After a year and half in my gorgeous yurt the novelty of washing up outside in all weathers, and cooking on a two ring camping stove, has finally worn off. What that really means is… I’m getting a new kitchen!! I am totally thrilled about this, and have only just realised that not having a proper kitchen has hindered my recipe creation for a while now. Just the anticipation of sufficient work surface, a kitchen sink and a proper cooker is igniting my foodie creativity already. Hurray! My kitchen units arrive next week, so hopefully the whole thing will be installed in good time before Christmas. I’ll blog a photo when it’s done 🙂
The prospect of a new kitchen has been getting me thinking about how much the right (or wrong) kitchen set-up can affect our desire to eat well – to put time and effort into the recipes we make for ourselves and our families. Having the right equipment / the right space / the right light all has an affect on how much time we want to spend in our kitchen. How much do you enjoy cooking in yours? Is there anything you could do to make it easier? Maybe it’s time to stop thinking ‘I wish I could see what I was doing properly’, or a ‘I wish I had a food processor’, or ‘I wish I had more work surface’, or whatever your internal kitchen-moan is. Maybe it’s time to get creative about how you can give those things to yourself so that spending time in your kitchen is more fun and pleasurable. It will help you eat more healthily AND give you pleasure while you’re cooking. I’d love to hear what your kitchen moans are in the comments 🙂 My biggest one has been ‘I wish I had an oven to bake in’. Not for much longer!
This Week’s Delicious Recipe: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake
I baked this in my mum’s oven – very soon I’ll be baking it in my own 🙂 I always think of chocolate fudge cake as one of the ultimate indulgences, so (thanks to Clara’s suggestion!) I created this healthy version. Whether you want to impress friends with a vegan cake or you want a scrumptious birthday cake, this recipe is a winner.
- Don’t forget to soak the dates for the fudge icing in advance.
- This cake is best eaten at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge (when it’s cold, the coconut oil hardens and makes it less moist).
- You can cut this cake into slices and freeze the slices individually, for those times when you need a little solitary indulgence 😉
500ml / 2 cups almond or oat milk
150ml / ¼ pint melted coconut oil or mild olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
325g / 2 oz gluten-free plain or all-purpose flour
400g / 14 oz coconut sugar
75g / 3 oz cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp bicarb of soda
175g / 1½ cups pitted dates – soaked in just boiled water for 1 – 2 hour or overnight, until soft
75g / ½ cup avocado
120ml / ½ cup melted extra-virgin coconut oil
120ml / ½ cup date soak water or plain water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
50g / 2 oz cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
Soak the dates in hot water, for the fudge icing.
Preheat the oven to 180°C or gas mark 4. Line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
Put all the cake ingredients except the cider vinegar and the bicarb of soda into a blender and blend until smooth. Add in the cider vinegar and bicarb of soda and briefly blend on a medium speed, just enough to mix thoroughly (don’t blend too much at this point or you will end up with a flat cake).
Divide the cake batter between the two tins and bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes. After half an hour, test the cake by inserting a skewer (or flat knife) into it – if the cake is cooked the skewer will come out clean. If there is batter on it, continue to cook the cake for another 10 minutes, or until until the skewer comes out clean.
Take the cakes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, gently remove the cakes from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once cooled, with a large knife slice the top off one cake to make it flat and easy for the other cake to sit on (early rewards for the cook here, as you get to eat the dome if you fancy it 😉 ).
To make the fudge icing, drain the dates, reserving the soak water.
Blend all the icing ingredients together until completely smooth. With a spatula or flat knife, spread a good layer of icing on top of the flat cake. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the whole cake. Et voila! Impress your friends and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea 🙂