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Salted chocolate apples

Salted chocolate applesNormally I only share a recipe after a lot of testing and tasting and often with a bit of modification to improve it.  This time however I made these apples for Hallowe’en and it was such a hit that I did not even get a chance to taste them! I am sure they tasted lovely though. So here we go; apples that are good for any autumnal celebration (did someone mention Bonfire night?)

Now let me share more about my feeling re Hallowe’en. I still dislike it even though I was more involved this year. I think I mentioned before I dislike this celebration mostly due to tacky decorations and creepy dress ups (It does not seem so bad in USA, but here in the UK kids dress up in grotesque costumes). I even wrote a post in the past on how to survive halloween! But beside all these reasons my real real reason for disliking halloween is the fact that it celebrates fear and a spiritual realm that does exist. I am not going further with this and try to argue. Instead I want to explain why I am involved more this year. My prime reason is to get to know my neighbours and to experience Hallowe’en a bit from a broader perspective so decide what if anything I should do with my kids next year.Salted chocolate apples SALTED CHOCOLATE APPLES

  • 12-17 small eating apples
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 200g white chocolate (optional)
  • sea salt
  • descanted coconut (if using white chocolate)
  • sticks (can be reused ice lolly sticks, tree branch bits or even skewers perhaps?)

Salted chocolate apples 1. First arrange apples on the baking paper. Insert sticks so you are able to hold onto them when applying chocolate.Salted chocolate apples2. Melt the chocolate either carefully heating it in the microwave or over a pot of hot water.

3. Swirl the apple into chocolate so it gets evenly coated. Drizzle some more chocolate of different type on the sides for a pretty look. Don’t forget to salt it ;-).

4. Let the apples set in the fridge.Salted chocolate applesI found that white chocolate does not go back to solid state very quickly. Once applied, white chocolate would just slide off the apple. I think it is important to either wait till the chocolate starts thickening or roll the apple (with chocolate on it) in some descanted coconut so it holds everything together. The apples decorated this ways look as pretty as other apples I think :-).Salted chocolate applesHope you feel inspired

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Aeroplane themed birthday cake

Aeroplane themed birthday cakeSo here it is, my vision became a reality. This year I made Lukas birthday cake aeroplane themed which he really enjoyed. I have been dreaming about this cake for ages (not really I practically copied the idea from here). The only thing I wanted to do differently is to try and dye the frosting with natural dyes….

But as you may know the colour blue is hard to find in nature! I know i know, the sky is blue, but you can’t exactly put that in the icing. With a bit of research and friends recommendation I went with butterfly pea tea that is sort of blue. You see I had fun with experimenting and realised that butterfly pea tea changes colour according to the ph of the liquid you mix it into. With a bit of lemon it turns to a burgundy violet and with milk it turns into bluish sky blue. Although this might sound easy, the blue that I get from mixing the tea with milk is not concentrated enough for what is needed when you try to dye large amounts of frosting. I ended up using it in soft cheese frosting and it turned out a little more lilac then sky blue. Shall we imagine that the planes are flying over a sunset sky?Aeroplane themed birthday cake BLUEBERRY YOGURT CAKE WITH BUTTERFLY PEA FROSTING

(for the cake)

  • 3 eggs
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 450g greek yogurt
  • 180g rapeseed or olive oil
  • 300g ground almond
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 2 handful blueberries

(for the meringue)

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • few drops of lemon
  • pinch of salt

(for the frosting)

  • 600g soft cheese
  • icing sugar to taste, sifted
  • butterfly pea tea, brewed in little water

(for the “aeroplanes”)

  • cocktail sticks
  • wafers in the finger form

1. To make the cake beat the eggs with sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again to combine. Pour equal amount of cake mixture into two lined baking tins. Bake in 180C oven for 40-45min.Aeroplane themed birthday cake 2. Meanwhile prepare the meringues for baking. Baking these will take few hours on the low heat once the cake is baked presuming you don’t have two ovens. Mix the egg whites with drop of lemon, salt and half of icing sugar. Start whisking the mixture while gradually adding the rest of icing sugar. In the past I struggled to make meringues and later I realised that all it needs a little patience. It takes really long time to achieve stiffly whisked egg whites, so bear with it till you can see the results. Don’t worry you can’t over mix it ;-)! Pipe the meringues on the baking sheet into cloud shapes using large round nozzle or no nozzle at all. Bake in C60 preheated oven for 3-4h. I find the longer the baking the whiter the meringues!Aeroplane themed birthday cake with merengue clouds  3. To make the frosting whisk soft cheese with icing sugar (I like it less sweet so I don’t add much). Gradually mix in the butterfly pea tea till you like the shade. Aeroplane themed birthday cake 4. For the plane, cut the wafer finger into aeroplane body shape and small triangle for the fin. Glue the plane using icing sugar and water mixture. Use the cocktail sicks to hold the plane together.Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake5. To assemble the cake apply the frosting starting from the top and working your way to the bottom. Arrange the “the clouds” and “the planes” as closer to serving as you can. Sadly, the meringue have a tendency to go soggy.Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake Aeroplane themed birthday cake I especially liked the cake. Although it was difficult to apply the frosting due to it being crumbly and moist, I feel it was worth it!Aeroplane themed birthday cakeHope you enjoy it!

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Herb infused jams

Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipeI know I know you might think that I am obsessed with blackberries (which is true). But how can you resist when these berries are so plump and lush right now? We just loooove picking them as we go for a walk!

Last year when I was cooking through Little Paris Kitchen book I found this recipe for the cherry compote. Not just any cherry compote, it was infused with basil and tasted amaaaaazing! This is why when I was thinking to make blackberry jam I decided to take similar approach and matched it with rosemary. It was as flavoursome as that compote I made last year ;-).

So if you are jamming this autumn, I really recommend trying out and adding herbs to your preserves. Sugar really bring out the flavour of it I think. Here are few suggestions if you like:

  • cherry and basil
  • blueberry and mint
  • raspberry and cardamom
  • apricots and lavender
  • strawberry and lemon thyme

These are just few examples, but you can experiment with any herbs. Here is blackberry and rosemary for starters ;-).Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe BLACKBERRY AND ROSEMARY JAM

makes 2 jars

  • 1kg blackberries
  • 300g sugar (we used icing sugar as it dissolves quicker, but any other sugar will do)
  • bunch of rosemary

Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 1. Place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer uncovered for 30 min or so.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 2. Stir occasionally while cooking to help dissolve the sugar.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipe 3. Remove the rosemary stalks (as much as you can) before spooning it into ready sterilised jars.Herb infused jams + rosemary infused blackberry jam recipeI enjoy it mostly with toast but there are plenty of other uses as well.

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Bake-with-kids yogurt cake

Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipeEver since reading Bringing up bebe and French kids eat everything I got the notion that the kids and I could bake things one day. Maybe even experiment with different flavours and help them grow to love food. This sounded like a fairy tale when we were going through terrible-twos and all Lukas would eat was pasta or toast. Thankfully this was just a phase! Things are changing dramatically as we speak. So hang in there if you are struggling with the toddler fussiness, it will all pass ;-).

I mean Lukas still don’t eat salad, but he will occasionally ask me if he could taste something from my plate (such as beetroot or even smoked salmon). And you know I like my food colourful and flavoursome. I really hope that one day this passion will pass onto him.

So when we went blackberry picking last week I thought why not introduce him to baking. Lukas, like any other kids likes cakes and baking goes nicely with blackberry. I suddenly thought I could try the yogurt cake that I read french kids like to make. Blackberries on top does make it lovely!Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe This recipe uses yogurt containers (150ml) as a measuring device. A bit simpler to understand for little helpers.

BAKE-WITH-KIDS YOGURT CAKE

  • 2 x containers (300g) natural yogurt (full fat preferably)
  • 2 x eggs
  • 2 x containers sugar (270g) (although I preferred adding just one)
  • 4.5 x containers  plain flour (360g) (we used almond flour for gluten free version)
  • 1 x container (120g) vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • berries or chocolate chips for the filling (optional but nice!)
  • extra yogurt or creme fraiche for serving (optional)

Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe 1. Measure all ingredients into the bowl. It is very important to clean and dry the containers after emptying them as I find that other ingredients stick to any lingering yogurt and therefore don’t come out fully when measuring. The first time we baked this cake it came out too gooey due to not enough of flour as you could imagine. When making it a second time I realised it was due to wrong amounts.

2. Mix mix mix! Lukas favourite part ;-).Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe3. Spoon out the cake mixture into the baking tin. I like using silicone type as it needs no greasing.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe4. Arrange berries or chocolate chips on top. Press them in so they sink a bit.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipe 5. Bake for 35-40min in 180C preheated oven. Check with toothpick if it is baked thoroughly before removing the cake out of the oven.Bake-with-kids yogurt cake recipeEnjoy baking ;-)

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Kids art Easter biscuits

Kids art Easter cookies diyHands up who is really really looking forward to Easter! We do! Me and kids are in Devon with the grandparents already and we are pretty much ready here (its easy when you are not hosting).

Me and Lukas has been drawing and painting lots recently so I initially thought we will do good old Lithuanian tradition and paint some eggs, but then I decided against it when I thought of shortbread biscuits… hmmm! I thought if I make the biscuits into egg shape then it will be like painting eggs but on the flat surface rather than the round surface (a little less messy I thought). Plus, I thought this is a very good opportunity to try out more of natural food colouring :-).Kids art Easter cookies DIYKIDS ART EASTER BISCUITS

(for biscuits)

  • 240g butter, softened
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 500g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4tbsp milk

(for the “paint”)

  • 4tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • water
  • 1tsp beetroot powder for pink
  • 1/2tsp turmeric powder for yellow
  • 1tsp matcha powder for green

1. Place all the biscuits ingredients into the mixer and switch it on for few min till everything turns into nice soft dough. At this point you can wrap the dough and place it in the fridge for the next day or freezer for whenever you need it in the future.

2. Flour the surface and the rolling pin and roll the dough about 7 mm thick. Using biscuit cutter or a cup/glass cut the circles in the dough. Once the circles are out of the dough roll it once more again (only one way) to make an oval shape.

Kids art Easter biscuits DIY 3. You can involve your kid at this point. Lukas was treating the dough as he would the play-dough.

4. Place all the dough shapes into lined baking tray and bake them in C200 preheated oven for 10min.Kids art Easter biscuits DIY 5. Meanwhile make the “paint”! gradually add water into the icing sugar until you are happy with the consistency. Split the icing into four cups so you can make up few different colours. Add each colouring to the separate cup and mix. Kids art Easter biscuits DIY 5. Initially I showed Lukas how to brush the “paint” onto biscuits…Kids art Easter biscuits DIY but soon after he realised it is so much more fun to drizzle and splatter the paint over the biscuits. I totally agree, these remind me of Jackson Pollock paintings.Kids art Easter biscuits DIY Kids art Easter biscuits DIY Kids art Easter biscuits DIYHave a very lovely Easter everyone xx

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Natural frosting birthday cake

Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling Few weeks ago we celebrated Tomas birthday, which is why I baked the cake. Anyone who knows me I like the cakes with minimum frosting, made with natural ingredients and most of all I like good flavours. This cake ticks all the boxes for me!!

When I was thinking of Tomas birthday party theme I was thinking of something cheerful, exciting and bold (exactly how I would imagine Tomas when he grows up). This is why I thought bright yellow frosting on the cake would be ideal. But what natural colouring could I use for a bright yellow? I did not need to think for too long, I suddenly remembered the power of turmeric that is vibrant with not much taste to it. The flavour of the cake followed of course. I thought what goes better with turmeric then other spices such as cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. I was completely right, when testing the cake I realised everything just work really well together. I used plum jam to neutralise the taste of richness which also turned out a very good choice.

Hope I got you seduced to try to bake this cake yourself. You will find the recipe below ;-).Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling HONEY SPICED CAKE WITH TURMERIC FROSTING AND PLUM JAM FILLING

(for the cake)

  • 200g butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 170g honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 260ml milk
  • 325g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp mixed spice
  • finelly grated zest of 2 oranges

(for the frosting)

  • 150g softened butter
  • 150g soft cheese
  • 150g icing sugar, plus a bit more for white frosting
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 jar plum jam

1. Over the hob melt the butter together with sugars and honey till everything is incorporated and the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and mix again to combine everything well.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 3. Split the cake mixture into two ready tins (same size, springform are the best). Bake in 150C preheated oven for 1h and 15min.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 4. Sandwich the cake with some plum jam. My tip is to put the cake upside down so the top is completely flat (really felpful when you do frosting).Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 5. To make the frosting place all the ingredients except turmeric into the mixer and let it run for few minutes. Put few table spoons of frosting aside for the white frosting. Add turmeric and let the mixer do its job one more time.  Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 6. Next job is to apply the frosting. I always add almost all the frosting on top to begin with and then push it down gently to the sides and then I work with frosting palette knife to the top again (I make the frosting thin for a reason so it flows easily). Once the base frosting is done I recommend to place the cake into the fridge so it sets.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 7. Meanwhile add more icing sugar to the frosting left on the side. Continue adding the sugar till you are satisfied with the stiffness of the cream. Transfer white frosting into the piping bag with large round nozzle attached. Carefully pipe your decorations on the cake.Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling 8. Finally decorate with any cake toppers. I used water balloons to make these mini balloon cake toppers which made the cake look very fun like I expected :-).Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling Spiced honey cake with turmeric soft cheese frosting & plum jam filling Hope you like it too!!

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Breakfast banana bread

Breakfast banana bread recipeI am not going to lie, last week was a bit difficult. Coming back from holidays straight to real word is overwhelming! And we are going for another holiday again next week so not sure how I am going to cope to do this all over again. One thing is certain, I am trying to prepare as much as I can for it. Last week I had a meltdown when I find out we have no bananas left for breakfast. This is why this time round I am making banana bread to put in the freezer just in case so I can toast it if I am in banana emergency again (sounds funny, but it was seriously an emergency because banana is a very important staple in our house). I made this banana with porridge oats and replaced sugar with honey, so it is sort of healthier than regular banana bread. It’s not like I am giving cake to kids for their most important meal!

BREAKFAST BANANA BREAD

  • 160g honey
  • 100g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 500g ripe bananas (4-6 bananas) + 1 for the decoration
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder

1. in the blender or food processor cream butter with honey then add eggs and yogurt and whizz once again.Breakfast banana bread recipe2. Add remaining ingredients, including pealed bananas and turn the food processor on to make a smooth banana bread mixture. Breakfast banana bread recipe 3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin. Top it with sliced banana and bake it in preheated 180C oven till it is baked through.Breakfast banana bread recipe 4. Don’t slice baked banana bread while it is still hot like me here. It wont cut well as it is a very very moist banana bread. Once it’s cool it can be eaten straight away or frozen ready sliced.Breakfast banana bread recipeHope January is treating you well!

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Croissants with poppy seed filling

Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe  In Lithuania we are big on poppy seed, especially when it comes to Christmas. This is why I feel that these croissants filled with poppy seed goodness is very appropriate for this season. I have been wanting to make this hundred leaves cake to begin with (It’s so traditional in Lithuania like fruit cake in England), but I felt it was too time consuming. This is when this croissant idea came around! You see the dough of hundred leaves cake is kind of similar to croissant dough so I decided to incorporate it with the shop bought dough. Everything went swimmingly well and the rest is history.

CROISSANTS WITH POPPY SEED FILLING

makes 6

  • 100g poppy seed
  • 50g raisins
  • 1tbsp honey (optional)
  • uncooked croissant dough ( I used Jus-Rol brand as it seem the only one available in the shops)
  • 1 egg, whisked for egg wash

1. Place poppy seeds and raisins into the bowl and pour over boiling water over it. Let it sit for an hour or so till it is well soaked and doubled in size.

2. Using the blender whizz poppy seeds and raisins till it becomes like a paste. Add honey if needed for the sweetness, otherwise it is quite sweet from the raisins.Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe  3. Roll out the dough and cut into triangles. Spoon some poppy seed mixture into each triangle and wrap it using the corners. Place croissants parcels into lined baking tray and brush it with egg wash. Bake the croissants in preheated 180C oven for 10-15min.Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Croissants with poppy seed filling recipe Happy Christmas waiting!

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Gingerbread advent calendar

How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendarI have not made an advent calendar for a while so this year I thought I better not miss out and count the days till Christmas in style . I thought I should at least try and make it for Lukas and I am glad that I did. I made it out of gingerbread which means it can be eaten day by day. The only problem is that I made it a little early, a whole two weeks before December! Now daily (sometimes hourly) Lukas asks me for “a bisc” which means biscuit in his language. It’s wonderful to see him so excited but hopefully the calendar will last till advent begins without too many tears!How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar I used this recipe to make the dough for the gingerbread cookies. I made sure I made a hole in each cookie before baking it so I can feed a tread through it and that way cookie can be hanged. How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar I used basic icing (icing sugar mixed with little bit of water) to write the number on each cookie. I originally was planning to use food colouring to make it black, but I am glad I stayed with basics. Sometimes easy and simple stuff look best!How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar Last job was to arrange the cookies. I first arranged the cookies on white surface so I can find the nicest arrangement before actually hanging everything. I used a little bit of greenery as it brings out a lovely contrast that I love. Gingerbread cookie advent calendarI been very lucky that we have picture rails in our house. I only now discovered the real purpose of them. Before I used to think that it is just a nice trim! If you would like an alternative hanging solution then check out here. I used a wire hanger to make my last advent calendar three years ago.How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendar How to make gingerbread cookie advent calendarHope you have been inspired and I am wishing you all an exciting Christmas season!

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Woodland themed birthday cake

Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe Although we celebrated Lukas birthday together with Granny birthday last weekend he is officially turning 2 today (wow, where does the time go!). It was good to get together with the family in Devon, staying here a little longer with the kids while Joni is sorting out our new kitchen (hopefully will share about it more soon).

As for a birthday cake I am very very pleased that I was not asked to bake him a cake in Paw Patrol theme (or something along those lines), so I chose to make woodland themed one. Which is much prettier and tasteful in my opinion. I really dislike heavily iced cakes! I also decided to keep it simple as I am quite busy these days (bringing up baby and toddler at the same time is no joke).

DAIRY AND GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE

(for the cake)

  • 6 eggs
  • 300ml oil (I used olive oil)
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder mixed with 125ml boiling water

(for the frosting)

  • 1 avocado
  • 85g dairy-free sunflower spread
  • 200g dairy-free chocolate, melted (do it carefully if doing in microwave)
  • 50g cocoa powder mixed with 125ml boiling water
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted (+100g extra for thicker frosting)

(for the decoration)

  • woodland themed gingerbread cookies
  • rosemary stalks

1. First bake a cake. Whisk the eggs with sugar and oil until you have custard like consistency. Add almonds, baking powder and cocoa powder liquid. Mix everything again to combine. Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe 2. Pour equal amount of cake mixture into two lined baking tins. Bake in 180C oven for 40-45min.Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe3. While waiting for the cake to bake, prep gingerbread cookies. You may be able to buy yours in store, but I needed dairy free ones at least so I ended up baking my own. I used this recipe and replaced butter with sunflower spread. Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe 4. Finally, time to make the frosting. Place all the ingredients (only 150g icing sugar at this stage) into electric mixer/processor and whizz. The mixture should turn into smooth frosting .Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe Spread half of the frosting in between the cake layers, top and sides.Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe Use pallet knife to smooth the frosting on the cake.Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe 5. To decorate add 100g more icing sugar into the remaining frosting to make it thicker. Pipe it on top to make a decorative texture. Top the cake with woodland themed cookies and rosemary stalks to represent trees/bushes. Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipe Woodland themed chocolate birthday cake (dairy and gluten free version) recipeHope I inspired you ;-)

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Cheesecake for breakfast

Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe When in Lithuania we were eating loads. No wonder I gained so much weight! Never the less I am missing Lithuanian food, especially the cheesecake (technically it’s a curd cake) that is fit to eat for breakfast. I was so eager to try and make one myself that as soon as I got home I tried making it using more available alternative, Ricotta (so it is a cheesecake after all!). I would personally say that I could not notice any difference between two. I love that it is not too sugary and can be dressed up as you like. I love it with cream fraiche and pureed strawberries. Next time I shall try with honey me thinks ;-).

FIT-FOR-BREAKFAST CHEESECAKE

makes a very small cheesecake that makes up breakfast for two (feel free to double up)

  • 2tbsp semolina
  • 4tbsp full fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 250g ricotta cheese

1. soak semolina in milk for at least 30min or overnight in the fridge.

2. Cream butter with sugar than gradually add egg yolks, soaked semolina, ricotta cheese and mix everything to combine well. Carefully fold in whisked egg whites.Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe3. Spoon the cake mixture into lined spring form. Bake in 180C preheated oven for 25-30min.Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe4. Meanwhile prep your toppings. I pureed strawberries with a little sugar (you need it somewhere sometimes).Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe5. Serve it warm or cold the next day. Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipeEnjoy!

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Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananas

Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananasAfter drowning my post pregnancy sorrows in sugar (as I often say) for past few months, I finally feel like ready to go sugar free again. Ok, maybe not totally cutting out sugar just yet, but definitely reducing it by at least removing added sugar. Here is what I have been having for most of my breakfasts past two weeks, which is a simple porridge that is sweetened with just dates and bananas. Chocolate for breakfast have not been more satisfying than this, yum!

CHOCOLATE OAT PORRIDGE WITH DATES AND BANANAS serves one

  • 1 sachet of 27g oats porridge + milk according to package instructions
  • 1 tsp coco powder
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 dates, chopped
  • 1 banana, sliced

1. Place all ingredients into microwavable bowl (except dates and banana) and mix briefly to combine.

2. Microwave for 2min or according to the oat porridge package instructions

3. Top the porridge with chopped dates and banana

Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananas Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananasSorry but not sorry that it is so simple. I thought I need to share this recipe anyways as it makes a very satisfying breakfast, without giving into sugar

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Nicola’s birthday cake

Nicola's birthday cake Last weekend we headed down to Devon again to celebrate my sister in law Nicola’s 30th birthday and I was asked to bake a cake (what a privilege!!). It had to be gluten and dairy free so it was a fun challenge to accept. If you have been following me on social media then you probably have seen me doing bake tests over the past few weeks. I originally wanted to make a matcha cake, but was not sure if that would have been a crowd pleaser. At the end I decided to go with more simple flavours such as lemon and poppy seed. I used a very similar method to this chocolate orange cake which essentially uses citrus fruit pulp instead of butter or oil. This method has never let me down producing a very moist and tasty cake. I just need to find a way to reduce the amount of sugar (hmmm…a tough one to do in cake!).Nicola's birthday cake GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE LEMON POPPY SEED CAKE WITH COCONUT BUTTER FROSTING

(for the cake)

  • 16 lemons
  • 18 eggs (it’s a very large cake!)
  • 750g golden caster sugar
  • 750g ground almonds
  • 6tsp baking powder
  • 4tbsp poppy seeds + for decorating

(for the frosting)

  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (butter)
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • about 1kg icing sugar

1. First things first, cook the lemons as that takes the longest. Peal them and try to pick out any pips out of them (I know I know this might take forever, but its worth it as your cake might end up tasting a little bitter). Boil the lemons for about 30 min. Once they are cooked, drain them and check any leftover pips. By now your lemons should look like puree, but whizz them anyways with the hand processor just to get it extra smooth.

Baking with cooked lemon2. Whisk the eggs with sugar till its pale and creamy. Add the rest of ingredients into eggs (including lemon puree) and mix to combine everything well. Split the cake mixture into three lined baking springform tins. Bake the cakes in 150C preheated oven for 1.5h.Baking with cooked lemon3. Meanwhile make the frosting. Sift the icing sugar into the coconut oil and add lemon juice. Mix everything using electric mixer until smooth and creamy.Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frosting4. As for frosting the cake I did it very lightly. I applied thin layer of frosting between the layers and more on the sides so I could scrape it off later (still keeping a natural “naked” cake look). Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frosting5. Decorate it with poppy seeds, berries and flowers in keeping with the “au naturel” look ;-).Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frosting Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frostingHope you are feeling inspired.

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Baby friendly birthday cake

Baby friendly birthday cakeLast week we celebrated Lukas birthday and today I would like to share with you the recipe of the cake I made for him. I aimed for something sugar free of course that is suitable for a baby. I made sure to include banana in it just because Lukas loooovesss banana very much (maybe he is a minion who knows :D) and also because it adds some sweetness. The cake of course wasn’t very sweet. I would say it was a brioche sweetness level. I also thought that it is better eaten warm, but I had to cool it down unfortunately to decorate it and make it look a little bit more festive ;-). For “butter cream” I just used whipping cream, so it wasn’t sweet at all, but actually Lukas liked it very much so I guess it’s ok ;-).  Baby friendly birthday cakeBABY BIRTHDAY CAKE

(for the cake)

  • 150g banana (about 1-2 bananas depending on size)
  • 1 egg
  • 60ml oil (I used refined olive oil, but rapeseed oil would probably be better)
  • 330g plain flour
  • 27g oats (I used pack of portioned porridge oats that actually comes in 27g)
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 125ml milk
  • 3tbsp yogurt (I used greek style yogurt, but natural yogurt would work fine too)

(for decorations)

  • whipping cream, whipped till stiff (one tube of 300ml will do)
  • no added sugar chocolate (there is no such thing as sugar free chocolate my friends!)
  • blueberries (or any type of other berries that are sweet)

1. Whizz bananas, egg and oil in the food processor. Add all other ingredients and mix everything to combine.

2. Spoon the cake dough into small lined spring form tins (mine filled 4 tins).

3. Place the tins into preheated 180C oven and bake the cakes for 20min or so.

Baby friendly birthday cake4. Meanwhile I made chocolate cake decorations. I must admit I got little rusty, because I have not done it for aaaaages! I melted some chocolate, poured into pouch I made out of backing paper and cut the hole in it so I could pipe the chocolate out. I lined a metal baking tin with backing paper and piped chocolate on it in the leaf shapes. Placed it in the freezer for few minutes to set. Done!Baby friendly birthday cake5. Next up is decorating! Sandwich the cake by spreading whipped cream in between and then spread more on top and around to ice the cake. My tip is to really wait till the cakes are cool and trim the tops off, that really helps to make the cake square and therefore easy to ice.Baby friendly birthday cakeOnce the cake is iced, decorate it by piping some more whipped cream on top, sprinkling with blueberries and arranging some chocolate decorations on top if you wish.Baby friendly birthday cakeBaby friendly birthday cakeHope your baby likes it too ;-)

Rasa xx

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Photography challenge: birthday cake “smash”

This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake I don’t know if you heard of a term “cake smash” (I am sure if you google it it would give you plenty of examples), but I wanted to try it on Lukas real bad! I thought it would be sooooo much fun for both of us, because I believe Lukas enjoys making mess :D.This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake So Lukas birthday comes up (I can’t believe he is now 1 year old!) and I finally come up with a plan of how its going to work. I found a few baby friendly recipes to combine (sugar free of course!) for the cake, which I was very pleased with in the end. I worked out where we were going to do this messy act (in the sitting room on the floor covered with the blanket). I chose an outfit (very important!), although I did not put too much thought in to that as it just had to be something simple. I also read a few tips on how to do such a photo shoot, they all suggested make it relaxing (not rushed) and make sure the baby is in good mood (fed and napped). This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake The result? Not quite what I expected! I failed on napping Lukas well that day, so I had to bake and decorate the cake while he was awake. I was rushed and definitely not relaxed. I finished the cake very late and was worried about the lighting (oh those early autumn evenings!). As I have mentioned in other photography post in the past, when there is poor light you need to compromise with a slower shutter speed which means I had to hold camera steady to avoid blur. But try telling a one year old to stay still, so I ended up with many blurry pics (which is ok I guess as it captures the movement). On top of everything Lukas did not destroy the cake, but picked out the decorations and sampled them. If you are interested, here is a video that Joni took during photoshoot.This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cake This is how I took photographs while baby "smashed" the cakeSo my advice if you want to take cake smash photos is to first relax, and pick a day that is completely activity free. Pre-make the cake perhaps? Take picture after babies first nap or something. And most importantly, enjoy!

Rasa xoxo

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