A Dairy Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe here. Currently, it’s quite a mess. I have recipes scribbled on papers, stored in my notepad, emails, bookmarked in my computer and there are those which are still sitting in my handphone messages. I have them all over the place! I realised that this is about the most organized space I have for my recipes!

Anyway I surprised my boys with a flourless chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day. My husband loves it and I think it was the healthiest chocolate cake I’ve baked so far.

I stole the recipe from my sister. It was actually a recipe taken from Jamie Oliver’s site but she had cleverly tweaked it so that my nephew who is allergic to dairy products could eat it. She substituted the butter with coconut oil and the cake turned out to be not just flourless but dairy free.

And oh, don’t we love coconut oil these days, the once demonized oil which contains saturated fat. I tried to use coconut oil in my cooking but never got used to the roasted or nutty smell. These days, I am happy to use it in my baking. I used it for our homemade granola and we love it.

To serve this cake, a dusting of chocolate powder and some berries would suffice but because it was for a fancy occasion, I did a little more to decorate the cake.

I had wanted to frost the cake with chocolate ganache but thought that the heavy cream or butter used would ruin this healthy cake. I used greek yogurt instead.

200g of dark chocolate was melted and a few scoops of yogurt were added. The final consistency wasn’t quite right because I think yogurt doesn’t have enough fat to make it smooth and glossy. I had a little problem coating the cake but I thought I could live with an imperfect looking cake.

I tried to cover up the imperfection with some of my boys’ favourite. Godiva chocolates, crackers, more berries and a sprinkle of crushed nuts. Basically, you can decorate it with whatever you want!

Here’s the recipe

Recipe for Dairy Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredient
150 g organic unrefined coconut oil
200 g organic dark chocolate (70%)
1 tablespoon strong coffee
6 large eggs
150 g organic brown sugar
70 g organic cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Rest a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on a medium-low heat. Break in the chocolate
3. Add the coconut oil then allow to melt, stirring occasionally until smooth and glossy.
4. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the coffee and set aside to cool slightly.
5. Separate the egg yolks and whites between two large bowls. Whisk the egg whites for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
6. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat until pale. Sift in the cocoa powder and 1 pinch of sea salt, then gently fold through to combine.
7. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture, then gently fold through the egg whites until smooth.
8. Transfer to the prepared tin and place in the hot oven for around 1 hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, decorate with your favourites then serve.

Have fun!

 
 

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I Think I Can Paint

I have been a little bit caught up with my new pastime lately and it was my elder boy who reminded me to write something on this space! Yes, he’s my biggest fan, more so than his Dad.

After reviewing the Hello Spring Kit in my last post, I went on to play with the remaining paint that came with the kit and discovered that I could actually paint!

I’ve always been fascinated by people who could sketch, paint or draw through visualizing and imagination. It is amazing how they can store every single details of any object of interest into memory, recreate reality or create something that they have never seen before and put it on paper or a blank canvas.

I have met a couple of these people and it was simply mind blowing seeing them work. When you ask them how they did it, they usually can’t provide a very concrete answer and would probably throw you a perplexed look and answer something to the effect of ‘It’s simple, you mean you can’t?!’. These people have an innate skill, they are talented. I am lucky to have met these people but it has also discouraged me from trying because I knew I don’t have that kind of skill or talent.

So what I did the last couple of weeks was really not something I would usually do, to try something that I am totally not cut out for. It has been fun so far and I have been spending many quiet mornings mixing paint trying to get the perfect blend and attempting different kinds of pictures.

This was painted from a photo I took over the weekend. My younger boy playing with his cousin.

We were at one of those shophouses with an old back alley and these 2 boys spent a long time playing there. There were some rocks and a big bag of sand left over from some renovation work.

They set up a battlefield with little rocks as troops and played for hours. When I showed him this picture and asked him how they played their game, this was his explanation.

‘The rocks are the troops, defenders, king and queen. We are the canon. We fire striker rocks to attack the other person’s base.

To play this game, you must build a mountain with flat and smooth edges on the side. You use the rocks as troops and you stuff them into the sand to stabilize them. After you have built your army you can start the game.

Whoever’s older will strike first. You can use your troops to defend your defenders (which are big and fat rocks) who will defend your king and queen. Once the person has no more troops, defenders and king and queen, he loses’

Watching the boys play reminds me of painting. They might have played there for hours but they barely noticed how long they were there because they were having so much fun. Time flies when you are having fun.

So it doesn’t really matter even if I am not cut out to be an artist or a painter because time seems to zip by the few mornings when I sit down to paint. I guess I must be having fun and that is reason good enough to continue painting! Besides, who knows, I might be able to teach my boys a lesson or two. That even though we are short of talent, our abilities can improve if we put in enough effort.

 

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Learning Something New – Dottishop’s Hello Spring Kit

So I was lamenting to a friend that I was much more productive when my boys were younger. I remember baking cookies till the wee hours for sales when I was heavily pregnant with my elder boy and running charity project during my second pregnancy. I ran an online store selling baby stuff. I did my own product shooting, order tracking and delivery while juggling household chores, cooking and tending to a demanding baby. I had just quit my job to become a stay at home mom and felt the need to fill my time with ‘productive’ work. Work with tangible rewards that could be measured by dollars and cents unlike those that comes from scrubbing the bathroom tiles, the endless cooing to your newborn and watching him try his first food.

More than a decade on, my boys now spend most part of their days in school. I now have a big pocket of time in the morning where I can devote it to me, myself and I. Ironically, with the extra time on hand, I wasn’t half as ‘productive’ as I used to be. I realised that I might have finally figured out what it means to be a ‘lady of leisure’ but now having too much of a good thing is beginning to worry me! Such irony!

My friend and I joked that we should pick up a new skill, learn something new to get our brain active and prevent our grey matter from degenerating. Even with this study, I wasn’t totally convinced that just regular exercise will be good enough.

My friend is an avid online learner. She learned and refined many of her craft skills online. Inspired by her, I did the same and signed up for some painting classes and thought that that would be a good start. Unfortunately, there is always something more urgent to do on a weekday morning. I never find the time and discipline to go through those videos!

Then recently I found out about Dottieshop’s Hello Spring Kit, which comes with step by step instructions for painting spring blooms such as cherry blossoms and roses. I was really eager to try out the kit yet at the same time worried that I might not be up to it.

I have known Dorothea through a group of mother bloggers and have been really inspired by her works on water colour painting and brush calligraphy. She has been really encouraging even when I told her that I have never done water colour painting before and was kind enough to trust me to do a review for her kit!

One of the things that baffles me when it comes to the different kinds of painting was getting the appropriate materials to get started. From choosing the type of paint brush to figuring out what kind of paper and paint to use. The Hello Spring Kit has EVERYTHING to help me get started!

Being a total noob, I was really intrigued by the water brush that came with the kit.

A water brush has a reservoir of water that is attached to the brush. The amount of water you feed to the brush/paint can be controlled by squeezing the barrel of water. What makes a water brush really cool is that artists can paint on the go without having to carry a water container around!

I initially worried that the choice of colours that came in the palette were too dark and dull. To my surprise, each blob of dull paint changed into lovely beautiful colour once water was added.

It just so happens that a good friend was celebrating her birthday this month and I decided to paint something for her from the Hello Spring kit which illustrated some of my favourite flowers.

Dorothea’s instructions were brief and concise and I especially like the fact that she has very clear pictures of how the leaves and petals were supposed to look like. Still, it wasn’t easy to get the strokes and colours right. I fumbled with how much water to squeeze to get the right colour tone. I figured out that it was much easier to just draw the shape of each petal and fill them with colours!

After a morning of mixing colours and experimenting, I managed to churn out what looked like an amateurish mish mesh of everything.

Unlike my usual adrenaline pumping aerobic work out, a morning spent working on this kit was really calming and therapeutic. I was so engrossed and focused on what I was doing that my legs turned numb from sitting too long in the same position without shifting!

It was especially satisfying to see the different blobs of paint come together, creating a decent looking piece of work and I especially love the colours that Dorothea has chosen for the palette!

I realised that I will require many more sessions of practice before I could perfect my flowers and leaves but for now, I gonna make up to my friend with a cutesy bouquet of REAL flowers and just hope she doesn’t notice the flaws in my painting! Shhhh!

The Hello Spring kit includes instructions for painting cherry blossoms, roses and Japanese anemones, quality watercolour paint, palette, water brush, and watercolour paper. Everything comes in a pretty pink folder, so you can bring everything with you on-the-go! Each set is $46 and only available for self-collect – to order email dottieshop@gmail.com

You can follow Dottieshop on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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