Easter Birthday Cake

This is a week+ late, but I wanted to share this.  I so enjoyed making it!  The purpose was for a family celebration of Mum’s birthday which fell on Easter Sunday.  One cake for two celebrations.

The batter was very runny but the cake worked out perfectly.

P1070035P1070037P1070040The icing was made in the food processor – a doddle!P1070042Iced, with Maltesers plopped on top!P1070043P1070045This was a Maltesers Cake from Nigella’s cookery book ‘Feast’.  The secret ingredient – in the cake batter and in the icing – was…Horlicks!  Nigella promises the flavour is subtle, but I was worried it might overpower, depending on whether one actually likes Horlicks.

I cannot bear the smell of the stuff, so have never tasted the drink.  Many years ago as a child, after Church each Sunday evening we would go visit an Aunt and I used to prepare a hot Horlicks drink for her at each visit.  Bleugh…!  A colleague who I worked with some years ago used to suck/chew on Horlicks tablets(sort of sweets) – vile!  But she loved them.

It smells – and I presume tastes – of the malted part of Maltesers.  Maltesers are great!  Horlicks is not.  Anyway, I digress…

I bravely taste-tested the icing – the Horlicks flavour was indeed subtle, and I added some extra cocoa powder for a slightly stronger chocolate flavour.

The overall result was sticky but light.  The sponge cake is fairly low-fat which makes it moist.  I wouldn’t have attempted a slice without one of my beloved cake forks.  It most certainly went down well with the family  🙂

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And it was so easy to make – it’s renewed my enthusiasm for cooking and baking, to get some variety rather than preparing the same dishes repeatedly.

Do you have a favourite cake?

Delightful Dessert

There was a meeting of paths in my life, recently:  An avocado which had been in the fridge for too long, and needed help to prevent waste;  and a dessert idea I have often seen on various websites.

[Apologies for the blur]

Avocado?  Dessert?  Can this be right?  Has the girl lost the plot…?  Nope!

I present to you….Chocolate Avocado Pudding.  This is how I made it, but see notes below.

Scoop out an avocado into a bowl.

Mash it with a fork to make it as smooth as possible.  Add a drizzle of Agave syrup, and mash that in.

Add 1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder and mix that in well.  The mixture will now be rather thick and stodgy – I mixed in 3 tablespoons of milk to keep it smooth and light.  Taste, and adjust for sweetness and consistency – add a little more milk if you wish.

Serve in a bowl and enjoy!

This dessert was a chocolate heaven!  There is no taste of avocado – it just provides a fresh, green underlying taste.  The cocoa gives a wonderful bitter chocolate kick, with a touch of sweetness from the sweetener.  And the texture is melty, smooth and luxurious.  I topped with grated coconut – to give a Bounty bar!  But this would be great with chopped nuts, maybe some raisins, or a mix of toasted seeds.

It feels indulgent and luxurious to dig in to, but it’s satisfying to know that this pudd is full of minerals and vitamins to nourish the body.  People can so easily become hung up on the calorie count of avocados due to their oil-content.  But what about all the other wonderful nutrients they provide?  Do they not matter?  It surely is healthier to indulge in a dessert like this, than a chocolate bar with a poor nutrition profile and possibly a higher calorie count than this dessert.  Food is more than just calories and fat.  Food can provide an abundance of healthful nutrition, and those minerals and vitamins and other nutrients all work together to provide balance and support maximum absorption by the body.  Nature is fantastic!

Avocado:  Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, fibre, complete protein(contains all essential amino acids needed for the body to produce protein), vitamins A/C/E/K as well as the B vitamins, and all manner of minerals; anti-inflammatory to the body, low GI and heart/cholesterol friendly

Cocoa powder:  Fibre, protein, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, some B vitamins; and low GI

I had a lazy day when I made this dessert – in fact I made it for a snack, rather than eating something processed(made a nice change!).  For a guaranteed, really smooth result make it in a food processor.  Use any sweetener you wish, but it needs to be smooth for the smooth result.  Using caster sugar, for example, will provide a gritty result.  Okay I guess, but just not smooth.  Powder or liquid sweeteners should be fine.  Add as much or as little as you wish, depending on your desired sweetness.  Also add as much or as little milk as you wish, depending on the consistency you want.  The addition of the cocoa makes it quite thick and gunky – which is okay if you wish – but I like the dessert a little lighter and more ‘whippy’.  Cocoa powder gives the intense, dark chocolate flavour.  Drinking chocolate might work?  But the chocolate flavour would be much milder, and drinking chocolate also has sugar added to it which would affect the sweetness factor.  All of this discussion makes it seem so complicated – it’s not!  This is a simple and easy dessert to make.

I need some more topping ideas, please?

Smoothie

Here are some pictures of another Chocolate for Breakfast which I’ve had over the past few days, along with the recipe.  It’s very simple!

Not so beautiful but definitely colourful…

It’s not mango and it’s not peaches…the orange ‘stuff’ is canned pumpkin!

Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie(2 Servings)

2 heaped tbsp Cocoa Powder

Some canned Pumpkin – I used half-a-can

2 heaped tbsp Greek Yogurt

3 tbsp Maple Syrup

Top up with milk – approx half-a-pint

Whizz the ingredients together with a hand blender until thoroughly mixed, with no lumps of Cocoa Powder.  Serve and enjoy!

The flavour of the pumpkin is not evident!  Do not fear!  The strong cocoa flavour masks it, and gives a dark chocolate taste, which I love.  The maple syrup gives some sweetness, but not too much.  I needed a bit more sweetener in this recipe than when I used a banana – the banana imparts some sweetness, whereas the pumpkin not so much.

It’s so thick that the straw stands upright in it!

This breakfast is great.  There’s a fibre-fix, with calcium and vitamins and minerals from the cocoa powder and pumpkin.  It’s very satisfying, and keeps my hunger at bay until lunch-time.  It feels like something ‘naughty’ for breakfast, which can only be good.  It can be made the night before, and stored in the fridge for a couple days.

You could serve this in a bowl to eat with a spoon, and have a sprinkling of granola on top for some crunch.  I thought about having it with some coconut shreds on top – yum!  Just like a Bounty bar!

This is just another way of supporting my goal of increasing my daily fruit & veg intake.

Do you have any quirky ways of eating extra fruit & veg?