Raw Coconut Caramel Chocolate Cake

I was making a raw cake for my friend’s farewell party the other night. This is the one I had already tested couple of times, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome. Not much of pressure, but this time it had to come up more than great. As the night before was getting darker I was still flattening the layers to get them straight. (Don’t think the neighbors were that delighted listening to the poor old food processor of mine struggling and making a noise in the middle of the night.) But the patience paid off, the food processor survived the fight and the result ended up being exactly like I hoped for.

The basic idea was to create a raw caramel slice cake without nuts, since my sister’s allergic to them. I searched for a substitute for a while, until I found that little something to every layer. Everything starts with the ‘not-so-nutty’ base layer, a crunchy mixture of sunflower seeds and coconut flakes. Then comes the oh-so creamy coconut cream layer binding together the gooey melts-in-your-mouth coco-caramel and the crunchy base. Finally all that heavenly deliciousness is topped with a rich raw chocolate frosting.

Before starting, I’m going to warn you: without a powerful blender/food processor, making this cake will require a lot of patience. But I promise in the end it will all be totally worth it! 😉

Here’s what you need:

the ‘not-so-nutty’ base
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup coconut flakes
½ buckwheat flour
4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp water
3 tbsp agave nectar

the creamy coconut layer
1 cup coconut flakes
6 tbsp coconut milk*
3 tbsp agave nectar

the gooey coco-caramel layer
30 small fresh dates
6 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut milk*
pinch of sea salt

the raw chocolate topping
12 small fresh dates
4 tbsp coconut oil
3-4 tbsp raw cocoa powder

Here’s how to do it:

Start by lining a baking tray (I used a loaf pan) with parchment paper.

The base:

  1. Pour the sunflower seeds into your blender/food processor and blend until grainy. Add the coconut flakes and buckwheat flour, pulse couple of times to get them combined.
  2. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients with water, melted coconut oil and agave nectar. Mix well using your hands so that the mixture is moist and tangible.
  3. Press the base mixture into the bottom of the baking tray, press flat, and transfer to a freezer while you’re making the next layer.

The creamy coconut layer:

  1. Place the coconut flakes into your food processor/blender, blend until smooth.
  2. Add the coconut cream and agave nectar. Blend until smooth and even.
  3. Pour/spoon on top of the base layer, and transfer to a freezer.

The gooey coco-caramel layer:

  1. Pit the dates. Transfer them to your blender/food processor with the melted coconut oil, coconut milk and pinch of salt. Blend until evenly smooth.
  2. Spoon on top of the creamy coco-layer. (Make sure the previous layer has fully set before adding the next one, since you don’t want them layers to mix up.) Transfer to a freezer.

The raw chocolate topping:

  1. Pit the dates. Transfer them to your blender/food processor with the melted coconut oil and raw cocoa powder. Blend until even.
  2. Spoon on top of the cake. (Make sure the previous layer has fully set before adding the next one, since you don’t want them layers to mix up.) Transfer to a freezer and let set overnight.

*Refrigerate the coconut milk cans overnight to get the thick and creamy part separated.

Take the cake out of freezer to defrost about ½-1 hour before serving. (Cut into slices when still frozen, since it’s a lot easier to keep the layers straight that way.) Enjoy!

Happy weekend! 🙂

x Ella

@ellalunamaria

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Black Currant Breakfast Muffins

I truly love this time period at the end of summer when we get lots of local fresh berries, fruits and veggies, as during the winter it gets little more complicated (at least here in Finland). My grandma has a huge garden full of all things wonderful and this is the golden time they all come to blossom: Endlessly different flowers, plants, vegetables, berries and fruits, all 100 % organic and grown with so much love.

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Feeling more than grateful to get house full of grandma’s goodies, I’m thriving nearly the whole autumn with only in-season veggies and fruits. Which brings me back to the recipe.

Breakfast. One of my favorite (and also the most important) meals of the day. Anyone else breakfast lover? Waking up to a brand new day full of possibilities and embracing them with wholesome, fresh from the oven and rich in berries kind of gluten free, vegan breakfast muffins. That my dear, is how you should start your day! 😉

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I used fresh black currants, as they’re my all-time favorite fresh berries.
But of course you can substitute to any other berries or fruits you prefer.

Here’s what you need:
(makes approx. 8-10 muffins)

¾ cup oat flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cardamom

10 fresh dates
¾ cup oat milk or any other plant milk of choice
2 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups of fresh black currants or any berries/fruits of choice

This is how you do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Pit the dates and transfer to a blender/food processor with the plant milk, agave nectar/maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the date-mixture into a bowl with dry ingredients and berries/fruits, stir well to combine.
  5. Grease your muffin tray with a bit of coconut oil and divide the batter evenly. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!

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Have a beautiful day! 🙂

x Ella

@ellalunamaria

Meatless Monday Mexican Chilli

What are you craving for dinner tonight? Something easy and tasty, heart-warming soul-food offering you a bowlful of post-eating happy vibes? Sounds amazing, right?

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A good nourishing dinner doesn’t always have to be complicated and take too much time to prepare. Since it’s meatless Monday, I decided to share one ‘pretty’ simple and fast yet delicious Mexican chilli recipe with you.

 

This chilli is perfect for the end-of-summer kind of nights, as the weather is becoming colder and you crave for something spicy comfort-food. It’s best when shared with good friends, talks and burritos, but of course you can keep it all for yourself to enjoy with a bowlful of wholegrain rice. 😉

Here’re the instructions:
(makes one large pot)

400g canned kidney beans
400g canned chickpeas
1 red-bell pepper
4 larger carrots
400g canned sweet corn
2x500g crushed tomatoes

2-3 tbsp Cajun spice mix
salt to taste
+ any other spices you like

Serve with brown wholegrain rice or throw a burrito-partye with your friends!

  1. Start by heating your pan and cook your diced carrots until soften a bit.
  2. Meanwhile your carrots are cooking, rinse the kidney beans with cold water and mash them with a fork. Cut the red-bell pepper into dices and transfer to the pan.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to boil.
  4. Rinse the chickpeas with cold water and transfer to the pan with the mashed kidney beans and sweet corn, stir well.
  5. Finally add the spices, I recommend to use the Cajun spice blend quite a bit as it’s the soul of the chilli. Stir well and let sit for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Happy Monday folks, hope you like it! 🙂

x Ella

Gluten free Buckwheat Waffles

It wasn’t actually love at first sight when we first met with the waffle iron couple years ago. My attempt to make waffles for a father’s day brunch turned out a bit of a disaster: The waffle batter burned on both sides of the waffle iron, if not enough rest of the batter was running all over the kitchen.

However while spending the past summer at my parents’ I thought why not give the waffle iron a second chance with an enhanced batter mixture. You can imagine my nervousness as I first very carefully greased the waffle iron with a bit of coconut oil and then started baking the first waffle. What a relief it was to open the lift and realise I had actually managed to make one excellent waffle! And here’s the lesson of the story: if I can do it, I bet you can too. 😉

So on this beautiful sunny Sunday, you should definitely surprise your loved ones with some delicious homemade waffles!

Here’s how to do it:
(makes approx. 4-6 waffles)

¾ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup brown rice flour
1 cup plant milk of choice
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

  1. In a large bowl mix the flours and spices together, stir well.
  2. Pour in the plant milk, melted coconut oil, agave nectar/maple syrup and vanilla extract, and stir well to get an even mixture.
  3. Turn on your waffle iron. Start with a lower level, as the waffles might burn easily. Grease the iron with a bit of coconut oil. Add a couple tablespoons of the batter, let set for a little while and close the lid. The waffles will need 2-3 minutes to bake. Check on them regularly. Open the lid carefully and detach the waffle from the grid with a fork.

Serve with fresh fruits and berries, enjoy! 🙂

Happy weekend lovelies!

x Ella

@ellalunamaria

Beetroot Falafel Burgers + Super Simple Guacamole

Two dinner favorites of mine from the past summer: falafels and veggie burgers! I thought why not combine those two to get the best of both worlds? And so I found myself testing different patties and having several burger-nights in a row, just to find that perfect combo I was searching for.

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Then I figured out my missing piece.

THE BEET. Yes the season is already knocking on door, and these vibrantly red beauties just keep popping up everywhere. You can find them at your local market, they’re super cheap and super good-for-you as they contain so many crucial vitamins and minerals; win-win-situation! I know cooking beetroots can be a bit messy, but it’s all worth it. With juicy beets and chickpeas you’ll end up having heavenly delicious patties with crispy outside and sweet ‘n spicy inside.

Just give them a try at your Saturday BBQ, okay?

Here’s what you need:
(makes approx. 9 thick patties)

2 medium-sized beets, grated
400g canned chickpeas
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
½-1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper

2 flax eggs*
2-3 tbsp brown rice flour

Here is how you get started:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 200°C and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and grate the beets. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer and press out as much excess liquid as possible. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Rinse the chickpeas with cold water before placing into food processor with the garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and the spices. Blend until relatively even.
  4. In a large bowl combine the chickpea-mixture with the grated beets, flax eggs and flour. Stir generously with your hands to get an even paste.
  5. Form mixture into 8-10 even balls and flatten until about 2 cm thick patties. Bake about 30 minutes and remove out of the oven.

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Select your favorite burger buns (I used gluten free wholemeal buns from the local bakery since I’m still in the process of perfecting my burger bun recipe), stuff them with sweet-beet patties, guacamole, sweet potato fries and lots of fresh veggies, enjoy!

Super Simple Guacamole
In a bowl with a fork mash one ripe avocado, juice of half a lime and some salt and pepper, ready!

What’s the white stuff? Garlic sauce. I used oat-based ‘crème-fraiche’, crushed in 4 cloves of garlic and sprinkled some lemon juice on top.

*How to make a flax egg? Mix 1 tbsp flaxseed flour (ground flaxseeds) with 2½ water, let set for 5 minutes to thicken.

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Have an awesome weekend! Let me know how you liked it 🙂

x Ella

@ellalunamaria

Raw Mango Cake with Blueberry Crème

EDIT: In this updated version of the original recipe, I’ve made couple changes. First I added some chia seeds to the mango layer, for a better structure. And second, added some dates to the blueberry crème, also for a better structure but taste too. Hope you like it!

When making this cake I had no idea I would later be sharing the recipe. Just happened to be one night I was throwing different ingredients on a whim into my blender wishing for the best and only having a vision of a purple and yellow layers. Unexpectedly the result ended up being more than good, and my brother voted this blueberry mango raw cake to be by far the taste-winner of the past summer. (If your brother thinks so, it has to be beyond delicious!)

So when enjoying the last of the summer days, make sure you do it with a piece of this raw cake. As the combination of tropical mangos and passion fruits topped with some sweet blueberries is really a winner.

Before you get started, make sure you refrigerate the coconut milk cans overnight!

Here are the instructions

Base:
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup coconut flakes
15 small fresh dates (pitted)
2 tbsp coconut oil

First layer:
1½ medium-sized mangos
2 passion fruits
1 cup full-fat coconut cream*
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp chia seeds

Top layer:
¾ fresh blueberries**
¾ cup full-fat coconut cream*
2 tbsp coconut oil
10 small fresh dates (pitted)
1 tbsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Base:

Line a baking tray (I used a loaf pan) with parchment paper.

Using a powerful blender/food processor blend the sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, pitted dates and melted coconut oil, until you reach a relatively even, grainy but tangible mixture. Press the base mixture into the bottom of the tray, press flat, and transfer to a freezer while you’re making the next layer.

First layer:

Peel and dice the mangos. Transfer into your blender/food processor with the passionfruit pulp. Carefully open the coconut cream can, do not shake! Scoop out only the thick part from the top and transfer into your blender with the melted coconut oil, lemon juice, sweetener of choice, vanilla extract and chia seeds. Blend until even and pour/scoop on top of the base, transfer to freezer.

Top layer:

Once again you’ll need only the thick part of the coconut cream, scoop it into your blender with blueberries, melted coconut oil, pitted dates, agave nectar/maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and top your cake with a beautiful purple layer. (You may choose to pour this layer straight over the top of the yellow layer, or wait half to 1 hour so that it may set in the freezer partially and that the layers don’t mix at all.) You can also squeeze the blueberry mixture on top of the mango layer, like pictured.

Transfer to freezer overnight or at least 4-5 hours, so that the cake can fully set/freeze. Overnight freezing makes it also much easier to cut in pieces, and the layers stay much prettier in their place.

Remove out of the freezer to defrost about 20-30 minutes before serving, as the cake tastes much better when not icy. Keep refrigerated once defrosted if not consumed straight away. Enjoy! 🙂

* the coconut milk cans have to be refrigerated at least 12-24 hours
** you’ll need fresh blueberries, as the frozen ones contain too much excess liquid

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you love it, have a beautiful week!

x Ella

@ellalunamaria

Banana bread

This is my first ever recipe I’m sharing with you. Yey, I’m super excited! 🙂

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I thought I would start with my banana bread, as it was also one of the recipes I once began exploring with and dived into this world of wholesome plant-based foods. This recipe is also very simple but super delicious, one of the all-time favorites in our household. It is perfect for these early autumn nights as the weather is getting chillier and you long for something warm and comforting guilt-free treat.

A slice of nana bread with a cup of tea or hot chocolate feels like a hug, and that my dear is soul food as its best. 😉

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So here’s the instructions, feel free to ask if any questions pop up in your mind!

Wet ingredients:
3 over-ripe bananas
½ cup almond milk or any other plant milk
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup

Dry ingredients:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 190°C
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork or in a blender/food processor and transfer to a big bowl with almond milk, olive/coconut oil, vanilla extract and agave nectar/maple syrup, whisk to combine
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flours and spices together and then combine with the banana mixture, stir well to get an even paste
  4. Use a loaf pan, grease it with olive oil or use a parchment paper. Pour the mixture to the loaf and bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes. Check every now and then how the bread is doing. Let cool a bit after taking out of the oven, and enjoy!

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Hope you like it 🙂

x Ella

@ellalunamaria