My new equal favourite – Carrot and coconut cake

cake4 Remember when I said I had a new favourite cake? Well I think I have found another new favourite. Actually… I cant decide which I like more so I shall call them equal favourites. You know, so as to avoid any allegations of cake discrimination?! IMG_4407 This little beauty graced our countertop after a craving for carrot cake had me trawling the inter-web for that ‘perfect’ recipe. Something a little different, and something a little healthier than the usual ‘heavy on the sugar and oil’ variety. IMG_4395 Then I came across this recipe and I stopped searching at once. It had all the right features of a good carrot cake. cake  Moist, flavoursome and sweet. IMG_4403 And not to mention pretty. IMG_4432 And delicious! IMG_4437 I am 100% certain that I will never use another carrot cake recipe again. Carrot and Coconut Spelt Cake (adapted from here) This is a delightful moist carrot cake, without being oil laden or loaded with sugar. I used spelt flour as the base, however you could easily make it with regular wheat flour or even gluten free by using a gluten free flour mix. As I  made this cake on a warm day, after icing, I kept it in the fridge until 15 minutes prior to serving. This made it easier to slice without the icing melting.

  • 3 large organic free-range eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup moist coconut flakes
  • 1.5 cups grated carrot*

For the maple cream cheese icing

  • 2 tbs butter (softened)
  • 250g cream cheese (softened)
  • 2-3 cups icing sugar (to taste)
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (for topping)

* I grated 4 carrots, then pulsed them in my food processor a few times to break them down a little more.

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base of a round spring form pan, and grease the base and sides.
  2. Beat the eggs, then add oil and sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in batches, and beat until combined.
  5. Add the carrot and coconut and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. When the cake has cooled completely, use a serrated bread knife to carefully cut the cake crossways in half. Place the bottom layer on a plate and spread with half of the cream cheese mixture. Top with the remaining cake layer and cream cheese, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

For the icing: Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, and beat until smooth. Add extra icing sugar to taste. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before spreading onto the cake. In pictures… IMG_4345IMG_4347 IMG_4348IMG_4368  IMG_4372IMG_4371IMG_4375IMG_4376  IMG_4383IMG_4382 IMG_4393IMG_4415IMG_4412   What about you?  Are you a fan of carrot cake? Happy Baking :)  

Vegetable Risotto Cake

Training: Body Pump Happy Saturday! I hope that you are all having a wonderful weekend so far. As for me, between Body Pump, shopping, afternoon baking and dinner with friends, my weekend has been filled with lots of fun 🙂 And deliciousness…. Last night I got together with the ‘girls’ of the family to plan my mother and father in-law’s 70th birthday party, which is coming up in a few months. I offered to make dinner for everyone, figuring that there must be enough in my fridge to  make a casual Friday dinner. So, what does one do when they want a fuss free dinner and have an abundance of rice in the pantry and vegetables in the fridge? IMG_4327 Why they make a risotto, cake style! This was seriously so very easy to make. IMG_4321 Steamed rice + vegetables (cooked in a splash of white wine) + cheese + eggs. IMG_4313 Baked in a round spring-form pan for 40 minutes or so. IMG_4325 The eggs work to hold the shape of the “risotto” as it bakes in the cake tin. IMG_4339 Cooled slightly, then sliced. IMG_4366 IMG_4359 Just as you would serve any cake really. IMG_4349 Served with a green salad for some extra veg. IMG_4331 IMG_4319 And don’t forget a big spoonful of red hot tomato relish! Vegetable Risotto Cake (serves 6 to 8) This is a wonderfully versatile savoury cake that you can adapt according to whatever vegetables or herbs you have available. It is lovely served warm, but also works well served cold at a picnic. You can also prepare the mixture in advance, and place it in the oven just before your guests arrive.

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 6 squash, diced
  • 100ml white wine
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar
  • 3 eggs
  • Sprinkle of  rosemary and thyme leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base of a round springform pan, and grease.
  2. Sautee garlic and onion until starting to soften. Add vegetables and white wine, and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine vegetable mix, rice, cheeses, eggs and herbs in a bowl.
  4. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and smooth the surface.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.
  6. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
  7. Slice and serve with salad.

What about you? What are your plans for the weekend? I had quite  a lot of fun in the kitchen today and can’t wait to share the result with you tomorrow 🙂 Happy Baking 🙂

Lovin’ the loaf…

It seems the last few days of workouts + gardening + moving furniture have well and truly caught up with me! My shoulders and back were so very stiff and sore when I woke up this morning, and 9+ hours sitting at my desk at work did nothing to help. I think I need to book myself a massage. STAT. Dinner In lieu of sore muscles, a protein packed dinner was just what I was craving. I had a small amount of lean beef mince in the fridge, a heap of veggies and a can of lentils in the pantry. IMG_4186  IMG_4188  Hence this tasty little beef and vegetable loaf was born. IMG_4196 IMG_4198 IMG_4200 Although I guess you could also call it meatloaf, BBB style 😉 IMG_4233 This dish pretty much has all the telltale signs of a weekday BBB dinner. IMG_4235    Easy, fuss-free, but packed to the brim with healthy ingredients.  IMG_4246    And, the best part…. Leftovers for future lunch and dinners!  IMG_4254 We served slices of the loaf with steamed carrots and asparagus. And a good spoonful of homemade tomato and chilli relish. IMG_4252  But you will have to stay tuned for my easy relish recipe. I’ll be sharing it with you in the next few days… BBB’s Beef and Vegetable loaf (GF)

  • 450g lean beef mince
  • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1.5 cups cooked lentils*
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 60ml  organic tomato sauce
  • 30ml  GF worcestershire sauce
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • olive oil cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease base and sides of a loaf pan, and line with baking paper (allowing the paper to overhang at both long ends)
  2. Heat spinach in a frypan until wilted. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible and finely chop.
  3. In a large bowl, combine spinach, mince, lentils, onion, garlic, carrot, corn and chia seeds.
  4. Add eggs, herbs and sauces and mix until well combined (you might want to use your hands for this!)
  5. Press into the prepared loaf tin.
  6. Place zucchini strips in a separate bowl and spray with a little olive oil spray. Toss to coat then spoon atop the loaf.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes or until meatloaf is firm.  Stand for 10 minutes then slice and serve.

* I cheated and used the canned variety, well rinsed and drained. If you had the time, you could, of course, use dried lentils simmered in water until soft. What about you? Do you like meatloaf? I am not the hugest fan of meatloaf when in its ‘traditional’ form, but when it’s packed with veggies and herbs I am a convert! Happy Baking 🙂

Toad in a hole…

Training: Swim 1.2km Thankyou ALL so much for your wonderful comments about our exciting travel announcement. I have made a note of all your useful tips and suggestions, and will be sure to check back on them (and with you!) as our plans start to come together more formally. I cant believe this is all happening – and I hope that I am able to meet some of you guys during our trip too! ________ Travel plans aside, today was a far cry from the relaxing weekends I have become accustomed to lately. Between grocery shopping, housework, a swim session and 3 hours of gardening, or should I say ‘soil shovelling’  (and having the blisters to prove it!, I am well and truly exhausted! Needless to say, the afternoon gardening session left me starving and in search of food come dinner time. And on the menu, an ol’ English dish that I knew Mr BBB loved…. IMG_4146 Toad in the hole! A traditional English dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter. Does anyone know why it has been given this name? It seems to be quite disputed, although some people believe it is because the dish resembles a toad sticking its head out of a hole. Hmm appetising huh 😉 This was my first time baking (or eating) toad in the hole, and  I fiddled with the recipe, so the end result was quite, ahem, amateur. IMG_4141 Or perhaps we could call it ‘rustic’? IMG_4152 IMG_4150 Appearances aside, when combined with a heaping serve of veggies,      IMG_4156 It was actually quite a tasty meal! IMG_4157  IMG_4158     I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe and I don’t know whether I did something wrong, or whether the GF flour changed the consistency of the batter, but my version ended up being quite oily. Tasty, but oily. The onion gravy we served alongside did, however, make up for any misgivings we had about the dish! IMG_4124 Onions and garlic, cooked until soft. IMG_4131 Followed by a good amount of balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary IMG_4132 Reduced by half, then combined with stock and cooked until thickened. IMG_4153 This was, to me at least, heaven in a gravy boat. The onions were wonderfully sweetened by the balsamic vinegar, and I loved the little rosemary leaves scattered throughout. IMG_4155 So it seems our side dish was the star of the show this evening!! Happy Baking 🙂

Make mine a (GF) muffin

Training: Bike 31km After a celebratory Christmas and a fun-filled New Years, today was all about finding routine. And balance. We took a long bike ride, ate a healthy lunch, finally organised our new internet connection and caught up with friends for a farewell dinner. But no doubt the highlight of my day was breakfast. IMG_3905 Yes breakfast. For what better way to start the day, than with a batch of fresh, warm, savoury muffins. IMG_3890 IMG_3891 When I woke up this morning, the cooler temperatures had me yearning for a warm breakfast. However, bacon and eggs did not sound that appealing and I have been overdosing on porridge lately. Rather, savoury muffins, eaten fresh out of the oven, were just the thing I was craving. So quick to prepare, the house smelled amazing as these little bundles cooked in the oven. IMG_3892 IMG_3893 Packed to the brim with taste, and enjoyed with a cup of tea. IMG_3894 Just the breakfast I was after. And, once cooled, these muffins  keep well in an airtight container in the pantry so that you can also enjoy them at lunch and afternoon tea! IMG_3902 IMG_3903 IMG_3904  You must make a batch of these sometime soon. Seriously. GF Savoury herb muffins (makes 12)

  • 2 tbs onion relish
  • 2 cups GF self raising flour (or you could use regular SR flour)
  • 100g reduced-fat feta, crumbled
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbs dried thyme
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Lightly grease a muffin tray or 12 x silicone muffin moulds.
  2. Combine onion relish, flour, feta, spinach, tomatoes and cheese in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine herbs, eggs and milk.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Variation: You could also add olives or bacon to the muffin batter, or grated carrot / zucchini for an extra veggie kick. What about you? What is your favourite warm breakfast? Happy Baking 🙂

Family fun

The last few days have been filled with family, friends and, perhaps most of all, food! IMG_3841 We have loved playing host for the Christmas festivities, and loved having my mum, brother and his girlfriend stay with us in our new house. In addition to Christmas Day, we hosted a Boxing Day BBQ. IMG_3884 Complete with Christmas leftovers, and the stars of the show… IMG_3928 Homemade spelt pide. IMG_3924 IMG_3925 Served with homemade hummus and lemon wedges. IMG_3923     Despite all appearances, I promise you that we have done some things over the last few days that don’t involve eating.  Not many.  But some 😉 I managed to fit in a 5km run, and we also spent an entire day playing tourist, and showing our interstate guests around a very dunny Nation’s Capital. IMG_3906 IMG_3908 IMG_3910 IMG_3912 I must say, our house seems so quiet now that all our guests have left. Well apart from these furry house guests of course 😉 IMG_3858 There is no time for rest, however, as Mr BBB and I are packing the car and heading to the coast for New Years Eve. What about you? What are you up to for New Years Eve? Happy Baking 🙂

Spiced apple and coconut cake – my new favourite

This year at Christmas I decided to steer clear of the fruit pudding that is traditionally served for dessert. Instead, I wanted to serve a cake that was light yet flavoursome. IMG_3743 And, this spiced apple and coconut cake fit the bill just perfectly. IMG_3744 Apples, coconut, ginger and cinnamon are the winning flavours in this cake. IMG_3746 With the added bonus being that it is both wheat and dairy free*! IMG_3732 Spiced apple and coconut cake (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 cup spelt flour (*or use GF flour if you cannot tolerate spelt)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup GF flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 granny smith apples
  • 2 tbs raw sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 180C and line the base of a round spring-form cake tin with baking paper. 2. Whisk together the dry ingredients.  IMG_3713 3. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  IMG_3714 4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir well to create a smooth batter.  IMG_3716 5. Meanwhile, peel, core and dice 2 of the apples, and stir through the cake batter.    IMG_3719 IMG_3720 6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, and smooth the surface. IMG_3721 7. Peel and slice the remaining two apples, and place atop the cake in a circular pattern.   IMG_3724 IMG_3725  8.  Sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake for 55-60 minutes until golden.  IMG_3727  9. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake tin and continue cooling on a wire rack. IMG_3735 Slice, and serve, and don’t be surprised if you go back for seconds. IMG_3742 IMG_3745    Or thirds… IMG_3828 What about you? What is your favourite cake? Happy Baking 🙂

A winning way to use homemade apple butter

Training: Swim / Run With my longest run completed last weekend, a taper has now begun in my training. I cant believe the race is less than 3 weeks away and we will be moving into our new house between now and then! Lots of exciting things coming up in the world of BBB that’s for sure. Today I completed a morning swim session, covering 1.5km in around 40 minutes. After work I hit the track for my interval run training session, which was a wonderful way to end the day. After a 1.6km warm up and run throughs, we completed:

  • 6 x 600m with 200m recovery between each set
  • 4 x 300 with 100m recovery between each set

A challenging yet rewarding interval session, with approx 8km run overall. Baking But enough of the training talk. I promised you one of my favourite desserts of all time. Big call. I know. But I am going there. As you might recall, Sunday’s Indian feast ended, as all good meals should end, with a little sweet treat. But not just any sweet treat…. IMG_2427 A slice of this glorious Apple Butter Baked Cheesecake. Featuring my homemade apple butter, of course. IMG_2313 Mr BBB is a huge fan of baked cheesecake. Not anything fancy, just the standard lemon or vanilla baked cheesecake. So when I told Mr BBB that I was going to make an apple crumble baked cheesecake he gave me the look. You know the one. The "why-do-you-have-to-play-around-with-the-original-recipe" look. But I assume the fact he went back for seconds meant that my variation was up to par! All things considered, this was a rather easy cheesecake to make. I processed GF biscuits and, after adding some melted butter, pressed the biscuit mixture into a lined rectangle tin. IMG_2337 IMG_2338 IMG_2340 Cream cheese, eggs and sugar were mixed until well combined, together with a tin of apples, and poured atop the biscuit mix. IMG_2341 IMG_2344 IMG_2346 Next came the fun part, spoonfuls of apple butter were swirled through the cheesecake mixture. IMG_2349 IMG_2348 Topped with oats, brown sugar and little butter. IMG_2355  Baked until the cheesecake had set and the oats had browned slightly. IMG_2417 IMG_2420 Allowed to cool, then sliced and served. IMG_2431 The sweet apple butter added quite a ‘zing’ (is that even a word?) to the creamy cheesecake filling. So much so that I didn’t bother adding any cinnamon to the crumble, as there was more than enough in the apple butter to give the whole cake a hint of spice. IMG_2432 The cheesecake keeps really well in the fridge, covered, so it could even be made a day in advance. IMG_2435  This also means that it can be safely eaten for several days afterwards … well if  there is any leftovers that is 😉 Apple Butter Baked Cheesecake (wheat free) (adapted from here)

  • 250g gluten free biscuits
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 500g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300g canned apple slices
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup GF flour
  • 30g chilled butter, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line base and sides of a rectangle baking tray with paper, allowing the edges to overhang.
  2. Process biscuits in a food processor, then add melted butter. Mix until combined, then press into lined pan. Refrigerate.
  3. Beat cream cheese and sugar, then add eggs one at a time (making sure each is incorporated well before adding another).
  4. Add apple slices to cream cheese mixture and combine well. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Dollop apple butter on top, and use a skewer to ‘swirl’ through the mix.
  6. In a separate bowl, place oats, flour and sugar. Rub in butter until combined. Sprinkle on top of the cheesecake.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until set and the ‘crumble’  has browned slightly.
  8. Allow to cool in pan, then slice and serve.

—— IMG_2308 I should also have mentioned the other day that the apple butter will store safely in the fridge for several weeks in an airtight container and / or can be frozen.  My recipe yielded two large jarfuls – one of which I have kept in the fridge for daily consumption, and the other I have frozen for use on Christmas day! But of course apple butter can be used in many ways other than just in a cheesecake…. Why don’t you also try….

  • Using it as a sandwich spread (think brie, turkey and apple butter sandwich mmmm)
  • Using it as an accompaniment to chicken, pork or turkey
  • Using it in baking to replace some or all of the oil required
  • Warming it up and to with ice-cream
  • Drizzling it on pancakes or your morning oatmeal (my other favourite at the moment!)
  • Mixing it with yoghurt or cottage cheese for a tasty snack

The possibilities really are endless! What about you? What is your favourite dessert of all time? Happy Baking 🙂

BBB goes to India!

Happy Monday! I hope you have had a wonderful start to the week. — First – a little admin -  I finally worked out how to add a subscription link to my blog! hehe I may be able to run / bike / swim / bake, but technology is not something that comes naturally to me 😉 You should be able to see the link on the right side —–> So, if you would like to stay updated with all things bakebikeblog, feel free to sign up 🙂 —- Now where did I leave off? While Saturday was all about biking and apple butter baking, Sunday was all about running ……and a trip to India (well for my tummy at least). IMG_2329  I had planned to head out for my long run nice and early to avoid the heat, however a late night on Saturday night + sleeping later than expected = not hitting the pavement until almost 9.30am.  Which meant, of course, the sun was out and shining – and had quite a bite to it. IMG_2328 Solution …camel bak! Oh and lots of sunscreen to prevent more dodgy tan lines. My training plan called for a long run, and rather than doing and out and back course, I decided to run to the city.  From Isaacs. The scenic way. IMG_2330 See ya! IMG_2331 2 hours and 19 hot and sunny kilometres later, I arrived at the lake and was so glad to find Mr BBB (who had driven there to pick me up) waiting for me with a gatorade in hand. IMG_2333 I swear I finished this in 20 seconds flat. I love my electrolytes! I found the training run to be quite hard, particularly because of the heat. However, considering that by the time I hit the run leg of the Half Ironman it may almost be lunchtime, it was perfect ‘training’ for running in hot weather. It was also a great opportunity to work on hydration throughout the run – to find that balance of taking in enough liquids, without taking in ‘too much’. I found that a couple sips from the camel bak every 10 minutes seemed to work just fine, which should also be about the time between the aid stations during the race. I have never actually run with a camel bak before but now I am a complete covert! I thought that it would bounce around, however once the straps were done up firmly, I didn’t even notice it was there. Long run for the week – done! And so starts the taper…. ——- I spent the remainder of the day with Mr BBB’s mum, transforming her Aussie kitchen into quite the Indian Restaurant, in order to prepare an Indian banquet of epic proportions for the family Sunday dinner. IMG_2380 IMG_2358 Complete with loads of spices and their wonderful fragrance. IMG_2359 Seriously, the house smelled a-mah-zing by the time the rest of the family arrived, no doubt owing to the spicy curries and vegetable dishes that had been slowly simmering away all afternoon. On the menu was beef vindaloo… IMG_2376 Saffron rice, with peas, almonds and sultanas. IMG_2381  Spiced cabbage…   IMG_2385  Green beans with coconut…  IMG_2387  I contributed some old favourites including red lentil dahl… IMG_2363 And a butter chicken. IMG_2370 Both of which have featured on this blog before – see here and here for recipes. Served with flaked almonds and coriander… IMG_2406 Roti… IMG_2389 Pappadums… IMG_2365 And cucumber raita. IMG_2395 I didn’t hold back in helping myself to a little of everything…        IMG_2412 Except for the roti, although I did make up for that in pappadum consumption! IMG_2410   This was such a rewarding meal after an afternoon in the kitchen.  Although I did make sure to save room for a little dessert.   IMG_2438 I don’t know whether it was my post-run hunger, or the inclusion of apple butter, but this was possibly one of my favourite desserts of all time….   IMG_2430  You will just have to wait until tomorrow for all the details… What about you? Do you have a favourite Indian dish? Happy Baking 🙂

Finding comfort in cookies

Thankyou all for your wonderful brownie suggestions! I will be sure to give some of them a try when I make my next batch! Training: Swim Today’s warm Spring temperatures made for perfect swimming weather, and I headed to the pool after work to swim some laps. I covered 1.5km in around 45 minutes, showered, then headed home. Unfortunately my heart was not really in today’s training session, probably due to some sad news I received this afternoon. I was actually pretty tempted to skip my workout all together, but I knew that a session in the pool would be exactly what I needed mentally. As was a glass of wine. IMG_2054 And a cookie. IMG_2090 Mr BBB’s mum had dinner under control this evening, so I decided to do a little comfort baking while we waited. For what better way than to cheer up the soul than with a batch of freshly made cookies. Especially when there is peanut butter and maple syrup involved. IMG_2056 And thus these comfort cookies with maple glaze were born. IMG_2067 Aside from exercise, there is nothing more soothing  for me  than an evening spent in the kitchen. Stirring, creaming… IMG_2049  And generally making a mess. IMG_2048 IMG_2050 Sometimes a gal just needs some good ol’ fashioned sugar… IMG_2066 IMG_2070 IMG_2077 In  cookie form …. IMG_2078 Of course.. IMG_2088   What about you? What do you cook when you are in need of comfort? Happy Baking 🙂