Simple Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

These little shiny cupcakes are based on brilliant fail-safe recipe I have used many times, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (with a few personal amendments). After a trip out to a local cafe, who had sold out of vegan cakes… Iolo asked if we could make our own! Instead of getting messy with a piping bag and buttercream, I opted to glaze them with a lovely ganache instead and a few pretty rose petals. They were soft and delicious and didn’t last long in our house.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Rose Petals
Makes 10 large or 12 medium cupcakes

1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup caster or granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable or rapeseed oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
1/4 cup almond milk
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp agave syrup
2 tbsp Rose petals

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and line a cupcake tin with 10 or 12 liners. If you use a muffin tray, the mix will only make 10.
2. Whisk together all the wet ingredients with the sugar in a jug and set aside.
3. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
4. Gently stir the liquid into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, adding gradually and stirring until no large lumps remain.
5. Spoon the cake mixture into the liners, distributing it evenly amongst them all.
6. Bake for 18-20 mins. They are cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7. Place the cupcakes on a rack to cool completely while you prepare the ganache.
8. Bring the milk to a boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and agave with a wooden spoon, so it melts.
9. Pour the ganache over the cupcakes and then top with petals.

No-Knead and Wholesome Homemade Bread

Spelt Bread
Spelt Bread

Homemade bread really is amazing. It’s addictive too. Once you start making it, it’s hard to go back to buying loaves from a shop. Now I’m at home all the time, we have retired the bread machine and have been doing more ourselves.

I often make my Focaccia Bread with the help of the Magimix, or bake two straight loaves of half white half wholemeal and knead the dough by hand.

But if you want homemade bread but find the kneading and double-rising process too time consuming, I have the answer.

My mother in law Jean has kindly given us a fantastic bread recipe, which produces a lovely loaf in less than an hour. It uses spelt flour; doesn’t require kneading and is only left to rise in its tin, once. Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed, just impressed!

Jean’s Spelt Bread
Makes one medium-sized loaf
Preparation/cooking time less than one hour

450g/ spelt flour*
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
½ sachet easy blend yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
400-450ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp seeds for topping, eg sesame

1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle with a wooden spoon.
2. Mix in the water and oil and stir to form a smooth, wet dough.
3. Spoon wet dough mix into a well-oiled bread tin. Top with seeds.
4. Cover and set aside somewhere warm to rise. The bread won’t rise a lot, usually just reaching the top rim of the tin. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.
5. Bake for 25-30 mins. Remove from tin. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for a few minutes, out of the tin.
6. Cool on a wire rack.
* You can use standard bread flour too.