Banoffee Pie Bites {GF & No refined sugar, Vegan option}

banoffee pie bites (vegan, GF & No Refined sugar)-1737

Somewhere in-between last weekend’s hangover and this week’s flu I managed to bake these beauties. Of course if there was one thing that I would fit into the only day this week when I wasn’t bedridden, it would be baking. Thankfully I’m all better now and I’m avoiding any drinks above the 0% alcohol level so there should be PLENTY more time for food in my life (and so plenty more time for these babes).

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Malted Milk & Stracciatella Gelato Pops

Malted Milk & Stracciatella Gelato Pops-9

Having just sent off two rolls of film which I’ve been using since Autumn-ish last year, I’ve had film vs. digital on my mind. A digital camera is great for most things because you can take so many photos so easily (the only caveat being that you’ll probably need a few 1 TB external harddrives 😉 ). That said, I still can’t help but feel excited by the possibilities that a new reel of film, loaded into my mum’s old Olympus, brings. There’s something a bit more magical about the potential that each of those 36 exposures contains.

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Flourless Chocolate & Pomegranate Mini Cake {GF}

{A Giveaway} + Valentine's Dessert: Flourless Chocolate & Pomegranate Mini Cake

Who got distracted by watching knife skill videos? I DID.
Who also decided to prep cinnamon rolls tonight for her birthday breakfast!? STILL me.

So that’s why I’m bringing the last installment of my Valentine’s meal plan a few hours later than I had planned! However, now, in all its glory we’ve got…

– Starter: Lettuce Boats with Sweet Potato, Grapefruit and Paprika Mayo
– Main: Sticky Glazed Meatballs with Cauliflower Quinoa Pilaf (GF with Vegetarian variation)
– Dessert: Flourless Chocolate & Pomegranate Mini Cake

Valentine's Meal Plan // Top With Cinnamon

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Triple Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl Crumb Cake {for How Sweet’s Baby Shower!!}

Triple Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl Crumb Cake 057

Cake is a celebration food to most people – you’ve probably heard the phrase ‘a party without cake is just a meeting’ – so I thought it would be ever so appropriate to make one for celebrating Jessica from How Sweet It Is’ virtual baby shower!! If you haven’t heard of her blog somehow you know I’m going to tell you to go read it, pronto, especially if you’re in need of some serious food porn inspiration and a good laugh. Jessica is the sweetest, most upbeat person and I’m pretty sure her kid will have the happiest life ever (who wouldn’t when you get to eat the food she makes every day). Now, I’ve never been to an actual baby shower before but if it consists of a bunch of friends making hella food and eating it together, I’m game. Sounds like the only type of party that should exist to be honest.

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Chocolate Chia Ice Cream!

Chocolate Chia Ice Cream 029

(Quickly wanna say thanks for all the kind words on my 3rd blogaversary post a couple of weeks ago!)

I thought that this week I’d go for something a lot more fitting weather-wise. ICE CREAM. Well, maybe it’s ice cream but it doesn’t involve cream, eggs or even cornstarch. Technically  it should have one of those names that brands have to use when they make sketchy diet ice cream and call it ‘frozen dessert’. But, uhhh, that’s not an incredibly appetising name.

Let’s stick with ice cream.

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Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Stack Cake {GF}

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Cake // Top with Cinnamon

Three years (..and two days) since starting my blog. Man, I’m not really sure what to say!

It’s weird enough to think that I’ve been on here for 1/6 of my life when it barely feels like a few months have passed. Now I kind of wish that I’d written one of those ‘futureme.org‘ emails when I’d started TWC because I can’t really remember what July 2011 was like and I’d feel WAY too awkward going back and reading my posts. Plus I always love the idea of time capsules/surprises (I went through a phase of leaving £1 in all of my coin purses that I’d forget about, so that when I eventually decided to use it again I’d discover the money and be all ‘awww yeah let’s go buy some bubble gum’).

Dunno if I’ve said this already but I told literally no-one, except my best friend, about the blog when I started it. I think it took about two or three weeks of me ‘sneaking’ around, taking photos of cakes with the crappiest camera ever before my mum eventually asked me what I was doing. I like to think that I was being subtle but evidently I really really wasn’t.

It’s all right now, the fam is in the loop. Wouldn’t that be strange though if this whole time my family didn’t know I had a blog? Wow. They might just think that I enjoyed collecting single plates and planks of wood for fun (?) and was very particular about the amount of time that they had to wait before eating anything I’d made.

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Cake // Top with Cinnamon

Food blogging is kind of peculiar…and addictive and fun! I get to bake cake and pretend there’s more of a motive than me just really wanting some whipped cream.

I made this cake for a roundup that Saveur asked me to contribute to for their 20th birthday! I figured that I might as well use it to celebrate my 3rd bloggaversary too as it’s suitably celebration-y and this way I can also give you the recipe! It’s not too difficult to make because it’s just meringue disks stacked up with ganache, whipped cream and cherries but you do have to have the oven on for over an hour (at a low temp) to dry out the disks sufficiently. So if you’re boycotting the oven for the time being (thanks July heatwave 😐 ), you’ll probs want to avoid making this cake right now and just look at the pictures instead.

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Cake // Top with Cinnamon

  Notes:

To make the top meringue layer I filled a wide, plain tipped piping bag with the meringue mixture and piped little blobs in concentric circles.

– There are two possible ways of serving this cake: You can either attack it with a sharp knife and a spoon, serving it in a messy pavlova style OR freeze the cake for an hour and then slice neatly with a sharp knife which is what I did for the pics of the slices (note that freezing changes the texture of the cherries though)

Chocolate & Cherry Meringue Stack Cake {gluten-free}
5 egg whites
10 oz superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
16 oz cherries, halved and pitted
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, plus extra for grating

Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until you get soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar whilst you continue to beat the egg whites until the mixture is glossy and you get stiff peaks. If the mixture is rubbed between your fingers there should be no sugar crystals - if the mixture still feels gritty keep beating it until smooth, then finally beat in the vanilla extract.

Spread the mixture out on two lined cookie sheets to form four, 6-inch diameter disks (see notes). Bake for one and a half hours in an oven preheated to 250 F (120 C) then switch the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven for a further hour.

Melt the chocolate and stir in 1/4 cup of the cream.

Whisk the rest of the cream until just thickened.

To assemble: take one meringue disk and spread a quarter of the chocolate mixture over it. Spread a quarter of the cream over this and then scatter over the cherries. Top with the next meringue stack and repeat the chocolate, cream and cherry layering until you've stacked up all the meringues. Grate a little extra chocolate over the cake for a finishing touch.

Serve immediately or freeze for an hour before slicing for a cleaner cut (see notes).

http://www.topwithcinnamon.com/2014/07/three-years.html

Chewy, Coconut Granola Bars {GF, Vegan} + Cinnamon Swirl Bread {Vegan}

Chewy, Chocolate Chip, Coconut Granola Bars {GF, Vegan} and Pecan-Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread {Vegan} So I’m about to leave to go festival-ing at T in the Park (praying that I’m not going to get too drenched by any downpours when I’m there) for the weekend. I’ve made a couple of things this week which I had zero intention of blogging, I just instagrammed them and thought that was it. However a few people asked for the recipes and my no.1 hate is typing out recipes in Instagram comments so I thought I’d just give you a short, to the point post.

Have a good weekend everybody!

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Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

It’s no secret to people who know me that I am a stress-eater.

PMS-ing: Time for chocolate.

60 billion pieces of homework due for tomorrow: Give me all of the shortbread please.

Exams: Ima cry-eat this brownie.

And as a particularly daunting round of exams is looming, it probably won’t be surprising to find me drinking endless mugs of tea alongside all of that food, either.

Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

I find it easier to control my insane sugar cravings during these times by trying to bake things which happen to actually make me feel full. Eating a regular brownie never makes think ‘wow I am so stuffed’. It’s more like ‘that brownie was a pre-brownie trial round. Now for the real thing, gimme another good sir!’.

And that’s why I often use things like flax seeds and oat flour when baking – the fiber and protein (and healthy fats in the flax seeds) are what keep me satiated so I don’t end up gorging.

Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

Another ingredient akin to those I just mentioned is coconut flour. It’s basically the dried pulp leftover from making coconut milk. It is really high in fiber (because that’s pretty much all that it is) with some protein and good fats in there to boot. It does have a coconutty aroma but the flavour is easily masked when baked with ingredients like chocolate…for example…

So if it’s such a cool ingredient, then why is this one of the first times I’ve mentioned it on here?

Well, the frustrating thing is that coconut flour is a pain in the arse to develop recipes with. It absorbs crazy amounts of liquid and has no real binding quality so usually requires a LOT of eggs to go with it. I’m not a fan of overly eggy textured desserts (i.e. souffles or custard-like things) so I haven’t used it much in the past.

When I was looking through my friend Josh’s new book The Slim Palate Cookbook (full disclosure, that’s an affiliate link), I noticed he’d used coconut flour in a brownie recipe. I had a bag of coconut flour in the cupboard (and, at £6 a bag, I was like ‘yeah okay lets do this, use up some coconut flour!!’) so decided to give the recipe a go as it looked normal for egg quantities and the picture was making me pretty hungry.

Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

Holy woah they’re good. They’re not as dense as traditional brownies, I think due to the use of coconut flour and small amount of baking soda, and have about half of the amount of sugar. Of course I went all classic food blogger and browned the butter before mixing in the rest of the ingredients. I amped up the chocolate flavour too, by sneaking some extra cocoa powder into the batter 😉

Verdict: Now I know what I’m going to be using the rest of my coconut flour for.

If you don’t have coconut flour/can’t  get it/ don’t want to spend dolla on a bag for one recipe (I wouldn’t blame you) then you can sub in almond flour (see the recipe notes) which also has a healthy fats, protein and fiber. Win win. We all get filling brownies. Hooray!

Flourless Browned Butter Brownies {Gluten-Free + Grain-Free}

(If you want to check out more about Josh’s blog, Slim Palate, go here!

He also has a really nice book trailer that you should totally go and watch here)

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Raw Almond Joys/Mounds Bars/Bounty Balls {Vegan + GF}

 Raw Almond Joys/Mounds Bars/Bounty Balls {Vegan + Gluten Free, too}

Sooo two coconut posts in a row… I hope you’re on-board this coconut-obsessed train because I am 100% there and will pull you along with me.

I always feel like I’m in the minority by liking coconut – bountys are ALWAYS the chocolates that are leftover from a box of Celebrations. I mean, I’m not upset about that fact because I could eat my weight in them given the chance. But I think it’s a ‘marmite situation’ where you either hate coconut or you really really like it.

 Raw Almond Joys/Mounds Bars/Bounty Balls {Vegan + Gluten Free, too}

I am one of those coconut-crazy people.

Which is why when I got the chance to read through Emily’s new book (!!) Rawsome Vegan Baking, that I KNEW that I would be making these raw vegan coconut treats asap.

Come on, a healthy version of candy that I can actually convince myself is good for me. No weird additives or anything.

That means it’s okay when I eat 4 in one go right? Its nourishing my body, guys. Nourishing candy. Enough said.

Alright I’ve convinced myself, I’m eating 6, whatever.

 Raw Almond Joys/Mounds Bars/Bounty Balls {Vegan + Gluten Free, too}

Lucky for you lovely readers, I’ve been generously given the opportunity to host a giveaway!! That means you can win a copy of Rawsome Vegan Baking alll for yourself. It’s an amazing book full of wholesome, simple recipes that are to-die-for (how good does raw Maple Pecan Pie sound??! What about raw Oreos or Tahini-Coffee Cream Cups?).

Side note: That reminds me, I recently realised that I haven’t eaten an oreo in like 6 months. How INSANE is that? (Let’s ignore the fact that I ate cookies & cream gelato yesterday…)

rawsome vegan baking

Anywho, just answer the question (seen in the Rafflecopter box below) for one entry. For the additional entries, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below (which I think, if you’re viewing this via e-mail or RSS, you can only see if you click through to this site)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(The giveaway is open to residents of the US)

The giveaway ends on the 23rd of March at 12am (London time), when winner will be randomly selected, announced on here in the Rafflecopter box and contacted via their provided e-mail address shortly afterwards.

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How to Make Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa 1

Hey Friends: I’ve got a recipe for Hot Cocoa mix up on the Small Batch Column of Food52!

(there’s bittersweet chocolate and coconut milk powder involved – so so so so good.)

Click on over to find (and save or print) the recipe.

In other news

– I was interviewed for Food & Wine magazine’s website in their ‘blogger spotlight’ column!!!! (so cool) You can check it here! :)

– I’m in the running for the Homies in the ‘Best Blog from Abroad’ category on The Kitchn -so thanks to whoever nominated me and whoever has voted as well! If you wanna vote for me too then the link is here and I will send you internet hugs 😉

– Dana and John released a digital 31 Meals Cookbook!! It’s utterly gorgeous and a go-to source for me when I just have no idea what to have for supper. (p.s. my fave is the Kale falafel recipe – it’s mega healthy and really filling). Those two are always bringing out such stellar resources for food bloggers! Too awesome.

-Stephanie is writing an eCookbok about quick breads and muffins which is basically my dream come true. I am crazy for loaf/ muffin shaped food. Excitinggg!!

Hot Chocolate 216

I’m on half term this week buuut have managed to reserve no time for bloggy goodness so far which is why this recipe/not recipe post is a thing that has happened! But I *should* be back here this weekend with a real post 😉