Easy Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes

After the crazy first week of college that I’ve had, I could use a batch of these deliciously light crepes.


Hi! It’s been a while, I know. Quick update: I have since relocated to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania in the USA from Zimbabwe to start college at the University of Pennsylvania! How’s the first few weeks of college been? Insane, wild and fun to put it in a few words. Expect a blog post detailing my experiences to come soon!

Anyways, on to this recipe. I think that crepes are severely underrated and underappreciated. The French really had something going with this one. Crepes can be had as either a breakfast option or a dessert, but the best part of having crepes is that the basic recipe never changes but there is an infinite combination of crepe fillings. I just filled these with cacao macademia spread (a vegan alternative to Nutella) and fresh strawberries but you can go with whatever you like! I’ve previously used lemon curd, strawberry jam and even plain sugar. You can top them with powdered sugar, ice cream, custard, the limits go as far as your imagination!


Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (I used coconut oil but vegetable oil would work too)
  • ½ cup strawberry jam or chocolate spread
  • 100g fresh strawberries, sliced in half

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir together before pouring in the soy milk, vanilla essence and oil. Stir with a fork until just combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out it’s okay if there are a few here and there. The batter should be very runny.
  2. Heat a large saucepan on high and brush with some oil. Try not to add to much oil to the pan otherwise the crepe batter will run with the oil. Use a ladle to pour the crepe batter in the saucepan. Swirl the pan around to spread the crepe batter all around the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to turn up, about 2 minutes, before turning over. Remove the warm crepe to a plate and store in a warm oven so that they don’t get cold. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. Once you’ve cooked all the crepes, spread the lighter side of the crepes with some strawberry jam or chocolate spread. Fold the crepes into half and then into quarters before serving topped with the fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
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Almond Caramel Apple Shortcakes

Today’s post is proudly inspired by Mary Berry.


If you’ve never heard of her, firstly, do you live under a rock? Secondly, I’d like you to Google the Great British Bake-Off. I’ll give you a moment to catch up with the rest of the world before coming back to this post. Are we all on the same page now? Good, let’s continue.



Last week my mum and I were watching her cooking show, Mary Berry Cooks, this particular episode being about summer entertaining and afternoon tea. In case you missed it: last week I hosted a Wimbledon afternoon tea party that included this cake. I opted to make one large strawberry shortcake but Mary Berry chose to make several smaller scones to make serving (and thus eating and clean-up) easier. As someone who had heaps of cream dropped over the table, chairs and floor next week, I can testify that making individual shortcakes is a superior method- plus they still look just as appetising.




I paid tribute to Wimbledon with the classic strawberries and cream last week, so I decided that this week would belong to a different combination- apples, cinnamon and caramel. Trust me, it will not disappoint you.



What are some of your favourite flavour combinations? I’m looking to be more adventurous in my recipe testing and I’d love to hear from some of you!

Almond Caramel Apple Shortcakes

Ingredients

For the scones:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar + extra for dusting the scones
  • 2 tsp baking powder*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 tbsp) cold butter, grated like cheese or cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 egg (optional, the recipe still works well without it)
  • a handful of crushed slivered almonds, optional

For the apples:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, sliced thinly
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • 2 tsp icing sugar, optional

For the caramel sauce: 

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh cream
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Start by baking the scones. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350F°. Grease a large rimless baking sheet and like with parchment paper.
  2. Sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the butter to the dry mixture and use our hands to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a dry coarse sand.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk and egg (if using)  together in a large measuring cup or a small bowl, making sure there are no streaks of egg yolk remaining. Reserve about a tablespoon of this mixture for brushing the scones.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should be slightly wet but not so much that it is sticking to your hands. If the dough is too wet then add flour, one tablespoon at a time until it holds together.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and use your hands to press it into a large circle, about 2 cm/¾ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or a small glass to cut the dough into scones. Gather any remaining scraps of dough and mould them together to make one huge scone.
  6. Add the cut scones and your scrap-scone to the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg/buttermilk mixture before topping with the granulated sugar and almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Whilst the scones are baking, core the apples and cut into thin slices. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Toss with the apples, making sure to coat them in the lemon juice. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the caramel. Add the brown sugar to a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Allow the sugar to melt, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to prevent it from burning. Once the sugar has melted completely and you have a smooth dark brown liquid, pour in the fresh cream. The mixture will sputter and spurt and that’s okay. Cut the butter into the hot brown sugar and stir until it’s completely melted. You should have a smooth, golden brown caramel. Stir in the vanilla essence and a pinch of salt, if desired.
  3. Once the scones have cooled, cut them in half. Layer first with sliced apple, followed by whipped cream and finally topping with warm caramel. If desired, you may dust with icing sugar. Enjoy!

Raw Avocado Lime Cheesecake Bites

When your dessert is made of avocados, you can eat as much as you’d like without feeling guilty #score.


Fair warning though: this dessert is not as sweet as my other vegan cheesecake recipes. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, look here for some golden caramel goodness and over here for a sweet passionfruit glaze. Everyone who’s up for a tangy dessert stay with me!


I finally found a use for the Weetbix biscuits that were taking up space in the pantry and that is ——–> the base for these lime cheesecake bars! At the end of last year, we ran a triathlon for women’s cancer and every team that competed won a box of Weetbix biscuits and a Snickers bar (you can guess which one I went for). Unfortunately that means the Weetbix has been at the back of the pantry, feeling lonely and ignored. To be honest with you, I hadn’t thought about it until I ran out of almonds to use for the crust and had to look to alternative methods. Needless to say, it worked out well! You can still go with almonds if you wish, it will still yield a delicious dessert!

 

Here’s to friends who come over to hand model food for you! 

Raw Avocado Lime Cheesecake Bites

Ingredients

  • about 10 Weetbix biscuits, crushed (may substitute 2 cups sliced almonds)
  • 8 medjool dates, soaked in hot water and deseeded
  • 3 ripe medium avocados
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup cold water (may need more)
  • 2 ounces chocolate, melted

Method

  1. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper. Combine the crushed Weetbix biscuits and dates in a food processor and blend until it forms a sticky dough. Press the dough into the bottom of the loaf pan in an even layer. Freeze whilst you prepare the filling.
  2. Rinse out the food processor and proceed to blend together the avocados, cashews, lime juice, syrup and water. If the mixture is too thick to pulse, add more water 2 tbsp at a time until the machine can smoothly process it. Pulse for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spread the mixture in an even layer on top of the base. The mixture should be very thick. Freeze for 1 hour or until solid. Store in the fridge, do not freeze after it has set. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle with melted chocolate and enjoy!

Shortbread Lemon Curd Bars

Ah lemon curd, an old favourite of mine. I find myself going back to you over and over again. It’s almost like we’re drawn to each other, aren’t we?


Let’s not call it an obsession. If you look through the blog archives, you’ll have noticed that I used lemon curd in these crepes and these mini cheesecakes and I modified it to produce this passionfruit curd that I coincidentally also served with shortbread. Huh, strange.


This time I decided to switch it up a bit by cutting my bars into triangles because that’s so mainstream, move with the times guys! The non uniform size looks edgy and adds a new dimension to the basic lemon bars that we have come to know and love from the neighbourhood granny. These make a lovely addition to your 4 o’clock tea, but can also be served as a light dessert by giving it a quick burst in the microwave and serving with a dollop of cream or a big scoop of ice cream. Winning.


Shortbread Lemon Curd Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 and ½ cups softened butter
  • 3 tbsp rolled oats, uncooked
  • 2 cups homemade lemon curd, or storebought is fine too

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease an 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and icing sugar. Rub the butter into the dry mixture until you have a soft crumbly dough. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture, and dump the rest into the baking pan and press down into an even layer. Prick all over with a fork and bake 15 minutes or until it has just started turning golden brown.

Meanwhile, add the oats to the reserved shortbread and rub into the mixture. Once the base is done baking, remove from the oven and spread the lemon curd over the surface in an even layer. Layer on top with the remaining shortbread mixture. Bake for another 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and serving. Enjoy!

Ooey Gooey Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 

To be honest with you, this was totally not planned. It just happened, you know?


It was a glorious Thursday afternoon and I had just come home from a 5k run. After taking a quick dip in the pool, I decided to dig through the fridge to find something to replenish my energy. A bowl of quinoa and lentils later, I felt like a goddess. To be completely and utterly honest with you all, this is not me everyday. The girl who exercises diligently and eats nutritiously? That’s me, occasionally. Sometimes I get out of bed at 10 and subsist on potato crisps. Other days I thrive on green smoothies and noodle bowls. It’s called balance.


To balance out the extremely healthy lunch I had, I decided to go for a snack. That snack in particular was cookie dough. You see, I visited England a couple of years ago, and no trip is complete without a trip to Pizza Hut. A gazillion bottomless sodas later, it came time to order dessert. The warm chocolate chip cookie dough looked irresistible and I promise you, it was everything I could have ever wanted and more. It’s absolutely genius, underbaking your cookies such that the top is a hard cookie shell, and the bottom is warm, gooey, decadent cookie dough. I think it’s simply marvellous and it is for this reason that I have decided to share this with you today.

Ooey Gooey Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cookie dough, homemade or storebought
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (omit if you have chocolate chip cookie dough on hand)
  • ¼ cup Smarties or any other chocolate candy
  • Vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce for serving

Method

Grease 4 ramekins and preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Prepare your cookie dough and add to a medium bowl. Add the chocolate chips and the Smarties and use a rubber spatula to fold into the dough, making sure the candies are evenly distributed. Add ½ cup of cookie dough to each ramekin and bake 8 minutes, or until the dough has risen and is just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes before topping with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce. Indulge immediately!

Hasselback Apple Streusel Cake

What is better than warm apples, cold ice cream and sweet caramel sauce?

The answer: NOTHING. This cake combines all my favourite things into a glorious slice of heaven. It is absolutely beautiful, moist, filling and the crumble just takes it that extra mile. I’ve been in love with this cake since I made a variation of it 2 months ago with bananas. It had all the same themes here, crumbly streusel topping, smooth vanilla ice cream and a gorgeous caramel drizzle to seal the deal. I’d been meaning to make that cake again but unfortunately bananas are out of season! With this unforeseen obstacle ahead, I decided to use apples instead and the result was just as gorgeous. 


Even if you’re not a fan of all the toppings and  add ons, this cake is still beautiful in its natural state. It looks just as wonderful next door to my new ice cream scoop! All in all, this is a winning dessert, reminiscent of winter dinner parties or the holiday season. This cake is perfect for any family get togethers, dinner parties with friends or even when you’re sitting at home with a glass of Chardonnay.

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Hasselback Apple Streusel Cake
Ingredients

For the apples:

  • 3-5 Golden delicious apples
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp castor (granulated) sugar

For the cake:

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 and ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt

For the streusel: 

  • ½  cup uncooked rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½  cup softened butter

optional: caramel sauce and ice cream for serving

Method

  1. Halve the apples before using a sharp paring knife to slice the apple thinly, making sure not to go all the way to the bottom. It’s okay if you make a mistake, don’t discard any apple slices you end up with. Each slice should be about half a centimetre thick. This is called hasselbacking the apple. If desired, you can quarter the apples so that they aren’t as chunky in the cake. Toss the apples in a small bowl with the lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 10 inch springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one by one, stirring well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and buttermilk and stir until combined.
  4. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet. The batter will be very thick. Scrape the batter into the greased springform pan and use the back of a spoon to level it out. Press the hasselbacked apples into the dough, and scatter any stray apple pieces you may have over the surface. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the streusel by combining the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mixing together. Add the butter and use your hands or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly dough.
  6. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter in an even layer. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, the cake is done when the streusel is a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is best served warm with caramel sauce and ice cream. Lush!

Excuse me while I steal a slice of heaven!

Chocolate Lover’s Fudge Brownie Cheesecake

Have I lost my mind? Maybe so. I’ve been buried 6 feet deep in chocolate dreams and I was itching to manifest my daydreams of hot fudge sauce and creamy mousse into an actual dish.


So after many hours of scouring Pinterest and Instagram, I finally came up with this. I had felt so inspired by this recipe for Seriously Fudgy Homemade Brownies by Sally’s Baking Addiction and I just knew that I had to try them. I fell in love with this recipe and decided that it would be the starting point for the massive project idea I was working on.

I knew I wanted something with the texture of a mousse but I felt like going for a chocolate mousse would be too much and an icing wouldn’t be enough. And thus the vanilla cheesecake idea came about. 


Most people would have stopped there and said “This is good. I have cheesecake. I have brownie. Uh brownie cheesecaaaaake!” Not me. Never. Always got to take it from 0-100. So I topped it with hot fudge sauce, brownies and more melted chocolate because TREAT YO’SELF. 



What even are New Years Resolutions? After this cake, I don’t even remember. This would make a decadent Valentines Day present for your boo-thang or even as a celebratory single cake for you and your girls on a night in! Grab a glass of milk, unbutton your jeans and fall into a heavenly chocolate bliss with this cake! 

Chocolate Lover’s Fudge Brownie Cheesecake
Ingredients

For the brownies:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 100g of coarsely chopped cooking chocolate, divided in half
  • 1 and ½ cups castor sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and ¼ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt

For the cheesecake:

  • 16 ounces/430 g of full fat cream cheese at room temperature (this makes it easier to blend into the other ingredients and prevent lumps)
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream, may substitute plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs

For assembly: 

  • Hot fudge sauce
  • about 50g of dark chocolate, melted
  • grated dark chocolate for garnish

Start by preparing the brownies + brownie base

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan. Grease and line a 6×6 square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Add the butter and half the chopped chocolate to a large microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each round, until completely melted. Whisk in the sugar and stir until absorbed by the butter. Add the eggs, vanilla essence and dissolved espresso and stir until completely incorporated.
  3. Sieve in the cocoa powder, flour and salt and use a rubber spatula to fully blend together. Drop the remaining half of the chopped chocolate into the thick batter, and stir gently to distribute.
  4. Spoon half of the brownie batter in the springform pan and smooth into an even layer, using the back of a spoon. Spoon the remaining half into the square pan, making sure to also smooth it into an even layer. The batter in the springform pan will form the brownie base of the cheesecake whilst the brownies baked in the rectangular pan will be used for decoration.
  5. Bake in the preheat oven for between 20 and 25 minutes (mine takes about 23 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs (it shouldn’t be wet). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. The batter in the springform pan will be used for the base of the cheesecake and the ones in the rectangular pan will be used for decoration.

Then prepare the cheesecake layer:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Spoon the cream cheese into a large bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat until smooth, creamy and free of lumps, about 2 minutes. Beat in the castor sugar until blended, another 2 minutes. Pour in the sour cream and vanilla essence, then beat again. Crack the eggs in, one by one, whisking well after each addition. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  2. Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie base (it’s okay if it’s still warm, it doesn’t have to have cooled completely) and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until it appears to be set on the edges and dry to the touch. It’s okay if it’s a bit wobbly in the middle, it will continue to firm up as it cools.
  3. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before decorating.

For assembly:

  1. Spread the hot fudge sauce over the vanilla cheesecake layer, making sure to go right up to the edges.
  2. Remove the decoration brownies from the rectangular pan and cut into brownies. Layer them on top of the cheesecake.
  3. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake. If you’re feeling extra sweet, you can also drizzle caramel sauce over. Top with sparklers for a fun twist! Serve at room temperature and wow all your guests! If you have leftovers (Gasp!) then store them in a closed container in the fridge. The cheesecake will keep up to 5 days in the fridge and the brownies for a week at room temperature.