Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Date and carrot cake - no processed sugar, dairy and gluten free

An afternoon with my stitchy friends called for a cake that had no processed sugar. This super-quick cake is delicious, and gets all its sweetness from the dates and carrot.  You could cut the amount of oil if you planned to eat the whole thing the day you made it- if you want to keep it longer the oil will keep this moist for several days.

Set oven to 175C
I used two small paper loaf cases - if using metal tins grease or line with baking paper


  • 150g dates
  • 1 egg
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 175g grated carrot - 1 large (I used a food processor, ready-grated or hand grater would be fine)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 150g self raising flour (mine is 40% urid lentil, 40% tapioca, 20% rice, with 1.5tsp baking powder to 100g)
  • water if needed to slacken batter

Blitz the dates with the egg and oil in a blender to get a slurry.
Tip into a bowl and add the other ingredients, stirring well to ensure you don't have lumps of dry flour hiding in amongst the grated carrot.  You want the batter to be a bit sloppy, so add some water if it is hard to get off the spoon.

Put batter in two loaf cases and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-35 minutes, checking to be sure that a knife comes out quite clean to show it is cooked.  I didn't get mine quite even, and the smaller one took 25 minutes, the larger 30.  If you put all the batter in one tin add extra time, but drop the temperature if the top begins to get too brown.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Blueberry crunch cookies

I hadn't planned to write any more posts, but lately I've been mildly exasperated when I make something delicious and have no idea how to replicate it- and I get asked by others for recipes, and my usual, "bung a few things together and see what happens" is not helpful for them.
So, I'm reopening this blog for occasional use as my recipe file.

I made some delicious crunchy cookies a few days ago, and really wanted to be able to make them again.  Fortunately I had put some of the dough in the freezer, so I had raw dough for comparison and also could cook a bit of this dough to do the baked comparison.  It took a bit of tweaking, but here is a recipe that is very delicious, crunchy without being crumbly, and dairy free as well as gluten free.  I tried a bit of the dough without egg but it just splidged and disintegrated when baked, so I can't say that if you need to skip the egg just add a bit less flour- I haven't done a successful egg-free test yet.

I included the hemp seed as we had some available, and I like the added omegas and also I think it gives a lightness to the texture and some visual interest.  If you haven't got any substitute your favourite seeds or just add a bit more flour if your dough is sloppy.


160g coconut oil (solid at room temp)
160g demerera sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
300g self raising flour (I use a mixture that is 40% urid lentil, 40% tapioca, 20% rice, with 1.5tsp (7.5g) baking powder to 100g of flour)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mixed spice
40g hemp
80g dried blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 175C
Warm the coconut oil to make it easier to get out of the jar.
Mix oil and sugar
Add in the egg (make sure your oil isn't hot before you do this or you will scramble the egg!)
Mix in vanilla
Add in flour, hemp and spice
Mix in blueberries

The dough should be quite stiff.
Roll into rounds between palm and press onto a lined baking sheet, or dollop with two teaspoons if you prefer.

Bake at 175C for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.  Keep an eye on them- they go from brown to burnt quite quickly.  It is better to get them out too soon then put them back for a bit longer than to go away having set the timer, coming back too late.

Slide the baking parchment with cookies onto your cooling rack and let them sit until they begin to stiffen.  Move them off the paper onto the rack and leave until cold before putting in a cookie jar.

If you want to keep some dough for later just form into a roll, wrap in freezer paper and over wrap with clingfilm.  Slice and bake when you need some more.