Georgia O’Keeffe’s chocolate brownies

These really are the best brownies I have ever tasted because they are not too sweet and are really chocolatey and nutty. My friends all ask me to bake them for them after they saw the shots on Instagram and started dribbling at the sight of them, and they really are dribble-worthy. The story about these amazing chocolate brownies is as follows. This recipe was found amongst the painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s collection of recipes in her cookbooks. She was a passionate cook and this recipe was hand written by her on Waldorf Astoria note paper. She was was staying there on April 30th 1963 to collect an award for the creative arts from Brandeis University, so they think she must have asked the hotel for the recipe because she loved them so much. O’Keeffe was a passionate foodie and collected recipes wherever she went, and a bit like me she dipped into healthy food and dipped into more indulgent food depending on her whim. Try them, they are beyond.

Recipe

Makes 8 large brownies.

Ingredients:
1 cup of butter
114g of dark chocolate (I use Green and Blacks)
1 cup of plain flour (I use spelt)
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 cups of finely chopped walnuts (I smash them with a rolling pin while they are still in the bag)
2 eggs (or egg replacer for 2 eggs from health food store)
2/3 cup of sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

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rhubarb cake with spelt

Rhubarb cake is really pretty and really delicious and I have made it really healthy.  It’s created so you can also do a vegan version with egg replacer from health stores or on-line. It has the great flavours of orange zest and honey in it so it tastes amazing and it’s made with healthier spelt flour. It’s also perfect if you follow an egg or dairy free diet. I love rhubarb and think it should have a renaissance if it’s not already.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
1 cup of very, very finely diced rhubarb
1 stick of rhubarb (preferably as pink as possible) cut in half lengthwise and cut into 2″ pieces
½ cup of golden caster sugar
¼ cup of runny honey
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
zest of one orange
¾ cup of warm coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
1 egg and one egg yolk or egg replacer for one and a half eggs
1 ½ cups of plain flour (I used white spelt)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Icing sugar to dust (optional)

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chewy pavlova meringue

This nude pavlova is perfect at Easter and can be made in advance and frozen unfilled. It’s also great served at a dinner party or instead of a birthday cake. It’s gluten and dairy free. That said, a good meringue is crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, and made with great ingredients. I got this recipe from the BBC good food website and its easy and delicious and works perfectly. You can layer whatever fillings you want on top and I can guarantee it will be popular when you serve it. It looks and tastes magnificent. Just don’t fill it too far ahead of time as it might get soggy.

Recipe

Serves 6.

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of cornflour
1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Baking parchment

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jamaica ginger cake

Jamaica ginger cake is very nostalgic for me as it was a very occasional treat when I was growing up and I loved everything about it. I loved that it was a dark, dense, slightly sticky on the outside sponge cake made with lots of black treacle and fragrant with spices. They still make it today but I wanted to do a dairy free version that could also be vegan so I have created this recipe around the original recipe but omitted the butter and milk. It has a great texture as well as a great taste, and you don’t miss the dairy at all. The cake gets nicer over the next few days after baking and gets slightly sticky on the outside as the flavours mature. I tested it out on my friend’s teenage kids and they really loved it even though they had never had Jamaican ginger cake before. It’s dairy free heaven…but shhh you don’t have to tell anyone it is because they won’t notice.

Recipe

Serves 8.

Ingredients:
225g self raising flour or spelt flour with three teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1/2 cup of light olive oil
115g of black treacle
115g of golden syrup
115g of soft dark brown sugar
275 ml of full fat almond milk or a milk alternative that you prefer
1 medium egg or egg replacer for 1 egg (available in health stores)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
A little icing sugar for dusting (optional)
A bundt tin lightly oiled or sprayed with cake release spray

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vegan chocolate fudge cake

Really easy to make chocolate cake, it’s all done in a food processor. It’s super chocolatey for a real dairy-free egg-free chocolate fix. I promise you can’t taste the beetroot, but it’s the beetroot that makes it fudgey. I made this cake for a friend who hasn’t eaten cake for years because she can’t eat eggs and she really loved it and ate nearly all of it! In the picture I’ve made two cakes (double everything) and sandwiched them together with the icing, then iced it all and decorated it with frozen raspberries. It’s very rich and chocolatey so it’s lovely served with more berries and of course, vanilla ice cream.

Recipe

Serves 8.

Ingredients:
Cake
100 ml light olive oil
175 g of pre-cooked beetroot in natural juices, drained
50 g unsweetened cocoa powder
200 g self-raising flour
175 g soft brown sugar
200 g soya yogurt or full fat almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

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Chocolate icing
150 g dark chocolate
3 tablespoons of maple syrup or runny honey
3 tablespoons very strong black coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freeze-dried raspberry pieces for decoration (optional)

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pear cake

This pear cake has a lot of pear in it, so it’s healthier and moist. If you read this blog you will already know I love pears, I love both the taste and the texture and this cake is made with whole meal spelt flour and olive oil so it’s dairy free.
I think the thing about most cakes, is they can be lacking in the flavour department but this one is spicy and has the subtle fragrance that comes from the pears. It’s perfect as a birthday cake or as a tea time treat or simply just because you fancy some cake.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
2 ripe pears
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of mild olive oil
1/3 cup of runny honey
1 egg and one egg yolks or egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (from health food store)
1 1/2 cups of whole meal spelt flour
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Plus icing sugar for dusting
And a lemon if making icing
A deep 7 inch cake tin sprayed with cake release spray or lightly greased with cooking oil

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honey cake

Honey cake is, of course, a cake sweetened with honey, it’s deliciously packed with spices and it’s dairy free. It’s a tradition to serve it on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the hopes of ensuring a sweet New Year. The first time I tried it I really loved it..it’s totally perfect with coffee or after dinner. My version is a healthier version using lots of grated apples, wholemeal spelt flour and olive oil… and I promise you it’s a big hit. I sometimes make this as a birthday cake too and it’s perfect at Christmas with all its amazing flavours.

Recipe

Serves about 10.

Ingredients:
½ cup of golden caster sugar or white sugar
¼ cup of dark brown sugar
¾ cup of runny honey
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cup of mild olive oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
4 eating apples grated
3 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of allspice
a pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
¼ teaspoons of salt
a little icing sugar for decoration
9 inch bundt tin

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