Orange and Lavender Upside Down Cake

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This is my favourite kind of cake. The simple, sticky and jammy kind, with caramelised golden oranges. As the oranges bake in a bitter pool of caramel, they produce the best toffee-like edges. The cake itself has the dreamiest texture, and is more than just a canvas for the caramelised oranges, as the beautiful scent of lavender wafts into the air as you cut into it.

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Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp butter
  2. 3 tbsp brown sugar
  3. 2 tsp dried lavender
  4. 100 g olive oil
  5. 50 g Greek yogurt
  6. 2 oranges
  7. zest of 1 orange
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 140 g sugar
  10. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  11. 120 g flour
  12. 1 tsp baking powder
  13. ¼ tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Generously grease  a sheet cake pan with butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
  3. Thinly slice the oranges, remove any seeds, and place them in a single layer at the bottom of the cake pan. You can remove the pith, if you don’t like the bitter taste. Set  the pan aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and Greek yogurt.
  5. Add the dried lavender to the sugar and rub together with your hands until the sugar smells of lavender.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, lavender sugar and vanilla extract and orange zest until the mixture is light and almost double in volume.
  7. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Gently fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add the oil and yogurt to the batter and stir until smooth.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Cool the cake for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a plate to cool completely.
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Parsnip and Ginger Cake with Raspberry Cream

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This beautifully festive winter cake is full of earthy notes that are comforting in every little way. The parsnips bring with them a surprising, yet wonderful sweetness that perfectly compliments the spicy ginger. The olive oil gives the cake a hint of savouriness, that ensures that the cake is not overwhelmingly sweet. And the tart swirls of raspberries are my favourite part. It’s a cake full of warmth and coziness – and I think we all need a little bit of that this winter.

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Ingredients:

For the parsnip cake:

  1. 175 ml olive oil
  2. 180 g flour
  3. ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  5. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. ¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  7. 100 g caster sugar
  8. 50 g brown sugar
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 175 g parsnips, grated
  11. a pinch of salt

For the raspberry cream:

  1. 25 g mascarpone
  2. 50 ml heavy cream
  3. 1 teaspoon honey
  4. 50 g raspberries

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 8″ x 10 ” rectangular baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl add the sugars and eggs. Whisk for about a minute until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the olive oil and mix well. Fold in the grated parsnip and ginger.
  4. Then fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare your raspberry cream. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream and mascarpone until soft peaks form. Add in the honey and half of the raspberries. Do not over-mix or else the entire cream will turn pink.
  7. Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the cream on top. Decorate the top with the remaining raspberries.

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Carrot Cake with Pomegranate Glaze

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In my opinion, nothing beats a good carrot cake on a chilly winter day. And this one is better than good, it’s incredible. Bursting with earthy flavours of carrot and ginger, this cake is the perfect companion for a warm cup of coffee. The combination of brown sugar and honey adds a warm, caramel flavour, that perfectly compliments those spicy undertones from the cinnamon. The crushed walnut bits add subtle hints of bitterness. But, my favourite thing about this cake has to be the luscious pomegranate glaze, that I would happily eat by the spoonful on any given day.

Ingredients:

For the carrot cake:

  1. ⅓ cup coconut oil
  2. ⅓ cup brown sugar
  3. ⅓ cup honey
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tablespoon milk
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1 cup flour
  9. ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  10. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  11. ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1 cup carrot (grated)
  13. ¼ cup walnuts (crushed)
  14. ¼ cup raisins
  15. ¼ cup yogurt
  16. ¼ teaspoon salt

For the pomegranate glaze:

  1. 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice (freshly squeezed)
  2. ¼ cup powdered sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 6 or 7 inch cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix the coconut oil, egg, milk, yogurt, brown sugar, honey and vanilla extract.
  3. Sieve the flour and baking powder. Add in the ground cardamon, ginger and cinnamon and salt. Whisk together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently fold until combined.
  5. Fold in the carrots. Then, fold in the walnuts and raisins.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Let the cake cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pomegranate glaze.
  8. Whisk together the pomegranate juice and powdered sugar until smooth.
  9. Pour onto cooled cake.

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Spiced Chocolate Crème Caramel

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This fall I have been loving everything warm and spicy. Everything that brings comfort – that warm, fuzzy feeling. And there’s something about this spiced chocolate crème caramel that makes it absolutely perfect for October’s stormy days. A dark just-set custard, fragranced with soft undertones of cardamom and cinnamon, served in a pool of bitter caramel. It’s a dessert that is rich and indulgent, yet mellow and light.

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the caramel:

  1. 65 g sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon cold water
  3. ⅔ tablespoon hot water

For the chocolate custard:

  1. 1½ cups whole milk
  2. 1½ tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, split
  4. 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  5. 2 black pepper pods, crushed
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 60 g dark chocolate
  8. 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Coat the insides of 4 ramekins with cooking oil.
  2. To make the caramel, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and cold water over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, swirl the pan occasionally until the caramel has reached a dark golden colour.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Pour the caramel equally into the 4 ramekins. Do this quickly as the caramel will start to set. In case the caramel has hardened, heat it again for a few seconds until it reaches a pouring consistency. Set the ramekins aside.
  5. In a larger saucepan, add the milk, vanilla bean + seeds, cardamom pods, black pepper pods and cinnamon stick. Let the milk come to a light boil and remove from the heat.
  6. Add in the chopped chocolate and whisk together.
  7. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.
  8. Once cool, sieve the mixture.
  9. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate milk and mix until combined. If there is any foam on top, use a spoon to skim it.
  10. In a deep baking tray, place the ramekins and then pour in the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking tray. Cooking these in a bath ensures even cooking.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes. A good way of testing if they are done is to giggle the ramekins. The centre should be almost set, not fully.
  12. Let the ramekins cool completely and then set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  13. To un-mould, dip the ramekins in hot water for a few seconds. Then run a knife along the edge of the custard and flip onto a plate.

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Chocolate-dipped Orange Biscuits

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These soft, chewy orange cookies are probably one of my favourite cookies ever. But they’re not just orange cookies. They’re orange cookies dipped in bitter dark chocolate and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Lightly fragranced with fresh oranges, they’re bright and sunshiny. But it’s the luscious, dark, bitter chocolate that makes this cookie for me. It’s the kind of cookie that’ll take to straight to cookie heaven, and that’s a place I’m sure we all want to be in.

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Makes about 15 medium sized cookies

Ingredients:

  1. 70 g butter
  2. 30 g sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon honey
  4. 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  5. 1 teaspoon orange zest
  6. 80 g flour
  7. 20 g almond meal
  8. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  9. 100 g dark chocolate
  10. ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  11. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar, honey and orange juice.
  3. Sift in the flour, almond meal and baking soda. If the mixture looks too wet, add a little more flour. It should come together to form a slightly wet dough.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 equal sized balls. Then, flatten by pressing each ball of dough between your palms.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are dry to touch but not hard. Let the cookies cool at room temperature and then place in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. This helps the chocolate glaze stay on the cookies.
  6. In a saucepan, over low heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Leave to cool.
  7. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Add in the coconut oil and stir.
  8. Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Immediately sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  9. Place the cookies in the fridge to help the chocolate set.

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream / No Churn

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Lately, I have been loving turning all my favourite desserts into ice creams. This ice cream has all the flavours of a key lime pie, in frozen form, and it’s kind of the best thing ever. The ice cream, soft and velvety, with it’s refreshing aromatic tartness, is perfection. A creamy, tart, citrusy heaven. The digestive biscuits bring with them a toasty crunch, which pairs extremely well with the zesty, creamy notes. It’s the kind of ice cream you can’t have just one scoop of. It’s the kind of ice cream you want to eat straight out of the tub, and finish all in one sitting.

Ingredients:

For the ice cream base:

  1. cup whipping cream
  2. ½ cups milk
  3. ½ cup sugar
  4. 1 lime (juice + zest)
  5. 2-3 lime leaves, crushed
  6. 1 teaspoon cornflour

For the biscuit layer:

  1. ½ cup digestive biscuits, crushed
  2. 2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the lime curd:

  1. 1 egg
  2. 1 lime (juice + zest)
  3. 25 g butter
  4. 30 g sugar

Method:

    1. Add the milk, sugar and lime leaves into a saucepan and place over medium-low heat.
    2. Add the cornflour to a small bowl and add in a tablespoon of the milk. Mix and set aside.
    3. Cook the milk and sugar, stirring continuously for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced to about a cup.
    4. Add in the cornflour mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of condensed milk.
    5. Take it off the heat, remove the lime leaves. Let it come to room temperature and then place in the fridge or freezer to cool.
    6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    7. In another bowl, mix the crushed digestive biscuits and melted butter until well incorporated.
    8. Spread the biscuit mixture on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    9. For the lime curd, place the sugar, egg and lime juice in a heat-proof bowl and set over a pan with simmering water.
    10. Whisk continuously as you cook the mixture, until it has thickened.
    11. Take off the heat and add cubes of the butter and lime zest, whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.
    12. Add the whipping cream to a large bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in the cold milk and sugar mixture, and the lime zest and juice.

    13. In an air-tight container, first pour a layer of the whipped cream mixture, followed by a layer of the lime curd and then a layer of the biscuits. Repeat this process, finish with a layer of biscuits. Freeze the ice cream for at least 6 hours or overnight.

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Apple Pie

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Apple pie. These words are enough to bring a smile to my face.  With a perfectly flaky crust and an interior of soft, cinnamon-spiced apples, this pie is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. In my opinion, eating this pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is kind of mandatory. Okay, it’s not mandatory, but I highlyyy recommend it. It beautifully cuts through all the richness by providing a cool, subtle compliment to the buttery filling.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  1. 200 g flour
  2. 25 g sugar
  3. 100 g butter
  4. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
  1. 500 g apples (cored and diced)
  2. 75 g sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Use a 9 inch loose bottom pie tin for this recipe.
  2. Sieve the flour, baking powder and sugar.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs. Leave in some pea-sized bits of butter (this results in a flakier crust).
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water and bring together. Do not knead.
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Put the diced apples into a saucepan and cover with the sugar. Add in the cinnamon. Cook till the apples are soft. Set aside to cool.
  7. Roll out the dough into two 1/8″ circles. Make one bigger than the other.
  8. Place the bigger one in the pie tin.
  9. Coat the bottom with some egg white and add in the apple filling.
  10. Take the smaller circle and cut out strips. Use these to create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Brush the top with some egg white.
  11. Bake at 180°C for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.

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