Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Healthy Mug Cake Desserts to Try

As a (predominantly) healthy eater, one of my biggest hurdles is the strike of a sugar craving. Although, I’ve done a good job of weaning myself off of sweets, there are those inevitable days where the thought of a brownie or chocolate chip cookie just can’t escape my mind.

Enter the healthy mug cake. Mug cakes and single serving desserts made in a mug are one of my absolute favorite things ever!
If you’ve never tried a mug cake before, you MUST give one of these recipes a try the next time that you want to “cheat clean.”

You only need a microwavable mug, a handful of ingredients, and literally five minutes (including prep!) to whip one of these treats up, and I promise that it will become a part of your standard snack and/or dessert rotation with no guilt!

Peanut Butter Mug Cake

This healthy peanut butter mug cake from is incredibly delicious and can literally be made up in three short minutes. It is refined sugar free, gluten-free, and can be made to be vegan by swapping out the egg for a replacement flax egg.


•2 Tbsp brown rice flour
•1/2 tsp baking powder
•1 egg/flax egg
•1 1/2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
•2 Tbsp almond milk
•1 tsp vanilla
•2 Tbsp honey/maple syrup (melted)
•2 Tbsp peanut butter
•Dark chocolate chips (as many as you want)


1. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and whisk together.
2. Add in all the other ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and whisk until well combined.
3. Pour the mixture into a large mug (or 2 small mugs) and top with chocolate chips.
4. Place the mug in the microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes and allow it to cool slightly before devouring!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Delicious Apple Cake and Apple Muffins Recipes to Look Out For

Fall is a beautiful time of year to enjoy the leaves changing color, and apple picking season. Apple Day is an annual apple celebration held at orchards in October. The first event was held on Oct. 21, 1990; however, apple events are now held throughout the month of October.
Apple Cake
Want a guilt-free apple cake? Try the following gluten-free, and vegan apple cake recipe:

1/4 cup of brown rice flour, 1 tbsp. of quinoa flour, 3 tbsp. of tapioca flour, 1/4 cup and 3 tbsp. of organic cane sugar, 1/4 tsp. of baking soda, 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of xanthan gum, 1/4 tsp. of Celtic sea salt, 3 tbsp. of grapeseed oil, 2 tbsp. of vanilla rice milk mixed with a little vinegar, 1 tsp. of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp. of warm water, 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract, 1 small apple, coarsely grated, makes about 3/4 cup, 3 tbsp. of chopped pecans.

3 tbsp. of vegan margarine or ghee, 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar, 1 tsp. of brown sugar, 1 tbsp. of maple syrup.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Grease two small cans, lightly dust with brown rice flour, and place on a baking sheet for easy handling. Place the flaxseed mixture, oil, vanilla, and rice milk mixture in a small bowl, and whisk well.

Combine the cane sugar, baking soda, salt, flours, cinnamon, and xanthan gum in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients, and mix until everything is moist. Stir in the pecans and apple.

Divide the batter between the two pans, smooth the tops with the back of a teaspoon, and bake the cakes for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes at clean

Remove baking sheet from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cans, invert them to release the cakes, and cool completely.

Prepare the frosting, by mixing the icing sugar and vegan margarine, then add the brown sugar and maple syrup and whisk well. Frost your cakes.

Apple Muffins
Here is a recipe for paleo apple muffins, with coconut butter frosting:

3 eggs, 1/3 cup of honey, 1 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon,  1/2 tsp. of ginger, 1/4 tsp. of cloves, 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. of grey Celtic sea salt, 3 tsps. of baking powder, Coconut butter plus 1/2 cup for frosting, 2 cups of chopped apple, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

To make coconut butter, put as much shredded coconut as desired into a high-speed blender, and add a few tablespoons of coconut oil until it starts to thicken. The longer you blend, the smoother the butter will be.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together eggs, spices, salt, honey, and baking powder. Stir in coconut butter until thoroughly combined. Add the apples, stir, and put into muffin tins. You can fill in more than regular muffins since these don’t rise as much. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Take from the oven and allow to cool.

In a food processor, or blender, you will blend together a half cup of coconut butter with vanilla, honey, and water, until it reaches a desired consistency. Spread it on the muffins or eat them plain.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Foodie targets: dumplings, knuckles, cakes and cocktails

Dumplings at Mr Wong

Yummy yummy yum cha at Mr Wong, Sydney. Executive chef Dan Hong and his team make on average 12,000 dumplings a week and Hong says 95 per cent of all tables order the eight-piece steamed dim sum platter, available evenings. In addition to the more traditional har gau and siu mai styles, dim sum chef Michael Luo makes his own specialties such as truffled wagyu puff and lobster and scallop dumplings. Street food was never this good. Beyond dumplings, there are more than 60 dishes from a Cantonese-style menu in the 240-seat CBD powerhouse.

Cakes at Bibelot, Royal Show

Roll up, roll up; it’s not just toffee apples and fairy floss on hand to get you through a long day at the Royal Melbourne Show this year. Gearing up for another big blowout on its petit gateaux from Saturday is South Melbourne cake shop Bibelot, after last year’s dispatch of 1470 cakes in just four days at the show’s Winning Tastes Pavilion. Our suggestion: consider leaving a suitable period after consumption of Bibelot’s macarons, biscuits, bonbons or chocolates before heading to a spinning ride or rollercoaster.

Pork knuckles at Oktoberfest

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemutlichkeit — sing along even if you don’t know the words as Oktoberfest comes around. It’s not just drinking and it’s not just in Munich these days, with Munich Brauhaus in Sydney and Melbourne and the Bavarian Bier Cafe across Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast joining in the rowdy fun. Last year during the six-week festival the venues sold about 50,000 crispy pork knuckles. Dance and sing along with the oompah bands or take the Schnitzelmeister challenge to conquer 1kg of schnitzel. A helpful phrase for the next day — Mein kopf tut weh (my head hurts).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kid-friendly Recipes for Cake

Huen Su-Yin is the pastry chef with a cake shop called Delectable by Su. She recently published her first book entitled How I Built My Cake Shops: The Delectable Story which catalogues her cake-making trajectory from budding interest to burgeoning passion to full-time business.

Huen still makes and bakes cakes but has a team helping her and has changed her culinary perspective dramatically since getting married and having kids (she has two young sons).

She is now on a mission to make more child-friendly desserts, things that children would instantly fall in love with.


For the base
120g crushed digestive cookies or
graham crackers or butter cookies
90g unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake
500g block cream cheese, softened
200g whipping cream
160g caster sugar
10g gelatine dissolved in 1/4 cup
hot water

For the rainbow colouring
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 drop liquid yellow food colour
5g strawberry preserve
5g blueberry preserve
1 drop liquid purple food colour
sprinkles, for decoration
fairy floss, for decoration

To make cookie base

Roughly mix crushed cookie crumbs and melted butter together. Press into the base of a greased 15cm (6”) springform pan. Set aside in the chiller to set.

To make cheesecake

Beat cream cheese in electric mixer until smooth. Add in cream, sugar, dissolved gelatine and beat until combined. Divide mixture into 3 equal portions in separate bowls. Mix lemon juice and yellow food colouring in one bowl; strawberry preserve in another bowl and the last bowl with blueberry preserves and purple food colour.

Pour bowl contents onto cookie base starting with purple at the bottom, strawberry in the middle and lemon on top, smoothing the layers out gently to create an even surface. Chill in refrigerator overnight or until set.

Unmould gently from springform and decorate with sprinkles and clouds of fairy floss before serving.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The alchemist's chocolate cake

I've created this one for reader Peggy Lin, who wrote asking for more low-fat, low-sugar recipes. This chocolate cake still has a rich, deep flavour, a delicate, moist texture, but very little fat or refined sugar, and it's quick to make. If you cut it into 10 slices, it works out about 220 calories a serving, with only half the fat and a quarter of the carbs of a typical un-iced cake. Up the calories a little by serving with a spoonful of low-fat crème fraîche and chocolate shavings.

One 415g tin pear halves in juice

75g cocoa powder

125g caster sugar

3 tsp vanilla extract

50ml walnut oil

1 large egg

225g plain flour

2½ tsp baking powder

Drain the pears, reserving the juice. Measure the cocoa, sugar and 125ml of pear juice into a saucepan, madly whisk it all together and bring to the first 'plop' of a boil. Spoon this mixture, along with the pear halves, into a mixing bowl and leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile line the bottom and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper and preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan-assisted)/ 325F/gas mark 3. Spoon the chocolate mixture, vanilla and oil into a blender, and purée until smooth. Pour this back into the bowl, then beat in the egg. Stir together the flour and baking powder, sift into the bowl and beat until smooth.

Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Malted chocolate layer cake recipes

There’s a double hit of malt in this sweetly chocolatey layer cake – first from the malt extract folded into the cake batter and through the buttercream, and then from the Maltesers crushed and strewn between the layers. You can find malt extract in any high-street health food shop, and in a few of the larger supermarkets, too: it’s sold in jars, has a rich brown colour and a consistency somewhere between the sticky thickness of honey and black treacle.

Serves 10
For the cake
250g salted butter, softened
200g soft light brown sugar
125g malt extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
300g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder

To ice
250g salted butter, softened
40g cocoa powder
3 tbsp malt extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
350g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
150-250g Maltesers, crushed roughly

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease two round 20cm cake tins and line their bases with baking parchment.

2 Beat the butter and brown sugar together for a good 2-3 minutes, until smooth and light. Stir in the malt extract and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well between each one. Don’t worry if the mixture is a little curdled at this point – it’ll come together smoothly as soon as the dry ingredients go in.

3 Mix the flour and baking powder together before adding to the wet mixture. Beat briefly to combine and give a smooth, loose batter. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake tins and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and golden brown. A small knife inserted into the centre of each cake should emerge with no more than a crumb or two stuck to it. Leave the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in their tins before unmoulding them and transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

4 Once the cakes are completely cool (and you really do need to be patient here, because if cut while warm they’ll just crumble), slice each layer horizontally in half to give a total of four thin layers.

5 For the buttercream, beat the butter, cocoa powder, malt and vanilla extracts until smooth. Add the icing sugar a little at a time (add it all at once and it’ll take forever to work the ingredients together) and mix until the buttercream is thick and well combined. Add enough milk to loosen the buttercream to a lighter, spreadable consistency – it ought to be soft enough to spread over the delicate cake layers without ripping them.

6 Spread a fifth of the buttercream over each of the four cake layers. Sandwich the sponges together, sprinkling a few crushed Maltesers between the layers. Spread the remaining buttercream around the sides of the cake in a thin layer. Decorate the top of the cake with crushed or whole Maltesers however you want.