Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Banana and Salted Caramel Spiced Cupcakes - Gluten Free

I have a guilty confession to make... i am a cupcake addict. Baking, eating, creating, planning and learning, i love it all. So of course watching numerous episodes per week of Cupcakes Wars is only mandatory. This is my new recipe inspired from many many episodes of cupcakes wars. I never would have thought of making a spiced cream cheese frosting to accompany a banana cupcake. The base is a fluffy banana cupcake, filled with a salted caramel and topped with a spiced cream cheese frosting. The cinnamon in the frosting balances out the sweetness of the caramel in the middle. 
I roasted a few walnuts in pure maple syrup and used this as the garnish. 
I love this banana cupcake recipe (can also be used to make a cake) as it is perfectly moist and fluffy every time. ENJOY 
1 cup Caster Sugar
100g butter, softened
3 eggs
3 bananas, mashed with a fork
½ cup low fat milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
150ml plain yoghurt
1 1/2 cups plain flour
½ ground almonds
3 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 170°C conventional or 150ÂșC fan-forced.
Prepare 2x24 mini cupcake trays with liners.
Beat softened butter till light and creamy. Add the caster sugar and vanilla and beat till well combined. Add eggs on at a time, beating well after each addition until pale and creamy. 
Add the mashed bananas, the yoghurt, milk (dissolve baking soda into the milk), flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Mix until just combined and scoop into the cupcake liners. 
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cupcakes are cooked (lightly touch the top and f it springs back when you lift your finger off, they are done!!). Cool for 5 mins and remove from the tins.
Caramel sauce:
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons (90g) salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces*
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream*
1 teaspoon salt

Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.
Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Core out the middle of the cupcakes and fill with the cooled caramel. This is easiest done when in a piping bag. 

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:
Cream cheese frosting:
250g Cream Cheese
100g Butter
3 1/2 cup Icing Sugar 
1 T Milk (may need more or less depending on desired consistency)
2 tsp Vanilla Essence or Vanilla paste
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Method: Beat cream cheese and butter on high until light and fluffy. Add all other frosting ingredients together until you have a smooth frosting consistency. Pipe or spread between cake layer and on top and EAT <3 
Top cupcakes with frosting. 
Optional: Roast walnuts in a good swirl of maple syrup at 200'c for approx 8mins. Cool and use to top the cupcakes

Monday, 22 September 2014

Paleo Date Squares with Coconut - Gluten free and Dairy Free

I have never been a fan of coconut flour.... it is usually extremely dry to cook with and sucks all the moisture out of baking, i don't understand how people love it. I tried it over and over again in large and small amount in my favourite recipes but it just never worked. However, i came across this recipe and decided to give it another go... this is my version on Paleo inspired date and coconut squares. On the other hand, coconut oil is my new found love. I use it in everything, i love it. I was delighted when this recipe contained coconut oil - another thing i can cook with it! 
It is a light coconut and almond based base layer topped with a generous layer of smooth date goodness and finishes off with a small crumble of topping. It really is a special slice, would never guess its sugar free!!
This slice is Gluten free and Dairy Free. Vegan and contains no refined sugar.

  • 500g pitted dates
  • The juice and zest of 1 orange (about ½ cup)
  • The juice of 1 lime (2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup all purpose gluten free flour 
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup coconut oil, cold
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the date mixture in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the liquid has fully evaporated and you’re left with a creamy, mushy and smooth, heavenly date mixture. Set aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, combine all the ingredients for the top and bottom layers.
  3. Process on pulse until the mixture is well combined, no more. Refrigerate this crisp mixture for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degress (350F).
  5. Press a little more than half the mixture at the bottom of an 8" x 8" pan that’s been lined with parchment paper. Place that in the oven and blind bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust starts to turn slightly golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven, spread the date mixture as evenly as you can over the bottom layer then loosely crumble the rest of the crisp mixture right on top.
  7. Bake in a 350F oven for 22-25 minutes, until the top gets nice and golden.
  8. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.