Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake

A few weeks ago, I found myself channel surfing and consquently fixated on an episode of Nigellissima, where a Nutella Cheesecake was being born. “Utter brilliance”, I thought. I love chocolate-anything. It was a fairly straight forward recipe and all the ingredients were pre-packaged. As I began to mull over how to make a vegan version of this, I found myself getting a little too carried away and complicating things.

I’ve held back greatly on the many ideas whirring around in my head here – the one thing that I wasn’t going to compromise on, though, was a gluten free base. And one that doesn’t use packaged biscuits – because I’ve done that before. I wanted to try something different, so the base is an adaptation of this recipe – literally the first Google search result for “vegan rice crispy recipe”.

Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake 4
Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake

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Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop!

Mister Nice Guy - Outside
Mister Nice Guy
151 Union Rd
Ascot Vale
VIC 3032
AUSTRALIA

OK, guys. Get your bandwidth ready because I have quite a few photos here! Whittling this down to three or four wasn’t really an option – you’d be missing too much eye candy!

Mister Nice Guy - Inside

I loved the shop’s retro, kitschy fit out. I’m no stranger to lovin’ vintage and these guys had gone to some great lengths with detail – from the rounded 50s style fridge behind the counter to the pastel vintage cannisters up on the top shelf! This was right up there on my list of “things to marry”. Continue reading

Recipe Review: Mini Raw Sweet Potato Caramel Pecan Pies

Raw Swt Potato Pie 1
Mini Raw Sweet Potato Caramel Pecan Pies

A friend of mine form out of town visited yesterday – she’s a raw food lover and requested that I make this pie for her from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. Admittedly, I was pretty apprehensive about eating raw sweet potato because I know it can get that floury coating on it like regular potatoes so I decided to make a back up recipe as well. To my surprise, the sweet potato was superb and my back up recipe was the one that failed! Continue reading

Death Star Cake Pops

Well, here it is: Mr. AA’s birthday “cake” – a fleet of nerdy, edible Death Stars.

Death Star Cake Pop - Vader 1
Darth Vader endorses Death Star cake pops.*

Despite them being a bit of a “craze”, I didn’t really know much about cake pops until this experiment – and although I did a bit of research and asked a friend of mine plenty of questions, I still ran into a few problems. I’ll talk you through the process with some photos below. Continue reading

Trial & Error: Star Wars Ice-Cream Sandwiches

As some of you may already know, I’m not a Star Wars fanatic. At all. However two very important men in my life are (Mr. AA & our tattooist), so a couple of times a year, you’ll see some kind of Star Wars themed dessert pop up on this blog. I love to make silly things for people’s birthdays that I know will make them happy – because birthdays are the best! And I do not in any way claim to be a baking extraordinaire… I just like to have fun and experiment.

Star Wars Ice-Cream Sandwiches
“Dark Side” Ice-Cream Sandwiches.

I used the snickerdoodle recipe from the Vegan Yum Yum cook book and as it turns out, this biscuit (cookie) dough is really impractical for shaped biscuits. It’s great for pretty, rustic, cracked snickerdoodles, but not defined shapes. I want to make it very clear that this is not Lauren Ulm’s fault (in my experience, her recipes are excellent!), it’s mine – because I was using the recipe for something in which it was not intended.

After a few batches of trial and error, I managed to make it work for me – the trick is to freeze the dough, roll it out/cut it/place on baking paper and freeze again. These biscuits will ONLY work if the dough goes into the oven frozen and the oven is properly pre-heated. If not, your biscuits will spread, crack and become unrecognisable. You also need to cook them for 10 minutes ONLY, or they’ll get too crispy and start to brown. Continue reading

Las Vegan Bakery/Café

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

Las Vegan Bakery/Café
22 Smith St
Collingwood
VIC 3066
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9415 9001

Upon entering Las Vegan, it was apparent to me that my anxiety levels were quickly rising, so Mr. AA & I opted for a table outside, even though the weather was a little questionable. The space is small and cramped with badly arranged furniture that makes you feel like an intrusion. I didn’t take any photos inside because it felt too awkward, but there’s potential for the space to feel a lot more comfortable, it just needs some attention. Thankfully, our waiter was kind and relaxed, and after looking at the menu, I could see these guys had a sense of humour. Continue reading

Raw Chocolate Custard & A Healthy Parfait!

This miracle happened when I was trying to make a lower fat version of my chocolate mousse – I wanted to omit the use of coconut altogether and thought zucchini would make a pretty brilliant substitute, considering its lack of calories and how neutral its taste is when raw. Luckily, it worked. I really hope you make this; your life won’t be the same without it!

And just a quick note: This is best made and eaten fresh. Don’t leave it in your fridge for more than a day and a half.

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Serves 6

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Chocolate Mousse Crumble

This is a semi-raw, rich & creamy mousse that’s dairy, gluten and egg free! There’s a hint of coconut flavour from the coconut milk, but you can’t taste the avocadoes at all, I promise. The tartness of raspberries cuts through the richness of this nicely – I recommend serving with fresh or defrosted raspberries (or any other berry), or a berry coulis.

I made this on a whim tonight, with a list on ingredients but no guidance on quantities. A huge thanks goes out to my friend Jodie for the inspiration.

Choc Mousse Crumble
Serves 10

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Coconut-Cashew Vanilla Ice-Cream

I’ve been in the mood for a sweet treat this week and banana soft serve simply wasn’t cutting it. I wanted something creamier, richer and fattier. Thus, I’ve come up with a coconut-cashew vanilla ice-cream recipe for you! It’s quick to throw together, but you’ll need to devote about 6 hours to being close to your freezer unless you use an ice-cream maker (don’t worry, most of it is inactive, so you can go about your business doing whatever you need to get done at home). The texture of this is smooth and creamy. Many cashew based ice-creams use water and this causes them to form icicles as they begin to freeze – you won’t have that problem here.

Coconut Ice-Cream
Yields approx 750ml

2 C Coconut Milk (use a good quality one without preservatives if possible)
1 1/2 C Raw Unsalted Cashews
1/4 – 1/2 C Agave Nectar (to your taste – 1/2 C will be VERY sweet)
2 t Vanilla Extract

  • Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender until smooth. I normally give it about a minute.
  • Pour into a 1 litre air tight, freezer friendly container and place in the freezer with lid on.
  • Stir/mix/agitate every 2 hours for 6 hours with a miniature whisk. You could also use a fork if need be.
  • Leave in the freezer overnight/8 hours, then dig in when you’re ready! Serve with some dessicated coconut if you’re feeling fancy.

Recipe Notes
If you don’t have a high speed blender, you can use a food processor – but only a top notch food processor will work. I would make the following recommendations to make sure your ice-cream isn’t grainy:

  • Soak the cashews in the coconut milk for an hour or two before doing any blending.
  • Start by grinding only the cashews in the food processor, then slowly adding in the wet ingredients. This will encourage your food processor to create a smooth paste and will avoid grainy bits.
  • Follow the remainder of the instructions as written above. You may need to process a few more times as it starts to freeze.

Choc Beet Cake

I was feeling inspired when I saw Cindy & Michael from Where’s The Beef? post a beetroot chocolate fudge cake recipe. I mean… In what world does that NOT sound amazing, right? They were kind enough to direct me to the original recipe that they adapted from The Fairest Feed, which was vegan. I made this twice with my own little string of adjustments – one of which was the cooking time. Thirty five minutes definitely wasn’t enough, even for my out-of-this-world fan forced oven. I also thought this was just as good (if not better) with a light dusting of gluten free icing sugar, as opposed to icing… And I wouldn’t argue with you if you wanted to serve it with some vanilla or coconut ice-cream.

Below is my adapted recipe, which works a charm even with gluten free flour, so my wonderful celiac readers won’t miss out! Oh and for anyone concerned, you can’t taste the beetroot and it dissolves when it bakes, so you won’t find any stringy red bits in there and if you do, well… You’ve done something wrong.

Choc Beet Cake
Serves 9-12, depending how big you like your slices of cake.

1 1/4 C + 2 TBSP Plain Flour (gluten free if required)
1 1/2 C Caster Sugar
3/4 C Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Soy Milk
1 C Water
3/4 C Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 C Fresh Beetroot, peeled & grated
Icing Sugar for dusting (gluten free if required)

  • Preheat oven to 180C & grease a cake tin with some Nutelex/dairy free marg. You can use whatever shaped cake tin you like – I used a square one.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift and stir together the dry ingredients.
  • Add the soy milk, water, oil & vanilla. Stir until no obvious lumps remain.
  • Add the grated beetroot and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Pour batter into cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. Forty minutes will leave your cake a little fudgy inside – I thought this was nice, but Mr. AA didn’t dig it because get this – he doesn’t like the taste of raw cake batter! Forty five minutes should cook this right through without drying it out. A toothpick should come out clean. If you have an older/slower oven, don’t be afraid to leave it in for an extra 5 minutes if it’s still wet in the middle.
  • Leave to cool in the cake tin for around 5 minutes before tipping out onto a wire cooling rack. If you get impatient, your cake will fall apart and you’ll cry.
  • When cake has cooled, tip it onto a serving plate and dust with icing sugar, then chow down.