Thursday, 25 October 2018

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream


I've been itching to use pumpkin in a recipe for so long now and these cupcakes fit the bill perfectly. A lot of people shy away from using vegetables in conjunction with sweeter recipes but more often than not you can't taste them plus they just add more nutrition! I like to add other veggies such as courgettes, sweet potato and even beans make great additions. 

The use of pumpkin in these is really to add moisture - and to be able to say that they really are pumpkin cupcakes not just "pumpkin spice".  I loved adding the cute fondant pumpkins on top, I am really getting into the decorative side of baking. 

Give these cupcakes a go yourself and tag me on Instagram @bakelikeavegan-


Recipe

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 18 cupcakes


Ingredients

Cupcakes
270g Spelt flour (this adds a bread texture - next time I may try different flour)
2 tbsp Coconut flour (can use more for added sweetness)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
pinch of salt
200g pumpkin puree - make ahead
170ml almond milk
100ml coconut oil melted
60g natural yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
buttercream
1 ½ cups dairy free butter
½ cup maple syrup
6 tbsp stevia powdered sugar
Optional
orange fondant for mini pumpkins
black fondant for stems
sprinkles


Method

✿Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃. Line cupcake tin with cases.
✿In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, spices, baking powder and baking soda and whisk together.
✿In a separate bowl mix together coconut oil, vanilla, pumpkin puree and yoghurt. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk and stirring till combined. Because of this flour I had to add a bit more milk. 
✿Spoon the batter into cupcake cases evenly and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Make your buttercream. Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter until pale and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and then add maple syrup and mix. Add more syrup to desired sweetness. Leave to one side. 
✿When the cupcakes have cooled, pipe or spread the buttercream onto each cupcake. 
Make your mini pumpkins. Tear off bits of the orange fondant and make into little balls of roughly the same size. Using a tool or handle of a spoon make grooves vertically around the ball. 
✿Roll out some black fondant into small tubes and arrange to look like stems. Wet the end of the stem with a tiny bit of water and stick on top of the pumpkins. Be creative and enjoy!


Christina
xx



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Monday, 15 October 2018

GBBO Week 7 - Vegan Chocolate Orange Cheesecake


I loved that they did Vegan week this week on Bake off. It really spreads a lot more inspiration for other bakers to gain more ideas on how to bake with only vegan ingredients. I'm not Vegan, but I love experimenting when I bake because there are so many ingredients to try and that's where all the fun is, even if it doesn't turn out perfect first time around!

Things are about to get spooky around here as well. Behold my Chocolate Orange "Cheesecake".  I promise it's so good, I've licked all the bowls in sight. Tag me on Instagram @bakelikeavegan_ if you try this 😊



Make ahead

Recipe

Prep: 20 minutes + 1hour freezing time
Cook: 15 minutes
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

Base
1 cup rolled oats - gluten free
80g dairy free butter melted
4 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut sugar
Orange layer
200g cashews (soaked overnight or for at least 6 hours)
4 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 2 oranges
Zest of 2 oranges
Chocolate mousse layer
3 ripe avocados
100 grams cacao powder
1 cup maple syrup 
80ml coconut oil
Optional Toppings
100g melted white chocolate
black fondant used to make spider


Method


✿Preheat your oven to 200℃ and grease a 20cm Spring-form cake tin. 
✿Make your base layer. Place the oats in a food processor and blend into an oat flour.
✿Put all of your base ingredients into a bowl and mix together until well combined and a bit sticky. Transfer to cake tin and press down evenly ensuring there aren't any gaps. 
✿Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool with foil off.
✿Make your orange layer. In a Food Processor, add cashews, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and orange juice and blitz until smooth. Then add your orange zest and salt and blitz again. 
✿Pour orange layer on top of base and put into the freezer for 30 minutes to set.
✿Make chocolate mousse. Cut your avocados in half, remove the stones and scoop out the flesh into a food processor. Add all other ingredients and blitz until a smooth mixture. 
✿Pour chocolate layer on top of orange layer.
✿Meanwhile melt your white chocolate and place in a piping bag to decorate. Then place cheesecake into freezer for 30 minutes. Enjoy!


Christina
xx



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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

My 3 Day Guide to Rome


Buongiorno! 

For ages I was convinced that the above greeting was spelt Bonjourno - how embarrassing!

My trip to Rome was absolutely fantastic. A long weekend in a beautiful city full of incredible ancient architecture and pizza? I'm there! Italy has been on my bucket list since I knew what a bucket list was. I remember learning about the Romans back in Year 4 and I think my love for History grew so much from then on. Oh how I would love to go back in time to see how people lived. It honestly baffles me how they built these amazing buildings with the most intricate detailing. Looking at our houses now I think how boring we are! 

If you've ever thought of visiting Rome then you should. An array of terracotta walls and cobbled streets awaits you - and even a cheeky gelato if you're lucky.


My 3 Days in Rome guide will help you see the best bits in the perfect amount of time. 


TIP: If you can I recommend getting there the night before so you can have a fresh start the next day. 


Day 1


Try a traditional Italian Coffee - espresso, cappuccino or caffè latte - with a pastry or tart for breakfast in one of the many little cafes you'll find. (We always had breakfast at our apartment so no recommendations for cafès I'm afraid!). 
Head to the Colosseum to learn where the crowds went wild for the many Gladiators and animals who were made to fight for survival. If you haven't seen the film Gladiator with the very wonderful Russell Crowe then you need to this, it gives a brilliant depiction of what it would have been like. 
TIP: DO NOT  buy one of the tours being sold to you, it's sooo much cheaper doing it yourself trust me and you don't have to queue that long I promise. DO buy an audio guide though, they give you a lot of interesting information, otherwise you won't really know what you are looking at. 
After head over to the Roman Forum to see the ruins of what was once Rome's social and political hub, filled with basilicas and markets, buzzing with people. Julius Caesar himself was cremated here! You can get the best views of the Forum from the Palatine Hill. I wanted to see it all come to life and people watch. 

Down the road to the Colosseum is a little cafè called Colosseum Bar which do the nicest sandwiches for €5 and they are delicious! Try the mozzarella and tomato.

Go and see some magnificent Roman Statues and Renaissance Art at The Capitoline Museums situated at the top of the Capitoline Hill which Michelangelo designed himself. You'll see the famous 'She-wolf' sculpture of Romulus and Remus and many other artifacts. Worth a visit if you like art. 

There so many restaurants that I couldn't possibly recommend just one to you!
TIP: the best restaurants are the ones a bit shabby on the outside but have the BEST food.


Day 2


Start early to see the Vatican Museum. It's so busy that it's best to get there before it opens to start queuing but again this moves fairly quickly. 

FYI: DO NOT buy a tour here, we made the mistake of paying €60 for a tour guide as they told us we couldn't get to St Peter's Basilica without them. WRONG it's really easy I'll explain further down.
You could have all day here at the museums as there are 15 - apparently if you spent 10 seconds in front every painting/statue it would take you 5 years to see it all! Make sure to go into the Sistine Chapel, it is so beautifully painted that you don't know where to look. Once at the end of the Chapel take the door on the RIGHT for St Peter's Basilica. Take the LEFT for the rest of the museums. 

TIP: make sure your shoulders and knees are covered. A long dress/skirt with a scarf wrapped around is fine.
There are some great places around the Vatican for a quick and easy lunch. Try - Fa-bio, Bonci Pizzarium or 200 Gradi.

Jump on the Metro and get off at Spagna to see the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and after keep walking till you get to the Trevi Fountain and then on to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a must because this magnificent building is over 2000 years old and so so beautiful inside. My favourite part of Rome was walking through the little cobbled streets around this area (Centro Storico) bursting with shops and restaurants.  Go to Don Nino for a coffee and some Tirimasu it's sooooo nice!
For dinner a great restaurant I was recommended to is Fortunata in Campo Dei Fiori - I never got to go or find it but a girl from Rome said the food was amazing!




Day 3


Use this time to explore another part of Rome; maybe the North in Villa Borghese where there is a huge park with lots of museums to see. 
Or in the South you can find the Appian Way, one of Rome's most important roads where they used to transport troops and military supplies outside of Rome. Here you can find the Catacombs of many Romans plus it was here that Spartacus and the slaves were crucified. These areas are always nice to enjoy as you are out of the hustle and bustle of the city centre. There's so much to do in Rome you can never be bored. And I think there will always be something new for you to find. 

TIP: Use the Metro if you can, it's super easy to use and can get you quicker to places if on a tight schedule! 


Christina
xx









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Monday, 1 October 2018

GBBO Week 5 - Gingerbread Loaf Cake with Ginger Buttercream Frosting



SPICE WEEK - I really wanted to have a try at making all of the bakes they made but all I had time for was a cake. I thought a Gingerbread Loaf was quite fitting as Autumn is upon us and the next few months will be filled with Gingerbread men galore! 

This loaf cake is so easy to make and the buttercream is honestly so delicious if I must say - although I am still improving my piping techniques!


Recipe

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Serves: 6 (8 if you slice more thinly)


Ingredients

Cake                                                      
240g Spelt Flour
50g Coconut Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Bicarbonate Soda
2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
Pinch Salt
270g Apple Pureé
80ml Coconut Oil
5 tbsp Maple Syrup
1½  tbspApple Cider Vinegar
Icing
240g Dairy Free Butter at room temperature
100g Icing Sugar - or too desired sweetness
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Grated Ginger


Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180℃. Line and grease a loaf pan.
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together all wet ingredients and pour over dry.
3. Pour cake mix into loaf pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
4. Whilst the cake is in the oven make your buttercream frosting. Using a hand whisk (or some good elbow grease) whisk the butter until light in colour and fluffy.
5, Gradually add the sugar until well combined and the mixture has soft peaks.If it falls off spoon too easily then add more sugar. Then add the vanilla extract, the cinnamon and the grated ginger. Pipe or spread when cake has cooled and then store in fridge to firm up a bit. 30 minutes before serving take cake out of fridge to soften up a bit. Enjoy!


Christina
xx






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