Strawberry Streusel Cake

453FA7BA-4CC0-48D8-969C-D9950CFB3E2D

This is, briefly and simply put, absolutely sublime. When I shared this loaf with my godparents, my mother and godsister, they all exclaimed it was incredible, especially doused in some heavy cream, after a lighthearted meal over denser conversation. And I do agree.

I’ll say it first before you get to the ingredients: This is a gluten-free cake. Yes, it is gluten-free, but. A but. I’ve recently become more aware of the effects of gluten not just in myself, but in others. I love my bread and might never stop eating it, however one too many a slice and I will feel it. The bloat, you get it. The carbohydrate may be the most demonised item in this current era of food-demonising, and it’s hard to determine what we could or should eat, if we end up eating anything at all. But this article puts things into nice perspective. That being said, the effects of refined flour cannot be denied and I too have to force myself to take it slow with the not-so-great stuff. There will always be room for dessert, just not every day of the week.

3728111 Processed with VSCO with e3 presetIMG_06153943549 Processed with VSCO with e3 preset

Therefore, the side effects of a Saturday morning’s adventurous spirit include stepping outside of my little box of refined flour and sugar and trying things like almond flour. And how simple, plain and easy, it was. How joyous, to mix something as nondescript as almond flour with eggs and then boom, a perfectly intact cake is born.

The cake is moist without being gluey, with that perfect golden-brown all over after the single hour in the oven. I used strawberries here but feel free to use any berries you have on hand, and the same goes for the streusel topping which has mixed nuts, in which case you can use whatever nuts you like.

4349530 Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Processed with VSCO with e2 preset453FA7BA-4CC0-48D8-969C-D9950CFB3E2D

Strawberry Streusel Cake (makes one 9×5-inch loaf)

Ingredients 

For the filling:

2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen), stems cut off and diced

100g (0.5 cup) sugar

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

0.5 tsp cornstarch

 

For the streusel topping:

45g (0.5 cup) almond flour

handful of chopped nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and walnuts)

90g (little less than 0.5 cup) sugar

35g (0.15 cup) salted butter, melted

 

For the cake:

3 eggs

50g (0.25 cup) light brown sugar

60g (0.25 cup) caster sugar

150g (around 1.5 cups+ 2 tbsp) almond flour

0.5 tsp baking powder

0.5 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

*Substitution notes:

VEGAN: Make 4 flax or chia ‘eggs’ in replacement of the 3 eggs, made by mixing 4 tbsp ground flaxseed or chia seeds with 8 tbsp water, and setting that aside to gel up for a bit. Substitute the butter with vegan butter.

KETO: Substitute the half cup of sugar with half cup xylitol or two-thirds cup erythritol

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). We start with the juicy berry filling: In a saucepan heated on medium heat, add the strawberries, cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice and cook until the mixture turns glistening and sticky.

Now for the cake. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda. Then add the almond flour and whisk. The mixture should look pretty wet, but don’t worry since this will set nicely in the oven once it is finished baking.

Make the streusel topping by whisking all the streusel ingredients together with a fork in a separate bowl. Grease a 9.5-inch loaf pan, then add half of the cake mixture. Add the mixed berry mixture evenly on top, and then add the rest of the cake mixture, and then finally the streusel topping. Bake in the oven for 1 hour exactly. Remove and let the cake cool in the pan before serving (with powdered sugar and doused in heavy cream, preferably).

Double Chocolate Coffee Cookies (gluten-free)

3122966 Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Bossa nova, and then Elvis in the background. At a new café in London (Abuelo) in the heart of Covent Garden, enjoying the serenity of solitude. Peaceitude. Hopefully there will be a vegan mud pie for me soon, to complement this matcha latte velvet. Despite my need for solitude, this heart is full with emptiness after a full 2 weeks of living and enjoying life to the fullest with my favourite human being over the Easter break. The past few weeks taught me that sometimes, all that’s needed is frugality and acceptance of what is. A fresh page in my diary for a fresh day. The simple, dense crumb of a freshly-baked loaf (missing the cheap and delicious bread from Germany so much!). The still invigoration of a short morning yoga flow, which pervades the air you breathe every second of every day with a keen alertness, curiosity and beauty. Nothing more sleek or necessary.

Success need not be about ticking off the 100 things on your to-do list, rather it could be absolute mindfulness. The absolute mindfulness of a cheeky bite of a chewy-edged, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie, which I made for my boyfriend’s dad who is extremely sensitive to gluten.

0F807E42-4901-46B3-AE4A-4D296DBD36ED3214697 Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

These cookies have double the chocolate than your average cookie. In other words, they’re double the fun and flavour. Each break and pull yields strands and streams of melting dark chocolate (or stuff in some vegan milk chocolate if you wish, go on). The best part is of course the coffee, which brings out the flavour of the chocolate while illuminating a hint of morning smokiness. Using just buckwheat flour will make the cookies sandier in texture, but this is somewhat offset but the chewy edges, gooey middles and countless pools of melted chocolate. YUM.

3122966 Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Gluten-free Double Chocolate Coffee Cookies (makes 6-8 medium-large cookies)

Ingredients

180g (1.5 cups) buckwheat flour (or use half buckwheat and half whole wheat/ plain flour)

100g chopped dark chocolate, or use a mix of dark and milk vegan chocolate if you prefer slightly sweeter cookies

100g vegan butter, at room temperature. Alternatively, you can use coconut oil.

140g brown/coconut sugar

1/2 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda

1 tsp espresso powder

1 tbsp vanilla extract

120ml (a half cup) plant milk of choice

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking parchment. In a bowl and with a fork or whisk, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, vanilla and plant milk. Mix everything together well. Add the buckwheat flour and chopped chocolate, and mix together until batter is well incorporated. It should look relatively thick and clumpy.

Dollop heaped tablespoons of batter onto your lined sheets, and press down on the cookies a little to flatten them. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes exactly. They should be really soft, in fact a little too soft to fiddle with once right out of the oven. Wait 10 minutes for them to firm up a little, before taking them off the tray and eating them (ideally with a cold glass of almond milk!).

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Tahini Oat Bars

Kind of a mouthful. The good sort.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Some breathing time during the week makes way for occasional creative insight. The early morning heralds possibility, and it’s only when my head hits the pillow that I realise how startlingly tired I am from the events of the day. The night pulls you in. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

There are so many things that make life sweet. Like this recipe. But there are also the cute coffee shop corners, insightful nutrition links I keep finding online, and inspiring folk everywhere. Here in London especially, there’s just no shortage of things to do, eat and see.

But yes. There’s just so much yes in this recipe.

No-bake chocolate peanut butter oat bars, bound together with earthy tahini, maple syrup and oats. 

There’s:

  • no flour
  • no egg
  • no sugar (as in your typical white sort, but the maple syrup provides all the goodness, and a wonderful flavour dimension)

and heck, even though I love all these things, it just means another 3 things you don’t have to lack and cry over. Easy.

The formula is simple, the taste lush. You don’t need much to handle in the first place. In fact, it’s so simple I won’t even provide a proper list of ingredients. Just some instructions, with a few cup measurements thrown in here and there. Oh right, and you need a pan. But I thought you would’ve figured that out.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Tahini Oat Bars (makes 36 medium bars in a 9×9-inch baking pan)

Grease (line if you wish) a 9×9-inch baking pan. In a saucepan over low heat, melt together 100ml (a little more than 1/3 cup) maple syrup, 113g (one stick) salted butter, 270g (1 cup) peanut butter (smooth or chunky, do as you wish) and 180g of chopped dark chocolate. This will take about 3-5 minutes.

Take off the heat and stir in 80ml (1/3 cup) tahini, a half cup of chopped nuts (or more chopped chocolate), and 135g (1 1/2 cups) whole rolled oats. Pour the thick mix into your pan and let sit in the fridge until firm– around 30 minutes (yes that’s it!)

Cut into bars with a sharp knife and have a ball. There’s no real need to dress these up with anything, but I imagine them nice with chocolate hazelnut spread or more peanut butter on top.

Almond Butter Cookies

A. B. C. Should I continue with D, E, and F?

Dense, Easy, Flourless. WOW that went down well. I swore that would take longer than expected.

I never meant to do it– promise. This Almond Butter Cookie action (hopefully the acronym stuck the first time you read it) pounced on me instead of the other way round. People have things for things, and my thing yesterday morning was almond butter. I eased a dribble down a side of toast, drizzled on some honey, then some course sea salt. It’s easy to contemplate life over breakfast. Almond butter honey toast is magical. Why not turn your jar into a batch of bloody easy cookies?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The very next morning, I decided to have one for myself with some newly bought macadamia butter (yes! It’s real!), raspberry jam, and more chopped almonds. Exquisite. Sometimes simplicity is key, but the lavish combination didn’t hurt this aching almond affinity.

I’ll give you just a line: Dense, chewy, buttery (in the most nourishing sense). These cookies are slightly crumbly due to the natural texture of raw almond butter, hence putting it just a rung up on the fragility ladder, but the lovely squidgy interior of slight under-doneness, packed with lush, nutty almond flavour, makes this one bowl affair way worth it. Alright. A couple of notes on this jazzed up loveliness:

– once the cookies are baked, leave them! For a half hour or so before touching. They are soft and rather fragile once out of the oven, so you don’t want to fiddle with them too much.

– use raw, natural almond butter, and make sure that all the natural oil (which usually rests on top of the more solid mass of almond butter in the jar) is thoroughly mixed in, using a knife or spoon.

– you may add whatever you like after getting the base recipe straight, be it chocolate chips and almonds (as in my case), or perhaps crushed biscuits (?) and sea salt. The versatility of a cookie is something to herald and marvel at. It’s pretty impossible to exhaust all possibilities and combinations..

Almond Butter Cookies (flourless, makes around 16 medium cookies)

Ingredients

1 cup almond butter

1 teaspoon fine salt

75g white caster sugar

65g soft, light brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

Optional: half a cup of chocolate chips/ nuts/ crushed biscuits

Preheat your oven to 177C (350F), and line and grease 2 cookie sheets. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients listed above (yes, in that order, if you wish). Using 2 tablespoons, spoon a tablespoonful of mixture onto the cookie sheet(s), each circle of batter placed at least an inch apart from each other. There is no need to flatten the cookies as they will spread out on their own during the baking process; they should be slightly flattened balls of almond buttery goodness on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 9-11 minutes. Mine were done by 9 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least a half hour before touching, and then serve with glee.