Looking back, I think that I have achieved many for the year 2013!
Doreen from my little favourite DIY and I started Little Thumbs Up in Feb 2013 and it has became a popular blogging event among South-Asian food bloggers. Together with Yen, Mich, Joyce, Grace and Anuja, we had organised five Cook Like a Star events in 2013 and I had enjoyed cooking and baking for these events very much. Despite the fact that many non-Aussie bloggers are not familiar with Bill Granger for our last Cook Like a Star event, we still managed to get a total of 79 posts for this event. In regardless of any numbers of linking posts in every event, I think that I have learn a lot from my friends and fellow bloggers and enjoyed cooking and blogging throughout the year 2013 very much!
What next in 2014? More Little Thumbs Up, Cook Like a Star and Bake-Along with Joyce and Lena... Yippee!!!
What's on Jan 2014?
Alice from I Love.I Cook. I Bake is the hostess of Little Thumbs Up this month and the event starts on the first Tuesday of Jan 2014, 7th Jan 2014 and her theme is CHEESE!
Joyce, Lena and I are baking Chinese New Year cookies for our bake-along this month starting from 6th Jan to 27th Jan 2014.
Remember to bake-along with us... Best of all if you enjoy your delicious cooking / baking with many thumbs up. Lagi best!
To begin 2014, I was given a challenging task...
Nothing cheesy or Chinese New Year yet...
I need to bake a gluten free and also diabetic friendly cake! A little bit of mission impossible? A little???
After baking this No-Added Fat and Sugar Gluten-free Banana and Rum Loaf from BBC Good Food, I'm pretty much exhausted with idea that can achieve similar standards.
I kept telling myself... Think, Zoe! Think! I need more reading and ideas...
I thought of using sugar substitution to bake gluten-free cake but came to know from the book, The America's Test Kitchen that the success of baking with artificial sweetener can be limited. In fact, both The America's Test Kitchen and diabetic living online recommend baking with Splenda Sugar Blend which is essentially a mixture of sweetener and sugar. As mentioned in Splenda website, it provides half the calories and carbohydrate of sugar and doesn't have any side-effects of baking.
Using the concept of Splenda Sugar Blend, I have decided to bake gluten-free cake with half amount of sugar and give the cake extra sweetness from poached fruits and agave syrup. What is agave syrup? According to this, agave nectar is one-and-a-half times sweeter than table sugar. Its high fructose (approximately 70 to 90 percent) to glucose ratio which also makes it lower in its GI (Glycemic Index) resulting it being the healthier sweetener.
After all my research, I have finally decided to bake this super-easy-mix-and-bake Fourless Almond Coconut Vanilla Cake from Belinda Jeffery with only half the amount of sugar in the recipe. Belinda is right! This amazing cake is really something special that you can whip up with a short notice!!! For extra sweetness, I had served this cake with poached yellow nectarine with agave syrup and this cake is fabulous! It has a slightly chewy texture and the sweetness is perfect for all of us to eat. If you have no issue with almonds or coconut in cakes, I promise that you will love this! Even the non-coconut-cake loving me is loving it!!!
Here here... Mission accomplished!
|Mix-and-Bake Flourless Almond Coconut Vanilla Cake (Belinda Jeffery)|
|This flourless cake uses almond meal and desiccated coconut.|
|All you need to do is MIX!|
|... and BAKE!|
|For a healthier option, I'm serving this cake with poached nectarines with agave syrup.|
|Only 5 mins of cooking is required! Easy!|
|I have also baked a smaller cake for our family.|
|Big vs small! Both are equally delicious! - LOL!|
|This cake is wonderfully moist! Yum!|
|Wait... I need to enjoy it more with the poached nectarine too!|
Here's the recipe from Belinda Jeffery
(with my modification and notes in blue)
180g almond meal
2/3 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
1/4 tsp salt
250g caster sugar
(reduced to half the amount)
4 x 60g eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(replaced with vanilla paste)
1/4 tsp almond essence
(I didn't add this)
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp flaked almonds
(about 100g for 1 1/2 of this recipe)
icing sugar, (optional), for dusting
(I didn't use this)
Preheat your oven to 180°C or 160°C fan forced. Butter a 23 or 24cm shallow spring form cake tin (or cake rings) and line the base and sides with buttered baking paper. Dust the tin lightly with flour (or rice flour if you’re avoiding wheat) and set it aside. Instead of dusting, I have lined the greased tin with baking paper.
Put the almond meal, desiccated coconut, salt and sugar into a medium-sized bowl and whisk them briskly together with a balloon whisk for 1 min. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and almond essence (I didn't add this) until they’re thoroughly mixed, then mix in the cooled butter until it is incorporated. Tip the butter mixture into the almond mixture and stir them together (you’ll find that it’s quite a loose batter). Scrape this into the prepared tin and spread it out evenly, then scatter the flaked almonds over the top.
Put the tin in the oven and bake the cake for about 40 mins, or until the top of the cake springs back slowly when you press it gently. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack.
Once the cake is cool, invert it onto the rack, remove the tin and paper and invert it again onto a serving plate. Dust the top lightly with icing sugar, if liked, and serve (on its own or with poached fruits as mentioned).
Note: Using one and a half of the recipe, I have baked one 23 cm round cake using spring form cake tin and one 14 cm round cake using 14 cm cake ring. Both are baked at 160°C fan forced for 30 mins (small cake) and 40 mins (large cake).
Poached Nectarines in Agave Syrup
5 yellow nectarines, stoned and sliced in thin 2 cm wedges
lemon juice from half a lemon
5 tbsp of dark agave syrup
Combine all in a saucepan and cook nectarine with medium heat for 5 mins or just tender. Remove nectarine from heat and allow it to cool completely before serving.
Note: Some of the nectarine skins might peel off after cooking. You can remove them for a better presentation.