Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake (Cheat)

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I went through so much to get this cake to work (none of which should discourage you from making it! You’ll see…)

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So Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I figured I’d find a mini chocolate cake to bake in my heart-shaped cake pan and share that with you guys!

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I found the perfect recipe. I precisely measured out all my ingredients and mixed them together, only to find that the batter had turned into a thick dough instead of a silky cake batter. In my state of despair, I added in a splash of milk to thin the batter, but no luck. I was utterly confused. Everything was perfect…right?

I decided to take a look at the recipe again, reading the first ingredients and – oh. It called for 1/2 cup of flour, but because I’m so used to making full-sized cakes, my mind automatically processed it as 1 1/2 cups. uGH. Unfortunately, I had to discard that batter (after eating a bit of it, of course), and starting over. You can observe this failure here:

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Also, the cake is meant for a 6-inch circle pan, but mine is heart-shaped so it’s smaller. I had a little bit of leftover cake batter, which I made into a cute little bear cake! I was planning on drawing on it’s little eyes and nose and mouth with melted white chocolate, only to find that I don’t have white chocolate at home. Since when is that a thing?? What happened to my emergency stash of 3 white chocolate bars?

And lastly, lighting was not my friend today. I must’ve tried taking photos in at least 6 different locations around the house, hence the inconsistency with backgrounds in these photos.

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Despite all that, the cake itself turned out amazing. Look at how fluffy it rose! It’s so fluffy and has the perfect chocolate flavor to it. If you wish, a chocolate ganache would pair beautifully with it, but a dusting of icing sugar works just fine as well.

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Mini Valentine’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Dessert for Two

Makes one 6-inch round cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons (37g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm coffee
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar or chocolate ganache (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, sour cream or yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, and coffee
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Transfer the batter into a lined and greased 6-inch round cake pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  6. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate ganache (optional)
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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Clean)

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Happy New Year, everyone! (yes, I know, it’s been like two weeks but still).

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I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year’s. I definitely did. I spent the first Christmas at home for as long as I can remember. It was full of good food and good times and was probably one of the best ones ever.

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Now, it’s back to school. To be fair, workload was alright in the first week back, but I’m also training for a swim meet, which requires waking up early sometimes and leaves me tired all the time. So, you could probably guess (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know) that I’ve been pretty lazy with breakfast and food in general these days. I’ve just grabbed a Squarebar and a couple bread rolls for breakfast, but also – these cookies!

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I’ve always had my doubts with making healthy cookies. Cookies are just so technical, but these turned out beautifully. They aren’t super sweet, so they make a perfect on-the-go snack. I’d definitely want to have a batch of these in my fridge at all times. They’re healthy and delicious and studded with chocolate and they’re perfect.

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These cookies are soft, but hold their shape very well. They’re also slightly chewy thanks to the added oats.

And of course, chocolate makes everything better, so there’s that…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In another bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and egg together until smooth
  4. Mix in the mashed banana
  5. Fold in flour mixture until just combined, before folding in the oats and chocolate chips
  6. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto prepared baking sheet, flattening them down slightly
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until edges are golden brown

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks (Clean)

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Ooh been a while since I’ve posted a muffin recipe. Been a while since I’ve posted at all, to be honest. Sorry about that, end of semesters are always ridiculously chaotic, but at least Winter Break is just around the corner! One more day!!

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Let me start off talking about the muffins so that you can skip directly to the recipe later without having to read all my random rambling.

I’ve made plenty of muffins in my life, and I have to say, that this is one of my all-time favourites. The crumb is absolutely perfect. It’s not dense, and it doesn’t fall apart when you bite. It’s soft and light and perfect.

And the flavour! It has a very distinctive banana bread flavour, but these are just so much easier. With banana bread, you have to wait over an hour for the banana bread to bake! With these, you need less than 20. Not to mention, muffins are the perfect snack size and easier to bring along as a to-go snack or even breakfast.

But of course, my favourite part would have to be the chocolate. I have a rule when it comes to muffins with chocolate in them. I either eat them cold – straight out of the fridge, or hot – microwaved or baked. When the muffins come straight out of the fridge, the chocolate chunks become so distinct in their tempered texture, demanding you to notice the chocolate chunks and appreciate them fully. On the other hand, when the chocolate chunks turn into melty globs of perfection…well then, they’re melty globs of perfection. It’s quite simple, really.

I happened to have hazelnut dark chocolate on hand, which I thought would add texture and contribute a nutty texture, and I’m really glad I did. Nevertheless, if hazelnuts aren’t your thing, then dark chocolate works fine as well.

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I’m so excited for break. Like, so excited. It’ll be the first time in forever that I’ve spent Christmas at home, and it’ll be extra special now because my family is rarely together nowadays. My brother’s off at university and my dad comes home once every two weeks because he was relocated. My mom is really excited too, going out and buying all sorts of Christmas decorations and gifts while I plan all the Christmas activities and movies and desserts. It’s going to be a good one.

And of course, this weekend my friends and I are going to have the best time ever. They’re both leaving quite early on in the break, so we’re making the most of this weekend – movie nights, visiting TianAnMen square, dinner dates, hot pot…

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If you’re still reading this, which I doubt many of you are, I have a question for you: Would you rather know how you die or when you die?

My friends and I were discussing the question. One friend and I wanted to know when, and the other wanted to know how. It’s an interesting topic and a question worth discussing.

I’d rather know when I die. My reasoning was that I would be able to truly cherish my last moments, whereas, if I knew how I would die, I’d just be paranoid of everything relating to that. For instance, if I knew that I would die by getting hit by a car, I’d just have a fear of cars for the rest of my life.

But then I asked someone else while walking home and he said that he’d rather not know anything about his death. I can’t believe it hadn’t crossed my mind, but as soon as he pointed it out, I realized that it’s not necessarily a good thing to know anything about your death.

If I did know when I would die, I’d see my life as a ticking bomb. I’d feel guilty every second I don’t do something “meaningful” and I’d live in constant terror of finding meaning to life. It’s better to just sit back and go with the flow. Enjoy life, friends xx

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Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3 large bananas, mashed (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used hazelnut dark chocolate)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 350 degrees F
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg and coconut sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, coconut oil, and mashed bananas until combined
  4. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined
  5. Stir in the milk and mix until just combined
  6. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate
  7. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full with batter. (Optional: Place a very thinly sliced banana slice on top of the muffin and a little chopped chocolate before baking)
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden. Remove and let cool

 

Banana Bread Waffles (Clean)

So relieved that it’s October break. It’s a very well-needed break. I wrote up a list on my whiteboard of all the things I need to accomplish over these next 7 days, but just looking at it makes me want to cry…UGH LIFE.

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On the bright side, not having school early in the mornings means that I can take a little more time to put together the perfect breakfasts (best meal of the day amiright?). I realise that my last post was also a breakfast post, but this just goes to show how important breakfast is. If you’re into pancakes, go check out that post, but if you’re into waffles, stay right where you are. I’ve got a hella good banana bread waffle recipe for you.

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Anyways, I’m going to take a few minutes here to just focus on how wonderful these banana bread waffles are, and hopefully forget about all my troubles for a bit.

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You’ll notice that I pretty much always top my waffles with ice cream. I’m not really sure why, I just think that waffles and ice cream are the best way to go. Especially when you drizzle over some melted chocolate and let it set and cover it with all sorts of delicious sprinkles and toppings and whatever you like. You know all the little pockets in waffles? The little indents? I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to fill those with ice cream so that you get 50% waffle and 50% ice cream in each bite.

God, I totally need to host a waffle party sometime. Look at all these different combinations! I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a great time making these.

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The waffles themselves are just what you’d expect from a recipe called “Banana Bread Waffles”. They taste just like banana bread – but in the form of a waffle! They have that sweet flavour of banana infused in a light, fluffy waffle with a wonderfully crisp edge. Yumm! *insert heart-eyes emoji here*

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Banana Bread Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup overripe mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 large egg or 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate (optional, highly recommended)
  • Other toppings (banana, berries, granola, nuts etc.) (optional)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, almond milk, mashed bananas, egg, and vanilla extract
  3. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Heat a waffle iron. When it’s ready, spray or brush it, to cover it in a layer of oil. Pour the batter into the heated waffle iron, adding enough to just cover the bottom layer of the iron. Everyone’s waffle iron is different, so just estimate this and make adjustments as you go. Cook the waffle according to the waffle iron’s instructions.
  5. Top with vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate, and topping of your choice

Pumpkin Banana Spiced Pancakes with Pumpkin Fro-Yo (Clean)

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This one day during September, my inbox began filling up with pumpkin recipes from all the blogs that I follow, and that’s when I realised that I should probably get started on these pumpkin recipes, so today I’m giving you not one, but two pumpkin recipes!

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Here in Beijing, the temperatures are still in the high 20s, so part of this recipe is a Summer-Fall hybrid. Pumpkin Fro-Yo. All the flavours of Fall, but still keeping the temperature cool for Summer. If you’re not really up for cold food, don’t worry! The pancakes are hot and full of cozy spices, and of course, you can (should) top the whole stack off with a warm chocolate drizzle. Chocolate is great. It’s available year-round and it makes everything better.

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Also – did I mention that the frozen yogurt is only 4 ingredients? Yaaay!

Pancakes are my go-to breakfast these days. I like to make a large batch of them over the weekend and keep them in my fridge or freezer. They’re a perfect grab-and-go breakfast, which is essential now that swim training has started. Having breakfast ready everyday is the ultimate time-saver to maximise my much-needed sleep.

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Pumpkin Banana Spiced Pancakes with Pumpkin Fro-Yo 

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

For the frozen yogurt:

  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Melted chocolate, optional but recommended
Method
  1. For the fro-yo, mix everything together in a large mixing bowl until completely combined
  2. *Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker until it is a smooth and has thickened. Store in freezer.
  3. For the pancakes, in a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vinegar, egg, pumpkin puree, banana, and melted coconut oil
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold until just combined
  6. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and scoop on 1/4-1/3 cup of batter
  7. Cook until bubbles appear and the sides start to dry before flipping. Cook another minute or so
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  9. To assemble, stack the pancakes and top with a scoop of the fro-yo and a generous drizzle of melted chocolate. Enjoy!

*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the bowl in the freezer and stir the mixture every half hour until it reaches desired consistency

Blueberry Bread (Cheat)

It’s blueberry season (I think)! Have some blueberry bread~

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I’m still in utter disbelief that school starts in half a month. It’s honestly so depressing to think about all that work ahead of me that I’ve been procrastinating – college apps, extended essay, IAs…

GAH ok I won’t think about that now. For now, I’m gonna focus on telling you about this blueberry bread, aight? Blueberry bread. Blueberry bread.

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This blueberry bread is everything you’d want in a loaf cake. It has just the right texture and flavor, not to mention that its full of delicious blueberries! Each slice is guaranteed a generous amount of blueberries.

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I’ve never really cared much about flouring blueberries before mixing them into the batter. It prevents the blueberries from bleeding, but look the gorgeous patterns they make when they bleed! It’s so pretty! Food is art, I tell you.

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Blueberry Bread

Recipe adapted from Something Swanky

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC or 350ºF
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, and oil
  4. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until almost combined, with a few streaks of flour remaining
  5. Fold in the blueberries
  6. Transfer the mixture into a lined or greased 5×12 loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.

Chocolate and Walnut Breakfast Cookies (Clean)

I usually try to keep things from being repetitive on this blog, and by that, I mean I never post two muffin recipes without at least 4 other types of recipes in between. Yeah….that’s changed. It’ll probably be a one-time thing, but nonetheless, I’m guilty.

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Two posts ago was the recipe for these AMAZING cranberry and dark chocolate oatmeal cookies. In that post, I told you guys that my new favorite go-to snack were cookies, and I still stand by that. I am literally eating one of these cookies as I type.

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These cookies have the classic chewy texture of any other oatmeal cookie, with a slightly crispy exterior, especially when you re-heat them in the oven. When heated, they get so aromatic thanks to the walnuts, and the chocolate chunks melt and go all gooey and you will find yourself eating more cookies than you planned, but that’s okay, cause they’re pretty damn good for you.

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Chocolate and Walnut Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest

Makes 25 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, and salt
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the coconut oil and peanut butter together for 30 seconds, then whisk to combine. Add in the mashed bananas, egg, honey, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until the dough comes together. Fold in the dark chocolate and walnuts until well combined
  5. Scoop out a heaped tablespoon of the cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place onto a greased or lined baking sheet and flatten into your desired shape. They will not spread while baking. Repeat this for all of the dough
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes