endeavour!

Although I enjoy banana cakes sometimes I prefer banana breads because they have a firmer texture and are more substantial. They also don’t need as much sugar in them so you can kind of justify having a small slice of the bread for breakfast. In fact, if you have the option on your breadmaker to start cooking your loaf at a specific time (which many modern models do) you could wake up to a freshly baked banana hazelnut bread that’s just begging to be coated in butter and eaten with your morning cuppa.

Ripe bananas test high for oligo-fructan FODMAPs at half a medium banana so if that’s an issue for you I’d exercise caution. Although, one banana hazelnut bread makes at least 12 portions so that’s a small amount of banana consumed per portion, but as with every recipe on my website these are just my adventures in cooking low FODMAP food so it’s important that you only make what will work for your own body. Also, I must stress that this isn’t a gluten-free loaf because I used spelt flour which still contains gluten, but is an ancient form of wheat grain that is easier to digest because it’s less refined than normal wheat flour. Therefore, if you’re gluten intolerant you should probably give this a miss. Sorry, guys!

However, if you can tolerate spelt or a small amount of gluten in your diet then I’d encourage you to give this breadmaker banana hazelnut bread a go because it’s genuinely delicious. This recipe makes a loaf that’s infused with the delicate flavour of fresh banana and is studded with crisp, crunchy little hazelnuts. It’s lovely on its own, but I think it’s elevated into something utterly divine when it’s topped with a generous slathering of salted butter. You only live once, right?

Ingredients:

260g plain flour (I used spelt)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g sugar

4 tbsps vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 large over-ripe bananas

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g hazelnuts

Method:

Place all of your wet ingredients into your breadmaker and then add the dry ingredients.

Choose a setting that will bake the loaf for around two and a half hours with a light crust.

Check to see if the loaf is cooked by pushing a skewer into the middle of it. If the skewer comes out clean then it’s cooked. If necessary continue to cook for a bit longer.

Once it’s done remove from the breadmaker and leave to cool inside the tin.

Once cool, cut into thick slices and serve either on its own or with butter.

Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread by The Fat Foodie

Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Torte

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

The other day I was walking home from work when my Dad stopped his car to say that he’d got me a clutch of fresh duck eggs from one of his colleagues. Never one to turn my nose up at free ingredients, particularly ones as generous as eight massive, freshly-lain duck eggs, I dutifully followed him home to collect them. Once I’d given them a wash (chickens aren’t that fussed about keeping their productions clean) I was rewarded with the sight of a bowlful of creamy, pink and blue, large eggs with striations that made them look like they’d been sculpted from marble. They were truly a thing of natural beauty.

Freshly Lain Duck Eggs

Now I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with a recipe that would do them justice. Duck eggs are very rich, infusing a delicate and delicious intensity into cakes and biscuits with very little effort, so I knew that I didn’t want to waste them on a bake that would fail to let them shine. After some consideration I knew that a chocolate torte would be the perfect vehicle for their use because the richness of the torte would only be enhanced by the duck eggs.

A chocolate torte is a very rich, buttery and intensely chocolatey  cake. It’s not made with a flour sponge like most cakes are and instead depends on the lightness of whisked eggs (and in this case a small amount of ground almonds) to provide the structure of the cake. Accordingly, the result is a slightly dense, but infinitely moreish, chocolate torte that requires only a small serving to satisfy one’s sweet tooth.

Much like pavlovas and profiteroles, this bake looks complicated and its reputation only bolsters this misconception, but trust me, this chocolate torte is really easy to make. It literally only requires you to melt your butter and dark chocolate in one jug, whisk all of your other ingredients together in another jug and then pour one into the other before whisking again and baking. You can’t really get any easier than that, can you?

This chocolate torte is a dream to both make and eat, particularly when served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of good quality ice-cream. It’s a torte that is decadent and luxurious, with a rich, fudgy, but light cake base that delivers the perfect chocolate hit to the taste buds. Try making this one soon, guys, you won’t regret it.

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

85g salted butter (at room temperature)

170g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)

4 large hen’s eggs (or 3 duck eggs, if using)

50g sugar

2 tsps of instant coffee granules

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

50g ground almonds

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cocoa powder (for dusting the top)

Method:

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

Line a 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Place your butter and dark chocolate in a microwavable jug and slowly melt in the microwave, stirring frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn. If you don’t have a microwave then melt it slowly by placing the jug in a pot that’s been filled with boiling water (but is not on the heat) and allowing it to melt down. (Don’t have the pot over heat though or you might melt your jug!)

Leave the melted chocolate mixture to cool slightly.

Measure all of your other ingredients into a separate jug and whisk well until thoroughly combined and airy.

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the other jug, whisking all the while. Mix it all together and then pour into your cake tin and bake for 40-45 mins.

Check the cake is cooked by poking a skewer into the middle. It should be cooked when only a few crumbs are on the skewer when removed from the cake, but remember that it is supposed to be moist and fudgy in the middle so don’t panic too much if it’s a bit wetter than a normal cake.

Leave to cool and then dust with cocoa powder and serve with whipped cream or ice-cream (or a non-dairy alternative).

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Orange Carrot Muffins (makes 12)

Chocolate Orange Carrot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

I like taking cakes into work. I think it’s nice to bring something tasty into the staff room for everyone to be able to enjoy when they’re on their tea breaks and lunch. I always think that there’s something warming and cosy about having some cake available for everyone to partake in, should they choose. Let’s be honest, very few people turn their nose up at a nice bit of cake.

I bought some pretty muffin cases the other day that I wanted to test and after some consideration I settled upon the idea of making carrot cake muffins, but it didn’t sound very exciting to me so I went back to the drawing board and decided to add more flavours to the cakes and so I made chocolate orange carrot muffins instead. I’m so glad I did because they are divine!

If you want a moist cake that’s not going to dry out in a hot environment, such as a very warm staff room, then I’d heartily recommend incorporating two components: a good oil and some sort of fruit or vegetable. You can never go wrong with basing a cake around carrots or courgette because their water content works fantastically to introduce and retain moisture in cake sponge. It’s also a bonus that you can’t even taste the vegetables in the cake once they’ve been baked.

Also, although most cakes tend to add fat to the sponge base by using butter, sadly as it cooks a lot of the water from the butter will evaporate. It will also continue to evaporate the longer the cake sits waiting to be eaten too, whereas using sunflower or vegetable oil (which does not evaporate) will ensure that the fat content (and therefore, moisture) remains present even after it’s been baked in a hot oven. It’s science, innit?

Although these chocolate orange carrot muffins are gluten-free you can easily make them standard muffins by using the same quantity of normal self-raising flour and omitting the xanthan gum and bicarbonate of soda, and only using 1 tsp of baking powder. Although why not give the gluten-free version a go? They’re really tasty and you honestly cannot tell the difference!

These chocolate orange carrot muffins are gorgeous. They’ve got an incredibly soft and bouncy texture, are infused with rich, deep cocoa and have a lovely fresh zing from the orange zest. Their whipped chocolate orange buttercream frosting also does the entire flavour combination justice. Quite frankly I think I’ve outdone myself. Now, I wonder if the boss will like them enough to give me a paid day off…

Chocolate Orange Carrot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

250g of grated carrots

250g brown sugar

250g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

1 tsp xantham gum

50g cocoa powder

2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

250ml vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

The zest and juice of 1 orange (keep 2 tbsps of orange juice aside for the buttercream icing)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

For the buttercream icing:

175g icing sugar

25g cocoa powder

50g butter (use dairy-free, if necessary)

2 tbsps orange juice

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Lay 12 muffin cases out into a muffin tray.

Measure all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Quickly mix all of the ingredients together using an electric whisk and spoon the mixture equally into the muffin cases.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Freshly Baked Chocolate Orange Carrot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

Leave to cool and make the buttercream by placing all of the icing ingredients into a jug and whisking until light and whipped.

Once the cakes are completely cold decorate with the buttercream icing and enjoy.

Chocolate Orange Carrot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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