7 abr. 2018

Beet Cake with Lemon Cashew Buttercream

It's been a while since I shared a cake recipe on here so what a better way to celebrate that spring is finally here than enjoying a piece of this delicious beetroot cake? The flavor is pretty similar to carrot cake but has a more "toasty" aftertaste, worry not cause you won't notice any weird beetroot flavor: it's incredibly spiced, super tender and moist, and makes such a great combo with my go-to lemony cashew buttercream (I'm seriously addicted to cashew-based frostings and creams!). 
I've seen many chocolate beet cakes around the web but rarely spotted an only-beetroot cake, or some of them only had beetroot powder as the coloring...which makes me think: how can you name a recipe 'Beetroot cake' if your cake only has a tiny amount of beet powder or beet juice?! I mean, where's the real damn beet? It's like making carrot cake without using any REAL carrot, dude you have to shred that bunch of carrots like there's no tomorrow!
So after doing a little bit of recipe testing I created my version and it was a hit! Truth be told I was quite skeptical and doubtful about the results but all the beet stains on my hands (and my sister's) and a kitchen sink that looked like a crime scene were all worth it.
The lemon cashew buttercream is my absolute favorite in the whole wide world and it's also perfect for piping so use it for cupcakes or cake decorations too; this time I was too lazy to grab my piping bag and went for a more simple decoration, a little bit of beet powder sprinkled on top and that's it!

Beet Cake with Lemon Cashew Buttercream
(8 to 10 servings approximately)

- For the beet cake:
1 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
1/4 teaspoon chinese five spice powder.
1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
3 tablespoons (mild-tasting) extra virgin olive oil.
3/4 cup pure maple syrup.
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk.
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
2 tablespoons orange juice.
1 1/2 cups shredded beetroots, firmly packed.
1/4 to 1/3 cups chopped pecan nuts.
3 tablespoons raisins.

- For the lemon buttercream:
1 cup raw cashews.
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk.
3 tablespoons agave syrup.
3 teaspoons lemon juice.
1 or 2 drops organic lemon essential oil.
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
1/3 cup melted coconut oil.
2 tablespoons melted cacao butter.

- To decorate:
Beetroot powder (optional).

I recommend to make the cashew buttercream the day before assembling the cake because it has to set overnight or until it thickens and becomes spreadable.
- Cashew buttercream:
Soak the cashews in a bowl with purified water and a generous pinch of salt until the puff up and get soft, 4 hours approximately or preferably overnight.
Rinse well and place them into a high-speed blender or food processor with the milk. Blend until a smooth cream forms, make sure there are no visible lumps; you might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the container a few times. Add in the agave syrup, lemon juice, salt and two drops of lemon essential oil. Blend again until completely combined and gradually pour in the melted coconut oil and cacao butter. The cashew buttercream should look smooth and creamy. Transfer to an airtight container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. The cream will thicken considerably once it's chilled.
- Beet cake:
Peel and grate the beetroots and transfer them to a strainer to squeeze out the excess liquid, this is a very important step to avoid excess moisture in the cake (otherwise it won't rise well).
Preheat oven to 170 ºC (350 ºF) and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray or coconut oil one 15 cm/6-inch diameter x 10cm/4-inch tall round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl sift in the flour, baking powder, soda, spies and salt. Stir with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, maple syrup, milk, vinegar and orange juice, until well mixed.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. Fold in the grated beets, raisins and pecan nuts with a silicone spatula.
Fill the cake pan with the batter and bake for 1 hour approximately or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay).
Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, unmold and peel off the parchment paper carefully; let it cool completely on a wire rack (top side up).
Once the cake is cool cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, this way it'll be easier to cut into layers.
- Assembling:
Let the cashew buttercream thaw a little bit at room temperature before spreading. Cut the chilled cake in three layers and place one of them on a flat plate or cake stand, spread a generous amount of the cashew buttercream, cover with the second layer and repeat the process until the cake is assembled. Spread the top with the remaining buttercream and sprinkle with beetroot powder to decorate (optional).
Store the cake covered in the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature a few minutes before serving.

22 mar. 2018

Superfood Cacao Cookies

I made these cookies back in january for the first time and since them I've been baking several batches cause they are seriously delicious (and so easy to make!). Maybe I should have gone for a more spring-like/Easter recipe this week but it still feels like winter here in Barcelona even if the sun is finally out (I'm wrapped in my blankie as I'm typing this post). Talking about Easter, I'm so un-inspired this year! Maybe it's because I'm super busy working on collaborations and can't focus on other things and also my mom's birthday was just a few days ago and we ate too many brownies + vanilla ice cream to celebrate so I don't know what kind of non-chocolate Easter treat to do...I've always done super chocolatey desserts for this holiday but, should I keep eating MORE chocolate?! My chocoholic heart says 'yes' but my brain tells me I should eat more veggies or else that six-pack will never become a reality, lol. Owell, maybe if I just taste a small piece and give the rest to my family so I don't fall into temptation..?
Okay, back to these cookies: they are gluten-free and packed with many superfoods such as maca root powder, ground flax seeds, pure cocoa powder, cacao nibs, and I'd dare to say oats too, because they have so many health benefits that I consider them another superfood. Not only these cookies are quite good for you, they have an almost brownie-like center and taste incredibly good. For this recipe I like to use different nut butters each time but my faves are almond butter and tahini. Last but not least, when these cuties are in the oven the aroma is almost mesmerizing. Hope you enjoy them!

Superfood Cacao Cookies
(yield: 12-14 cookies)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats, firmly packed.
1/2 cup oat flour.
2 tablespoons maca rot powder.
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds.
2 tablespoons pure cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder).
1/2 teaspoon bakingg powder.
1/2 teaspoon bang soda.
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
A pinch of pure vanilla powder.
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted.
1/3 cup coconut sugar.
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or agave syrup).
1/3 cup natural almond butter (or tahini).
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce.
- Optional add-ins (but recommended):
Raw unsalted cashews.
Cacao nibs.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, maca, flaxmeal, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Use a hand whisk to distribute well all the ingredients. Add in the rolled oats and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the coconut sugar, coconut oil, syrup, almond butter and applesauce. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine with a silicone spatula until well mixed.
Transfer the cookie dough to the fridge for 10-15 minutes, this dough is quite sticky so if it's cold it'll be easier to scoop.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop around 2 tablespoons of chilled dough per cookie and roll into balls using your clean hands, transfer to the prepared baking sheets and gently press them down to form discs. Decorate the tops with cashews and cacao nibs.
Bake for 15 minutes approximately, but keep an eye on them cause they brown quite quickly! They will be quite soft straight out of the oven but will harden as they cool.
Carefully transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack (I recommend using a thin spatula), and cool completely.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

15 mar. 2018

Chocolate Banana Bread

I love the chocolate and banana combo, wether it is a smoothie, cookie or a yummy toast with homemade chocolate spread (always homemade!) and sweet, ripe banana slices with all the toppings! I made Pumpkin and Banana Pecan bread two years ago but since then I haven't tried any banana-based bread so when you have a bunch of super ripe bananas you know what you have to do, right? I still have two previous recipes waiting to be published but felt like sharing this one with you guys this week cause I'm really happy with how it came out and hopefully you'll like it too.
I highly recommend to serve this loaf with the sweet almond sauce cause it seriously takes this recipe to a whole new level, makes the experience extra juicy and extra yummy. Also, for those days when you want something a lil more decadent try replacing the cacao nibs with dark chocolate chips, the darker the better, preferably up to 70 % cacao. This time I used cacao nibs and chopped walnuts because next weekend we'll celebrate my mom's birthday and there will be tons of chocolate involved...of course I'm in charge of the cake; this year mama Carmen asked for a brownie cake (no wonder where my passion for chocolate comes from...).
Before I forget, this recipe is completely plant-based, refined sugar-free and gluten-free, woohoo! Also, delicious, tender and moist. ;-)

Chocolate Banana Bread
(8 to 10 servings approximately)

- For the banana bread:
1 cup oat flour.
3/4 cup brown rice flour.
4 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch.
1/2 cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder.
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
A pinch of pink himalayan salt.
1 1/2 cups banana puree, around 4 ripe bananas.
3/4 cups unsweetened oat milk.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
1/4 cup pure maple syrup.
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, melted.
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped.
1/2 cup cacao nibs.

- For the sweet almond sauce:
4 tablespoons natural almond butter.
4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted.
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup.

Preheat oven to 170 ºC (338 ºF), lightly grease a loaf tin with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
In a small mixing bowl stir together the milk and vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes while you mix the dry ingredients. The milk will kind of curdle, it's the vegan version of buttermilk.
In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, cornstarch, cocoa powder, psyllium, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine with a wire whisk until well mixed.
In a separate bowl mash the bananas until you get 1 1/2 cups of puree, add in the maple syrup, coconut oil and milk mixture. Gently whisk until combined and add this wet mixture into the dry mixture, mixing with a silicone spatula until thoroughly combined and no flour lumps are visible.
Finally stir in the chopped walnuts and cacao nibs and pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. 
Bake for 1 hour approximately or until a fine wooden cake tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
While the banana bread is in the oven we can prepare the sweet sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients with a fork in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside at room temperature.
Once the bread is ready, let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes approximately, then unmold and cool completely on a wire rack.
Drizzle the top of the bread with the sweet sauce and serve the slices with the remaining sauce.
Store the bread in an airtight container at room temperature. Store the leftover almond sauce in a sealed container, refrigerated. Keep in mind that once it's cold the sauce will become solid because it contains coconut oil, so you will have to place it in a small saucepan over low heat in order to become pourable again.