birthday cake

Shakshuka and cake

We had a small surprise party for Hiromi’s birthday this morning. I made my shakshuka recipe (here) and replaced the eggplants with capsicum which the Japanese people call paprika and the American’s I’ve met here call bell pepper. It was a good choice because Hiromi’s French husband, Olivier is an amazing baker (Hugo et Leo). So, with the abundance of bread present, dipping, eating with hands and plate-cleaning via bread piece were all mandatory.

Baby’s first sugar-free dairy-free and gluten-free birthday cake

3 large ripe bananas
3 free-range eggs (eggs are OK for ONE year old’s – Google said so)
1/3 cup melted extra virgin organic coconut oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (apparently honey isn’t OK for little monsters)
2 cups of spelt flour (you can also use buckwheat, rice or quinoa flour to become GF)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

1 ripe avocado
1 large ripe banana
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
3 tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 180C

Mix all cake ingredients together by hand (first wet then dry then both together)

Pour batter into two small and round greased cake tins

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the fork comes out clean

Let cool COMPLETELY – I know this is impossible, you just wanna take the cake out, I know, I know but wait.

Once COOLED, straighten cakes by thinly slicing off cake domes

In a food processor or blender, mix all frosting ingredients together.

Slather some frosting in the middle then stack one cake on top of the other.

Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for; spread that frosting everywhere (top of cake, sides of cake, inside your mouth etc)

Decorate! I used flowers and silvered almonds. Note: if using nuts or dried fruit beware of choking hazards

Refrigerate for at least 30 min for the frosting to harden.

For the record, it was pure bliss watching Emma sample her first taste of “chocolate” she only ate a smidgen of the frosting and maybe a little mouthful of the actual cake cake from her papa’s plate but at least, her first birthday cake didn’t contain any unnatural additives. Moreover, the remaining guests, who, who-are-we-kidding the cake was for in the first place, highly approved and so did their diets.

ladies night

Last night I threw a surprise birthday party well not sure if you can call it a party as there were only four of us, for my dear colleague. I served a pear tart which I had especially made by our lovely local french baker and a mousse cake from a Japanese baker. The latter was quite a mission as neither of us spoke a word that the other understood but miraculously we managed. And we had a blast. I am seriously pleasantly surprised every single day of how much love and happiness can be shared between strangers (now friends). These women and I are so different in culture and appearance but our souls are the same.

“Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch…”
-from the Bahá’í writings
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Let Them Eat Cake

A sound advice Antoinette, especially when the cake is jam-packed with the good stuff. That was not a drug reference. Seriously, it wasn’t. So my sister turned 27 today (I know, you don’t care) and since she’s getting married in two weeks and so is naturally weight conscious (as all bride-to-be’s most often are), I made her the healthiest possible version of her favourite cake (carrot cake) that I could master.

2 cups grated carrots
2 cups almond meal
3 free-range eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup unrefined coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda

1 cup crushed walnuts
1/4 cup organic sultanas

1/2 cup mascarpone
2 tsp raw honey
zest of one lemon
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C

In a food processor, mix the first lot of cake ingredients until well combined.

Using a spoon, fold in the walnuts and sultanas (make sure your food processor is off if wanting fingers to stay in tact)

Pour cake mixture into a greased cake tin.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the fork comes out clean.

In a small bowl, combine all icing ingredients and mix well until smooth and creamy.

Spread icing evenly on top of cooled cake using the back of a spoon.

Face plant into centre of cake or enjoy in a conventional manner with fork.

*refined-sugar free
*dairy free