Friday, 17 May 2013

Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

I dub thee 'lava cupcake' #food #glutenfree
One of the holiday batches of Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

A few weeks ago while away on holidays, I took advantage of not only being in holiday mode, but also being in a new kitchen, new oven, fairly bare cupboards and did I mention that I was in holiday mode? As there are about 20 families we go away with, we try and organise a Ladies' Afternoon where wine and nibblies are consumed, with no husbands or children in sight. And that is where this recipe was born. I had limited supplies and a couple of my friends have special dietary requirements, so I wanted to make sure the recipe would be safe for them to enjoy. I managed to make a few batches while away and before you ask - who bakes while they're on holidays - you'll see from the recipe how simple it is to whip up. No fancy gadgets required!

So where did the name Chocolate Lava Cupcakes come from? One of the hundreds of kids that belong to one of the 20 families asked if he could have a cupcake - in a most polite and sweet way, and I simply couldn't refuse such sweetness! While enjoying the cupcake he told his mum he thought the inside was like lava - all molten and gooey and delish! The name was perfect and they've been known as Chocolate Lava Cupcakes ever since. So, thank you to T.'s young son for naming these cupcakes, I couldn't have given them a better name!

There are a few variations to the recipe and I'll include those details in the notes.

Chocolate Lava Cupcakes


2 1/4 cups almond meal
3 - 4 tbs cocoa powder, unsweetened
generous handful of dark chocolate buttons
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 generous tbs of glucose
1 cup mashed pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda, gluten free

The dry ingredients laid out


* Preheat oven to 160°
* Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon.
* Add the eggs, mashed pumpkin, glucose and melted coconut oil.
* Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
* Place the batter into cupcakes and bake for about 15-20minutes. It will depend on size of cupcake wrappers and your oven, of course.

Adding the wet ingredients to the dry mixture

The batter's ready to be placed into waiting cupcake wrappers

Fresh from the oven. this batch made 8 large cupcakes

I allowed the cupcakes to cool before whipping them straight into the freezer

Additional Notes:

* If you don't want to use mashed pumpkin, you can use a cup of pureed apple instead. If you're using apple puree, then ease up on the glucose or it may be too sweet for you. For a wholesome Red Velvet Chocolate cupcake, add a cup of raw finely grated beetroot.
* You can substitute Honey or Rice Malt Syrup if you don't have Glucose. Some may find the recipe not sweet enough, especially if they're used to eating store bought or traditional cupcakes, so you might need to add more sweetness. You could also use Stevia, I tend not to use a lot of that as I don't like the taste of it.
* When you're testing for readiness of the cupcakes, you want the skewer to be a bit dirty, but not wet. In other words,you want to under-do them to get that lovely moist "lava" quality.
* Feel free to add things like vanilla or your favourite nuts or even date chunks. Remember, I had limited items at the time.
* If you want an egg-free version, then use 2 tbs of chia seeds to 1/2 cup of water. Stir the seeds and water and wait for the seeds to expand, forming a jelly-like goo. This can then be substituted for the 2 eggs.
* The measurements I've included are approximate and even when I make batches of the cupcakes now, I play around with the quantities.
* This recipe is Gluten-Free and Paleo-friendly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you have any questions or suggestions then feel free to post a comment.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Serendipity in Autumn

There has been that crispness to the air this week, that only autumn brings. The sun is still shining but the sting in the cool breeze reminds you it's time to add another layer of clothing and perhaps think about airing the winter doona. Our neighbour has a glorious liquid amber tree that stands as a beacon of reds and golds and rust at the moment, and today while I was doing the mundane task of hanging the washing on the line, I stopped and watched how the breeze was picking off the leaves and sending them whirling, twirling, cascading to the ground (and into the pool...). I did chuckle to myself when I thought of this autumn tree. And then I thought of the iPhone shot I took, was it last year or the year before? The well timed shot showing the leaves being flung from the tree...hmmm... I couldn't quite remember so I continued the task at hand so I could get back inside and away from the chilly air.

Scattering autumn leaves in today's warm breeze

Much later when I was checking my emails, a serendipitous moment occurred! For in the bunch of emails was none other than the one I receive from Photojojo, reminding me what I was doing a year ago, in images, thanks to their Time Capsule email. I can't remember when I signed up for it, a while ago now I'm certain. I love getting this email and I have to say that I never remember it's due until I see it in my inbox, then it's usually the first email I open so I can see what I was doing a year ago. So when I opened the Time Capsule, there was the shot! "The Scattering autumn leaves in the warm breeze" shot, taken on the 11th May last year. The tree is looking a little bare this year and the wind was definitely not warm but the dancing leaves were just as beautiful.

Have you signed up to the Photojojo Time Capsule email? If you've got a flickr account, then what are you waiting for?! It's sure to put a smile on your face as you go back in time and view what you were doing this time last year. Especially today when we tend not to print up our images, what better way to revisit your photo archives than with this little time capsule.

And because you can never take enough autumn photos, here's some dreamy samples I shot with the Olympus E-PM1 and a homemade bendy lens:

Serendipity in Autumn I Serendipity in Autumn II Serendipity in Autumn III

Oh, and as an aside, to let you know that the Sausage Sizzle and Cake Stall held in Leura this past weekend raised over $800 for Team Blue Magic! Thank you to all our supporters and I hope you enjoyed the cakes, slices and sausage sangers!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Fundraising Sausage Sizzle and Cake Stall - Leura

This is a shout out to all those who will be in the Leura area on Saturday 11th May 2013. The Blue Magic Team will be hosting a fundraising sausage sizzle and cake stall outside Woolworths starting at 9am. The proceeds will be going towards Ride to Conquer Cancer taking place later this year. Team members have been busy baking all sorts of treats including wheat-free chocolate cupcakes (seen here), banana bread and cake, banana and raspberry bread, banana and carrot cake, apple sour cream cakes, chocolate pretzel slices, lemon and poppy seed cookies, honey iced coffee cake and many others. This list of goodies is making me hungry!
Sweet treats for fundraising Cake Stall
Wheat-free Chocolate Cupcakes you'll find at the cake stall

So, what are the details again?

Fundraising Sausage Sizzle and Cake Stall

when: Saturday, 11th May 2013

where: outside Woolworths at Leura Mall, Leura NSW

time: 9am start

Proceeds will go towards the Blue Magic - Ride to Conquer Cancer Team.

You know, with Mother's Day being this Sunday, maybe take a run up the mountains, buy Mum a gift from one of the specialty boutiques in Leura, have yourself a sausage sanger, buy a cake or slice then mosey on back down the mountain and present Mum with the yummy cake or slice you've bought.

If you can't make it to Leura on Saturday morning - you know it's quite gorgeous at this time of year and the shops at Leura are a must-visit, and the stunning autumn colours are quite spectacular  - then, please consider donating anyway. All monetary donations will be gratefully accepted.

Have a lovely Mother's Day, whatever you decide to do :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Quick, Easy and Healthy Banana Pancakes

A few weeks ago my friend C. told me of a very quick and easy banana pancake recipe and I had all but forgotten about it until this morning when I spied the bananas in the fruit bowl. I don't know if your household is the same, but bananas in my household are either immediately scoffed and you question whether you actually bought them in the first place, or they're completely ignored and then the only thing they're good for is for baking into banana cake/bread/muffins.

Back to the quick, easy and healthy recipe - and this is yummy enough to be served up as an afternoon snack and dare I say it, even dessert!

Quick, Easy, Healthy Banana Pancakes

What you'll need:

1 banana, mashed with a fork
1 egg
Sprinkling of cinnamon powder

1 sandwich press
3 egg rings that you've greased with a little bit of butter.

* This is enough for one serving. You can alternate the egg/banana ratio depending on how many bananas your family has left you, and how many people you need to make this for. I waited for the family to head to work, school and uni before making this - sneaky, I know ;)

I really should have cleaned the sandwich press, or at least photoshopped the crumbs away...


Preheat your sandwich press. Mine doesn't have a temperature control dial so it's either off or on. Place the 3 greased egg rings on the sandwich press. In a small bowl, add the egg to the mashed banana and keep mooshing together until a nice gloopy consistency is created. Sprinkle some cinnamon powder to taste. Pour the mixture into the egg rings and close the lid. It only takes a few minutes to cook, so while you're waiting, you can slice up some seasonal fruit or raid the pantry for nuts. Grab a plate, test the pancakes to make sure they're cooked (I did this by cutting into one of them). Run a butter knife along the edges of the egg ring in order to release the pancake. Stack the pancakes on your plate, add a dollop of ricotta and the seasonal fruit, then finish off with another sprinkling of cinnamon. Sit down and enjoy it!

Delicious breakfast for one. Nom!


* Omit the ricotta if you don't eat dairy, use a dollop of tahini instead.
* If you prefer your food a little sweeter (note that I didn't add any sweeteners natural or otherwise), then add a squirt of honey or your favourite sweetener to the eggy mixture.
* To turn this into a simple dessert, add a handful of dark chocolate bits to the eggy mixture, then serve the lot with ice cream or sorbet or yoghurt.

There would be countless alternatives to this simple recipe. Best of all, it's quick, you don't need any high falutin' appliances and the resulting dish is delicious, wholesome and versatile. Give me this delicious breakfast to the alternative breakfast that's served up from a cardboard box any day!

Thanks so much C. for the great breakfast tip! xx

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