Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sugar and spice and all things nice …

That’s what little girls are made of …

Then we grow up and develop an attitude.  Yeeeeaaaahhhh!  Good for us!

Girrrrrrrl Power!!  😀

Ah, the Spice Girls.  I was never really a fan, but nostalgia gets the better of you with time and they don’t sound so bad now, if a little dated.  They’re re-forming too.  Good for them.

I made this sugary spicy cake for my dad to have as a treat.  He calls it breakfast.  Yeah, that’s my dad.  Cake for breakfast every day.  Because he can.

But, I’m not dedicating this cake to my lovely and wonderful papà.  No.

I am dedicating this sweet and spicy delight of a cake to a gorgeous friend of mine, Karen, or as she is sometimes known (via one of her nomes-de-plume), Kaz-Spice.  Because she is all sugar and spice … a true girly girl and international glamourpuss.  Which is partly why I love her.  The Spice Girls would have been infinitely more interesting, talented, and totally bad-ass, had they a Kaz-Spice leading the way.

So this cake is for you, Kaz-Spice.  There are no crazy decorations, layers, fillings, or frosting.  There is no need to gild a perfect lily.  The same applies to you.  Perfect as you are.   Thank you for being such a strong, inspirational woman and friend, with an amazing sense of fun and humour.  Even though life means we can’t see each other in person as often as I’d wish.

With love, from Vivi-Spice xxx

I haven’t made this cake in years.  But having recently rediscovered my love of spices, and winter surrounding us now, I found myself nostalgic for the simple coffee cakes I used to bake years ago.   The spice blend I used is quite simple but together the flavours are complex and wonderful.  The sugary sweetness plays off the spices beautifully.  The topping adds a little crunch and extra bite.  The aroma that fills your kitchen, and home, is nothing short of aromasational.  Yes, I love to make up superlatives.  It’s a thing 🙂

You can use your own favourite blend of spices for this cake.  It really doesn’t matter.  My favourite spices for sweets have always been cinnamon, which I seriously think is the Spice King, and ginger.  I also rather like cardamom and nutmeg but find I need to use them sparingly or they overpower everything else.  I used cardamom here to add a little exotic nuance to the spice blend and let the cinnamon and ginger form the core of it.

The cake is moist and buttery, rich but quite light, and heady with spices.  Great with a cup of tea or coffee, but also makes a lovely simple dessert with some clotted cream or ice cream.

I hope you enjoy it.  It’s rather special.  Just like Kaz-Spice 🙂

Sugar and Spice Cake

Makes 1 x 22cm cake

Ingredients
250 grams butter, softened
70  grams dark brown sugar
150 grams white sugar
210 grams eggs (4 large)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (cassia bark)
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
30 millilitres orange blossom water
240 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Spicy Sugar Topping
3 teaspoons sugar (white or brown)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line the base and sides of a 22 centimetre round cake pan with non-stick baking paper.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, place the softened butter, sugars, and vanilla bean paste and beat until light and fluffy and the sugars have completely dissolved.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.  Add the spices and orange blossom water and beat until smooth.  Sift together the flour, and baking powder, and add to the batter.  Beat well until smooth and light.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Combine the sugar and spices for the topping in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cake, making sure to cover the surface evenly.

Bake for about 60 minutes, or until risen, and cooked through.  A skewer inserted in the centre will come out clean when it is ready.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the cake tin on to a serving dish.

This cake will keep for up to a week, stored in an airtight container, at room temperature.

Serve on its own or with a dollop of clotted cream or ice cream.

6 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cakes

Tangelo Cheesecake Muffins

While most people are trying to eat less, I have put in a super human effort to eat more over the past six months or so.  All for a great cause.  I’m trying to gain weight.  Lean mass, or muscle, to be exact.  For a munchkin like me, it’s been an almighty struggle.  At the five month mark, I’ve barely shifted my weight.  But I’m still giving it my all to eat as much as possible.

Being naturally inclined towards healthy food … hey, chocolate is not a junk food!  Food of the gods, remember????   Anywho, being a healthy eater by nature, it’s hard to rack up the calories by the end of the day.   I gave up snacking a while ago and focussed on bigger meals at mealtimes.  Not enough, CCM.  So now I’m taking up snacking again.   The best little snackeroos are those that are light but pack some quality calories with decent amounts of good protein, fats, and carbohydrates.  Good stuff that I can scoff without that omg I ate so much I feel gross feeling.

Let me introduce you to these little cheesecake muffin dudes.  Fruity, cheesecakey, and muffiny.  Wonderfully light but satisfying, slightly sweet, citrusy … they make a perfect snack or breakfast.   Just another high protein snack that gets most of its protein from egg and cottage cheese.  No need for protein powders.  Because sometimes we run out 😦  or we want to share them with tiny tot kiddies, or … hmmm sharing 😦  LOL

Winter citrus fruits are like a burst of sunshine in the middle of the gloomy, grey, rainy, total yukkiness.  I love tangelos.  They’re fantastic for those important life decisions when you just can’t make up your mind between an orange or a mandarin.  Crisis over.  Have both.  In one fantabulous fruit.  The tangelo.  Yes, you could use either an orange or a few mandarins for this recipe (very nice) but tangelos rock.  Try one.

I’ve made these with both cottage cheese and quark.  Both versions are fabulous, although, of course the cottage cheese flavour is more mild.  Use what makes you happiest.  Do not use the runny cottage cheese.  Use a proper European style cottage cheese, which is drier in texture.

You can use sugar instead of the stevia sweetener, if you prefer (the amounts are included in the recipe).  This recipe is both gluten-free and suitable for anyone with fructose and/or fructan intolerance.

A typical serve will pack around 266 kCals, 19.2g protein, 15.2 grams each of fats and carbohydrates (1.2g saturated, 4.6g sugars), and a whopping 7.4g dietary fibre.

You are welcome 🙂

They are lovely on their own but they will transport you heavenward if you split them and fill with a good (i.e. healthy) chocolate spread.  I used my newest one that I’ve nicknamed Better Than Sex Chocolate Spread.  It’s amazing.  They are also pretty amazing served with some fresh fruit and a dollop or two of thick Greek yoghurt.  Practically a dessert.

These are also great if you add a few fresh or frozen berries to them before baking.  Simply stud the muffins with some berries after you fill the muffin molds.  See what I did there?  Stud the muffins?  OK, it sounded funny when I wrote it the first time … 😉

I hope you love them too.  I’m off to scoff!

Makes 10 standard muffins or 15 financier (friand) sized muffins

Ingredients
300 grams low-fat cottage cheese or quark (I use Elgaar Farm Organics)
185 grams liquid egg whites (or 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white)
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon extract (I use Professional Whey Organic Vanilla Powder)
105 millilitres fresh tangelo juice (from 1 large tangelo)
grated zest of 1 tangelo
150 grams almond meal
20 grams psyllium husks
90 grams Natvia (or preferred stevia blend sweetener)*
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

*If you prefer, substitute about 100 – 115 grams of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your muffins.  This will increase both the total carb count as well as the sugars in the macros.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  If using silicon muffin or financier molds, there is no need to line the molds.  If using standard muffin or financier pans, line with cupcake or financier liners or grease with preferred spray or brush with a little oil of choice.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the cottage cheese (or quark) and egg whites (or whole eggs).  Whisk together until smooth and creamy.  Add the vanilla and tangelo juice, and whisk until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, add the tangelo zest, almond meal, psyllium, sweetener, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda.  Mix well until combined and there are no lumps.

Add the wet mixture to the dry.  Use a fork to very quickly and lightly combine the ingredients.

Do.  Not.  Over.  Mix.  We’re making muffins, not meringue 🙂

Having a light touch when deliberately under mixing muffin batter will result in wonderfully light muffins.  Beating the life out of the batter will only make you cry when you take your first bite.  Now that we’re all on the same page …

Divide the batter between the muffin or financier molds.  Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes until well risen and golden.  Do not over bake.   They will puff up with lovely domes and then fall a little because they’re cheesecake muffins 🙂

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before removing from their molds and serving.  They will keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

They are lovely served warm on their own or split and served with fruit and yoghurt or with your favourite chocolate spread … because what goes so well with tangelo and cheesecake?

OK chocolate goes with everything.  Yes, even carrots.  But we don’t have carrots here.

We have tangelo cheesecake muffins … and this combination is so choccheesecitrusgasmic that even my mum loves it.  She hates chocolate, remember?  Ah, there’s always a way to make someone love cacao.  These little muffins are hers.  Fist pumping the air 🙂

Macronutrient Profile
I have included macros for the recipe as indicated above.  I used liquid egg whites and cottage cheese.  The macros will vary ever so slightly if you substitute whole eggs and/or quark, but not substantially.

11 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Fruit, Protein, Protein Muffins, Special Diet

Frosted Vanilla Orange Cupcakes (Dairy, Nut, and Egg Free)

As I sit here typing this post, I’m reminded full well just how debilitating food allergies and intolerances can be.  I’ve been suffering from a food intolerance attack since lunchtime and I’m not quite sure what triggered it, as I’m very careful with my diet, avoiding foods that will trigger my fructose/fructan intolerance symptoms.   I also have a number of true allergies but my food ones are mainly ruled by a type of red food colouring and a severe allergy to mould (blue cheeses are off-limits and hard cheeses are an issue).

Allergies and intolerances of all descriptions have become so common in modern society, it’s rather alarming, particularly when they lead to anaphylaxis, which is life threatening.  The rate of food related allergies in children is quite high in Australia and that’s a worry.  There are genetic factors involved for some (my whole family is riddled with allergies of all descriptions).  I have many friends and relatives who are either gluten intolerant or coeliac, allergic to nuts, or dairy, or eggs, or other foods.  One of my trainers has a similar issue, with her family also being predisposed to allergies.   Her little cousin is allergic to seafood, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, as well as kiwifruit, of all things!  Now, that’s all well and good, but when you get Italian family gatherings and celebrations with cakes and desserts featuring, it’s heartbreaking to have to deny a child a treat, when everyone else is indulging.  Even if it’s for his own good.  It’s just not fair, is it?  Well, I hope there’s one little boy who is just a bit happier for having had a cupcake today, after a delivery yesterday 🙂

I didn’t realise just how many recipes had flooded the internet for low allergy cakes and treats that accommodate people with multiple allergies.  It’s not hard to accommodate one but three or four?   Mothers across the globe have met this challenge with aplomb.  It seems the two biggest challenges, not surprisingly, are how to make cakes without eggs, dairy or nuts that will rise and have a good crumb and have great flavour.  So you don’t feel like you are eating a poor low-allergy cousin to what should have been cake.  I had started by looking through some of the recipes I had created years ago when I was having to spend long periods of time on elimination diets (no fun!) and needed to cheer myself up with something tasty as a reward for my forebearance.  This is where I ended up.   I thought about using funky ingredients I’d seen others use online, but eventually settled on the sort of thing I tried years ago and refined it.

Now, for anyone who cannot have wheat and/or gluten, you can make these wheat and gluten-free by substituting the wheat flour with a good quality gluten-free flour.  You could even use corn or potato flour to give a really light texture.  They are vegan by default.  Also, if you have an allergy to olives, you can easily substitute another light vegetable oil that you know is safe to use.  If not, I have found olive oil gives the best flavour and texture.  Just a personal preference.

These cupcakes are very similar to a butter cake in texture, with a light, moist, and tender crumb and a slightly sweet flavour.   I opted to make these with vanilla and orange as the vanilla is suitable to pretty much everybody’s taste and the orange adds a lovely fresh sweetness.  You can see the flecks of vanilla throughout the cake and icing.  I love that, but if you prefer your icing to be totally white, use a liquid extract instead.

You can also bake these as one large cake or double the recipe to make cake layers that you can frost for a birthday.  My mum actually suggested the caramel chocolate frosting would be great layered with the cake.  Just double the frosting recipe to sandwich and cover the cake.  Or, if you can find soy cream, make a ganache with soy cream and allergy free chocolate and how fab would that be?

The truly wonderful thing about these cupcakes is that you can easily adapt them to accommodate a range of flavours, within the bounds of any allergies for which you need to allow.  I’ve given a few suggestions below for variations but really, the sky’s the limit.

I tested these on my parents.  Why?  My mother is a no-holds-barred critic and won’t hold back if they’re rubbish!  My father is the perennial sweet tooth and likes proper sweets, not that other stuff.   Ha ha and rolls eyes.  Neither of them have food allergies and so it was a good test to see if these cupcakes could pass muster with those that don’t have to make do.

The verdict:  SUCCESS.  Both found the cupcakes delicious and the frosting and icing too.  So much so, they’ve had one for dessert for the last couple of nights 🙂   I gave the last one to my aunt who also loved it.  The irony?  I can’t eat these low allergy cupcakes myself because I am wheat intolerant  … how’s that for karma?  I did have a tiny taste test though for quality control purposes and was extremely pleased with the result.  Yes, I am willing to sacrifice my wellbeing for the sake of baking.  So much so, I actually added volume measures for the cupcake recipe.  Egads!  Don’t expect that too often, OK? 😀

I hope you enjoy them too!

Vanilla Orange Cupcakes (Dairy, Nut, and Egg Free)

Makes 12 standard cupcakes or 1 x 20cm round cake

Ingredients
315 grams (2 1/2 metric cups) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200 grams (1 metric cup) sugar
grated zest of 1 orange (optional)
250 millilitres (1 metric cup) cold water
125 millilitres (1/2 metric cup) olive oil (classic, not extra virgin)
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons extract)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar and orange zest and mix well.

In a smaller bowl or jug, mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat on low to medium speed until well mixed.

Divide the batter between the cupcake molds, filling them about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes until well risen and golden.  Do not over bake.  They are cooked when a light tap on the top of one results in it springing back.  Alternatively, you can use a skewer to test for doneness.  It should come out clean.  If baking as a cake, allow extra time for baking.  It will take about 45 minutes or so, but keep an eye on it.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before icing or frosting.  They will keep for several days if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.   Storage for frosted cupcakes will depend on the frosting or icing used.  For the simple icing, as per the recipe below, they can be stored at room temperature.  If using the caramel frosting, they should be stored in the refrigerator.  Let them come to room temperature before serving, in that case.

Variations
Chocolate:  substitute 60 grams of unsweetened cocoa for the equivalent amount of flour in the recipe.  For a richer flavour and texture, melt 100 grams of allergy-free dark chocolate (such as Sweet William).  Let it cool slightly and add to the batter at the end.  Beat until smooth and proceed with the recipe.

Fruit:  fold in some diced fruit of your choice to the batter at the end of mixing, or add some pureed fruit in place of some of the water.

Citrus:  You can use lemon juice in place of the vinegar for lemon cupcakes for extra flavour, and add an extra tablespoon or so of citrus juice (lemon, lime, tangelo, mandarin, yuzu, etc) and the grated zest of one or two citrus fruit to the batter.  Make an icing or frosting to match.  This also goes really well with a white chocolate version or a fruity version.

Honestly, so long as you work within the bounds of any allergies that exist, the possibilities are many 🙂

Here we are, fresh out of the oven.  Yes, we have lovely high domes!

Now to the icing and frosting …

Simple Vanilla Orange Icing (Dairy, Nut, and Egg Free)

Ingredients
180 grams pure icing sugar
30 millilitres fresh orange juice
grated zest of half an orange
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or 1/2 teaspoon extract (if you don’t want to see the vanilla)
12 longer strips of orange zest for decoration

Directions
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, making sure there are no lumps.  Add the orange juice, grated zest, and vanilla.  Whisk until creamy.

Spoon a little icing on to each cupcake and allow to run down.  Decorate each cupcake with a strip of orange zest.  You could even decorate them with candied or caramelised orange segments or whatever you like, or leave them plain for fussy eaters 🙂

Variations
Chocolate:  Add a level tablespoon of sifted unsweetened cacao to the icing sugar before adding the liquid ingredients.

Citrus:  Substitute tangelo, lemon, lime, mandarin, kumquat, or yuzu for the orange in the recipe and omit the vanilla as optional.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Frosting (Dairy, Nut, and Egg Free)
This salted caramel and chocolate frosting recipe was a bit of an experiment.  I wondered if I could use a soy-based cream cheese to make a delicious frosting that was similar to a cream cheese frosting in texture.  The challenge is to mask the soy flavour of course, which can be quite overpowering.   I found a brand that has a good flavour and is nut and dairy free, but had to adapt the recipe a little as I could not find the soy butter they also make.   You can use whatever frosting you like.  I thought caramel with a little chocolate was a good way to include a more grown up flavour combination that appeals to most people and it also totally masks the soy flavour!  Caramel and chocolate are magical.  I perfected it a bit after making it again and so have included the recipe that gives a smoother result here.

Ingredients
400 grams soy cream cheese (I used King Land)
80 grams pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons extract
150 grams dairy and nut free chocolate (e.g. Sweet William)
120 grams sugar
pinch of sea salt
decorations (optional)

Directions
Beat the soy cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.  Set aside 60 grams for the caramel.  Add the icing sugar and vanilla to the remaining cream cheese and whisk until smooth.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over hot water.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly as you make the caramel.

Place the sugar in a stainless steel saucepan over a low heat.  Heat gently and stir with a spatula, only moving the sugar gently to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn on the base.  It will melt and start to colour.  When it reaches an amber colour, add the reserved sixty grams of cream cheese and the salt.  Stir well until creamy and fully incorporated.  Set aside to cool slightly.

When the chocolate and caramel are just warm, add to the cream cheese and whisk gently until smooth and shiny.  Keep whisking until it thickens slightly.  Refrigerate to thicken and set to a piping consistency.  When ready to frost the cupcakes, fill a piping bag fitted with a plain or decorative tip and pipe on to each cupcake.  top with some strips of orange zest, some toffee, or allergy free chocolate chips.

Store the frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving or just eat them straight from the fridge!

Butter cake goodness without eggs, dairy or nuts 🙂

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cakes, Cupcakes, Special Diet

Simple Protein Pancake Staples

Ah ha!  Just to prove that I don’t get too hung up over the lack of quality of my photos for the blog, here’s a quickie post and two recipes because I promised I would post these over on the CCM Facebook page.   They’re just everyday fare, not the sort of thing I would normally think of posting, but hey, they’re really good, so why not?  It’s all iPhone photo territory here so trust me when I say that the photos do not capture the deliciousness of these simple and versatile pancakes.  I’m only cringing a little, promise.

They’re usually taken early in the morning, post boot camp training, in a state of extreme hunger, impatience, and with no visible sources of useful lighting.   That does nothing for the resulting picture quality so grab your spectacles, electron microscope, refractor telescope, or whatever you need to get a better view.   What it does say is that these pancakes are too good for you to allow them to get cold on your highly stylised photo set while you muck about with your camera 🙂

The making of protein pancakes is something that usually happens early in the morning at my place.  Sometimes it happens really early, around 5:30am if I’m heading off early for work.   At least, during the week, this is true.  So, unless I’ve planned it the night before (unlikely) or I just happen to have something fantabulous available within easy reach (too lazy or not awake enough to look), I most often end up making really simple pancakes.  I leave the fancy stuff for the weekend.  When I make them during daylight hours.  I should post a few of those.  MMMM 🙂

So here I have two staples in the protein pancake repertoire that I go to when funky ingredients are not available.  Well, that’s a bit harsh.  I think sweet potato and banana are very funky.  I also think flaxmeal and psyllium are funky.  Whoa, and protein powders are super funky.  But you know what I mean.  Exotic stuff.  So if you have exotic stuff lying about your kitchen screaming “I want me some protein pancake action!“, throw it in, or on top, on the side.  Whatever and where ever you like it best. 🙂

Macros for each recipe are provided below and they are schweet.

First up, a winning high fibre pancake that I posted on Facebook a while ago.  Fluffy fluffy fibre goodness using pea protein isolate.   After that, a combination of leftover sweet potato and banana, using two ingredients we often do have lying around.  This one uses whey protein, although you can use whatever you like.  Both simple but good.

Hop to it!  Start mixing, start flipping, topping with good things, and EAT.

High Fibre Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Makes 6 pancakes / Serves 1 or 2

Ingredients
2 large eggs
40 grams pea protein isolate (I highly recommend this one or this one)
10 grams psyllium husks
250 ml unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla powder or extract (I used Professional Whey Organic Vanilla Powder)
stevia, to taste (optional – I don’t bother)

Directions
Blend or whisk together all the ingredients.  Psyllium will thicken up the pancake batter, even as it stands while you cook, so add a little more coconut milk or water if needed.  I just add a bit of water.   It also depends on the size of the eggs you use.  I used extra-large eggs (59 grams each).

Cook the pancakes in a non-stick pan.  I use a minimal amount of little olive oil spray or coconut oil to cook them.  I made six from the quantity of batter in the recipe.

Serve immediately topped with fruit, yoghurt, and maple or coconut syrup.

Sweet Potato & Banana Whey Pancakes

Makes 4 pancakes / Serves 1 or 2

Ingredients
100 grams liquid egg whites (or 2 x 59 gram eggs)
35 grams sliced banana (about half a small one)
50 grams cooked sweet potato (boiled or steamed)
30 grams plain or vanilla WPI (I used Professional Whey NZ WPI)
30 grams raw almond meal
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract (I used Professional Whey Organic Vanilla Powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of sea salt
a good squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 – 2 teaspoons)

Directions
Blend all the ingredients together.  Let sit for 10 mins or so, if you can.  Cook the pancakes in a non-stick pan.  I use a minimal amount of little olive oil spray or coconut oil to cook them.
I make about four larger pancakes with this batter.

Serve immediately topped with yoghurt, cinnamon, and maple or coconut syrup.  A great topping is the lemon ricotta cream in the first photo.  Simply mix together an equal quantity of fresh ricotta and thick Greek yoghurt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Top your pancake stack, sprinkle with cinnamon, and freshly grated lemon zest.  Drizzle with a little maple syrup.   Fruit makes a lovely optional extra!

Macronutrient Profile
I’ve given macros for the plain pancakes, without toppings and without accounting for any cooking oils used.  Whatever you add, you should add in the macros to the following.   This is true for anything you add to the pancake batter for each.

Hi Fibre Protein Pancakes Macros

Sweet Potato & Banana Whey Pancakes Macros

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breakfast, Protein, Protein Pancakes, Special Diet

Mini Lemon & Ginger Blintz Cheesecakes

OK so these aren’t really blintz cheesecakes.  But I occasionally get cravings for blintzes and this is as close as I can get to them without suffering from a FODMAP backlash 🙂

Real blintzes are delicate crepes filled with the most wonderful mixture of cottage cheese, sugar, lots of lemon zest and juice, and sultanas that have been macerated in brandy (if you’re going all out, that is).  Sometimes the sultanas are replaced with a topping of blueberries or a blueberry sauce.  Served warm.  Heaven.  Bliss.  I can’t have sultanas.  Dammit.  But I can have blueberries.  I was also too lazy to make crepes because I got asked to make cheesecake this weekend.  Best of both worlds?  Good enough, I say!  Plus, cheesecake.

So this is my healthy cheesecake homage to the amazingness of the blintz.  With blueberries.

I’ve added a little ginger to the crust.  You don’t have to, it’s optional.  I just like that extra zing that ginger gives as a contrast to the puckery sour of the lemons in the filling.

If you’d like to go all out with a proper cheesecake (aka one that has real sugar), go right ahead and substitute sugar for the sweeteners in the crust and filling.

The macros are pretty good for a healthy dessert, with saturated fats kept low, despite the use of butter in the crust.  It’s also a low carb and low sugar dessert, and kicks goals with each mini cheesecake providing around 13 grams of quality protein – and no protein powders required 🙂

These cheesecakes are best served warm or at room temperature, rather than chilled.  I find this is true of most baked cheesecakes made with either cottage cheese or quark.  If you refrigerate them, simply zap them in a microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and then top as desired to serve.  The texture is beautifully creamy and the lemon hits you with its freshness.

I have topped these simply with some blueberries and lemon zest mixed together and warmed through in a microwave (or gently on the stove).  A satisfying and healthy, blintz-like dessert.

Also, aren’t they just downright pretty?

This recipe is also gluten-free and suitable for anyone with fructose or fructan malabsorption (low FODMAP, excluding dairy).

Enjoy!

Makes: 12 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients
Base
125 grams almond meal (flour)
30 grams coconut flour
30 grams organic butter, melted
1 – 2 teaspoons ground ginger (optional*)
stevia or other sweetener, to taste (I used 1/8 teaspoon pure stevia powder)

*The ginger in this recipe is optional.  If you are not a fan of ginger, simply replace it with 1 – 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

Cheesecake
600 grams low-fat cottage cheese (I used Elgaar Farm Organics 1% Cottage Cheese)
4 large eggs
1 large or 2 small lemons, zest and juice
120 grams stevia based sweetener or other sweetener, to taste (I used Natvia)

To decorate, use your favourite berry or fruit sauce or compote.  Alternatively, mix some thick Greek yoghurt with a little stevia, lemon zest and ginger to top off the cheesecake.  If happy to use sugar, add some crystallised ginger or a drizzle of melted dark or white chocolate 🙂

Notes: 

If you wish, feel free to use sugar in this recipe.  Simply replace the Natvia with 120 grams of sugar.  For the crust, add up to 30 grams of sugar, or to taste.

This recipe works really well with cottage cheese, quark, and ricotta cheese.  I also like it with a substitution of 500 grams cottage/quark/ricotta cheese plus 100 grams thick (strained) Greek yoghurt.

You can add some sultanas to the cheesecake mixture and even soak them in a little brandy beforehand, if that’s your thing. If so, simply top the cheesecakes with more brandy-soaked sultanas and lemon or a good creme fraiche.

Directions
Base
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake/muffin paper liners.

Mix together all the ingredients for the base in a bowl.  Use clean hands to press the mixture together until it comes together as a crumbly dough.  It may seem that it will not hold together.  Don’t worry!  Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and press firmly into the base, levelling it out.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until slightly golden.  Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.  While the base is baking, make the cheesecake batter.

Cheesecake
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, until smooth and light.  The amount of lemon you use is up to you.  I love lemon and I like the puckery taste of lemon cheesecake.  If you prefer it to be more subtle, then use half the amount of lemon juice and taste test.  The same goes for the sweetener (or sugar).

Fill the muffin cases with the cheesecake mixture.  Bake at 180℃ for about 30 minutes, or until the filling sets.  The tops may crack slightly but that is OK.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.   Top with whatever takes your fancy.  I simply mixed some blueberries and lemon zest and popped them into the microwave for 10 seconds to warm them through and make a thickish sauce.  Delightful 🙂

These cheesecakes are best served at room temperature, or slightly warm.  If you have leftovers, store in the refrigerator, well covered (airtight).  To serve, zap for 5 – 10 seconds in a microwave, or bring to room temperature before serving.

Straight out of the oven

Macronutrient Profile
I’ve provided macros for the plain cheesecakes as per the recipe, above.  If you make substitutions, please factor that into the macro count.  I have not included toppings as you can basically top them as you please 🙂

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