Friday, 15 February 2013

Low fat rum and raisin millionaire shortbread

This is the only biscuit based sweet in Harry Eastwood's low fat baking book. I've adapted the recipe from the usual millionaire shortbread to adding one of my favourite flavour combinations, rum and raisin. As per usual with this low fat baking book, the recipe takes a lot longer to make. Instead of the shortbread style base, this recipe uses low fat digestives which helps keep the calories low. I will definitely will make this again especially if I'm trying to shift a few pounds.
Here is how my low fat rum and raisin millionaire shortbread turned out:
Chocolate shortbread

I first started by placing the digestive biscuits in the food processor and pulsed with butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Biscuits for base

I also added some low fat cookies as I ran out of digestives, but it still turned out fine.
Butter and biscuits about to be blitzed
Once the biscuit was finely blended I placed in a baking dish.
Biscuits in tin
I then got on with the filling and heated the condensed milk for around 7 minutes and once cooked. I added a handful of raisins and 2 tablespoons of white rum.
Caramel making (need practise)
I then poured this over the biscuit base and left to set.
Once set, I added the melted chocolate over the top and left to set.
Chocolate squillionnaire

Ingredients for chocolate caramel squillionaire adapted from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache.
Serves 12 - 372 calories and 18.7g per serving.
397g condensed milk
100g unsalted butter
3tbsp golden syrup
300g digestive biscuits
150g milk or dark chocolate
3 tablespoon of raisins
3 tablespoon of white rum

You will need a 22cm-square x 5 cm- deep brownie tin, a food processor, or a rolling pin and a heavy duty plastic bag.

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with a baking paper.
2) Crush the biscuits. You can blitz the digestives in the bowl of the food processor until you have reached a consistency like sand. If you plan on doing this with a plastic bag and a rolling pin. Crumbs are not good here; we are after sand.
3) Heat the condensed milk in a pan, stirring constantly for around for 7 minutes. If the condensed milk start to burn, lower the heat or turn of the heat.
4) Melt the butter and golden syrup in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, and add to the condensed milk.
5) Tip the biscuit-base mixture into the prepared tin and press down on the palm of your hand, so that it is evenly distributed and quite well packed. Prick it with a fork a few times to let the air whilst it is setting and crisping in the oven. Place in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Once the biscuit base is cooked, take it out of the oven and set it aside.
6) Add the raisins and rum to the condensed milk and pour over the biscuit based.
7) Place it in the fridge for around an hour or two until set.
8) Whilst the base and filling are cooling, melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water until it is smooth and runny. Pour it over the caramel to make the third layer.
9) Set the cake in the fridge for another 20 minutes until cold.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Low fat coffee and walnut cake.

I really am enjoying baking from my Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache book. Finally, there is a low fat baking book where the results actually taste nice. Although the methods can be a bit fiddly and you will never quite get a completely rich cake as there is a lack of butter, it is worth it as the cakes are almost guilt free. I decided on making one of my all time favourite cakes, coffee and walnut cake. Instead of the usual butter required in this cake, the cake uses finely grated carrots which adds moisture.
Here is how my low fat coffee and walnut cake turned out:
Low fat coffee and walnut cake

As it was Christmas I couldn't help decorating this cake with some Christmas decorations.
Low fat coffee and walnut cake

I first started by processing self-raising flour and walnuts in a food processor until combined. I was unsure why the recipe required this as most coffee and walnut cakes, have roughly chopped walnut pieces, not turning into powder. I can only imagine this was required as there was no butter or oil to "lift" the cake (it worked well though!)
Walnut flour mixture

Walnut flour mixture blended

I then whisked eggs and sugar until they become three times original size, this took around 5 minutes.
Eggs and sugar 

I then finely grated 250 g of carrots and stirred this into the mixture.
Grated carrots

grated carrots in-cooperated

I used 125ml of coffee (made with using 1 tablespoon of coffee) instead of the suggested coffee essence and in-cooperated this into the mixture.

Coffee for cake

coffee in cooperated in mixture

I divided the mixture into two baking tins and baked for around 30 minutes and then left to cool.
Mixture in tins

Meanwhile I made the icing, I whisked the butter, and 100g icing sugar, and 4tbsp of coffee (made with one teaspoon of coffee and three tablespoons of water). I combined with a wooden spoon, then placed in the fridge to firm up.
Once the cakes were cooled i spread the icing in the middle of the cake, and the top of the cake.
A slice of this cake comes in at around 400 calories per slice, which may seem a lot but full fat coffee and walnut cakes have twice the amount of calories. I'm a big fan of this book, as it is possible to have your  cake and eat it, and although the cakes might not be overly rich, and buttery, when cake is what you need, you can eat cake and not feel guilty :-).

Recipe for low fat coffee and walnut cake.

Serves 12
200g self raising flour
120g walnuts
3 medium eggs
160 light muscovado sugar
250g scrubbed, topped, tailed and very finely grated carrot
1 tsp baking powder
125ml coffee

For the icing
125g butter (I use margarine)
250g icing sugar
4 tbsp coffee

You will need
two 18cm - diameter x 5cm deep - loose bottomed tins
a food processor,

1) Preheat the oven to 180 C/350F/ gas mark 4. Line the bases of the tins with baking parchment and the sides of the tins with a little vegetable oil.
2) Place the flour and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and blitz them together until they are well mixed. The walnuts will never quite turn to dust, but they will get really small and make the flour look a bit like wholemeal flour.
3) In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes with an electric whisk, until they are cappuccino coloured and tripled in volume.
4) Add the grated carrot and beat again until in-cooperated. Add the flour and ground-walnut mixture, as well as the baking powder and salt. Beat until combined. Finally, add the coffee and mix until all the ingredients  are well introduced and the mixture us evenly covered.
5) Divide the mixture evenly into the prepared tins, and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes exactly. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack whilst you make the icing.
6) To make the icing, whisk the butter with an electric whisk until softened and fluffy. Add 100g of the icing sugar and whisk to a paste. Add the coffee as well as the remaining icing sugar.
7) Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes before filling the middle and icing the top of the cold cake. Finish the cake off by placing walnuts or whatever decoration you like.

I am entering my low fat coffee and walnut cake to Calendar Cakes monthly baking challenge, this month the theme is healthier treats. Calendar Cakes is founded by Dolly Bakes and lauralovescakes.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Low fat coconut cake

I have recently dusted of Harry Eastwood's Red velvet and Chocolate Heartache cookbook in an attempt to lose another stone before my graduation in January. Having had success with the chocolate beetroot brownies, stem ginger syrup cake (which uses butternut squash), and low fat carrot cake within the book, I thought I would be brave and attempt to bake one of my favourite cakes of all time, coconut cake. Now in the last four weeks I have made a three layered coconut cake and coconut and lime cupcakes, both full fat and delicious, so was a bit weary on whether a coconut cake using finely grated courgette would work. Well........... of course it worked, Harry Eastwood's book is a best seller and you can't taste the courgettes at all. It was a really nice and moist and will be another recipe which I will bake again and again. Here is how my low fat coconut cake turned out.
Coconut cake

A slice of coconut cake:
Slice of coconut cake

I first started by ignoring the first instruction of blitzing the dessicated coconut in the food processor (but I strongly advise that you do this as the coconut was quite chewy) and whisked the eggs and sugar together.
Egg and sugar mixture

I then in cooperated the dry ingredients and used a hand held mixer to combine.
Ingredients in-cooperated. 
Following some reviews on Amazon on this book, I grated the courgette last and combined this to the mixture, as it has been suggested that the grated courgette can be "limp".
Grated courgette

I divided the cake mixture into two separate cake tins and baked for 45 minutes.
Cakes pre bake

Cakes baked

Once cool I spread strawberry jam on the first layer and placed the second layer on top.
Jam layer

Then I mixed the icing sugar and coconut rum to make a runny paste, then poured all over the cake.

Ingredients (serves 10)
200g dessicated coconut
3 medium free-range eggs
180g caster sugar
250g topped, tailed and very finely grated courgette
1 tbsp vanilla extract
120 g white rice flour
2tsp baking powder

For the filling
Strawberry or raspberry jam

For the icing
2tsbp coconut milk (I used coconut rum)
100g icing sugar

You will need two 18cm x - diameter x 5cm deep loose bottomed tins
A food processor

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Lightly brush the tins with a little vegetable oil. Line the base and sides with baking parchment, then grease them all over.
2) Blitz the desiccated coconut in the food processor for 2 minutes. This will shred it slightly finer than it already is, which in turn help life the texture of the cake. Set it aside on a plate.
3) Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy (takes around 4 minutes). Beat in the grated courgette and the vanilla extract.
4) Finally, add the coconut, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and beat to combine. Pour the mixture evenly into the two tins and place them in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes.
5) Remove the cakes from the oven and unmould them. Cool them on a wire rack for 15 minutes whilst you make the icing.
6) To make the icing, pour the coconut milk or coconut rum into the icing sugar and combine them into a loose paste with the help of a spoon.
7) When cool enough to handle, spread the jam over one cake and sandwich the two together. Pour the icing over so that it covers the top and drips lazily down the sides. Sprinkle the coconut shaving over the  top before serving.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Low fat and (almost) gluten free carrot cake.

I'm doing well keeping off my weight loss, well done me! I want to keep it that way, but there is a slight problem, the majority of my baking books are laden with recipes that call for butter, which from my own calculations is 600 calories per 100 grams. So, a 220g Victoria sponge would have over 1200 calories just from butter, let alone any other ingredient! That's a lot of calories in a cake, we all know that, but before Christmas I would like to lose a few pounds or two so the majority of my future bakes will be from Harry Eastwood Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache baking book. Now Harry has done a wonderful thing here, using vegetables such as carrot, courgettes and beetroots and use them instead of calorific butter and oil.
The recipes in the book are laid out according to colour and cakes are called unusual names and a story given to each cake e.g "chocolate heartache cake or coffee and walnut courage cake" but if you get past the faffiness then this book is a sure winner. It does take some getting used to, and I had to buy a food processor to ensure I could blend my beetroot for chocolate beetroot brownies properly but everything is low fat.
The cake and recipe I share with you is carrot cake, which Harry describes as "the great aunt of all the cakes in this book" t uses no oil and instead the ingredients are: rice flour, pecans, orange juice, carrots, sultanas, brown sugar and so you can have a couple of slices without feeling too guilty.
For the gluten free element the cake stipulates to 150g white rice flour. I have used all rice flour before in one of the LA cupcakes from this book but was unconvinced as it left a nutty texture that was not . So now when I bake from this book I use 1/4 rice flour and the rest self raising flour.
Here is how my low fat carrot cake turned out, which is only 350 calories per slice:
Carrot cake
I think considering it is low fat the cake turned out and tasted really well.

Slice of carrot cake

I did not follow the method for cake step-by-step as I was quite pushed for time. I first started by soaking the sultanas with orange juice..... but thought I'd grater the carrots as well (I never had the patience to grater finely).
sultanas, orange juice and carrots

I then decided to omit the suggested pecans, which would have to be toasted in the oven and instead used walnuts.

I then whisked the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes and then added the grated carrots and sultanas.
Egg and sugar mixture
Finally, I mixed the rice and self-raising flour, ground almonds, cinnamon and baking powder together and combined with the other ingredients using a whisk.
Ground almond mixture
Carrot cake mixture
I divided the mixture between two tins and left to cook for 1 hour.
Carrot cakes in tins
After an hour I left the mixture to cool and made the butter icing.
Carrot cakes baked

The recipe suggests the use of a cream-cheese frosting, but as I had no cream cheese I replaced the cream cheese with butter and made a butter icing (my favourite).
For 350 calories a slice, this recipe will be made time and time again.

Ingredients - my adaptations are in red.
1 orange (I used orange juice)
150g sultans
80g pecans, roughly chopped (I used walnuts)
3 medium eggs
160g light muscovado sugar
280g scrubbed and finely grated carrot
150g white rice flour (I used 45 g white rice flour, 105g self-raising flour)
80g ground almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing
35g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
200g icing sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
35g cream cheese

You will need
two 18cm - diameter x 5cm- deep - loose bottomed tins.

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3 and grease the bottom and sides of the tin. Cut two circles of baking parchment and the same size as the base of tins and use them to line the bases. Grease again.
2) Finely grate the zest of the orange on to a plate and set it aside, then squeeze the orange and soak the sultans in the juice whilst you make up the rest of the recipe.
3) Toast the pecans in the oven whilst you get the rest of the ingredients ready. They shouldn't have time to burn, but set a timer for 10 minutes. Or just use whatever nuts you fancy a la moi and don't bother to toast in the oven!
4) Whisk the eggs and sugar for a full 5 minutes until pale coffee coloured. Add the grated and orange zest before beating again briefly to incorporate.
5) Finally, mix the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt together with the help of the whisk untill all the ingredients are combined.
6) Add the sultanas, along with any orange juice left in the bowl and toasted pecans. Mix with a spatula until they are dotted around.
7) Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Place them in the middle of the oven for 1 hour.
8) Remove the cakes from the oven, unmould, turn out  on to wire rack and leave to cool completely, otherwise the icing will run off.
9) To make the cream-cheese icing, whisk the butter for a minute until light and softened. Next, add 100g of the icing sugar to the butter and whisk to a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add the lime juice and whisk again to a paste
10) When you reach this stage, add the cream cheese and the zest of the lime, as well as the remaining icing sugar. Beat by hand with a wooden spoon to combine. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before icing the cold cake.

I am entering this to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior. This is a blogging challenge that uses no transfat, perservatives and food dyes Take a look at the fabulous fresh food entries. Yum x


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Stem ginger syrup cake

I first saw this cake from another blogger, What Laura Made, who stated this cake was low calorie!!. After asking her whereI could get my hands on a low fat, low calorie baking book, I was informed Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and chocolate heartache book uses vegetables instead of butter in cakes, thus making the cakes low fat. I promptly ordered Harry Eastwood's book and pencilled several recipes for m to try. I first attempted to make the chocolate and beetroot brownies, but still could taste the beetroot as this was not blended properly. My second attempt at making chocolate and beetroot brownies worked, but I broke my hand held blender in the process. In the end I decided to buy a compact food processor to assist me in making cakes from this book, as many recipes state "blend" or "finely grate" etc.
Before I share my version of stem ginger syrup cake, I think I will share the version from What Laura Made (as this did not contain pink glitter......),  What laura's made cake version as Harry Eastwood's book contains no pictures of this recipe.
Here is how my cake turned out:

This cake has only 219 calories and 6.0 grams of fat, so there is no such thing as guilt!

Recipe for stem ginger cake. I have put in brackets where I have made amendments)
3 medium eggs
120g demerara sugar
250g, peeled and very finely grated butternut squash 
30g piece raw ginger, peeled and very finely grated (I used 3 tablespoons of powdered ginger)
150g white rice flour (I used 75g rice flour and 75g self-raising  flour, as rice flour can sometimes give a "nutty texture")
1tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4tbsp stem ginger syrup
100g stem ginger, very finely sliced.

For the top
3 tbsp stem ginger syrup
100g icing sugar
3 knobs stem ginger, very finely sliced.

1) Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/ gas mark 4. Line the base of the tin with baking parchment, then lightly brush all over the parchment and the sides of the tin with vegetable oil.
2) Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and four times their original volume (roughly 5 minutes on full blast). Whisk in the grated butternut squash and raw ginger until all mixed in. Next, add the flour, ground almonds, ground ginger, baking powder and salt and beat again until well incorporated.
3) Use a spatula to fold in the ginger syrup and the slices of stem ginger so that they are dotted around the place. Pour the mixture into the tin and place it in the oven for 30 minutes.
4) Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before un-moulding onto a wire rack. Peel the parchment from the bottom and flip the cake the right way up again to avoid making lines on the top.
5) Make the icing by mixing together the stem ginger syrup with the sieved icing sugar. Dot the slices of stem ginger over the surface of the cake and pour the icing over before serving.


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