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Monday 25 February 2013

Sugar Free Cake

You read that correctly. Sugar free cake.

(And, no, I can't believe I'm writing this either.)

So as not to look like a cheap nightclub DJ who takes requests (though if I were, I would because I am all about you, people, all about you and your pleasure), I won't point out that Ladyy Aradhya hit me up on Facebook the other day asking me for a healthy vegan cake and that's exactly what I'm giving you.

I won't do that. OK?

This is all quite interesting for me actually. People wanting healthy cake, I mean. I have a colleague who has recently given up sugar for one reason or another (she's a vegetarian rather than a vegan, but hey, let's not point fingers), and I thought this was quite the most awful thing. Not because I think people should be eating bucketloads of sugar (though I know it may seem like I do), but because I love to cook, and I know my colleague (let's call her Flora, which isn't her real name, but I like to protect my sources) does as well. Cutting sugar out means that lots of foods are suddenly off the menu, because sugar lurks where you'd least expect to find it. Have a look at some labels. It's actually quite shocking where the stuff shows up.

But let's call a spade a spade: I thought no sugar meant no cake and that made me want to cry.

Turns out I was wrong. Flora brought some banana cake into work, and honest to whoever it is you think I should be honest to, it was delicious. Sweet and moist, with a little hint of spice, I couldn't believe it didn't contain any added sugar.

I demanded the recipe, and since it is not in my nature to leave well alone, have fiddled with it to make something different, removing the butter, milk, nuts and egg and adding cocoa, orange, oil and different dried fruits.

Now. Listen to me for a moment. Do you think you can do that? For here is the thing: all that is required to make a moist, rich and sugar free cake is a few pantry staples, very ripe bananas and slightly below average intelligence. Of course, those with superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, will find it to be advantageous.

Behold the recipe. And thanks Flora for the inspiration.

Sugar Free Cake

You will need:

100g plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas
zest and juice of 1 orange
80g dried fruit (I used vanilla scented prunes I found in Paris. Just saying.)

  1. This is so simple you could even get a toddler to do it. Pre heat the oven to 180°C (maybe don't let the toddler do that bit) and oil a 6" cake tin. I think that's around 18cm, at a guess. This amount of batter would also make 6 cupcakes and they would need around 18 minutes in the oven.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (the flour, cocoa, baking powder and cinnamon) together in a bowl. In another bowl, mash the bananas and add everything else. Stir well and fold in the flour mixture.
  3. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out without any crumbs. 
  4. Invert on a wire rack and cool.

Note: If you aren't vegan, you can replace the orange juice and zest with one extra tsp vanilla and add 3 tbsp milk, along with one egg. I find with banana cakes that egg isn't always necessary. However, I would still use oil and not butter to keep the cake soft.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Comic Relief and Emma Bridgewater

 Morning latte, which means poor lighting (it being the morning),  which means I know you won't mind the poor photo!

I suck at keeping promises.

I promised myself that I wouldn't do very many 'review' type posts. I find them alienating and annoying when I read them on other blogs. I despise the whole 'I got sent this for free and I think you should pay for it' angle. I also find it quite lazy on the part of the blogger (I accept that there are exceptions though, and I have done some reviews that I stand 100% behind, such as these).

Mind you, I also promised myself that I'd stop eating Peanut M&M's for breakfast and that I wouldn't show nudie photos of a certain someone to certain other people, but well... I'm a vow-breaker.

So today, I am doing a review post, but it's for a FANTASTIC cause, a great brand (that I happen to have coveted since time immemorial) and which I do think is of something worth shelling out for.

Is it not adorable that my mug was inspected by Bev? I wonder who she is. 

You must all be familiar with Emma Bridgewater. Her ceramics are everywhere. If someone you didn't know very well whispered into your ear, all quiet and mysteriously, 'Polka dotted cream coloured teapot and mug', you'd think, immediately after walking quickly away from them, terrified, of Emma's designs. They're simple and gorgeous. The ultimate in upmarket, department store chic.

Well, she's teamed up with Comic Relief and designed a range of kitchen accessories to raise money for the 2013 campaign. And they are awesome. You can get them exclusively at HomeSense and TK Maxx, and the best bit is that loads of the money goes to Comic Relief. How nice not to have to buy a silly red nose to support such a great cause?


 The classic Emma Bridgewater mug, with a twist. 
£9.99 with at least £4 going to Comic Relief.


I ♥ these tea towels. Esp. the tarts one.
£4.99 with at least £2 going to Comic Relief.

Apparently this bag is for shopping, but to me it screams 'Knitting Bag'. 
You must decide for yourself. Good luck with that.
£9.99, with at least £4 going to Comic Relief.

I find that buying nice mugs and tea towels is something I rarely do for myself. So this campaign is fantastic as it's a perfect way to buy yourself a present (surely the best kind) and do something worthwhile. That's what's known in the industry as a turn out for the books.
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