Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

With everyone doing ‘veganary’ and the usual ‘new year new me’ this recipe perhaps is a little out of place right now. However I’m a very big believer in the 80:20 rule – so a slice of cake is by no means out of the question. In fact, a life without cake is not a life I’d want to lead. Especially when said cake is this one, complete with peanut butter frosting…

 photo Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting 5_zps8vxkg5c4.jpgSpeaking of the frosting, this stuff is divine. Like, squeeze the icing bag straight into my mouth yummy. (I definitely didn’t do that). It’s creamy, sweet with a salty kick, and has just a hint of the cloyiness that peanut butter gives. It’s also super easy to make, no more hassle than a standard buttercream. And it’s just YUM.

The cake is also pretty good. Based on a super simple recipe I shared ages ago (that I won’t link – the pictures are horrific) it’s rich, almost brownie-like, and chocolately without being heavy. The perfect partner for the frosting.

 photo Bake Box Monthly Subscription1_zpsugydvttx.jpg photo Bake Box Monthly Subscription2_zpseicsqrim.jpg photo Bake Box Monthly Subscription4_zpswtvihmra.jpgSharing this cake (which almost knocks my favourite peanut butter cake off top spot!) also coincides with a rather exciting time – the launch of bi-monthly Bake Boxes*. I’ve never been one for subscription boxes, turns out I was super-excited to open this one. For £14.99 per box you get at least £40 worth of bits and bobs; definitely worth it in my opinion. I loved the style of the box, though it’s debatable how much the theme of ‘Spots and Stripes’ was reflected in all the items. Even so I reckon a subscription would be the perfect gift for a keen baker. I’m very tempted to carry on with mine!

Fun fact: this post was meant to be a bundt cake made with the item in the box. This was an epic fail due to the cake sticking dramatically – so bundt cake recipe still to come!

 photo Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting 1_zps7unbxpb5.jpgIngredients

  • 3 eggs
  • Self-raising flour
  • Cocoa powder
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • For the frosting: 225g smooth peanut butter, 110g butter, 225g icing sugar, splash of milk

For the cake, the weight of the ingredients depend on the weight of the eggs. Simply weigh the eggs in their shells, then weigh out that amount of flour, butter and sugar. Pop around 75g of the flour back and replace with cocoa powder, and spoon back a tablespoon of sugar.

Start the cake by creaming your butter and sugar together. I always find it easier to beat the butter a little first, and of course doing it by hand means calories burnt = more cake later. Beat in the eggs one by one, before sifting in the flour and cocoa. Thin out with a little milk, then smooth into greased/lined sandwich tins and bake at 170C for 15-20 minutes.

Once the cake is completely cool, make the frosting. Simply beat the peanut butter and butter together until creamy, then gradually add the icing sugar, beating inbetween each addition. Add a splash of milk to make it a spreadable consistency, then use to sandwich the cakes together and smooth over the top.

Or get your fiancé to show off his piping skills…

 photo Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting 4_zpsamiisl7s.jpgThis is pretty much my perfect cake – easy and quick to make, no fancy ingredients. And there’s no better combination that chocolate and peanut butter! In fact this would make the perfect Valentine’s bake…

Are you a fan of the chocolate-peanut butter combo? Would you be interested in a baking subscription box?

Recipes: Banana Cinnamon Swirls

One of the things I love most in the world is a good cinnamon swirl. Crispy on the outside, slightly soggy on the inside, spicy with cinnamon and almost tooth-wincingly sweet.

 photo 2015-10-01 20.08.49_zps2sotdi3z.jpgWhen Banana Moon Clothing asked me to create a banana recipe, I was originally going to go along the lines of banana and nutella. A failsafe combo which always works. Then I looked in my cupboards, realised I had very little of any baking bits and bobs and rethought my plan. Then a Bake-Off night craving hit and I threw some bits together. Leftover pastry, butter, sugar, cinnamon and banana. 20 minutes later I was tucking into cinnamon swirls and YUM.

The banana adds a sweetness which isn’t sickly at all, and ensures the little hint of sogginess that is essential for me in cinnamon rolls. And best of all? They used up that annoying strip of pastry I always seem to end up with after making pies…

 photo 2015-10-01 20.08.42_zps1f88qoc9.jpgIngredients (made 5 mini swirls – that is a small plate, promise!)

  • Pastry (I used one long strip)
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinamon
  • 1/2 a banana, really thinly sliced

Spread the pastry with butter, then sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon. Arrange the sliced bananas on top, then roll up tightly (seal with a little butter if it keeps unrolling). Slice to 1cm thick, then bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C until crisp and golden.

Perfect with a cup of tea, or as a quick but fancy brunch idea! And to use up the rest of the banana? Have a look for ideas here!

Are you a fan of cinnamon swirls? How would you use up leftover bananas?

Recipe: Homemade Popcorn, Multiple Ways

Since I started on my health kick of little changes I’ve developed a huge love of popcorn. Making it at home results in a low calorie snack that is incredibly filling, and can be adjusted to suit all kinds of cravings.

 photo Homemade Popcorn 4_zpsj6pugvuk.jpgI’ve salted it to replace crisps at lunchtime. I’ve added cinnamon to create a morning snack for lazy weekends. I’ve grated over dark chocolate for those evenings where only chocolate will do. And of course, I’ve covered it in toffee and baked until crispy – because that’s the only acceptable variation for a film night.

Popping your own corn is so ridiculously easy to do at home. I thought it would be hard, but honestly – it’s easier than cooking pasta!

 photo Homemade Popcorn 1_zps2pcnztir.jpgIngredients for Basic Popcorn

  • A small knob of butter
  • Popping corn – enough to cover the base of the pan you are using
  • A pan with a lid – this is very important!

First up, melt your butter over a low heat. Tip in the popping corn, place the lid on the pan, swirl to cover in butter and turn the heat to high.

Wait! Once it has started popping you can turn the heat down a little, but I like to keep it high. Once the popping slows back down, turn the heat off BUT leave the lid on for a few more moments.

After about two minutes, tip into a large bowl and add your flavourings, remembering to remove any unpopped kernels. If you are planning to make and store your popcorn, best to spread it flat to let it cool as this will keep it as crisp as possible.

Now, the lid is important because when it pops, the corn jumps all over the place. Covered in hot oil. Trust me, you don’t want it flying in your face. It’s for the same reason you let everything cool slightly before removing the lid, as there may be still some popping action!
 photo Homemade Popcorn 2_zps7ypjqorc.jpg

Flavouring Options

I quite like used salted butter for cooking, then adding a little sugar – the sweet salty combo is pretty awesome.

Adding cinnamon alongside sugar also works really well.

Grating over dark chocolate is always a good bet – though messy to eat. Cinnamon as well takes it to a whole other level of yumminess.

Spicy Cajun. Simply add some cajun spices (or whatever other spices you fancy) along with a little salt. Stir through and enjoy instead of crisps.

Toffee. My absolute favourite, but by far the worst for me. Either make your own toffee, or cheat like I normally do – add a tablespoon of toffee sauce per person to the popcorn, stir to coat and then tip onto a lined baking tray. Bake at 160C for 30 minutes, stirring every 10, until golden and crispy. Turn the oven off and cool inside so the popcorn stays crisp.

Peanut Butter. Yep – follow the instructions for the toffee popcorn, but add a teaspoon or so of peanut butter along with the toffee. Stir in some peanuts, bake and there you have it!

 photo Homemade Popcorn 3_zpsdjvrtmxc.jpgThe flavour combinations for homemade popcorn are pretty much endless – so go with whatever you love!

Are you a fan of popcorn? Ever made your own? What topping would you go for?

Recipe: “Vegan” White Chocolate Pancakes with Raw Raspberry Jam

Or, how many popular food trends can I get into one blog post. Because yep, these are vegan. The ‘jam’ is raw. The ‘jam’ uses chia seeds. The only reason vegan is in inverted commas here is due to the fact that I used normal, albeit lactose free, milk. And didn’t check my chocolate label. They work fabulously with dairy-free milk, and I’m sure if you are actually fussed about the vegan-ness you can grab some suitable chocolate.

 photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 5_zpsgnnidwcy.jpgFor the budgeters out there, Sainsbury’s 35p Basics white chocolate works perfectly well. And coconut oil doesn’t have to be expensive either, I’ve finally tracked some some branded by KTC, its stocked in the World Foods section of big supermarkets and is a purse-friendly £2.55 for a BIG jar. Far cheaper than anywhere else I’ve tried. Chia seeds are expensive anywhere but Whole Foods, where a decent size packet costs under £2. So with this and the rapsberries its not the cheapest of brunches. But it’s damn yummy…

The raw raspberry jam is a bit of a relevation for me. I’m not a huge lover of regular jams, finding them sticky, sweet and not tart enough. This is slightly more of a coulis texture, but it is satisfyingly sharp, a hint of sweetness and almost pure raspberry flavour. Best of all there’s no faffing with making it, and it keeps in the fridge for a few days.

The white chocolate pancakes are sweet, slightly chocolatey and surprisingly light considering their ingredients list. They do, however, burn easily whilst taking a while to cook. Not one to make when lacking patience (ahem…). These were inspiring by a recipe from Miel Cafe, but I’ve altered them to cut down the sugar slightly. Despite this mine are still super sweet!

 photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 6_zpsu68m9ahm.jpg photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 1_zpsivao6hcm.jpgIngredients (to serve two generously)

  • For the jam – 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, two tablespoons of water, a small handful of raspberries
  • For the pancakes – 80g white chocolate, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 100g of plain flour and up 90ml milk (dairy, soya, almond etc), a teeny tiny pinch of salt

Start by making the jam. Soak the chia seeds in the water for at least ten minutes. Then tip into a blender (I used a mini food chopper) with the raspberries and blitz until it’s your preferred consistency. Transfer to a jar and pop in the fridge.

For the pancakes, melt 50g of the white chocolate in a bowl, along with the coconut oil. Chop the rest of the chocolate into small chunks. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the chocolatey-oil and mix well. Loosen with milk, a little at a time, until you have a pancake-like mixture. It shouldn’t be as thin as a crepe mixture, you’re looking for something similar to an American pancake mix.

Heat some oil on a low heat, and add a little pancake mix. Sprinkle over a few chocolate chunks immediately, then leave until the underside is golden. Flip (careful – they are a little more fragile that normal pancakes), cook until the other side matches, then keep warm until all the mix is used. Serve your vegan white chocolate pancakes with the raw raspberry jam and any spare chocolate chunks.

 photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 4_zpsyptl3dnl.jpg photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 3_zps1hzwkasq.jpgThey might be a bit cliche now, but I could totally get on the vegan bandwagon if it involved dishes like this! I’m not a huge advocate of the raw trend in general (I do like my food cooked!), but I can see the benefit in things like this. The raw jam is just so much fresher!

What’s your favourite foodie ‘trend’? Are you a pancake fan?

 

 

Recipe: Healthy Pancakes

It’s no secret that I love a good plate of pancakes. My favourite are crepe-style, thin, crispy and buttery, made sharp with lemon and sweetened just a little with sugar. I also don’t have the patience to make thin pancakes, so my go-to is an fluffy American style stack. I also love adding blueberries.

Superfood Pancakes 4 photo 2c9701f0-7c9c-4ea5-aff3-ca03771c17b6_zpsphdpjx16.jpgNow I can do this guilt free. A basic stack of these pancakes comes in at 250 calories (via My Fitness Pal) and they certainly don’t taste in any way ‘diet friendly’ – you could probably make them healthier by using a fry-light spray too, I had to use butter as I’m moving out sooner and didn’t have anything else!

Now, here I’ve added blueberries and after playing round with the recipe I’ve decided that if you add berries, add a tablespoon of oats too. This supports the mixture and just holds it a little better. Some recipes also add a little sugar but I’ve found that these are plenty sweet enough, even without a drizzle of honey. In fact I like to serve with a spoonful of natural yoghurt to balance things out a bit. However you serve them, these are an easy and healthy pancake recipe that will see off any cravings without leaving you in a carb-induced slump. Perfect!

 photo Superfood Pancakes 1_zpsvwjvaj6n.jpgIngredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • Optional: 1 handful of blueberries, 1 tbsp of oats

Mash up your banana as smooth as possible. I’ve always found that microwaving for around 30 seconds helps to get it as gooey as possible – this is especially useful if your banana isn’t extra ripe. Beat in the egg – and any additions.

Melt a slither of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add two tablespoons of the mixture and fry until golden brown on bottom. Flip carefully, cook the other side then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all the mix is used, and keep the pancakes small so they are easier to flip!

Superfood Pancakes 3 photo 09b6886d-4bbe-4d75-93bd-b2454fb0c6ab_zpsgrwzjggn.jpgServe. I like mine with honey and yoghurt, but forgoing blueberries and adding nutella is also a good option…

What’s your favourite pancake topping? Have you tried banana pancakes yet?

Recipe: Superfood Cereal Bars

The snack trend at the moment seems to be those energy balls, and quite frankly the idea makes me feel a bit squeamish. No idea why as I have no aversion to the ingredients by themselves – but they just don’t appeal. These, however, are right up my street.

Superfood Cereal Bars2 photo 5533fbcc-4d7d-4eae-9f25-c00286057ea7_zpsxcxfjivh.jpgChewy, slightly sweet, slightly salted, crunchy, little hints of fruit, and a bitter chocolate hit in some bites – the fact that they didn’t cook perfectly and weren’t ‘bars’ was forgiven when I tasted them. I wasn’t originally going to blog about them due to their failure of staying together (they worked well as granola!) but I enjoyed it so much I’ve tinkered with the amounts to give you the chance of making bars. Failing that, eat in chunks as big as you can manage. With a couple of napkins to catch the crumbs.

Sidenote: I apologise to the cleaners at work for the state of the carpet by my desk after eating these as an afternoon snack that week. Whoops.

Superfood Cereal Bars8 photo 92787096-a644-4870-a90f-94476fdc48be_zpsfiuduigc.jpgThese do contain some ‘trendy’ ingredients but would equally be fine without. Subtittute more dried cranberries (or any other fruit) for the goji berries. Swap in finely chopped dark chocolate for the cocoa nibs (I love these and really need to find a cheaper source!). Use decent nut butter if possible, but I happen to know this works with Sainsbury’s Basics too. Because when it’s a few days before payday spending 3x the amount on peanut butter hurts. The cheaper stuff isn’t horrific, it’s just slightly runny and not the best in terms of ingredients. Tastes good though.

Superfood Cereal Bars4 photo a18ca184-3a85-433f-9905-799a285f3d45_zpscmmhxkm4.jpgIngredients

  • 150g oats
  • 1 handful nuts/seeds – I went for flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and there’s some chopped hazelnuts in there too
  • Cocoa nibs, or dark chocolate
  • 1 handful of dried fruit – I used goji berries and dried cranberries as they are the only dried fruit I can stomach
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 100g honey – I’ve upped this in the recipe to help the bars hold together more

Superfood Cereal Bars1 photo 2f8eaae6-967b-4b77-94ab-37176954bd2d_zpsaufpsp9w.jpgSuperfood Cereal Bars3 photo 84eafcf4-dc0c-460a-8047-2e581839f2d6_zps7o6wgvkm.jpgAdd the coconut oil, peanut butter and honey to a pan and heat on a low heat until thoroughly melted and combined. It’s based on this recipe here. Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and stir – you want all the yummy bits to be evenly dispersed in the oats.

Superfood Cereal Bars6 photo 0e486142-f040-44a8-b79f-1339dc7ebfe0_zps0vrmihfp.jpgSuperfood Cereal Bars5 photo 256718c4-0d65-4066-8605-50e8027353b8_zpszxakzlsl.jpgPour in the liquid mixture and stir – it will look dry at first but keep going until it looks a bit gooey and everything is coated. Tip into a lined tray and press down well with a spoon. Bake at 170C for 25 minutes, score into portions immediately then leave to cool completely.

Superfood Cereal Bars7 photo bee7fc64-737a-4995-a71a-1fcbe5d01edf_zps60zejjp5.jpgI’ve enjoyed these as a 4pm snack when I feel my energy levels dropped – it’s when I’d usually head for a cup of tea, but I’ve found these keep me going far more. If only they made for a little more ladylike eating – though the upped honey ratio has definitely improved this!

Another sidenote – all being well I’ll be on a plane as you read this, off to sunny Italy. Posts are scheduled whilst I’m away, but there may be a lack of comment replying and email responses until a few days after I am back. Keep an eye on my Instagram for holiday pics!

Are you a fan of homemade cereal bars, or can you recommend any bought versions? I’ve never found any that are yummy but not full of sugar or artificial ingredients! 

Recipe: Coconut Flapjacks

After making some pretty delicious Peanut Butter Flapjacks a few weeks ago I’ve been craving more oat-y treats. Wanting to cut down on my usage of butter and having a few tubs of coconut oil in the cupboard meant that Coconut Flapjacks were born.

Or Bounty Oat Bars.

 photo IMG_2197_zps3kiu3x3x.jpgWhatever way you look at it, these are tasty. Chewy. Coconutty. A hit of chocolate. Crunch from cocoa nibs. Not the healthiest of things, but I find something bad in the middle of the afternoon stops me snacking for the rest of the day. And homemade naughtiness is definitely the way to go.

 photo IMG_2192_zpstmqpbfgg.jpgIngredients

  • 200g coconut oil
  • 200g honey (or golden syrup)
  • 150g sugar (dark brown is best, but ordinary granulated still works well)
  • 400g oats
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs (optional, but adds a good crunch)
  • A scattering of shaved coconut (again, option, but looks pretty…)
  • 50g milk chocolate

 photo IMG_2193_zpsmelzcazg.jpgPop the coconut oil, honey and sugar into a saucepan (measure it in the pan to reduce washing up), and heat on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. The mix won’t be completely incorporated. Stir through the oats until they are all sticky, and mix through the cocoa nibs.

 photo IMG_2195_zpswdvcupll.jpgTip into an 8″ lined tin, scatter with the coconut shavings, and press down hard with a spoon. Bake at 170C for 20 mins, or until golden brown. Score into pieces with a knife and allow to cool.

 photo IMG_2194_zpsk77rxzsf.jpgNow I have a pretty cool tip for drizzling chocolate, courtesy of my dad. Pop the squares of chocolate into a bag and tie tightly. Bring a saucepan of water up to a simmer, remove from the heat, and add the bag to the water. Keep a hold of it so it doesn’t touch the side of the pan (it will melt the plastic). Keep immersed until the chocolate has melted, then dry the bah, cut off a corner, and use as you would a piping bag. Drizzle the chocolate over the flapjacks, leave to set, then fully cut into pieces. Enjoy over the next few days.

 photo IMG_2198_zpsay7vk1us.jpgThese really are stunningly flavoured flapjacks. More interesting than traditional ones, yet far nicer than ones with added fruit. These are like a healthier bounty bar – and could be made healthier without the chocolate. But I’m not a saint…

Are you a fan of Bounty bars? Would you try this flapjack version?

Recipe: Creme Egg Brownies

You might have got the impression yesterday, but just to make it clear: I LOVE CREME EGGS.

 photo 2015-04-01 18.25.33_zpsw3wlkjys.jpgI’ve never been hugely tempted by creme egg brownies. They are fine on their own, and brownies are perfect as they are (they are my go-to bake if I’m honest). But this year I’m unimpressed with the lack of dairy milk in creme eggs, and found myself not really wanting to eat my stash. So creme egg brownies it is.

 photo 2015-04-01 18.24.54_zpstrbg3btk.jpgBeing on a diet, I did just my mayonnaise recipe, which tbh is a damn good brownie recipe. I made up the mix, baked for half the time, added in the creme eggs, and finished off baking. Pretty damn simple. And because the brownies were healthier ones, I added some mini eggs too. Because they are also one of my favourites. And I knew I wouldn’t need a whole bag so had an excuse to eat them.

These aren’t the most attractive of bakes, they are sickly sweet and best in small doses. But they cheer up a long afternoon, which is just what I needed this week – even a four day week seemed never-ending!

Ingredients for Creme Egg Brownies;

  • Use my mayonnaise brownie recipe – please don’t laugh at the photos!
  • 1 packet of mini creme eggs
  • 1 packet of mini eggs (you should have some left!)

 photo 2015-03-31 19.15.45_zpsdciwzxnh.jpgMake up the mayonnaise brownies – melt the chocolate, stir through the sugar, gradually add the coffee until smooth. Beat egg and mayo together, and stir into the chocolate mixture. Mix flour and cocoa powder, fold into the chocolate-mayonnaise goo.

 photo 2015-03-31 20.59.46_zpswel0e0ug.jpgBake the brownie mix at 180C for 12 minutes. Add the eggs – push in as much as possible without burning yourself. Bake for another 8-10 minutes. I left my brownies fudgy and underbaked, but add a little more flour and bake for a little longer for cakier versions.

Cool complete, they slice into small squares. I like my Creme Egg Brownies best with a glass of milk and a good book.
 photo 2015-03-29 17.47.03_zpsjgapcve1.jpg

Have you baked with creme eggs before? What are your plans for Easter weekend?

Recipe: (Slightly) Healthier Peanut Flapjacks

Another peanut butter recipe on here… #sorrynotsorry.

 photo 2015-03-07 16.28.59_zps5ueznb75.jpgI’ve been going through a really hardcore peanut butter phase since I started exercising more. Even to the point of branching out into almond butter, and I’d be having a go at making me own if I owned a half decent food processor. If I’m heading out on a run I try and have a little snack before hand as otherwise I’m quite shaky afterwards, same goes for other cardio workouts. My current favourite is a ricecake thinly spread with nut butter, topped with half a sliced banana. It might not be the healthiest thing around but it keeps me going and it’s got to be better than a packet of biscuits, right?! This obsession coupled with a crazzzyyyy craving for flapjacks and an abundance of oats last week meant I took advantage of an unexpected day to myself and got baking.

 photo 2015-03-07 18.01.23_zps9pzn4stz.jpgThe issue with unexpected baking is a lack of ingredients. No butter, and only a small amount of sugar (reserved for tea drinking, thank you very much!). In the end I threw what I could find together and I’m actually really pleased with the end result. Rich, chewy, slightly crumby, with a hint of nut. I’d like the peanut flavour to be a little more obvious, but they are damn good flapjacks. The drizzle of chocolate isn’t totally necessary, but it only adds roughly 15 calories per slice and makes them feel like so much of a treat.

 photo 2015-03-07 16.29.12_zpslxrjc1bx.jpgI’ve worked out these are roughly 175 calories each if cut into 12 (I fancied some bigger squares!), but I’m not sure MyFitnessPal is being totally reliable at the moment. Even so, with no butter and less refined sugars (I’m not totally sure on how honey is thought of!) these feel so much better for you than normal versions. I find they keep me fuller for longer too, and don’t give me a huge sugar high. And, you know, they’re yummy.

 photo 6b0a8a35-d4ff-478d-8d26-f4396c70b423_zpsuxz5ivee.jpgIngredients

  • 100g of honey
  • 4 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 60-75g of peanut butter (I found 60g wasn’t quite enough for my tastes)
  • 180g oats – I’m currently using Flahavans*
  • 1 pinch each of salt and cinnamon
  • 3 squares of dark chocolate

Note: I’ve been trialling Sainsbury’s basics range recently. The honey, peanut butter and dark chocolate are all from the range, and aren’t too bad. Sure the peanut butter isn’t the best (and it contains added sugar, oils and salt) but for the price it is definitely better than expected. The chocolate is the best of the bunch, and I would definitely buy it over more expensive brands.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.22.17_zpsjywi9at6.jpgSo, a simple recipe this. Throw the honey, coconut oil, and p-butter into a saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring every now and then. When ready the mix will be smooth and silky, ignoring the peanuts if using a crunchy spread.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.24.01_zpscf8ww26e.jpgPut the oats into a big bowl with the salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.33.02_zpsde6hkzaf.jpg photo 2015-03-07 14.33.21_zpsedlf8zrl.jpgAdd the melted mix to the oats and mix well to really combine. Tip into a lined tray (around 20cm square), and press down well with the back of a spoon – this step is really important or the flapjacks will crumble everywhere. Back at 150C for 20-25 mins.

 photo 2015-03-07 15.01.26_zpsxewvxoae.jpgScore lightly with a knife whilst still warm, then cool completely. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over, let set, then fully slice.

 photo 2015-03-07 16.29.06_zpsvaffxlko.jpgI found that these were perfect with a cup of tea, as they weren’t too sweet.

I’ve really gotten into trying to make some healthier bakes recently…what are your favourite treats and how do you make them healthier?

Baking: Red Velvet Brownie Cake

This was just meant to be a Red Velvet cake, but it came out dense, fudge-y and very Brownie like – so it’s a Brownie cake. To be honest it’s not even particularly red (damn cheap food colouring!) so you could leave the ‘red’ part out and just make a delicious brownie cake…

 photo 2015-02-15 18.57.57_zpsx80zmvsh.jpgI found this recipe particularly easy to make up – no idea why as I’m usually a bit more cautious with baked goods. At dinner time I can happily throw in this, add a bit of that, and feel confident knowing that it won’t be (too) disgusting. To be honest baking scares me in that it is more of an exact science. But I managed this, it worked well, and whilst I won’t use red food colouring in it again, it makes a damn delicious cake. The frosting was pretty yummy too – fresher than normal buttercream, but still sweet and indulgent. The sugar hearts were my nod to Valentine’s – there’s absolutely no need for them, but even I’m impressed with how pretty my Valentine’s cake looks!

 photo 10582b09-fc4f-4818-b215-4f4a02023e21_zpsfqncljjf.jpgIngredients

  • 150g very soft butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50ml yoghurt
  • Red food colouring (if you want a red cake!)
  • 150g self-raising flour (I used Allinson Flour)
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • A splash of milk
  • For the icing: 100g very soft butter, 200g cream cheese, 500g icing sugar, and a drop of vanilla extract

 photo 2015-02-15 12.25.36_zpsjxwsrd0x.jpgBeat the butter until light, then add the sugar and vanilla extract. Keep beating until light and fluffy – I find beating the butter on it’s own first makes this a lot easier. Beat in the eggs a bit at a time.

Mix the food colouring with the yoghurt, and beat this into the cake mixture. Stir the flour in gradually, followed by the cocoa powder.

Pour into two (lined and greased – thanks W!) deep sandwich tins and bake at 175C for about 30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.

 photo 2015-02-15 12.33.02_zps1uoxbnoq.jpgWhilst the cake is cooling, make the icing. Beat the butter until light, then beat in the cream cheese. It’s really, really, really important to beat the butter first – I didn’t, and hence had little buttery lumps throughout the icing. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, and then the vanilla extract. Keep beating until frosting-like…then use it to sandwich your cooled cakes together, and decorate the top and sides.

 photo 11d0e8cc-2ba9-4c94-a3b3-c2d514170a19_zpssieyvtvv.jpgAdd heart-shaped sprinkles if you wish! Then cut a big slab, make a cuppa, snuggle under a blanket, grab a book and enjoy. And remember, for a post-Valentine’s treat, there’s the Hungry House’s promotion currently running, whereby any takeaway order placed on hungryhouse of £15 or more will bag you a movie or TV show from CinemaNow. Me and W treated ourselves last friday (thanks Hungry House!) to a delicious curry followed by The Sex Tape – a hilarious and light-hearted film.

 photo e733a07c-c1cc-4a37-8509-ca73c94fe2d1_zpshmin50nm.jpgDisclaimer: I was provided with some baking goods as part of the Baking Mad campaign, which I genuinely used in this recipe. All opinions are my own, as always, and no money exchanged hands. 

Have your ever made a Red Velvet cake? Baked anything recently? I’m on the lookout for healthier bakes so send me links!