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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Banana Maple & Walnut Raw Energy Cookies

dried banana, dates, walnuts and maple in these healthier take on cookies

These Banana Maple and Walnut treats are not naughty at all...

I have to be honest and say I’m trying to be healthier. When I started Cakeyboi back in 2012, I had recently lost about 3 stone and was feeling great.

dried banana, dates, walnuts and maple in these healthier take on cookies

I loved baking, and it seemed at the time I could bake (and eat) pretty much anything I liked and I stayed thin. But over the years the pounds have piled back on and my energy levels have dipped.

As much as I enjoy my sweet treats, I always say they are sometimes treats and not every day eats! I am getting married later this year and want to lose a few pounds before the big day. Orka the whale would not look good in wedding photos.

I will bring you more about the big day in months to come, but in the meantime I am going to try and make some healthier treats for us all to enjoy.

dried banana, dates, walnuts and maple in these healthier take on cookies

I’m not abandoning my sweet-tooth altogether. There will still be plenty of sugar-infused mayhem between now and then, but I shall try and balance this with some healthier spins on sweet treats.

And to start with I am sharing with you a favourite of mine – banana, maple and walnut energy cookies. I say cookies as they are disc shaped, but you could make these in any shape you wanted. Bliss balls are very popular, bars or triangles whatever you can mould the mix into.

I made these discs in my Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie. I cannot recommend this blender more, it really copes with any old sticky stuff I shove in it. As you have probably seen in previous posts this blender can even crush concrete!

But for this recipe  I am using dried banana which I found in a local health food store. It comes in a block and looks a bit suspicious in it’s raw state, but blended up with other ingredients can become so much more.

We are getting married in Canada, and I love the country’s main export - maple!  I stop myself from saying maple syrup as I also have maple sugar in the cupboard which is amazing stuff. Crystallised maple syrup, maple sugar has equal amounts of flavour.

dried banana, dates, walnuts and maple in these healthier take on cookies

In these raw cookies I pack dried banana, dried dates, maple sugar AND syrup plus walnuts. These are so tasty and provide you with plenty of energy before a session at the gym or a long ramble. Not too sinful at all!

They taste just as good as your breakfast waffle topped with bananas and syrup but are not quite so naughty!

(I got my dried banana from Holland and Barrett, but are easily purchased online).

Here’s how I made them…

print recipe

Banana Maple and Walnut Energy Cookies
Dried banana, maple and walnut in these healthier take on cookies.
  • 150 grams dried banana
  • 70 grams pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon maple sugar
  • 50 grams walnuts
Place the dried banana, dates, maple syrup and sugar plus 30 grams of walnuts in a blender and blitz until the ingredients resemble a smooth substance.Remove the blend and place into greaseproof paper and chill for an hour.After the hour, remove from the fridge and roll between two sheets of greaseproof paper until about a quarter of an inch thick.Cut out circles about 2 inches in diameter.Blitz the remaining walnuts in the Optimum 9400 until they resemble breadcrumbs.Dust the discs in the walnut crumbs.Chill the circles on greaseproof paper, about 2 hours more.Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 20 cookies approx.

Disclosure Statement: I received the blender free to review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Brownie Batter Swirled Cookie Dough Fudge

Brownie batter flavoured fudge and cookie dough flavoured fudge swirled together to give the ultimate tasting sweet treat which tastes just like licking out the bowl.

Do you like it raw?

By that I mean, raw cake mix. If you are like me, you lick out the bowl once you have made your cake or cookies (and perhaps even leave some over on purpose) just because raw cake mix tastes so good!

Brownie batter flavoured fudge and cookie dough flavoured fudge swirled together to give the ultimate tasting sweet treat which tastes just like licking out the bowl.

Go on, admit it I bet you do.

Brownie batter flavoured fudge and cookie dough flavoured fudge swirled together to give the ultimate tasting sweet treat which tastes just like licking out the bowl.

This treat will satisfy that fresh from the mixing bowl craving...

I’ve made some cookie dough based treats here on the blog before, and then I started to notice some raw varieties of fudge on Pinterest. Cookie dough fudge and brownie batter fudge. Both sounded equally delicious, so I thought why not combine the two?

Brownie batter flavoured fudge and cookie dough flavoured fudge swirled together to give the ultimate tasting sweet treat which tastes just like licking out the bowl.

I experimented in the kitchen swapping some of the ingredients in the original recipes as they were more American friendly (half and half is something we don’t get in the UK). Boxed brownie mix is quite easy to come by here, I used ASDA's own, but any brand would do.

The result was a very sweet and tempting fudge. Not something you would eat a lot of in one go, as it is very, very rich, but something you will love, if like me, you like it raw!

The fudge did taste just like when you scrape out the mixing bowl when making chocolate chip cookies and brownie batter, but all in one.

A wee tip: When ready to serve, stud the fudge pieces with some little chocolate chips, just so they ‘pop’.

(There are no uncooked eggs in this recipe, so anyone who may be concerned about eating these, need not fear.)

I've adapted recipes from Buns In My Oven blog and Kedar Hower blog. Here’s how I made it…

Brownie batter flavoured fudge and cookie dough flavoured fudge swirled together to give the ultimate tasting sweet treat which tastes just like licking out the bowl.

I'm entering this 'bake' into this month's Alphabakes hosted by Caroline at Caroline Makes and this month Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker. The letter is F - (for fudge here)...

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Eurovision Cake 2016!

eurovision cake 2016

If you are a regular Cakeyboi reader you will know that the Eurovision Song Contest is a special time of year for me.

Much like someone may get excited about a Wimbledon final or a footie match, I get extremely het up for the yearly Grand Prix D'Chanson!

In it's 61st year now, my friends and I all gather for a Eurovision shindig, usually at my friend Ewan's. This year however, so we could show off our new abode, we held the Euro Pops Party.

We have a sweepie, all putting in 50p per country and everyone brings along food and drink from a participating country.

And I always make a cake - normally the flag of the host nation. Well, it was Sweden this year and Sweden only won a few years back when I made a Blue Velvet Cake for the occasion.

So, how could I up the ante this year? By not doing a traditional flag cake of course. Instead I made a white cake sponge (dying it luridly blue with blue extra food colouring) and sandwiching a lemon yellow cheesecake between the layers.

eurovision cake 2016

Sheer decadence, I was quite restrained on the outside and had a simple cream cheese and whipped cream frosting. I topped this with a few select coloured chocolate drops, topped with a Swedish flag and festivities began.

(I even made some savoury nibbles, which I thought were picturesque!)

It was a cracking show, the hosts Mans and Petra were hilarious and very, very talented. Then the results came in. It was a bit different this year in that the jury vote was shown first, then the public vote was added on at the end.

The UK were doing the best they'd done in years, until the telephone votes were added in and we plummeted to third last in the overall results. I wonder why the rest of Europe hates us so much?

Ukraine won (it was down to them and Russia at the end, who says it not political?!) and it was almost as if I had predicted the winning country through the colours of my cake. The Ukraine flag is below...

Not sure what I will do next year, but I think my experiment with blue extra was a one time thing(!).

There is no recipe as such for this cake - I used a simple white cake recipe I found on line, any would do. Just make sure it is 'blue extra' food colouring you use, as this gives the most intense colour, without too much needing added. I also used goat butter for this as it's very pale, almost white. And I used clear vanilla extract. This ensures that the batter stays a non-yellow colour which can make the blue turn greeny/teal.

The cheesecake recipe can be found at a Recipe Girl. I just added lemon extract instead of vanilla and added the zest of half a lemon.

My recipe for cream cheese frosting can be found at my previous Swedish flag cake post.

Here's to next year's song contest and the UK not winning (again!).

Monday, 16 May 2016

Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea Book Giveaway

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Here is another great giveaway this month, to help celebrate my blog's 4th birthday.

It's a copy of the new Eric Lanlard book 'Afternoon Tea' published by Mitchell Beazley Publishing.

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When I first started my blog and decided to call it Cakeyboi, I had no idea that Eric calls himself Cake Boy - a happy coincidence, although I will probably never be quite as accomplished as Mr Lanlard himself!

Eric's new book is truly a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

In it, he guides you through every step of creating the perfect afternoon tea, from insider tips on how to get the best from your ingredients to which tea to pair with your dishes.

Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea offers six themed menus, such as Mother's Day, Sweet Valentine and Autumn Comfort with each aesthetically pleasing selection offering a distinct layers of flavours and textures. The photographs in this book will make you hungry just looking at them.

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From savoury macarons such as Lemon and Pepper with smoked salmon, to the stunning red velvet Cheesecake that you can see a couple of photos above, this book is a must have.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Afternoon Tea by Eric Lanlard, simply enter via the Rafflecopter thingamajig below.

The giveaway is open until 30 May, to UK residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure Statement: I was sent a copy of the book to giveaway. Any opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid to promote the book or run the giveaway.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

That's What I Call New #11

As a blogger, I am lucky enough to be sent some products from time to time, from companies who would like me to share my thoughts on their products.

My round up of products this time include, flavoured raw cacao powder, naturally good apple juice, some Dutch sweets and something that shares its name with a bush kangaroo. Read on…

First up Choc Chick, who are purveyors of delicious, ethically sourced ingredients for you to make your own chocolates, have launched a range of ‘Blissful Blends’. These are raw cacao powders with added flavour. I was sent two pouches to try – Heart Warming Cinnamon and Marvellous Mandarin. I have used Choc Chicks raw cacao before and find it great to use in hot chocolates, smoothies, shakes, baked into brownies and so on. The flavours in these blissful blends give a great twist to regular cacao powder and have so many uses, you will love them. They can be found in 240 Holland and Barrett stores across the UK. Grab them soon.

Next I was sent some fizzy apple juice called Newton’s Appl Fizzics. This is apple juice mixed with sparkling water. The ingredients are 100% natural and the drinks claims to have 40% less sugars than regular apple juice. The drink has no ‘e’ numbers hence there is no E on the end of Appl. The juice is crisp and refreshing and great chilled on a hot day. The drink comes in 330ml bottles (£1.29) and 750ml bottles (£2.49) both from Amazon.

I received some sweets from Hema to try. Hema is a department store which dates back to 1926 in Amsterdam. They now have stores all over Europe and sell just about everything. Including sweets! I was sent some pure liquorice, Old Dutch classic mix and some mini dutch waffles.  These were very tasty (although I’m not a fan of liquorice, Disneyboi enjoyed these tho). The mini waffles went great with a cuppa and the classic mix were good old fashioned ‘boilings’ as my mum would call them. Hema have an online store and these treats range in price from £1.50 to £1.75.

Now that kangaroo reference at the start...Who remembers 'Uptown Funk' from last year? A great tune, I’m sure you will agree and the song contains the lyrics ‘smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy’. Well, because of this, America’s famous peanut butter is 'now hitting these shores' for us all to enjoy (although I must admit I have enjoyed it for years from my local Sainsburys). It really is a deliciously smooth peanut butter which I love on toast with some strawberry jam. I also love baking with it. I was sent a jar of their super crunch, extra crunchy peanut butter too, which is equally as good, just with added bite! I get mine for £1.80 currently in Sainsburys.

I was not sent this last product, but it’s one I found in the freezer section of a supermarket and I love it. I love waffles, the sweet variety for breakfast, none of this potato nonsense for me. I remember being in America when I was 4 and being obsessed with the round frozen variety, which I duly slathered with pancake syrup. Well now Bird’s Eye have launched frozen breakfast waffles in the UK. These are so much better than the plastic wrapped toaster waffles for some reason. You can get them in classic variety or cinnamon. Both are smashing for your breakfast and take only 3 minutes in the toaster from frozen. Making your own is great, but for convenience sake, these frozen waffles are so handy and tasty (they are also selling frozen pancakes too!).

That's my round up for now. I'd love to know your thoughts on any of these products if you've tried them yourself.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Coffee Kisses - Mmmwah!

We had another meeting of the Dundee Baking Club recently. It was my turn to host our baking event which we hold every 6 weeks or so in Dundee city centre.

As it was my turn, I set the theme of Retro. I thought folk could whip up treats from yesteryear that they used to make, or open an old cookbook and try a recipe they’d been dying to give a go.

On this occasion I reached for the good old Be-ro Cookbook. A long, slender manual of recipes using Be-ro flour, unsurprisingly. Did you know that Bero is short for Bells Royal? – no, neither did I!

The Be-ro cookbook has been on the go since 1923 and is a staple in many, many kitchens across the United Kingdom.

My mum still has the copy above (thanks for the loan mum) which I used as a baking loving boy back in the 70’s/80’s and I have my own, more up-to-date copy.

I used to pour through the pages trying out different treats and one in particular was the recipe for Coffee Kisses. As I have mentioned before, I love coffee flavour in sweets and treats and these always appealed to me as a child.

I’m sure I remember making them again and again. Bit, that was a long time ago and I decided to whip them up for the baking club 2016.

It really took me back at how simple the recipe was – no fancy vanilla extracts, or pinches of salt here, piping bags involved there.

Having said that, I did add a wee pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness of the cookie and I did pipe in the coffee flavoured buttercream. Actually I had 30 grams less butter than I needed and used some cream cheese too!

The original recipe called for margarine, but I didn’t have much of my ‘butter substitute’ in the fridge, so I used good old butter.

They are a lot bigger than I remember coffee kisses being, which is strange as normally things always seem smaller as you get older (Wagon Wheels anyone?).

At the Baking Club, they went down a storm as did other bakes brought along such as custard creams, jam tarts, upside down cake, fruit loaf and more.

Here’s the recipe I adapted slightly from the Be-ro Cookbook...

print recipe

Coffee Kisses
Traditional coffee kisses from the Bero cookbook
  • 350 grams self raising flour
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 220 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 8 teaspoons strong instant coffee powder
  • 30 grams full-fat cream cheese
  • 200 grams icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.In a bowl sift the flour and salt together. Set aside.Dissolve the coffee in 4 tablespoons of boiling water. Let this cool.Beat together 150 grams of the butter and the caster sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy.Add the eggs, one at a time and beat in after each addition.Add the flour and mix just until no streaks of flour can be seen.Add the two tablespoons of the cooled coffee mix and stir in.Divide the mix into tablespoon sized balls and place on the baking sheets, slightly apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.Beat together the remaining butter, cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Add the two teaspoons of the remaining coffee mix. Beat this in.Spread or pipe the icing on the flat surface of half the baked coffee cookies and sandwich together with another.Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 24 approx.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Matcha Green Tea Giveaway

Today marks my blog’s 4th anniversary. Time really has flown quickly in 48 months. A big thanks to everyone who has stuck by me over the years and watched me learn my baking and blogging skills along the way.

old logo!
Cakeyboi isn’t renowned for healthy recipes, although there are a few on here, but it is known for sweet treats. And what goes better with a slice of cake or a petite treat?  A good cuppa! And nowadays, tea isn’t just restricted to a mug of builders tea.

For example matcha green tea is so popular right now. It’s green tea with bells on!

And I am delighted to bring you a giveaway of 100 gram pouches of Pure Chimp’s Matcha Green Tea, for 3 lucky Cakeyboi readers.

Pure Chimp make matcha, but slightly different in that it is kept undercover for the last two weeks before it is picked, filling it with extra goodness. 

What are the benefits of matcha? Well for a start one cup is equivalent to 10 of regular green tea. And in that cup you will be bombarded with anti-oxidants, it is one of the highest known sources of anti-oxidant.

Matcha also enhances calmness, boosts memory and concentration and also increases energy levels and endurance.

On top of this, matcha has been known to increase metabolism, and can help you burn fat four times faster than average. (What better to pair a bake made from Cakeyboi with?)

Plus matcha can detoxify your body, fortifies your immune system and can lower cholesterol!

So a cup of this stuff regularly can really have an amazing effect. It’s also good used in baking or added to smoothies, if you’d like to use it another way.

Here are some Matcha recipes from myself and other bloggers to inspire you.

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Green Tea and Shetland Seaweed Ice Cream - Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
Peach Matcha Smoothie - Recipe from a Pantry
Baked Matcha Doughnuts - Recipes from a Pantry
The giveaway of (100 gram pouches of ) matcha green tea (rrp £19.95)  from Pure Chimp is open until the 30 May and all you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter thingamajig below, with a blog comment minimum.