Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Orange & Date Dessert Cake

Winter time is the time for slow cooked meals, meat melting in your mouth, soups and crusty bread, deliciously warm and sweet desserts slathered in warm custard finished off with a warming pot of tea.

That's winter in a nut shell for me.... food wise anyway! It's also the season for pumpkins and citrus fruits which may sound like a strange combination but go together beautifully in this cake I created this past week.

The pumpkin isn't the real star in this cake... it's the orange. The pumpkin is just needed for it's "moistness" and "colour" properties and is forgotten otherwise (Don't tell the pumpkin that)... BUT it's still important all the same.
Back to our dear friend orange - yes the orange is the STAR attraction in this delicious dessert cake! It cuts through the sweetness of the dates with it's acidity and the zestiness compliments the spices nicely.

How I come up with this recipe was due to my constant need to "healthify" things lately. You see our family is on a sort of a "health" type kick - trying to cook and bake things that will be better for us (and our waist lines) There are members who are trying to lose weight and I didn't want to thwart there hard work with a calorie laden dessert.

The original recipe for this dessert called for something like 2 cups of sugar and 250g of butter and that was just in the cake... there was a sweet sauce poured over it as well which included cream and sugar! To "healthifiy" it I swapped the sugar for honey and dates, the butter for pureed pumpkin and used wholemeal and spelt flour over white flour to improve the GI rating. Now I am not against baking the aforementioned dessert with it's sugar and butter because it probably tastes absolutely devine it just didn't suit what I needed to make at the time!

Orange & Date Dessert Cake


2 Cups Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
½ Cup Wholemeal Spelt Flour
1 Tsp Bicarb Soda
½ Tsp Mixed Spice
1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
½ Cup Walnuts
2 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds, For topping


½ Cup Honey, Warmed
½ Cup Fresh Dates, Chopped Finely
¾ Cup Pureed Pumpkin
Juice of 2 Oranges
Zest of 2 Oranges
½ Cup Milk
2 x Eggs, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp Apricot Jam, (or Marmalade)


1.    Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a 20cm cake pan with baking paper.
2.    In a bowl sift flours, Bicarb soda, spices, walnuts and zest, set aside.
3.    In a saucepan add chopped dates and orange juice to the pan and simmer for 5 min until reduced and dates are soft and mushy. Add pumpkin puree, milk and eggs and combine.
4.    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix to combine thoroughly.
5.    Place mixture into prepared cake tin and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, cook for 35-45 min until golden brown.
6.    Cool cake for 15-20 min, warm apricot jam in microwave for 10-15 sec until runny. Using a pastry brush, brush mixture over the top of the cake.

Serve with warm homemade or bought custard!

Simply Tea Recommendation:

If your wanting to pair this cake with a good cup of tea for a simply delicious afternoon tea I would recommend serving our Ceylon Orange Pekoe:

The leaves are long, wirey, and beautiful  giving an exquisite taste, almost oaky, with body and strength. 

Order Today....

You may think by it's name that it has and "orange" flavour but they use this term Oraange Pekoe to describe a basic, medium-grade black tea consisting of many whole tea leaves of a specific size. This tea is a "good" black tea, simple in flavour yet robust and tasteful!

Visit Us At: The Simply Tea Shop ~ "For The Love Of Tea" ~

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Choc Berry Macaroon Muffin

I had a stressful day last week and I knew I needed to bake and create something, anything even on that particular day!. Baking for me is a great reliever of stress because it's in the measuring of ingredients, sifting, weighing, beating and beater licking that I find some relief and a sense of rightness (if that's a word) again!

Even if I can't solve the problems of the day or make them go away at least I have a window of time that I can concentrate on making something delicious, that looks great, its healthy and gives me a sense of purpose - even for 45 minutes!

I was initally inspired to create something "chocolate" that could also be quite healthy in terms of a cake anyway - from Healthy Pursuits.... Rich Chocolate Quinoa Cake. I didn't have a lot of the ingredients that were called for in this recipe so I decided to make my own "chocolate" muffin recipe that was white sugar and flour free, dairy free and delicious! I started off with a chocolate & berry theme which I thought would work well together.

My next inspiration was coconut and use it as a macaroon topping on the muffin to give it a nice crunchy topping. So born was the Choc Berry Macaroon Muffin. I know I seem to do an awful lot of muffins and cupcakes - but any of these recipes could be easily turned into a cake or slice by simply placing them in a different sized cake tin/slice tin and cooking for a longer period of time.

Choc Berry Macaroon Muffin


2 Cups Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
¼ Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Bicarb Soda

½ Cup Milk
3 Egg, (1 egg white separated from these)
½ Cup Golden Syrup (or Honey), warmed until runny
1tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Cup Mixed Frozen Berries
1 Tbsp Oil
½ Cup Apple Puree
*Optional: ¼ Cup 70% Dark Chocolate, Chopped

Macaroon Topping:
½ - ¾ Cups Desiccated Coconut
1 Egg White (From Above), Lightly Beaten
2 Tbsp Golden Syrup or Honey, warmed until runny


1.    Preheat oven to 175 Degrees. Line muffin pan with muffin papers.
2.    In a bowl add 2 whole eggs and left over yolk and beat until frothy. (About 2 min), add warmed golden syrup and beat for another 2 min.
3.    Add sifted dry ingredients and mix briefly and add remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined.
4.    Fold berries into the mixture and spoon into muffin papers.
5.    Combine macaroon ingredients in a bowl (Start with ½ cup of coconut and add more if required for good fluffy consistency) Spoon over the top of the muffins and bake in oven for 15-20 min or until skewer comes our clean.

What do you do when you've had a stressful day to relax?

Visit Us At: The Simply Tea Shop ~ "For The Love Of Tea" ~
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Upside Down Apple Cake....... Which is good for you!

I love a good crunchy, sweet apple especially as part of my daily ritual feeding my 3 O'clock munchies. A perfect apple to me must have that loud "crunch", juicy enough to drip off your chin and sweet enough to take away the sugar cravings..... my whole afternoon is a disaster if I bite into one of those floury, dry and rotten apples that are around! I am most disappointed and dissatisfied! My favourite types are the good ole Red Delicious, Pink Ladies, Gala's & Fuji's.... ! Anyway i probably don't need to bore you with the merits of a good apple!

I was able to pick some of these gorgeous Red Delicious apples up at our local farmer's markets this weekend and knew exactly what i wanted to do with them. It was forecasted to be a wet & miserable weekend... which turned out to be half true and wanted to make something warming, spicy and good for you. I was inspired by Healthful Pursuits "Upside Down Apple Pinwheel Cake" and knew i wanted to try something similar with these delightfully delicious apples.

Upside Down Spicy Apple Cake

Free from: Refined White Sugar, White Flour, Dairy

This delicous cake is free from dairy, refined white sugar, white flour and you can change it up and make it gluten free if you wish. It's surprisingly moist, syrupy, sweet  - but not sickly and perfect for an afternoon snack and best of all it is surprisingly "healthy" compared to other Upside Down Cakes recipes which call for a massive 2 1/4 Cups of Sugar and 300g of Butter! I know which one I would rather eat. The protein powder beefs up the cake adding some great health benefits but not comprimising flavour, physllium husks add fibre and the apples are the crowning glory full of goodness! 



2 Medium Red Delicious Apples, cored, sliced – Do not peel!
2 Tbsp Sunflower or Rice Bran Oil
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
½ Tsp Cinnamon
¼ Tsp Ground Ginger

¾ Cup Wholemeal SR Flour
¼ Cup Chickpea Flour
¼ Cup Palm Sugar (Or Brown Sugar)
1 Tbsp Psyllium Husks (or Flaxseed)
2 Tbsp Protein Powder (I used pea protein isolate – this is optional)
¾ tsp Baking powder
½ Tsp Cinnamon, ground
¼ Tsp Ginger, ground
¼ Tsp Mixed Spice
1/8 Tsp Nutmeg
1/8 Tsp Salt

¼ - ½ Cup Non-Dairy Milk* See note
1 Large Egg
½ Cup Apple Puree (Bottles is fine)
1 Tbsp Sunflower or Rice Bran Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
*Start with ¼ cup of Milk and slowly work your way up until a smooth and silk batter is formed. It shouldn’t be stiff.


1.    Preheat the oven to 175 Degrees and line the bottom of a spring form cake pan.
2.    Sprinkle the brown sugar and spices evenly over the bottom of the pan and drizzle oil over the top.
3.    Place one of the sliced apples in a fan shape over the spice and sugar mixture on the bottom of the pan. Set remaining apple aside.
4.    In a bowl add dry ingredients, set aside. In a separate bowl add wet ingredients and combine and add to dry ingredients stirring until mixed through.
5.    Add half of the mixture over the top of the fanned apples. Place remaining sliced apple in a fan shape over the mixture and place remaining cake batter on the apples. Smooth the top.
6.    Bake for 40-45 Min, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
7.    Allow to cool for 10-15 min before removing from pan. Invert onto a serving plate.

This cake would make a great dessert served with custard and or ice cream.

Again I implore you to not look at the ingredients list and go...ewww no thanks! Be bold and try something new and know that what your whipping up your body and your families bodies will benefit from. Obviously it shouldn't be eaten regularly but as a treat!

I know my husband was a little unsure of what I was whipping up when I made this cake and was even more disturbed when I started listing off the ingredients in it. But I think I surprised him with how good it really tasted..... (or so he says :-) )

So be daring and give it a go!

Visit Us At: The Simply Tea Shop ~ "For The Love Of Tea" ~
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 10, 2011

Guilt Free Carrot Cake

I have found a new blog LOVE.... Healthful Pursuits! You must go over and visit and say hi.

I found this blog by pure chance when I was on the hunt for some healthy baking alternatives. Ever since reading Emily Rose's cook book - "Have your cake" I was inspired to try and bake more thoughtfully creating things without added processed sugars, white flours, saturated fats etc. This blog is packed full of heaps of health tips, product information and HEAPS of great healthy recipes.
The author, Leanne Vogel is a Holistic Nutritionist, yogi, athlete, recipe creator, and substitution nerd. She loves remaking recipes so that people with allergies and dietary restrictions can enjoy them and in doing so, she makes the meals better for your health. She have a passion for preparing food, sharing it with friends, and best of all, educating others on the role it plays in their life. 
She believes that Food is such a key aspect of our lives, something that took her years of food deprivation and sickness to figure out. She is here to share with everyone that our relationship with food CAN be healthy, fun, and exciting.
Leanne started Healthful Pursuit to connect and learn from people,  share her story, insight, and possibly inspire those looking to make healthful changes in their lives.

When reading the her recipes don't be put off by the ingredients such as Chia seeds, Chickpea flour, Quiona flakes or Coconut Oil. These ingredients can be easily found in your health food shop or even in the "health food" section in your local supermarket. Don't be afraid to try something new and different - you may be pleasantly surprised.

So with Leanna's recipe inspirations I came up with a Guilt Free Carrot Cake... no butter, no processed sugar and no white flour! Enjoy.

P.s. Please excuse the poor photography in these photo's - it was late at night and I didn't really have a lot to work with at the time! :-)

Guilt Free Carrot Cake
with Date & Almond Icing.

This recipe was inspired from Leanne's Pumpkin Raspberry Buckwheat Bake.


1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
1 Large Egg
½ Cup Pumpkin Puree
3 Tbsp Raw Honey or Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Large grated carrot

1 Cup Atta Flour (or Wholemeal Flour)
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ginger
½ tsp All Spice
¼ Cup Walnuts, Chopped

Date & Almond Icing:
1 Cup Almonds
8 Fresh Dates
¼ - 1/3 Cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used rice milk)
2 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Tbsp Raw Honey or Maple Syrup

1.    Preheat oven to 175 degrees and grease a 20cm cake tin, set aside.
2.    In a bowl whisk wet ingredients. Once incorporated mix in dry ingredients. Stir well until combined.
3.    Pour mixture into greased cake tin and smooth out.
4.    Bake for 35-45 min until a skewer comes out clean.
5.    Allow to cool.
6.    For the icing place all ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth paste is formed. You may need more or less rice milk to get the desired consistency.

Visit Us At: The Simply Tea Shop ~ "For The Love Of Tea" ~
Posted by Picasa


Related Posts with Thumbnails