28 January 2015

Cocoa Carrot Cake [Low Fat]

I love Carrot Cake. It's my number one favourite cake, and probably my number two sweet thing after Tiramisu.

When I came to make this cake, however, I was also craving chocolate cake, so I made this hybrid Cocoa Carrot Cake. It's got the close texture and cream cheese icing of carrot cake with the added benefit of cocoa powder. What' not to love?

As you may have gathered from the title, this cake is also low fat. This month is Low Fat January, in which I have been creating low fat desserts for the blog to show you that it is possible to both eat mindfully and enjoy some sweetness once in a while. To keep the cake low fat I had to swap the traditional olive/sunflower oil for low fat spread, but the difference in flavour and texture is not too noticeable. Die hard carrot cake fans will surely be thrown off by the use of cocoa powder, so I doubt they'll be able to tell if you serve them a slice.

I have previously made two Carrot Cakes on this site, my favourite being Carrot Cake 2.0. The recipe heralded the creation of my favourite cream cheese icing ever, though unfortunately I had to leave it out of today's recipe because it contains a lot of butter. If you're not on a health binge or what to dream, do take a look if you have time. Try it, maybe. You won't be disappointed.

The icing on this cake closely resembles the chocolate cream cheese icing used in the Chocolate Rioja Cake recipe, but this time I used a lot more sugar because I (correctly) predicted that the carrot would take some of the sweetness away from the cake. The icing works very well with the cake, and could probably be made darker/more chocolatey by increasing the amount of cocoa powder added to the cream cheese.

The cake itself has turned out very well. In a pinch I used pecans instead of walnuts; they worked pretty well but a true carrot cake does use walnuts, so use your best judgement here. The cake would also work very well as a tray bake.


  • 275g Carrots, peeled
  • 200g Low Fat Spread
  • 200g Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 50g Pecans, chopped
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 50mL Semi-Skimmed Milk
  • 300g Low Fat Cream Cheese
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 75g Cocoa Powder (add more to taste)
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, and line two cake tins with baking parchment.
  • Grate the carrots (hint: a food processor with a grating attachment makes this about a million times easier and faster).
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the low fat spread and dark muscovado sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
  • Fold in the grated carrot and chopped pecans.
  • Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder into the batter and fold in until well combined.
  • Add enough milk to give the batter a soft dropping consistency.
  • Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • While the cake cools, make the icing by beating the cream cheese with the sugar until there are no visible grains of sugar left.
  • Sift in the cocoa powder and fold until well combined.
  • Spread half of the icing over one cake and sandwich the other on top, covering with the remaining icing.

19 January 2015

Apple Crumble [Low Fat]

In case you haven't been following this site, Cake Of The Week is having a Low Fat January. So far I've brought you Low Fat Tiramisu and Millionaire Shortbread, and now it's time for some Low Fat Apple Crumble.

It's cold. We all crave comfort food at this time of year, though our heads tell us to hold off after the gluttony of December. However, there is no need to run from desserts completely! A simple recipe alteration can reduce the calories in your pudding whilst leaving the fantastic flavour. This apple crumble brings wintry/autumnal flavours, keeps you warm and doesn't ruin your diet. Win, win, win.

This crumble goes perfectly with some low fat custard, or even some frozen vanilla yoghurt. Honestly, you can feed it to non-diet-conscious family members/friends and they won't be able to tell the difference.


  • 1 kg Bramley/Cooking Apples
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 220g Plain Flour
  • 100g Low Fat Spread/Margarine
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

    • Preheat the oven to 200C
    • Half-fill a medium saucepan with cold water and add 100g of the sugar.
    • Peel, core and chop the apples into bite-sized chunks.
    • Place the apple pieces in the water, making sure they are all covered (you may need more water) and heat until the water boils. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    • Make the crumble by placing 200g of the flour, the remaining sugar and the low fat spread in a mixing bowl. Use the tips of the fingers to rub them together until all of the ingredients are combined and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
    • Drain the apples using a sieve, then return them to the pan.
    • Stir the apples together with the remaining flour and cinnamon.
    • Spread the apple mixture over the base of a heat proof dish (mine is approx. 15cm x 15cm).
    • Cover the apple mixture with the crumble, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
    • Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the crumble topping starts to brown.
    • Serve hot or cold, and store in the fridge.

    I used up a rather wilted apple in this crumble (though I also had to buy some extras...) so I'm adding this to the No Waste Food Challenge, hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary and founded by Kate at Turquoise Lemons


    10 January 2015

    Tiramisu [Low Fat]

    Did you think this would be tasteless and boring just because it's low fat? Think again, my friend. This is my favourite dessert (yes, this exact low fat version) for a reason.

    On Monday I turn 24. I get ridiculously excited about my birthday every year, because who doesn't want presents and a day devoted to them? This may be amplified by the fact that it is so close to Christmas, and so there is a period of just two weeks between the only present days of the year (I know - first world problems...). Whatever it is, I am super excited for a day of shopping and treating myself, and the fun all starts tonight with an evening out with friends.

    It seemed appropriate that I make my favourite dessert for my favourite day of the year. It's incredibly simple to make, and though it veers slightly from the traditional (no ladies' fingers or marsala), it's very hard to make it wrong. This one happens to be low fat, but as I mentioned above, it in no way diminishes the richness and flavour of the Tiramisu.

    Cake Of The Week is having a Low Fat January. We're still having cake, but it's low fat cake. We're making ourselves feel better for all of the indulgence of December without cutting out all of the good stuff. This Tiramisu is made low fat using low fat cream cheese and low fat double cream. Here in the UK we have a great brand called Elmlea Double Light, but I'm sure there are similar versions elsewhere.

    I used coffee liqueur in this dessert, but Marsala and tequila also work very well. I used to use Lambrusco, which also works but does dye your dessert a delicate shade of pink.


    • 300mL Elmlea Double Light
    • 300g Light Cream Cheese
    • 150g Icing Sugar
    • 50mL Coffee Liqueur
    • 1 Pack Madiera Cake
    • 4 Tsp Instant Coffee
    • 250mL Water
    • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
    • Whisk the Elmlea double light to soft peaks.
    • Beat in the cream cheese, followed by the icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
    • Beat in the coffee liqueur and place to one side.
    • Make up the instant coffee with the boiled water, then allow to cool.
    • Pour into a shallow bowl.
    • Slice the Madeira cake length ways into thin fingers, then halve them.
    • Dip the cake fingers into the coffee for a couple of seconds so that they are coloured, then line them up in a serving dish.
    • When the bottom of the dish is covered, cover the fingers with half of the cream mixture.
    • Use a sieve to dust the top of the cream mixture with cocoa powder.
    • Repeat the layers of cake fingers, cream mixture and cocoa powder.
    • Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving; this will allow the flavours to develop.

    January's Baking With Spirit follows the Low Fat January theme, and I've asked everyone to make something that they consider healthy but to still use alcohol in the recipe. This is my contribution to the party. If you'd like to enter, you have until the 28th.

    3 January 2015

    Millionaire Shortbread [Low Fat]

    What's that? Low fat food tastes of nothing, you say? Make this Millionaire Shortbread and get back to me.

    As I mentioned in January's Baking With Spirit challenge, Cake Of The Week is having a Low Fat January. I personally find it too hard to swerve away from sugar entirely, even when I'm trying to eat well. Making cakes and other baked goods low in fat (and not balancing it out with sugar, as food manufacturers have been criticised for doing) means I can have something sweet every now and then (read: once a day) whilst not shaming myself for ruining my hard work. Every recipe posted this month will be low fat, and you can find tips on healthier baking here. With these recipes, low fat does not equate to low taste.

    This Low Fat Millionaire Shortbread is adapted from the Roxanne's Millionaire's Shortbread in Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I ran out of low fat spread so I used a 50/50 mixture of low fat spread and low fat mayonnaise in the caramel (see these brownies before you scoff at the thought of using mayonnaise in baking). It worked really well and you'd never know I hadn't used butter. The only I problem I have with this recipe is the need to exercise patience and wait for everything to set before diving in.

    Makes 12

    For the shortbread
    • 225g Plain Flour
    • 75g Caster Sugar
    • 175g Low Fat Spread
    For the topping
    • 100g Low Fat Spread
    • 100g Light Mayonnaise
    • 397g Can Light Sweetened Condensed Milk
    • 4 Tbsp Golden Syrup
    • 325g Dark Chocolate
    • Preheat the oven to 170C/160C fan and line a brownie tin with baking parchment.
    • Make the shortbread by placing the flour, sugar and spread into a mixing bowl and rubbing together. The dough should start to clump together but will still be slightly crumbly.
    • Press the dough into the bottom of your brownie tin, then prick all over with a fork.
    • Place in the oven and bake for five minutes, then turn the oven down to 150C/140C fan and bake for a further 30 minutes. Leave the shortbread in the tin to cool.
    • Make the caramel by first melting the spread and mayonnaise in a microwaveable bowl in the microwave.
    • Next, pour the light sweetened condensed milk into the bowl with the melted spread and mayonnaise and add the golden syrup.
    • Stir well, then microwave for 6-8 minutes, stirring after each minute. At the end, the caramel should be bubbling and darker in colour than at the beginning.
    • Pour the caramel over the top of the shortbread and allow to cool and set.
    • Break the chocolate into chunks then melt in the microwave (this should take 1-2 mins, but check every 30 seconds). Pour the chocolate over the top of the caramel and leave to set. 
    • To neatly cut the shortbread into slices, put the sharp end of a knife into a mug of hot water for a couple of minutes beforehand.

    I'm linking this up to Supergolden Bakes' #cookblogshare. Lucy highlights four of the links added in the previous week when she starts the next link up and adds all the entries to a pinterest board.


    1 January 2015

    Baking With Spirit: The January Challenge

    Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great New Year celebration, whatever it consisted of. I spent the evening making punch with my friend and then drinking said punch whilst talking over a film. (Usually I am not a 'talking over films' type person, but when booze is involved there is really no point trying to watch anyway, from my experience.)

    Now that Christmas is over, I will be joining a large percentage of the nation in trying to cut back a little bit this month in order to compensate for two weeks (at least) of gluttony. I can't simply stop baking though, so this month I am instilling a Low Fat January on Cake Of The Week. This means that every recipe I post will be low fat.

    To celebrate this, and to help the rest of you with your angelic eating, I'm setting this month's challenge as healthy. I know that alcohol and healthy don't really mix, but there was once a health conscious theme for We Should Cocoa, which is built on chocolate, so I think we can manage this. I know that food bloggers are a creative bunch, so I'm looking forward to seeing what is entered.

    Interpret the healthy theme as you will (regular entrants will know that I am very flexible with interpretations), but you really must include alcohol in your entry so that it is in the spirit of the challenge.


    • Bake something that you consider healthy that also includes alcohol in the recipe.
    • Write a post including a link back to this page and a mention of both Baking With Spirit and Cake Of the Week.
    • Send an email to cakeoftheweek@hotmail.co.uk with a link to the post and a photo that you want me to use. If you don't send a photo I will assume that you are happy for me to take one from your post.
    • Tweet your post including #bakingwithspirit and @cakeoftheweek for a retweet.
    • The deadline is 28th January 2015

    Have fun!
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