Citrus Cupcakes (makes 12)

Citrus Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

Sometimes I bake cakes purely because a pretty cupcake case has caught my eye that begs to be filled with something delicious. This was the case (excuse the pun) when I saw some beautiful, bright, sunshine-coloured cupcake cases in Flying Tiger the other day. (I tried to find a link to their website so you could buy them yourself, but they don’t have them listed on their site unfortunately.)

Ordinarily I’m a real chocolate cake fan, loving the deep, moist fudginess that is inherent within all decent chocolate cakes, but I recognise that sometimes there’s nothing nicer than a light fruit-flavoured cake and these cupcake cases were ideal for making gluten-free citrus cupcakes in.

As the days are getting sunnier and warmer it’s nice to move away from the heavy puddings and crumbles of winter and embrace lighter flavours, such as those found in citrus fruits. Although I made my citrus cupcakes flavoured with lemon and orange you could choose to flavour them with lime or even grapefruit if you had a mind to. All you’re looking for are the strong oils in the fruit’s zest to impart a citrus note into the cake’s sponge.

These citrus cupcakes are light, but moist (even though they’re made with gluten-free flour) and keep for a good few days in an airtight tin. Although if your family’s anything like mine it’s highly unlikely that these delicious bakes will last that long. I might need to make another batch…

Ingredients:

220g caster sugar
120g fine polenta
50g gluten-free flour
90g ground almonds
60g dessicated coconut
A pinch of salt
The zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
120g dairy-free butter
100g coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
60ml rice milk
For the buttercream icing:
100g dairy-free butter
240g icing sugar
1 tbsp rice milk

Method:

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

Lay out your cupcake cases onto a flat baking tray.

Measure all of the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour equal amounts of the cake mix into each of the cupcake cases, lay them on the baking trays and bake in the oven for around 25 mins. (They’re cooked if a skewer pushed into the middle of a couple of the cakes comes out entirely clean.)

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Make the buttercream icing by placing all of the buttercream ingredients into a jug and whisking until a smooth icing is produced.

Once the citrus cupcakes are cool, decorate them with the buttercream icing.

Citrus Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

Citrus Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Bundt Cakes (makes 12)

Chocolate Bundt Cakes by The Fat Foodie

The 13th of May was the 1 year anniversary of my blog and today is my 100th blog post, so I thought I’d follow in the footsteps of The Great British Bake Off and bake a ‘Showstopper’ to mark the occasion. I originally started my blog (which turned into The Fat Foodie website) as a way to showcase my writing skills in order to try to get a particular job that I really wanted at the time. Sadly, I wasn’t successful in getting the job and although as a result, I did think about calling it a day with the blog (I think at that point there was only a couple of months worth of blog posts on it), I’m really pleased I didn’t.

My website has become an extremely enjoyable activity for me. This might sound odd, but prior to starting the blog I never thought in a million years that I would have my own website. I wasn’t (and still am not) a ‘computery’ ‘techie’ type of person, so to find myself regularly contributing to the internet still thrills me every Sunday and Wednesday morning when I boost my blog posts through my social media channels.

I guess the experience of starting and maintaining my own website has taught me that we shouldn’t hold on to a rigid view of our own sense of who we think are because we can change over time to become something other than what we believe to be true. We can adapt and develop skills that we never knew existed within us and this can help us to contribute to the world in ways that we never considered possible before. That’s what my website has done for me.

So all I’ve got left to say is thanks very much for visiting my website and reading my posts. I hope to continue for a good while yet! Now on to the showstopper!

The other day I was in Lidl and a box of six silicone bundt cases caught my eye, particularly because they were only £1.99. Silicone baking cases are renowned for being pricey so I didn’t hesitate to pick up two boxes. I’ve been mulling over what I was going to bake in them for a while now, but I eventually decided to go with chocolate bundt cakes because I don’t think you can beat a decent chocolate cake in terms of both visual impact and taste.

These chocolate bundt cakes have a hefty whack of good quality dark chocolate in them due to the inclusion of cocoa powder and the dark chocolate drizzled over them. These two forms of pure dark chocolate are further enhanced by the dark brown sugar, which creates a deep, fudgy flavour. In terms of difficulty, these chocolate bundt cakes are really simple to make, involving nothing more taxing than measuring out your wet and dry ingredients into separate bowls and then just blending them together to create your cake mix.

Other than the beautiful taste of the chocolate sponge, I think the real impact of these cakes comes from whatever you decide to bake them in, such as the silicone bundt cases, but you could just as easily use plain old cupcake cases. You certainly don’t need to dust them with edible gold glitter either. It’s just I’ve got the stunning visual impact of my website to take into consideration, you know?  😉

Ingredients:

220g dark brown sugar
120g fine polenta
50g gluten-free flour
90g ground almonds
80g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
120g dairy-free butter
100g coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
60ml rice milk
100g dark chocolate (for decoration)

Method:

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

Lay out your silicone bundt cases or cupcake cases onto a flat baking tray.

Measure all of the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour equal amounts of the cake mix into the silicone bundt cases and lay them on the baking tray.

Tap them firmly on a work surface a few times (to help prevent bubbles in the base of the bundts) and bake in the oven for around 25 mins. (They’re cooked if a skewer pushed into the middle of a couple of the cakes comes out entirely clean.)

Leave to cool on a cooling rack before taking the bundts out of their cases.

Once cool, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it over the chocolate bundt cakes.

Feel free to dust the bundts with completely unnecessary edible gold glitter if you like.

Chocolate Bundt Cakes 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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Spiced Persimmon Cupcakes (aka Grinch Cakes)

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Spiced Persimmon Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

These spiced persimmon cupcakes (aka Grinch Cakes) came about by accident because I’d initially intended to bake quite a simple spiced cake without any decorations, but thankfully, after tasting them I would describe them as a happy accident.

At Christmastime I love making cakes that are flavoured with warm spices, such as mixed spice, cinnamon and ginger. I’d bought a persimmon (also known as a sharon fruit) last week and it was getting pretty ripe so I decided to try using it in spiced persimmon cupcakes. Persimmons are really sweet, they’re probably the sweetest fruit I’ve ever tasted, so I used a little less sugar in my cake mixture to lessen the sugar-load.

The sweet earthiness of the persimmon really complemented the mixed spices in the cakes and added to their overall Christmassy taste. The cupcakes sank in my oven because I’d impatiently opened the door to see if they were cooked yet, so I took them out of their cupcake wrappers, turned them upside down, and coated them in a thin layer of icing. This concealed their sunken middles and prevented a deep pool of icing forming in the centre of the cakes.

However, I added a bit too much green food colouring gel and ended up with an icing that was decidedly Grinch coloured, but I soldiered on, added some nice decorations and renamed them Grinch Cakes! The spiced persimmon cupcakes are destined to be taken in to work and I’m really hoping that my colleagues won’t notice their concave bottoms, but I bet they get munched very quickly regardless.

Ingredients:

For the spiced persimmon cupcakes:

1 ripe persimmon (very finely chopped or minced in a food processor)

180g sugar

200g butter

3 eggs

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground mixed spice

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

Decoration:

Icing sugar

Green food colouring

A little water

Method:

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

Arrange your cupcake cases in your cupcake tins or on a flat baking tray.

Prepare your persimmon as directed and then measure and mix all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Spoon enough cake mix into your cupcake cases to fill them to just over halfway.

Bake for around 25 to 30 mins. Unless you want a concave bottom, please be patient and resist the urge to open the oven door too soon.

After the allocated baking time, test they’re cooked by pricking a couple of the cupcakes in the middle with a skewer. If it comes out clean then they’re fully cooked.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Mix your icing sugar with a dash of green food colouring and a tiny trickle of water, a bit at a time. Your icing should end up as a liquid, but thick, consistency. If you’ve added too much water just add some more icing sugar.

Once the cupcakes are cold, take them out of their wrappers and place them upside down on the cooling rack. Drizzle the icing sugar over the cakes until the top and sides are coated and then add your decorations.

I think I'll rename these Spiced Persimmon Cupcakes 'Grinch Cakes'. :D

I think I’ll rename these Spiced Persimmon Cupcakes ‘Grinch Cakes’.

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