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Category: cakes + muffins + cupcakes + cookies

Lemon-Lime Filled Muffins – SABH

I try to participate as often as possible with the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, so I was pretty bummed that I missed last month’s. This time around I was determined to participate and was a bit obsessed about it…so much so that I was discussing recipe ideas with my husband on our Easter weekend road trip! I came up with the idea to do filled muffins/cupcakes out in the middle of Yorkshire, driving to the village of the Brontë sisters! Emily, Charlotte, and Anne lived with their brother and father in the village or hamlet of Haworth.


The village looks like something straight out of their novels. And the day we visited even more so, as it was covered in snow, it was freezing, dark and grey, and there were crows cawing in the cemetery behind the parish church. It’s hard to imagine what life must have been like for them in the early 19th century in such a secluded place…


The Haworth parish church, seen from the cemetery ledge.

But I think the “dreary” sensation both my husband and I had made me think of longing for sunshine and bright,  happy things. Lemons came to mind and I set my heart on making lemon filled muffins! And what better way to celebrate that Spring is finally upon us than with some beautiful, yellow lemons and bright green limes.

The Brontë Museum, which was closed by the time we arrived.

The Brontë Museum, which was closed by the time we arrived.

And as this month’s theme is “seasonal produce”, and we can use whatever is in season in our hemisphere (the blog hosts are based out of Australia), well lemons and limes fit right in!

Two horses in the fields behind the parish house.

Two horses in the fields behind the parish house.

I’ve never made a filled muffin or cupcake before, so I actually had to do a Google search and watch a few You Tube videos to figure it out. It’s actually quite an easy thing to do… no great mystery or chef’s title required. 🙂 And I must say the results are scrumptious! I may be making filled muffins a lot more in the future…



Makes 12 muffins/cupcakes

Ingredients, for the Lemon-Lime Curd*, makes about 2 cups

  • 6 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil can also be used)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons, lemon juice (the 2 tablespoons will be used in the muffins)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw honey

Process, for the Lemon-Lime Curd

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, cook the lemon juice, zest and honey until the honey is liquified.
  2. Add the butter and cook until dissolved.
  3. Add the beaten egg yolks, whisking continuously so that they will not curd.
  4. Cook 4-5 minutes longer, until the sauce thickens, and starts to boil.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, place in a glass jar/container and refrigerate until set. (I left mine in the fridge overnight.)


Ingredients for the Lemon-Lime Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds (it’s equal to 250g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

Process for Lemon-Lime Muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.  
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse until smooth the following: eggs, coconut oil, lemon juice, zest and honey. 
  3. Add the baking soda, salt and ground almonds. Pulse until well mixed. If using a blender, you may have to transfer to a bowl and continue with a hand mixer to ensure all the ingredients are well blended.
  4. Scoop with a spoon into each muffin/cupcake liner, about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow to sit in oven one minute longer.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely for the next step.

To fill the muffins/cupcakes with the lemon-lime curd

This can be done a number of ways, with either a piping bag and a piping tip, or by cutting out part of the muffin/cupcake. I opted for cutting so I could include more lemon-lime curd in the muffins; plus, as I planned on putting frosting on them, that covers up the “cut”. To make the cut, you can use a regular kitchen knife. Cut out a circle, deep into the muffin, as seen in the picture above. Take out the cut-out section and fill with the curd. To make the “top”, simple cut off the excess from the inside and leave the top portion as a cover to the hole.


Egg-White Lemon-Lime Curd Frosting

I used the basic frosting from the strawberry cupcakes, which was a recipe from Against All Grain, I made a few months ago.


  • 3 eggs whites
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons lemon-lime curd
  • edible marigold leaves


  1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, liquefy the honey and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites and lemon juice until soft peaks form.
  3. Add the heated honey and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold in the lemon-lime curd until well blended.
  5. Pour into a piping bag and pipe onto the filled cupcakes.
  6. Garnish with marigold leaves, if desired.

*The Lemon-Lime curd can be spread on bread, used to flavour yoghourt or eaten simply by the spoonful, both of these last which I’ve done repeatedly since I made it. 😉








A bit about Sweet Adventures Blog Hop:

  • SABH is brought to you by your hostesses – Dining With a StudThe Capers of the Kitchen Crusader and me 84th & 3rd. Christina from The Hungry Australian has moved onto other adventures, we wish her sweet luck!
  • On Twitter? Use the hash tag #SABH to follow the fun and share your ideas. You can also follow us at @SweetAdvBlogHop for new hop announcements and general deliciousness.
  • Tell your bloggie friends to join up or just pop over and take a look at all the entries – the more the merrier!

For this month’s Season Produce links and information, please check out 84th & 3rd’s Fresh Apple Cake recipe and instructions page. 

Banana Zucchini Bread/Cake/Muffins (Nut Free, Grain Free, Egg Free & Sweetener Free!)

NOTE (11 July 2013): When I originally made this recipe, I tested it three times, with different combination of ingredients. On the third attempt, the recipe worked for me and held together fine, as you can see in the photographs.

Since then, a number of readers have tried the recipe with varying results, many stating that it does not set. I’ve tried making changes, adding flax, adding chia, gelatine, arrowroot…the point is, I have not yet been able to make the adjustments which creates an infallible recipe and stays true to the great flavours of the original recipe.

I asked on Facebook the other day, whether or not to keep this recipe up, and the majority who responded said to bring it back (after having unpublished it). So, here it is again, with no changes yet.

In the meantime, I will continue to experiment with this until I find the right combination of ingredients that do not alter the flavour and work right each time. Please stay tuned!

Original post follows:


A friend of mine, who is in culinary school, asked me the other day for recipes for people with allergies (no eggs, no gluten and no nuts). I offered information on egg substitutes and baking with coconut flour and nut flours, but really had no real recipe that covers all three bases.

I have been trying to develop an egg free and nut free bread for a couple of weeks. All the Paleo breads I’ve  made up until now have a lot of eggs and nuts; and although it’s very healthy to eat both, of course, I don’t want to be eating them on a daily basis as part of my breakfast. I try to vary what I eat every day as much as possible, but I’m not always in the mood to cook as soon as I get up, so “bread” is always an easy thing to resort to.

Well… “insert drum roll here”…. I finally got it right! I intended it as a quick bread for brekkie, but because of the bananas, it’s much sweeter than your regular breakfast bread (although I ate it today with some “raw” blue cheese!). I think next time, I’ll make it as muffins or as a cake with a coconut frosting….yum…

Also, I think the recipe lends itself to substitutions for the bananas, such as apple sauce. So, I foresee a lot more experimenting in the future… 😉

BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD (Nut Free, Grain Free, Egg Free, and Sweetener Free!)


  • 1 1/2 cup mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, not melted, but soft
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the bananas, coconut oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom. With a hand beater, beat until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Add the sea salt and baking soda and incorporate well.
  4. Add the coconut flour and mix well.
  5. Fold in the zucchini.
  6. Pour into a loaf pan (mine is about 6×3 inches) and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before removing from loaf pan, and to cool completely before slicing.


Paleo Beetroot Cake

The other night, I made the most delicious duck with roasted beetroot and sweet potatoes. We love duck, but usually are boring and only make it a l’orange. But in my search for something different, I stumbled upon a recipe to make it with lavender and I was hooked! I bought some edible flowers last year and every chance I get to use them, I jump on the opportunity. I love the aromas and the gourmet touch they provide.

However, I didn’t take good pictures of the duck dish. So that means, we’ll have to be making it again (darn ;-P) for lunch this time, and then I’ll be able to share with all of you the exquisite, aromatic recipe!

Anyway, I had a bunch of left over pre-cooked beets and really didn’t want to use them in salads and such. Google came to the rescue and I found an interesting flourless cake from Elana’s Pantry. I made it immediately and although I loved its flavour and texture, I did find it somewhat too moist to serve as a cake.

Here’s what I consider my improvement upon the original. I’ve made changes for a number of reasons, aside from the moisture issue: I used olive oil, instead of grapseed oil, which I’ve read about and it is not considered a healthy fat; I used raw honey, instead of the agave nectar, which is also not considered that healthy, and here’s why; and finally, I added spices, coconut flour for the moisture, and baking soda to make it more of a cake.

I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think. We loved it!

For original recipe from Elana’s Pantry, please click here.



  • 3 cups of grated, cooked beetroots
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raw 100% cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (for a slightly fluffier and dryer cake, use 1/2 cup coconut flour)*


  1. Preheat oven to 170C (350F).
  2. In a food processor or blender, beat the beetroots, eggs and olive oil.
  3. Add the honey, vanilla extract, baking soda, sea salt and spices. Blend well.
  4. Add the cacao powder and coconut flour and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Pour into a greased cake pan of choice. I used a 9-inch diameter tart pan.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before cutting and serving. Garnish as desired.

*I’ve made this cake both ways, with more and less coconut flour. I really can’t say which I prefer, as I love both. I would suggest making it both ways and deciding for yourself too!

Paleo Mango-Banana Tropical Mini Loafs with Coconut Icing – SABH

While Australia is sweltering, here in London we’ve had below zero temperatures and about three days of snow. But what does that have to do with this recipe? Well, I’m part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, which is hosted by Aussie bloggers, and this month’s theme is “Tropical Paradise”….very appropriate for the Australian summer. Not so much for where I currently live and shop for food. 😉 But I’m not complaining; the snow was gorgeous and having a few days of the beautiful white stuff was amazing and a lovely change of pace from the green and grey.

Anyway, back to the recipe. I wanted to make something truly exotic, since a lot of the recipes already on the hop contain mango. But there are not too many tropical fruits available in London this time of year, unless I went off to some Asian market on the other side of town… not happening in this cold. Plus, I have been back at work again with my graphic design and it was hard to even cook a regular meal.

These mini loafs, of course, can be made into a cupcakes/muffins or into a cake, if the recipe is doubled. I love the combination of the mango and banana, and wanted to add a slight touch of coconut with the icing and desiccated coconut on top as garnish. I hope you try them and enjoy as much as I have!



Ingredients, 5 mini loafs

  • 1 1/2 cups grounds almonds/almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and cut into small squares
  • olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease the mini loaf pans with some olive oil or grease of choice.
  2. Combine all the ingredients, except the mango, and with a hand mixer beat until fully combined and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the mango and beat again to incorporate.
  3. Pour the mixture into the loaf pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before drizzling with icing.

You can also pour into cupcake molds or double the recipe for a cake. For the cake, you’ll have to adjust the baking time.

Coconut-Honey Icing


  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons raw honey (to taste)
  • dessicated coconut flakes

(For the coconut oil: place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When you open it, the fatty/oil portion will be on the top, whilst the milk will be below. Scoop out the fat/oil that you need and mix the rest in with the milk.)

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients, except the flakes, together with a whisk until smooth. Place in the fridge for about 10 minutes for the mixture to set. Then drizzle over the mini loafs/cupcakes and sprinkle with coconut flakes as garnish.







A bit about Sweet Adventures Blog Hop

This month’s Sweet Adventure’s Blog Hop, SABH, is hosted by Dining With a Stud. For more information on the hop and to join, please visit her page and recipe here. And don’t forget to check out the delicious recipes below from the rest of the bloggers!


Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – Paleo

I’ve been very fortunate this holiday season for a number of reasons, primarily of course, my husband and I have been able to visit with my parents. We’ve enjoyed sharing a couple of weeks with them, doing lots of delicious home cooking and even visiting the Dali Museum in Tampa, Florida. My mother, husband and I are avid art enthusiasts, so it was a special treat for the three of us. My father doesn’t appreciate art so much, but was once again impressed by the Spanish artist’s works, many of which we had not seen in person before.

During our trip, I’ve also purchased a few new recipes books, including The Wheat Belly Cookbook, and as I am so eager to try out new things, I’ve already made two recipes, one of which I am sharing with you now. I’ve altered it a bit to accommodate my tastes, and all of us at home can vouch for their deliciousness! 😉

As our trip comes to an end, it’s always very hard to say “hasta luego” to my parents. Thank goodness for technology and Skype; so in a couple of days, we’ll be seeing each other again, albeit not in person…. but for today, we’ll enjoy some more great home cooking, courtesy of my mother.


Ingredients, makes about 20 medium cookies

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-5 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (for homemade chips, see recipe here)


Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the olive oil, almond milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the almond flour mixture until combined. Add the  honey, and depending on your taste, use 4 or 5 tablespoons.

Stir in the chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 2 minutes, then with a clean spoon or a glass, press each cookie to flatten.

Bake an additional 14 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Once completely cool, I store mine in a sealable container in the fridge.

Cranberry Pear Loaf

I think I’m still a baker at heart. But baking these days is more of a challenge than it used to be, since I want to keep all my baking gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free, as much as possible. Therefore, I’m always in search of inspiration for recipe ideas, especially for breads.

I follow a few blogs on Facebook and one of them, Against All Grain, posted a delicious looking cranberry lemon loaf that was perfectly timed with my supply of fresh cranberries. Here is the result. I changed the recipe a tiny bit, as I have a hard time sticking to any recipe 100% of the time.



  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh cranberries
  • 2 small pears, peeled and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Grease an 9×4 loaf pan with olive oil.
  3. Place all of the ingredients, except the cranberries and pears, in a bowl and mix until well blended.
  4. Fold in cranberries and pears.
  5. Pour into mold.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.








Paleo Buche de Noel – Sweets for Santa

Sweets for Santa is this month’s theme of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. I try to participate as often as I can, since I discovered them a few months ago. The blog hop is open to anyone willing to participate, anywhere in the world; and it’s hosted by some great ladies and bloggers in Australia. December 2012 marks a year anniversary for the blog hop, and I’m very excited to be part of this Sweet Adventures’ community, where we are all inspired by and learn from each other.

My entry is something I learned to make in my high school French class. I still remember the crumbled mess when we tried rolling our first buche. Since then, I’ve learned a few things about baking and cooking, and things have improved dramatically! 😉 My next challenge is food styling and food photography, which is quite the learning process…but I’ll get there I hope.

The Buche de Noel is a traditional Christmas holiday cake that can be found in pastry shops almost everywhere in France and in many French homes. Mine is a healthy deviation from the traditional as I’ve made it completely refined sugar free, dairy free and gluten free. In fact, it’s even Paleo (although some Paleo followers may not approve of the wine or chocolate…)! But I’ll leave that debate for another time…



For the chocolate bark

Make one recipe of homemade chocolate. Allow to cool about 1 hour. Then pour onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper over top. Make sure the chocolate is not too liquid, but syrupy instead. Roll into a “log”. Freeze for a few hours or overnight.

When you unwrap the parchment paper, the chocolate will break into shards of bark.

For the sponge cake

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (for egg whites)
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • additional olive oil for the parchment paper
  • parchment paper to line the baking pan
  • 1/3 cup Moscatel or rum or brandy (or nonalcoholic wine)

Preheat oven to 180C or 350F.

In a bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and honey until a pale yellow. This will take about 10 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer. Add the olive oil, cocoa powder and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar until stiff peaks form. Fold in about 1/4 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Slide the remaining egg whites over the mixture.

Sift together the coconut flour and baking soda and pour on top of the egg whites. Fold until a homogenous mixture is achieved. Pour into an 9.5 x 13.5 inch mold, previously prepared with a piece of greased parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour the Moscatel evenly over the top of the cake. After it has been absorbed, carefully roll the cake into a log. Set aside.

For the coconut whipped cream with raspberries

  •  1 can of full fat coconut milk, preferably organic
  • 200g fresh raspberries, save a few for garnish
  • blueberries for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract*
Place the can of coconut in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Open carefully and scoop out the fat only, leaving the “water” behind. Pour into a bowl and at high speed beat until a whipped cream consistency is achieved. Add the vanilla and the raspberries and mix well. (You may want to add some sweetener; I didn’t as I though the combination with the sponge cake was sweet enough for me.)
*For homemade vanilla extract: In a sealable glass jar, place 1 cup of vodka plus 3 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (with vanilla seeds removed) and cut in half. Ideally, allow to macerate at least one month before using. However, I have used it within a week and it was delicious.)
For the meringue mushrooms, makes about 12 mushroom caps and stems
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ice water
Preheat oven to 80C or 175F.
In a saucepan, heat the egg white, honey and salt until the mixture is warm to the touch (about 1-2 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Transfer to a mixing bowl and with a hand mixer on high speed, immediately begin to whisk. Add the ice water and continuing beating until soft, glossy peaks are formed.
Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and create mushroom caps and stems. Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 1.5 hours. Allow the mushrooms to completely cool – about 1 hour –  before “gluing” together. They can be stored overnight (not in the fridge) on the countertop. I found that with the meringues made with honey that they are very sticky, so no “glue” is required. However, if you make them with refined sugar, you can use some melted chocolate as glue.
To add some “dirt” to the mushrooms, sprinkle some cocoa powder using a sieve on the top of the mushrooms and with cocoa powder “dirty finger” touch the mushroom stems. For original idea, please click here. And for the original meringue recipe from Against All Grain, please click here.
To assemble the Buche de Noel 
Unroll the sponge cake. Spread the coconut raspberry whipped cream on the cake. Roll up again.
Melt some chocolate and when cool, but still of fluid consistency, pour or drizzle over the rolled cake. Transfer with a large spatula to a pretty (and clean) serving platter. Immediately “glue” bark into place. Decorate with “dirty” mushrooms and some sprinkled desiccated coconut over top, if desired.
Et Voila! Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and holiday season, and a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year 2013! Oh, yes and may the year be full of lots of love and “deliciousness”!
After a year of incredible recipes, our host again is Christina from the Hungry Australian. Please check her page for more details on the hop and how to join.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies & Homemade Chocolate Chips

My oh my! These are good. Even the cookie dough is addictive, just like the “real” thing.

I am not a huge fan of cookies in general, except the quintessentially American chocolate chip cookie (and maybe the sugar cookie for decorating). But my nieces have been making chocolate chip cookies and sending me pictures via Whatsapp, so I kind of felt left out. But I’m on a mission to avoid gluten at all costs… so I had to go searching for an almond flour recipe, so that I could indulge without guilt and ensure it’s a healthier version.

In Spain, there are many pastries made with almond flour or other nut flours, so adapting those recipes to remove the refined sugar is less of a challenge than to make the right chocolate chip cookie.

The ones I made today are a mixture of recipes and came out delicious. And although they do not have the traditional goey texture of a wheat cookie, the flavour is spot on. I think I like them better actually!


Ingredients, makes about 24 medium 2-inch cookies

(The original recipe is from Against All Grain, with some influence from The Food Lovers Kitchen.)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups blanched ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate pieces (recipe below)


Make chocolate pieces or chips a few hours in advance or the day before.

Preheat oven to 180C or 350F. In a bowl, with a hand mixer, beat until smooth and fluffy the olive oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt. Mix until combined. You may need a spoon to do this properly. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand, as well.

On a parchment-lined cookie or baking sheet, drop balls of the cookie dough, about 1 inch in diameter (like a tablespoon each). With your hand or a piece of parchment, press on each cookie to flatten out.

Bake between 10-12 minutes until golden brown. I used the bottom rack of my oven and placed an empty cookie sheet on the middle rack to protect the cookies below and prevent them from burning. Nut flours tend to burn very easily, so beware of this.

The cookies will be rather soft to the touch right out of the oven. Allow to cool on a cookie rack before eating, as they harden as they cool.


Ingredients, makes about 1 1/2 cups

(I had previously found a very interesting recipe for making chocolate at home with cacao butter. But since my computer crashed, I cannot find the recipe back. However, my friend Denise from Edible Harmony, has a great recipe, which I’ve used for these cookies. She also has her version of paleo CCC, without eggs.)

  • 1/4 cup cacao butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons 100% cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (optional, if you prefer bitter dark chocolate)


In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and heat over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the cacao butter is melted. Allow the mixture to cool and thicken in the fridge.

Once it has thickened, either pipe into a chip form or spread on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer until it is set. If you make the spread format, break the chocolate into small pieces for the cookie recipe.











Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake (Dairy Free)

Wow! I’m having a piece of this scrumptious cake as I type. It’s quite amazing to think it has no flour, no refined sugar and no baking is required (well, only some). I follow Amy from the Fragrant Vanilla Cake blog for a while now and keep meaning to make one of her beautiful creations. In fact, I have like a million of her recipes printed out, even bought edible flowers in preparation, and just never get around to it.

However, this time, I actually had almost all the ingredients on hand, and primarily I had pumpkin! I’ve been on a pumpkin craze lately… I’ll promise this will be the penultimate  (I mean last) recipe with pumpkin for the season. 😉

Here’s Amy’s original recipe, which is slightly different and a lot prettier than my creation. I made a couple of changes, but most importantly I baked the pumpkin first because I don’t like it raw. You decide for yourself which way to go.. but I do recommend trying this, as it’s delicious and healthy!


Ingredients, for crust:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 7 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Prepare a spring-form cake pan by greasing the inside with some olive oil or oil of preference.

Although I made the entire cake with a blender, I really think a food processor would work much better. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until the nuts are fine crumbs. If you’re using a blender, as I did, you may have to do this in steps to not burn out the motor. Transfer the mixture into the cake form and press firmly into the bottom and slightly on the sides, forming a crust. Set aside either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Ingredients, for the filling:

  • 1 cup of raw cashew, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup coconut meat
  • 3/4 cup water (save 1/4 cup water for gelatine)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin meat (previously baked)
  • 1 packet powdered gelatine

Place all ingredients, except 1/4 cup water and gelatine, in the food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Heat the 1/4 cup water and mix with the gelatine. Add to the creamed mixture and blend well.

Pour into the crust in the prepared cake pan and refrigerate until set. I left mine overnight.

Ingredients, for the caramel topping:

  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut meat (with its oil)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water (for a thicker caramel, I would add water little by little until the desired consistency is achieved)

Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate overnight to thicken (or place in freezer).

When the cake is set, remove from the form onto a serving plate. Pour the caramel on top and garnish as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.


Tarta de Santiago (Almond Cake)

The Tarta de Santiago is a traditional almond cake, which originates during the Middle Ages in Galicia, the north-western part of Spain. Little is known about the consumption of almonds in this region of Spain during Medieval times; but apparently almonds were considered a luxury and reserved for the rich or special occasions.

According to Wikipedia, the “bizcocho de almendras” (almond cake) was first mentioned sometime during 1577, and the first reliable recipe was written in 1838 by Luis Bartolome de Leybar. The cake is generally garnished with powdered sugar, in the shape of the Cross of Santiago. This is a recent tradition, but one which now-a-days is characteristic of the cake. On March 3, 2006, la Tarta de Santiago was registered as “Indication Geografica Protegida”, something similar to the geographical protection given to wines, cheeses and other specialty dishes.

I first learned how to make this cake from a recipe my mother has (author unknown). I used to make it on special occasions, only because it’s a very rich and heavy cake. However, as I’m on an “almond” kick lately, I figured why not?



  •  250g ground almonds or almond flour
  • 5 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g raw honey (or sugar, if you prefer)
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 180C.  In a bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the lemon zest, honey, cinnamon, and olive oil. Beat until well mixed. Add the ground almonds, whilst continuing to beat continuously.
Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 8 or  9 inch spring form cake pan (I used olive oil and coconut flour, instead of butter and wheat flour). Pour the mixture into the pan. On the bottom rack of the oven, bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven, and immediately dust with cinnamon and/or powdered sugar with the design of the Cross of Santiago or your own design. I personally only generally use cinnamon to garnish the cake; however to make the picture look prettier, I did add a bit of powdered sugar (which is completely optional). Allow to cool to room temperature before removing the mold and serving.
This cake pairs well with a Moscatel or another sweet dessert wine.

Strawberry Almond Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

I’m an avid fan of All Against Grain, a blog which encompasses cooking and baking without grains. I love Danielle’s photography and recipe ideas, but have only once tried one of her recipes (for homemade hamburger buns precisely, which I’ll post about soon). When I was looking for something to make for my husband’s birthday, I wanted something different and unique. I also wanted to make sure it was a healthy dessert, meaning wheat, sugar and dairy free.

This recipe for strawberry cupcakes from Danielle’s blog caught my eye and I immediately decided I was going to try it. Here’s the original version, and below is mine with some alterations.


Ingredients, for 1 dozen cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds (I measured this and it’s equivalent to 250g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped strawberries


Preheat oven to 180C. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake paper holders.

Combine the honey, olive oil, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, and lemon zest in the blender. Puree until frothy and smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend until the batter is very smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides of the jar with a spatula and blend again to incorporate all of the ingredients well.

Fold in the strawberries by hand. Do not use the blender for this. Pour the batter into the cupcake holders, about 3/4 full. The batter is exactly enough for 12 large cupcakes. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. I baked mine for 18 minutes and then turned the oven off and left them inside for another minute.

Remove from oven and allow to completely cool on the counter before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mashed strawberries
  • 12 small strawberries, whole


In a small saucepan, bring the honey to a boil over medium heat. In the meantime, beat the egg whites and lemon juice to soft peaks. While continuing beating, add the honey, slowly in a steady stream. Continuing beating until the meringue is cool to the touch and you still have stiffer peaks. Fold in the strawberries and mix well.

Pour into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes. Add a strawberry to each cupcake as garnish.

(I made extra meringue than what Danielle calls for in the original recipe, so I could pipe out some more onto a cookie sheet and bake them. I baked them at 180C for about 4 minutes.)

Almond Fudge Brownies with Ribera del Duero & Blackberry Coulis

I’ve purchased blackberries multiple times now to make a dessert I’ve been meaning to try. However, I keep eating them with my homemade kefir for breakfast, before I get around to buying the rest of the ingredients that I need.

But today, after opening up a bottle of Senorio Real, a Ribera del Duero, for lunch, I figured I could make a wine sauce with them. We get our Spanish wines every year when we travel by car to Spain; and last year, we finally made a switch from Riojas to Ribera del Duero. (I have to admit, I like the Riberas better. The Senorio Real is particularly fruity, with undertones of blackberry and vanilla. So, it was a perfect match for the fruit itself.)

The coulis can be used to accompany a dessert, such as the brownies I made today, or as a sauce for red meat, poultry or game. The delicate, yet slightly acidic flavour of the blackberries is balanced with the sweeter palate of the wine and makes a good combination for either savoury or sweet dishes.

The brownie recipe below is made with ground almonds, and is flour-less, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. I couldn’t stop eating the dough by the spoonfuls before baking! And the best part of that is that I didn’t feel guilty at all, as it’s a healthy and nutritious treat all in one!

Almond Fudge Brownies with Ribera del Duero & Blackberry Coulis

For the Brownies, makes 6-8:


  • 250g ground almonds
  • 250g raw honey
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 egg whites


In a bowl, mix the almonds, honey, cocoa, and spices. In another bowl, beat the egg whites, until stiff peaks form. Fold into the almond mixture and blend well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

On a sheet of wax paper, spread out the dough into a square of about 1.5 cm in height. Allow to sit to “dry” for another hour.

Preheat oven to 200C. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The inside should be soft and moist, whilst the outside should be dry and of a harder texture.

Let cool, cut into desired shape and serve with Ribera del Duero & Blackberry Coulis.

For the Coulis:


  • 3/4 cup Ribera del Duero or another young, fruity red wine
  • 6-8 tablespoons raw honey
  • 300g fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, outer skin (from above recipe)


In a saucepan, bring the wine and honey to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add the berries and the vanilla bean. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool completely at room temperature.

Remove the vanilla bean and with a hand blender, puree the rest of the mixture. I allowed mine to cool in the fridge for about an hour before serving. You may also want to pour through a sieve to remove any seed pieces. I didn’t.


The Sweet Adventures Blog Hop (SABH) is brought to you by 84th & 3rd, Delicieux, The Hungry Australian, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader, and Dining With a Stud. This blog hop is open to all food (and lifestyle) bloggers. Link-up any new, related posts published from the 17th of September until the 24th.

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