Guilt-free Chocolate cake (with beetroot!)


You can’t beat a good chocolate cake and this is definitely a good chocolate cake! It’s totally vegan and totally yummy! This was inspired by a delicious cake my friend Vicky made so I thought I’d have a go at veganising and gluten-freeing it! 🙂

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You will need:

250g cooked Beetroot

250g unrefined Raw sugar (coconut palm sugar etc)

190g self-raising gluten free Flour

60g raw Cacao powder

1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

3 tbsp Chia seeds soaked in 9 tbsp water

180 ml Almond oil (or other non flavoured oil)

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 tsp Chocolate extract (or extra Vanilla if you don’t have this)

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Preheat the oven to 170 C. Lightly grease a 23 cm diameter cake tine.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cacoa and bicarbonate of soda. Then stir in the sugar.  Pop the cooked beetroot in to a food processor and blend until smooth. Place this in to a sieve over another bowl and push out any juices with the back of a spoon. You don’t need the juice for this recipe but don’t bin it – you can throw it in to a smoothie 🙂

Put the beetroot pulp back in to the processor and then turn on the motor and add the soaked chia seeds, vanilla and chocolate extract (if using) and then slowly pour in the oil.

Mix until well blended. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the beetroot mixture. Gently fold together with a large spoon. Pour the mixture in to the cake tin and place in the oven for 35 -40 mins (or until a skewer comes out clean). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 – 10 mins in the tin, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

Then enjoy with a cup of tea (and maybe a cat)! 🙂

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Frangipane Mince Pie tarts


I know Christmas is over, but I never tire of mince meat! I did actually create these before the big day but didn’t get a chance to post the recipe until now. This was created on request from a special friend for her discerning hubby, and they seemed to go down well … in his words “this is the best thing you’ve ever baked”…! 🙂

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So if you have some leftover mince meat then give this a go! These include a layer of marzipan which is optional but I think adds a fab extra almondy loveliness! Make your own (recipe here) or buy a block of plain marzipan – but do buy the good stuff (Neideregger is a great brand).

The frangipane does contain egg but I’ve also posted an egg-free version below too! 🙂

If you fancy making up a batch of mince meat specially then the recipe is here

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For the pastry you will need:

4 oz Buckwheat flour

2 oz ground Almonds

5 tbsp Agave nectar

Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the frangipane you will need (this will be enough for 4 small tarts – 5 – 6cm diameter):

65g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

100g Ground almonds

1 Egg

50 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer)

1/8 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Flaked almonds (for decoration)

125g Marzipan (optional)

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out as thin as you can. Line mini tart cases (or one large flan/tart tin) with the pastry (you will probably have spare pastry left over). Brush with a little almond oil and then place in the oven to blind bake. They only need a few minutes – just until they start to brown very slightly at the edges.

Meanwhile make the frangipane. Pop the sugar and almond oil in a bowl and mix well together. Add the egg and extracts and mix again. Gently fold in the ground almonds until well mixed.

Once the pastry cases are starting to brown a little remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then spread a thin layer of mince meat (enough to cover the base). Thinly slice the marzipan and layer over the top.

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Then cover with a generous layer of the frangipane.Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top and a dusting of cinnamon. Then place in the oven for 15 – 20 mins or until the frangipane is cooked and a lovely golden brown.

Delicious served with custard or soya yoghurt at any time of year! 🙂

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Egg free frangipane recipe:

6 tbsp Coconut Oil (don’t melt it)
2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar / Unrefined Raw Sugar
1 and 1/4 cup Ground Almonds
2 tbsp Cornflour
pinch salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2/3 cup Almond Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Put the coconut oil, sugar, ground almonds, cornflour, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined and all crumbly. Slowly add the almond milk, vanilla extract and almond extract whilst still pulsing the food processor until it forms a thick batter. This frangipane takes a bit more baking than the one above so keep an eye on the tarts and just remove when done.

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