Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

I haven’t posted a cupcake recipe for an age. I don’t know why because I’m often making them, tinkering away with the flavours and designs, and they always go down a treat.

These were inspired by our current new obsession, caramel chocolate. We used to buy those delicious Choices caramel chocolates all the time as a special treat but I haven’t seen them for sale in ages. Have they been discontinued? Sad times if so as they were truly scrumptious.

Luckily the new Nomo brand from Kinnerton has come to our rescue with these utterly moreish caramel chocolate bars. I slightly miss the oozy caramel filling but the taste of these is spot on gorgeous and besides you can’t have everything!

So here we have chocolate caramel cupcakes – enjoy 😊

(I must apologise about the piping though, my last piping bag split so I had to improvise, hence all the varying and unusual looks! They still taste great though 😀 )

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegan and vegetarian)

makes 12

175g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

25g cocoa powder

100ml sunflower oil

150ml dairy-free milk

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp caramel essence

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  2. Mix together the dairy-free milk, lemon juice, essence and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. 2/3 rds fill the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Caramel Chocolate Buttercream 

(dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, sesame-free, nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Enough to spread on 12 cupcakes, double the mix to pipe luscious mounds of buttercream!

1/3 cup dairy-free margarine
2 tbsps vegetable fat such as Trex
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp caramel essence plus a splash of dairy-free milk

  1.  Whisk together the fats.
  2. Add the cocoa and whisk well.
  3. Whisk in the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, adding the essence and a splash or so of milk.
  4. Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.
  5. top with 1/2 a square of Nomo Caramel Chocolate

 

Rich Chocolate Sorbet

It’s not often that we swelter like this – well that used to be the case, who knows for the future 😦

All anyone is thinking or talking about is the heat! I do love how us Brits are totally obsessed with the weather and talk above it over any other ongoing national crisis.

Even I, with my constant baking and cooking, have had to turn off the oven to cope with the extreme heat. But that won’t stop me experimenting and tinkering with flavours 😉

After a little hiccup from the new divine Nomo chocolate (made by Kinnerton so safely free-from) the other week where they copied and pasted some of my old recipes onto their website without crediting me, I have been gifted a year’s supply of chocolate. [p.s I have not been paid in any way for this recipe, the free chocolate was due to their mistake and I’m making full use of it!] In fact we now have so much chocolate in the house that I’m having to cook with it even more than usual, and usual is really really often! I was so disappointed when I first noticed they had used my recipes without asking or crediting, but delighted that they have turned out to be the brand I hoped they were; there are now full credits on the website and they’ve suggested future collaboration which i’m really excited about 🙂

So with masses of chocolate to happily get through and a heatwave in progress, my thoughts turned to chocolate sorbet. As I’ve mentioned before we’re big sorbet fans in this household and the thought of turning some delicious chocolate into a light, fresh and refreshing pudding seemed just right.

It turns out that chocolate sorbet is totally delicious. It’s lighter than ice cream, full of chocolate flavour and quicker to set than fruity sorbets. I made the mix at lunchtime and it was acceptably frozen by the evening (see the final photo after the recipe), even better by the next day or later in the week. I don’t have an ice cream maker to churn the sorbet so my version is a little grainy, but I actually find that quite pleasant as the grainy bits are like tiny chocolate chips, giving both added flavour and texture.

Chocolate Sorbet

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 6

200g caster sugar

40g cocoa powder

400ml water

70g dairy-free chocolate, finely chopped

  1. mix together the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Pour in the water gradually to avoid any lumps of cocoa
  2. Dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes to make a chocolate sugar syrup.
  3. place the finely chopped chocolate into a bowl, and slowly pour over the sugar syrup. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Cool.
  4. Pour into a Tupperware box and place in the freezer. Every couple of hours stir through with a fork to get rid of any large ice crystals. Once a sorbet texture is obtained, simply keep in the freezer ready to scoop.
  5. or, cool the chocolate mix, then pour into your ice cream machine and churn as indicated by the manufacturers instructions.

The perfect summer drink: Refreshing Strawberryade

Oh my goodness, it’s a proper heatwave! So a refreshing, cooling summery drink is the order of the day. This is a variation of homemade zingy lemonade with the addition of strawberries. I reckon this’ll be the perfect non-alcoholic drink for any summer garden party, picnic, barbecue or just cooling off in this heat.

Strawberryade (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes one jug full

  • 200g strawberries
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 90g sugar
  • 800ml just boiled water
– Juice the lemons and lime. Pour into a large jug and add the sugar.

– Pour over the just boiled water and stir to dissolve the sugar.

– Blend or mash the strawberries.

– Add to the lemon mix once it has cooled sightly.

– Chill completely before drinking.

– Wait for the sun to come out, pour a glass and enjoy!

Blueberry & Lemon Yo-Yo Cookies

Let’s get fresh, fruity and just right for the holidays. These yo-yo biscuits are are classic Antipodean staple and are perfect for warmer climes as they don’t have the tendency to melt like my favourite chocolate cookies! Talking of melting, this cookies have the wonderful melt in the mouth feels of very short shortbread, enhanced with a rich buttercream filling. It really is a wonderful combination.

I was in the mood for colour so concocted some delicate lemon biscuits (coloured with custard powder for a lovely yellow hue) and filled with bright purple blueberry filling. This biscuits will certainly get people talking, whilst also reaching for another one 🙂

Blueberry and Lemon Yo-Yo Cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 20 sandwich biscuits

150g dairy-free margarine

65g icing sugar, sifted

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp lemon extract

pinch of salt

55g custard powder or cornflour

175g plain flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
  3. Beat together the margarine, sugar, zest and essence until light and fluffy.
  4. Sift in the flours and salt to form a very soft, but not sticky dough.
  5. Make large marble sized balls and place on the baking sheet (try to make an even number). Flatten with the back of a fork.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes
  7. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire rack.
  8. Once completely cool, sandwich together with the blueberry cream.

Blueberry Cream 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

60g dairy-free margarine

200g icing sugar

1 tbsp blueberry coulis

  1. Make the blueberry coulis by cooking down 100g blueberries with 2 tbsp sugar and 1 too lemon juice. Cook until eh blueberries have burst and the mix is saucy. Sieve to give a luscious sweet sauce.
  2. Whisk the margarine  with the icing sugar and  1 tbsp blueberry coulis until it is all incorporated. Place in the fridge to firm up before using.
  3. use the remaining blueberry coulis for ice cream, waffles or fruit salad

Triple Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake

In my opinion free-from puddings are much harder that cakes, biscuits or treats. I have a fair few favourites, but i’m always looking for a new exciting pudding option. Do you have a go-to pudding favourite? I’d love some ideas to get excited about 🙂

Cheesecake is a perennial favourite in this household (it’s even been requested instead of a cake for a birthday before now!), and the larger is still groaning with leftover Easter chocolate, so in a way the decision was made for me. I fairly often make a chocolate cheesecake, so this new version had to stand out and wow the crowd! Since more chocolate is always a crowd pleaser, I’ve created this standout triple chocolate layer cheesecake, to tempt even the most fussy cheesecake afficionadoes!

It may look complicated, with the different layers, but actually it’s very simple. You’ll just have a couple more bowls to wash up, but surely that’s a small price to pay for such a deliciously decadent dessert.

This is a tofu based cheesecake. Sounds unappetising, right? Well, it’s certainly enough to put off my sister in law who will happily devour this saying ‘oh that’s delicious’ until I tell her it’s made from tofu, then she immediately puts her fork down! Tofu really divides people, but when you think about it it’s just a thick paste made from a milk, just like cream cheese; it just needs to be treated right and then it can taste top notch, and this cheesecake is a case in point.

Triple Chocolate No-Bake Cheesecake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes one 12 inch cheesecake, enough to serve at least 8

175g crushed biscuits, ideally chocolate flavour

40g dairy-free margarine, melted

350g pack firm silken tofu

100g dairy-free dark chocolate, I particularly like Kinnerton

75g dairy-free white chocolate

5 tbsps golden syrup/maple syrup (or use honey if you’re not vegan)

1 tbsp sunflower oil

grated chocolate to decorate

  1. Melt the dairy-free margarine and stir into the crushed biscuits. Press into the bottom of a loose base tart tin. Place in the fridge to set.
  2. Meanwhile, portion the tofu into 200g and 150g.
  3. In a blender pulse the 200g of silken tofu with 3tbsp syrup/honey until smooth.
  4. Melt the dark chocolate and 1/2 tbsp oil together either over a bain-marie or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.
  5. Carefully stir the chocolate into the tofu mix until well combined.
  6. Pour over the biscuit base. Smooth over the top and then leave to set in the fridge for at least a few hours.
  7. Clean the blender and pulse the remaining 150g of silken tofu with 2 tbsp syrup/honey until smooth.
  8. Melt the white chocolate and 1/2 tsp oil together, stir until smooth.
  9. Carefully stir the white chocolate mixture into the tofu mix. Pour over the set dark-chocolate layer and level off. return to the fridge to set.
  10. Decorate the top as desired, I used grated ‘milk’ dairy-free chocolate.

 

Summer Berry Sorbet and Arlettes

Summer is here (at last!) and the shops are full of delicious ripe berries, so much so I’m constantly popping them into my shopping basket. Whilst you can’t beat a bowl of fresh berries, a homemade sorbet is a close second (especially now it’s hot), and a great option when you’ve managed to squash the whole punnet on the way home, like I did this week.

Whilst the dairy-free ice cream ranges are constantly improving, I’m more of a sorbet fan. A good sorbet is utterly delicious and so packed full of flavour that’s it’s perfect on a hot sunny day. Even before we were catering for food allergies, D and I would always choose sorbet for pudding.I’ve served this sorbet with these wonderful little wafers called Arlettes. They’re puff pastry spirals, rolled out very thin, coated in icing sugar and baked until golden. They’re the perfect caramel flavoured crisp accompaniment for any kind of pudding.

Summer Berry Sorbet

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves at least 6

150g caster sugar

200ml water

juice of 1/2 a lemon

400g berries

  1. Roughly chop the berries and then whizz up in a food blender. Sieve if you like a smooth sorbet, don’t if you like some pips.
  2. Dissolve the sugar in the water and lemon juice by bringing the syrup to a rolling boil. Immediately turn off and stir in the berry puree.
  3. Pour into an ice cream machine and churn as instructed, or pour into a Tupperware box and place int he freezer. If using the Tupperware method, remove from the freezer ever hour or so and give the sorbet mix a good stir/whisk, to break up any large ice crystals. The whole process should take 4 or 5 hours.
  4. Serve with this wonderful caramelised, crispy Arlettes for a show stopper dessert.

Arlettes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 20

1/2 pack puff pastry

lots of icing sugar

  1. Roll the puff into a neat rectangle and then roll up to form a tight cylinder. Wrap and freeze for at least half an hour so it is very cold. Once chilled cut into 1/2cm slices
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
  3. On top a mound of icing sugar, roll out each circle until very very thin and totally covering in the icing sugar. Stamp out fluted circles, or traditional leaf shapes
  4. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes until totally golden. Keep a close eye on them, a burnt Arlette is not nice! Once golden, turn over and bake for a further couple of minutes.
  5. Cool on a wire rack. These are best eaten on the day they’re made.