Louise cake

March 13, 2019

An old-fashioned favourite, probably named after Queen Victoria's daughter Louise. It's called a cake but it's really a traybake slice. I like that it uses the eggs two ways and I've cut back on the sugar and butter from traditional recipes. I've also used sugar-free jam, which is available from supermarkets or you can make your own chia jam.
You can veganise this recipe by using aquafaba instead of egg whites. For the base use dairy-free spread and omit the egg yolks.

125g butter or dairy-free spread
1/2 c unrefined sugar (I used panela)
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c flour (I used spelt)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c sugar-free jam (I used Barker's Spreadable Fruit)
2 egg whites
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c desiccated or threaded coconut

Preheat oven to 170C. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks one at a time. Sift in flour and baking powder and stir until combined. Use your hands to bring the dough together. Press evenly into your cake tin, using the back of a metal spoon to smooth out.

Bake for 10 min then let cool for 10 min. Increase temperature to 180C.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks. Mix in vanilla extract and coconut.

Spread the jam evenly over the slice and top with the meringue. Sprinkle a little more coconut on the top if you wish.

Bake for 15-20 min. Check halfway and rotate tin and/or cover with foil if meringue is browning too quickly.

Leave to cool in the tin then cut into slices.


Vegan gingerbread

March 11, 2019

The hankering for gingerbread came late on a Sunday night. I'm sure I dreamt about them. So I knew what I had to do on Monday morning...

2 tbsp ground flaxseed
115 g butter or non-dairy spread
1/2 c unrefined sugar (I used panela)
1/2 c molasses
1 1/2 c flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
up to 1 c boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.

In a small cup mix the...

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Vegan cheezy crackers

March 9, 2019

These are nice and cheesy without the cheese!

1 c flour (I used oat)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp black sesame seeds, optional
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coconut oil or vegan butter
1 tsp lemon juice
5-6 tbsp cold water, as needed

Preheat oven to 180C. 

In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the oils and juice and mix with a fork. Add enough cold water to form a dough.

Roll dough in betwe...

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Garibaldi biscuits

March 7, 2019

I never knew these were called Garibaldi biscuits. In my childhood we usually bought them, and they were called Full o' Fruit or Golden Fruit. Surprisingly easy to make - it's just dried fruit sandwiched between layers of pastry. These worked out so well, I'm going to try a cranberry filling next time.

Makes 24 pieces
3/4 c currants or raisins
2 tbsp brandy
1 1/2 c flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
1/4 c caster sugar (I used golden organic and panela)
80g cold butter, chopped
1/3 c milk, appro...

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Jaffa thins

March 4, 2019

Unlike my husband, I'm a big fan of orange and chocolate. So this batch is just for me! 

Makes around 45
250g butter or dairy-free spread, softened
1/2 c fine granulated sugar (I used panela)
zest from 1 orange
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp orange extract or essence
2 1/2 c flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
200g dark chocolate, melted (I used Whittaker's 72%)

In a large bowl beat the butter with an electric whisk (or by hand) until soft. Add sugar, zest, baking powder and salt and bea...

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Prune muffins

February 28, 2019

How I do love prunes, and they add such sweetness and moistness to cakes and muffins. Keeps you regular too!

1 egg
1 c milk (I used rice)
1/4 c vegetable oil (I used rice bran)
1/4 c honey or brown rice syrup
2 tbsp panela or coconut sugar
2 c flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 c prunes, diced

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cases

In a small bowl mix egg, milk, oil, sweetener and sugar.

In a large bowl sift in flou...

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Sesame nori crackers

February 23, 2019

I just don't have enough black sesame seeds in my life! This recipe only uses a tablespoon but it really adds to the flavour. It's from Superfood Energy Balls & Bites by Nicola Graimes (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018). You can use other flours if you don't have buckwheat on hand but buckwheat is particularly high in protein and fibre.

Makes 12 crackers
1/3 c white sesame seeds
1/2 c buckwheat flour (I made mine by grinding buckwheat groats in a coffee grinder)
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbs...

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Healthy popcorn balls

February 21, 2019

What to make for the school picnic? Something bite size, sweet and healthy - who doesn't love popcorn?

Makes 20 balls

1/4 c popcorn kernels
1/4 c tahini or nut butter
1/2 c rice syrup or honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp desiccated coconut

Pop the corn (on stove top or microwave) and put in a large bowl; discard kernels that haven't popped.

In a small saucepan melt the tahini, rice syrup and coconut oil. Let bubble vigorously for a few minutes, remove from hea...

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Vegan gingernuts

February 19, 2019

I've made a few gingernuts in my time but I wanted to use molasses in these ones to add a depth of flavour. I also think to get the best crispiness in a biscuit you need to cream your butter and sugar first. Vegan butter and unrefined sugar work just as well as your bog-standard alternative, and are much healthier of course.

Makes 24
60g dairy-free spread (I used Olivani)
3/4 c coconut or brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
2 c flour (I used spelt)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking...

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Vegan chocolate cranberry muffins

February 19, 2019

No eggs - no worries! You can still whip up a batch of yummy muffins, and make them sugar-free and gluten-free too. I got these done in less than an hour and took them to a Connect the Dots art appreciation event. This charity connects and engages older people and people living with dementia in art tours and workshops in galleries around Auckland. I help out at Pah Homestead, such a lovely venue.

4 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flaxseed)
10 tbsp filtered water
1/4 c maple syrup
3/4 c rice syrup
1/4 c coco...
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Frances Chan loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and has written a couple of children's books. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram.

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