Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Tart (Cheat)

This is probably the most photogenic thing I’ve ever baked.

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So yeah…lots of photos in this post. Enjoy.

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I went to a Simple Plan concert on Sunday! It’s the third SP concert that I’ve been to and it was incredible, just as it always was. The only downside is that 90 minutes speeds by when you’re singing at the top of your lungs and getting lost in the lyrics and music of the band that means the world to you.

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My whole weekend, in fact, was pretty great. On Saturday, I finished my Extended Essay draft in the morning and finished off decorating a layer cake for my brother and his friend’s birthday dinner. One of my favourite things to do is making layer cakes (alongside decorating cupcakes, of course).

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But anyways, these tarts were seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made. They have a perfect flavour balance and are wonderfully decadent. They start off with a classic biscuit base – and who doesn’t love a good biscuit base??

Then they’re filled with this gorgeously smooth chocolate filling and baked, giving them a texture like no other tart or cake or pie that you’ve ever had before. They’re truly quite unique.

And then, they’re topped off with a silky chocolate ganache and fresh, fruity raspberries.

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This, my friends, is what I call perfection.

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Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Tart

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 350ml whipping cream
  • 250g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 5ml pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Ganache:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Shredded coconut (optional)

Method

  1. For the base, mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter together until fully combined. Press into mini cake tins and/or a lined muffin tray
  2. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius or 355 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.
  3. For the filling, break the chocolate into pieces in a bowl.
  4. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
  5. Add in the vanilla extract, icing sugar, and eggs until fully combined
  6. Pour the filling into the baked tarts and bake for 10 minutes, until the edges are set but the centre is still slightly wobbly
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  8. For the ganache, break the chocolate into pieces in a bowl
  9. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before stirring until the chocolate is completely melted
  10. Spread the ganache over the cooled tarts and top with fresh raspberries and shredded coconut
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Chocolate Chip Almond Ice Cream (Cheat)

Summer is coming to an end (nooo), but that doesn’t mean you have to stop eating ice cream. I have so much ice cream in my freezer, I’ll probably be eating it all the way to October.

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I’m back from South Africa, and it was seriously amazing. God, I love animals. The highlights of my summer vacation were volunteering for a sea turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka and going on game drives in South Africa. Both such unforgettable experiences. I didn’t go to summer camp or write my Extended Essay (because I accidentally lost all my data oops), but nevertheless, it was a summer well spent.

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I’m quite devastated that summer vacation’s coming to an end. School starts tomorrow and I’m not academically prepared to be hit with the workload sitting around the corner. I’m not physically ready either, and by that, I mean I literally had just one night to adjust to a 6-hour time difference. Waking up at 7am will be equivalent to waking up at 1am. Welp.

But of course – I’m incredibly excited to see my friends and teachers again. Hi Anna. Hi Rebecca. Hi Bill. Hi Mr. Lugt.

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Back to the ice cream, though. This chocolate and almond ice cream is amazing. Based on the opinions of others, this recipe, and a recipe for mint chocolate chip ice cream (yet to be posted), are the best ice creams ever. That being said, they haven’t tried all the ice creams I’ve made (sometimes I’ll finish it all before anyone else can get to it – oops), but still, I stand by their opinions. This ice cream is really damn good.

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The ice cream base is a simple one – creamy and perfectly sweet. Then as the ice cream churns, you add in your chopped, aromatic almonds and the best part – the chocolate.

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I used to love making nana ice cream and pouring melted chocolate over the top, watching it set. This is the same. As the ice cream churns, you pour in a thin stream of melted chocolate, which sets instantly when coming in contact with the cold ice cream. Thus, you end up with chocolate distributed throughout all the ice cream, with chocolate in every bite, pairing beautifully with the full crunch of the chopped almonds. It’s a perfect combination, really.

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Note: Feel free to double the recipe if you wish. I made a smaller batch because my ice cream machine is quite small and I’d have to make the ice cream in two batches otherwise.

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped

Method

  1. Freeze your ice cream maker ahead of time (according to manufacturers instructions)
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and whisk until combined
  4. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions
  5. While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate has completely melted
  6. When the ice cream has reached a soft consistency, pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate in a thin stream over the churning ice cream
  7. Add in 2/3 of the almonds to the churning ice cream
  8. When the ice cream has finished churning, transfer it into a storage container, and sprinkle on  the remaining almonds, and drizzle the last of the melted chocolate over it
  9. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Allow to thaw before serving.

Best Ever Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (Cheat)

HELLO FRIENDS IT’S BEEN TOO LONG.

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In case you were wondering – it’s cause I was dying in exams. I’ve been gone for like a little over two weeks. One week was dedicated to studying, the other was dedicated to dying taking the finals.

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I’ve gotten some grades back, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t do too badly on them, except for Chemistry, of course, but luckily my other Chem grades saved me from this reaaallly really bad final exam grade.

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So I know that I just posted an ice cream recipe, but:

  1. It’s ice cream season. C’mon – there’s no denying that. The weather is H-O-T and we all need ice cream
  2. I owe a lot to ice cream for getting me through the difficult time of exams

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Oh, side note – to anyone still struggling to get through finals, I wish you all the best (of luck) and I wish that you have ice cream to help you get through it.

Anyways, with that aside, let’s talk about this seeriously amaaazing ice cream recipe. It’s honestly one of my favorites. I literally could not stop eating the ice cream batter. I probably ate like a third of the batter before forcing myself to put it in the freezer and let it be ice cream.

It’s got this wonderful, rich, and tangy flavor of cream cheese, which pairs beautifully with the sweet blueberry sauce. Speaking of which – blueberries are in season! Yay!!

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Anyways, I kid you not, this will be one of the best ice creams you’d have ever made. Please make it now and continue making it until summer is over 🙌.

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Best Ever Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

For the ice cream

  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the blueberry sauce

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping cup crumbled Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits

Method

  1. For the ice cream, in a food processor, blend together the cream cheese, milk, whipping cream, brown sugar, and salt until smooth
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (about 30 to 45 minutes).
  3. While the ice cream is churning, make the blueberry sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, salt, and lemon juice together over medium-low heat. Stir until the berries burst and the juices thicken (about 5 minutes)
  4. Transfer the sauce into a small bowl and place in fridge until the ice cream finishes churning
  5. When the ice cream has finished churning, spoon it into a freezer safe container and swirl in the blueberry sauce and crackers/biscuits
  6. Place in freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Allow to thaw before serving

Éclairs (Cheat)

Éclairs!

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Éclairs are super fancy and although they’re not the “easiest” to make, they’re so worth it. To be honest, I found the process to be quite enjoyable. I love making choux pastry and pastry cream. Am I the only one? I mean, beating together a few ingredients and then watching the choux pastry cook into such a soft dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of your saucepan is almost magical. Then there’s whipping the heated cream mixture slowly into the egg yolk mixture to prevent the yolk from scrambling, before pouring the whole lot back into the saucepan and watching it thicken into a sweet, aromatic pastry cream. I sound insane. Okay, I’ll stop.

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You can experiment with so many flavors when it comes to éclairs, but I decided to stick with a pretty classic pastry cream and finish it off with chocolate ganache and melted white chocolate.

…I know I said I’d stop, but don’t you love making ganache too? Letting the hot cream sit with the chocolate and letting heat energy go back and forth between the two and disrupting bonds as the chocolate melts and becomes one with the cream…ok ok, I’m done.

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Well, what are you waiting for? Go make these delicious pastries for Mother’s Day!

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Éclairs

Adapted from Will Cook For Smiles

Ingredients

For the pastry cream:

(This will need to be prepared a few hours ahead, or the day before you assemble the éclairs)

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅔ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean

For the Choux pastry:

  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs

For the ganache:

  • 110g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Method
  1. For the pastry cream, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until combined
  2. Whisk in the flour until smooth and set aside
  3. In a saucepan, gently heat the milk, heavy cream, and butter together. Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture and add in the empty vanilla bean as well
  4. Heat until simmering, and then remove the vanilla bean and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture, making sure that the egg doesn’t scramble
  5. Pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan and heat while constantly stirring until thickened. This should take a few minutes
  6. Pour the cream into a bowl or onto a plate and allow to cool before covering it with plastic wrap (with the plastic touching the surface of the cream) and placing it in the fridge for at least 4 hours
  7. For the Choux pastry, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  8.  In a saucepan, heat and mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and water together until the mixture is lightly simmering
  9. Beat in the flour using a wooden spoon until combined and the mixture doesn’t stick to the sides of the saucepan
  10. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure that each egg is fully mixed before adding the next
  11. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and, on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pipe thick lines of pastry about 4cm (1.5 inches) in width and 8cm (3 inches) in length. They should also be about 2cm (almost 1 inch) tall
  12. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before filling
  13. For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a small mixing bowl.
  14. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to simmer
  15. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes before stirring together with a whisk until smooth
  16. To assemble the éclairs, fill a piping bag with the cold pastry cream. Gently insert the tip into the cooled pastry and squeeze cream into it. Alternatively, cut the pastries lengthwise and fill the insides
  17. Dip each filled pastry in the chocolate ganache and drizzle a bit of melted white chocolate over it, if desired. Keep refrigerated.

Layered Sawdust Pudding (Cheat)

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The name of this dessert does not do it any justice. Sawdust? Really? That implies that this dessert is dry. Pudding? That implies that you get this jello-like consistency.

No, guys – no. The dessert itself is layered with smooth, light, whipped cream with a hint of sweetness, along textured biscuit crumbs. It’s insanely easy to make, yet the end result is something else.

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One of the reasons why I seriously love this dessert is because it’s made using such simple ingredients, and can be easily altered to fit your desires.

In terms of simple ingredients – there’s mostly just digestive biscuits and cream. I always have digestive biscuits lying around, but I’m often quite paranoid about cream going bad. So, if I’m not in the mood for ice cream, I’ll just whip up the cream and layer it up with biscuits crumbs and voila – fancy dessert.

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Plus, if you want to serve these up at a themed party, go crazy with colors! Sure, you could go for a classic whipped cream…orr you could mix in raspberry powder or blueberry powder or matcha powder or fruity alcohol. I was caught between choosing beetroot powder and açai powder, and although both produce adorable faint little pinks and purples, I went with açai because I’ve recently grown obsessed with it’s flavor.

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Ooh – and I forgot to mention, you could serve these up in any container you want! For all I care, you could make this in an empty water bottle or a giant bucket. As you can see, I stuck with drink containers. I used regular drinking cups, shot glasses, and martini glasses. I love the fact that the shot and martini glasses have only ever held sweets in this household. The martini glasses I got from Croatia and I’m seriously in love with them. I’ve served rice pudding in them before. I know, it sounds weird, but they don’t actually look too weird (I hope). As for the shot glasses, I got them from IKEA and they’re great for small-serving pudding desserts (e.g. vanilla pots de creme). Anyways, my point is, be creative!

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Layered Sawdust Pudding

Makes 4-12 servings, depending on size

Ingredients

  • 80g digestive biscuits
  • 200ml chilled whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 60-100ml sweetened condensed milk (adjust according to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice or 1 tablespoon powder of choice (I used açai powder)
  • Fresh fruit, for serving (optional)

Method

  1. In a food processor, or in a bowl using the end of a rolling pin, crush the biscuits until they’ve reached a constancy of fine powder
  2. In a separate bowl, use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer to whip the cream, until it reaches soft peaks. Add in the vanilla extract, half the condensed milk, and either lime juice or powder of choice, and continue whipping, adding condensed milk as you go until it reaches your desired sweetness. Whip until cream forms stiff peaks
  3. Transfer the cream into a piping bag to pipe (or spoon) a layer into the bottom of a glass. Add a layer of biscuit crumbs of the same thickness, and continue alternating between the layers, finishing with a layer of cream
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before topping with fresh berries and serving

Matcha Cream Puffs (Cheat)

Now, if any of you have seen my baking bucket list, you would probably call me out or being a liar or just a huge procrastinator due to all the things I’ve crossed off the list, yet with only 1 recipe of the 10 being posted (not including this one). The truth? I’m a huge procrastinator – at least when it comes to posting recipes.

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Number 8 on that list (I’m not following order) are cream puffs (or profiteroles)/eclairs. Beside it says August 6, 2015. If you look at the date today, it says January 9, 2016. So yes, it’s been 5 months now, but the recipe is finally here!

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The pastry cream in this recipe isn’t quite like the ones you see for traditional French eclairs or anything. Firstly, you’ll notice an absence of egg yolks, which is often used as a thickening agent. In this recipe, the thickening agents include a bit of gelatin, cornstarch, and whipped cream, resulting in a lighter cream as opposed to the denser, traditional pastry cream. Thus, I do recommend filling it as in the photo below as opposed to cutting them in half and filling them as the photo below the photo below.

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I probably should’ve made a classic eclair or cream puff to start off with, but it’s always more interesting to bring in an extra flavor, no? Ironically, I made classic eclairs a couple days ago (who knows when that recipe’ll be published?), and I have to admit, this recipe is quite different from that one. Most importantly, none of the eclairs exploded like the way one of these matcha cream puffs did, but that’s just because I overfilled it. It was my first time filling cream puffs, okay? Jeez, give me a break. Anyways, these cream puffs seem to feel lighter. The pastry cream flavor isn’t as evident, allowing the faint flavor of matcha to shine through. Also, I dusted these with powdered sugar as opposed to dipping them in chocolate, which paired beautifully with the matcha. All in all – this one’s a keeper.

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Matcha Cream Puffs

Ingredients

For the Choux Pastry

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large eggs
  • Egg wash: 1 yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon milk or cream

Matcha Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups full-fat milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar, for finishing

Method

  1. *For the choux pastry, preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar over medium heat until just boiling. Add in the flour and baking powder and beat together with a wooden spoon over the heat until the mixture resembles a dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the saucepan. This should take a 2-3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or into a bowl using an electric mixer. Start the electric mixer and beat in the eggs one at a time until fully combined. The dough should be smoother and less doughy.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet, pipe mounds about 2 inches in diameter. Brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 30-35 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool.
  5. *For the matcha pastry cream, in a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water to soften
  6. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add in the eggs and whisk until smooth.
  7. In a large saucepan, heat the milk, butter, and salt until almost boiling. Whisk in matcha powder
  8. Pour about 1/2 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until fully combined. Add the rest of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until fully combined. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbling.
  9. Pour the mixture onto a plate or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold
  10. When the mixture has cooled, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, and gently fold the cream into the matcha mixture. Transfer the matcha pastry cream into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
  11. To assemble, pipe the matcha pastry cream into the choux pastry and dust with powdered sugar.

*You can make either the matcha pastry cream or the choux pastry first. Both of them need to be cooled, though the pastry cream may take longer to cool. Also, separately, they can be prepared a few days in advance (without the heavy cream, for the matcha pastry cream). Filled, it’s best to eat them the day of, or within 3 days. Keep refrigerated.

Unbelievably Healthy Beetroot Chocolate Microwave Cake (Clean)

Every year, millions of people make new year’s resolutions in determination to live a healthier year, and every year, millions of people cry. Personally, as you may have noticed from my little new year’s rant, I’m rather indifferent to new year’s resolutions. Nonetheless, I’m here to help out those in distress; sugar-free, gluten-free, oil-free, and veganize-able beetroot chocolate microwave cake under 200 calories to the rescue!

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Let’s start off with the nutritional breakdown of this golden nugget – each serving has 186 calories, 1g of saturated fat, and 2g of sugar! On the other hand, 8g of protein! *Does happy dance*

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There was a point where I was absolutely obsessed with using beetroot puré. Hence, the beetroot nut butter chocolate cups and the beetroot vanilla rice pudding with dark chocolate and the pink beetroot crepes and the skinny fudgy-cakey beetroot brownie bits. All of which, by the way, would work in benefit for that new year’s resolution of yours. Just sayin’.

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This chocolate microwave cake is honestly one of my all-time favorites. It’s a shame that I can’t make it everyday, as beetroot purée isn’t exactly a staple in my house. Hence, there was a point where I just got a good load of beetroot and boiled it up and puréed it and made a ton of recipes with it, which you can do as well! Plus, adding it to your smoothies and oatmeal turns it bright pink, which always brightens your day.

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This cake is so insanely soft and decadent and sweet and chocolately and it’s seriously what I’d eat everyday if I were in heaven. The beetroot purée keeps it ridiculously moist, and the egg white (can be substituted for vegans) keeps it fluffy and prevents it from getting too dense or spongey the way some microwave cakes get. Also, you gotta love the fact that this is sweetened with stevia only, which is a naturally sweet plant that I love using in baking. This recipe calls for 3 teaspoons of the powdered version, but you may need to change this around if you’re using pure stevia (you’ll need like, 1/10th of a teaspoon in that case – that stuff is strong!) or liquid stevia.

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The smooth, rich, glossy layer of melted chocolate that sits atop the cake is optional, obviously, but come on. Just look at that chocolate! I’d very very highly recommend throwing a sizable square of chocolate on top of the mixture just before you microwave it, because that just turned the cake into a gooey chocolate mess, and nobody can deny the fact that gooey chocolate messes taste better than single-textured chocolate cake, no matter how moist and fluffy and decadent.

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Beetroot Chocolate Microwave Cake

Makes 2 cakes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup beetroot purée*
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 egg white or 2 tbsp aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 3 teaspoons powdered stevia (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Large square of dark chocolate (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

*To make the beetroot purée, stick the beetroots (unpeeled) in a big pot of boiling water until they’re soft, peel them, and purée them in a food processor. Use leftovers for any of these recipes calling for beetroot purée.

Method

  1. In a small bowl, use a fork or whisk to combine the beetroot purée, milk of choice, egg white/aquafaba, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
  2. Add in the oat flour, cacao powder, stevia, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  3. Transfer mixture into two greased ramekins or mugs. Place the dark chocolate on top of the mixture if desired.
  4. Microwave the ramekins/mugs on high for 2-3 minutes (depending on the wattage of your microwave and how gooey/cooked you want your cake to be). Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 186 
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3 g 5 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 91 mg 4 %
Potassium 266 mg 8 %
Total Carbohydrate 30 g 10 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g 23 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 8 g 16 %
Vitamin A  2 %
Vitamin C  3 %
Calcium  10 %
Iron  14 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.