Archive for the ‘Cakes, biscuits and muffins’ Category

Paleo rock cakes

October 20, 2011

Who remembers rock cakes from their childhood? Anyone, anyone? My nana used to make them every time we went up to visit her on the Central Coast of NSW every month or so. They’re a little like scones, but with the texture and look of rough rocks. Only thing is, they don’t make for good pets unlike other rocks. I used to love them as a kid, but now I think back to it, the wheat flour used to leave a nasty aftertaste in my mouth which I’m not too keen on repeating these days, especially since I know wheat flour isn’t a requirement for straightforward and delicious baking adventures.

I used an Elana Amsterdam recipe, tweaking it a little and trying to get the shapes as rock-like as possible…I failed a little in that they weren’t jagged enough – they turned out more like rocks smoothed by the action water. I even made a special batch just for my Dad with some icky fake cherries in them just to cater to his desire to return to the era when his Mum would make these treats for him.

These make for a great treat to take out for a picnic or just for a snack on the go. You can also adapt them and include any ingredients you wish. Of course, that is if you can resist eating all them as soon as they come out of the oven!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup dried peaches, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup pecans or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg or 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon rice or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and soda
  2. Stir in dried fruit, seeds and nuts
  3. In a small bowl combine egg/s and syrup
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  5. Use your hands to form dough
  6. Shape dough into 3 x 3cm rough rock shapes  and about 2cm thick
  7. Cut dough into 16 squares
  8. Bake at 165C° on a lined baking tray for 10-15 minutes
  9. Serve
Rock cakes

Rock cakes

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Sweet potato almond loaf

October 7, 2011

In these trying financial times, where bananas are priced like gold bars, the humble sweet potato is a more than worthy replacement in baking recipes that call for some of that sweet yellow mush. Of course, in many Asian countries, sweet potato is a common ingredient in desserts, less so in the West. Of course., Americans are in sway to their iconic pumpkin pie, so it’s no great leap to think of a sweet potato in dessert or cake terms.

When I saw this recipe for sweet potato hazelnut cake on Chris Kresser’s wonderful site, I just knew I wanted to make it the next thing on my baking list especially considering the great banana crisis of 2011 had left a bit of a hole in my cooking repertoire. One of the commenters on Kresser’s post had also branched out to make the cake with spices, in the tradition of Scandinavian spice biscuits, which I love but are full of sugar and other nasties in commercial preparations. The first time I made this cake, I used hazelnut meal and included the spices – unfortunately, the spice flavouring overpowered the hazelnut flavour, so now I leave out the spices but will return to them later to make biscuits.

My more recent attempts at this cake (or loaf as I have made it) were using almond meal which is cheaper than hazelnut meal and is a real staple in my pantry. It has turned out perfectly each time – the sweet potato has a beautiful richness to it, especially since it is baked whole with the skin on before preparing the cake mix. Just like with banana, the sweetness means you can get away with much less sweetener than in traditional cakes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond or hazelnut meal
  • 1-2  small to med sweet potatoes (these should be relatively thin so they bake quicker)
  • 2 med eggs
  • 2 tsp. sweetener (coconut sugar, rice syrup, maple syrup, etc. – this is optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 50g nuts and/or seeds, chopped roughly (pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds all work well)
  • 30g raisins
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 175C or 160C for a fan forced oven. When the oven is ready, put the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and put them in the oven where they should remain until the sweet potatoes are quite soft when tested with a fork – you’ll probably notice some syrup comes out of them – no need for alarm! They usually take about an hour. Turn the oven off until the loaf/cake mix is ready. Let the sweet potatoes cool on a wire rack or overnight and peel the skin off.

Pre-heat the oven to 175C or 160C fan forced oven. When the skin has been peeled off completely and any hard parts of flesh have been discarded, mash the sweet potato thoroughly to ensure it is as smooth as possible. If you prefer, you can place all the ingredients in the food processor. If not, mix the dry ingredients together and also the wet ingredients (in separate bowls). Then, combine the two bowls of ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour into a 9×5 inch loaf tin lined with baking paper, making sure to evenly distribute the mix and smooth the top. Place in the oven, baking for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife entered in the centre comes out clean.

When ready, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

This loaf can be sliced with a sharp bread knife and either stored in the fridge or frozen – it’s best to slice and then freeze each slice flat on a tray otherwise the slices may freeze together and be annoying to separate. The loaf toasts really well, making for a great raisin toast replacement.

Sweet potato almond loaf

Sweet potato almond loaf

 

Sweet potato almond loaf

Sweet potato almond loaf

Father’s Day carrot cake extravaganza

September 5, 2011

I’ve had my eye on this Elana Amsterdam carrot cake recipe for quite a while now and Father’s Day was the perfect excuse to have a go at making it. I wasn’t really convinced the usual cake frosting could be done in a Paleo-friendly way, but I was happily proven wrong! It was delicious, in fact the cake was way better than any you could buy in a cafe. Yes, that may sound a little like I’ve got tickets on myself, but it really was that good. Only, not good enough for my twin brother to eat, but let’s not go there 😉 At least that means there was more for me and my Dad, since it was his day after all!

The only thing I need to sort out is how to avoid clumps in the icing which seemed to be the arrowroot powder clumping with the sweetener….I suspect it’s something to do with the temperature when the arrowroot paste gets mixed in with the rest of the icing mix.

As usual with Elana Amsterdam recipes, I swapped grapeseed oil for coconut oil and instead of agave (aka, hippie’s high fructose corn syrup) I used rice syrup and some maple syrup. The sweetness was perfect – the cake was moreish without being sickeningly sweet.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake