Guilt-Free Baking

“As a chef, low-fat, low-calorie cookbooks were always the ones I walked straight past in the bookstore. It’s not because I don’t want to eat healthily – like everybody else, I have to watch what I eat. But after trying a few of them, it seemed all the fun bits had been taken out.  The food tasted like cardboard and had the texture of sawdust, and that seemed especially true of so many low-calorie and low-fat baking books.

I have inherited my mother’s sweet tooth and I also just love to bake, so the option of having only one sweet treat a week – as many books suggest – is just never going to work for me…” –Gee Charman

Guilt-Free Baking is the perfect treat for everyone trying to be healthier and eat a more balanced diet without giving up all of the fun.  Gee Charman has created a lovely book with stunning images and tempting recipes that allow you to enjoy treats without any of the guilt that so often goes with them. Options like Lavendar Cupcakes, Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes, Go Fruity Muffins, Custard Drops, Gingersnaps, and Chocolate Chip and Raisin Cookies ensure that you will have plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing healthy eating. The Apricot and Rosemary Tart, Pear Tarts Tatin, Light Lemon Meringue Pies, Pear and Blackberry Pie, Apple and Ginger Strudel, and Coffee Eclairs offer glamorous dessert options for those trying to make every meal a bit sweeter without forgoing healthy eating. Guilt Free Baking is so much fun; while it does not follow vegan or gluten-free guidelines, there are a number of options for people of all dietary lifestyles.  Enjoy the sweets without the guilt!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting

For the chocolate cakes:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond milk, plus extra for the frosting

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1 cup less 1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

2 cups self-rising flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

For the avocado frosting:

2 ripe avocados

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 tablespoons honey

a little almond milk, to loosen

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two 12-hole-mini-muffin pans with paper cases.

2. Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl and stir well, then leave to one side for a few minutes to curdle. Beat in the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract, if using, and beat until frothy. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together well.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling the sections three-quarters full. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

4. To make the frosting, scoop the avocado flesh into a small blender. Add the cocoa powder and honey and process until smooth, then gradually add a little almond milk, a drop at a time, until the mixture just begins to hold its shape.

5. Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag and pipe the frosting onto the middle of the cakes in a nice high peak.

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