women

Cheeky little cake to share confession

Serves: 6

Cals: 422

Sat Fat: 14.9g

Ready in: 40mins

The sweet hit in this baked treat comes from low-fructose maple syrup, which will stave off blood- sugar crashes and stop you reaching for the biscuit tin come 4pm. Genius.

Cheeky little cake to share

Cheeky little cake to share

·         160g softened unsalted butter

·         160g sifted white spelt flour

·         2 large free-range eggs

·         2 teaspoons baking powder

·         160g maple syrup

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         Small squeeze of lemon juice

squeeze of lemon juice

squeeze of lemon juice

For the filling

·         3 tablespoons of your favorite sugar-free jam

·         150m1 low-fat crème fraîche, whipped to ribbon consistency

To decorate

·         Unrefined icing sugar

·         Fresh flowers

Unrefined icing sugar

Unrefined icing sugar

1.    Okay then... Preheat the oven to 180°C before greasing and lining two 16cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins.

2.    Time to get stuck in. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until pale and fluffy. Add 2-3 tablespoons of flour and beat in the eggs until you have a light, fluffy mixture (if it's curdling, add another tablespoon of flour.) Add the remaining flour and baking powder, then the maple syrup and vanilla extract and fold it all together. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and fold again. Got that?

3.    Divide the mixture between the tins, level the tops and bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack to finish cooling. No nibbling yet.

4.    When the cakes are cool, spread the bottom layer with jam, then crème fraîche. Put on the top cake, dust with icing sugar and scatter with flowers. Share with your favorite person. Or scoff the lot alone. We won't judge.

For Better Digestion

Caramelized pear & buckwheat pudding cake

Caramelized pear & buckwheat pudding cake

Caramelized pear & buckwheat pudding cake

Serves: 10

Cals: 285

Sat Fat: 9.8g

Ready in: 60mins

If your digestion needs a kick up the proverbial, cardamom is the spice for the job. As well as being a famous digestion booster, it's loaded with calcium and iron. Plus its sky-high antioxidant levels help protect your cells against toxins. Perfect with a glass of wine then...

·         3 conference pears

·         2 cardamom pods (optional)

·         25g softened unsalted butter

3 conference pears

3 conference pears

·         2 tablespoons maple syrup

·         150g softened unsalted butter     

·         75g buckwheat flour, sifted         

·         2 large free-range eggs   

·         75g finely ground almonds

·         Pinch of ground cinnamon          

·         125g maple syrup

• Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1.    Apron on? Peel, quarter and core the pears. Tip the seeds from the cardamom pods into a mortar and grind with the pestle to a powder. Heat a frying pan and add the butter, cardamom and maple syrup. Once the mixture starts to melt, arrange the quartered pears flat-side down in a circle with the thin ends in the center (so the pears color evenly and stay in good shape). Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. Smells good, huh?

2.    In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until pale and fluffy. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the flour and beat in the eggs. Continue to beat until you have a light, fluffy mixture. Fold in the remaining flour, the ground almonds, cinnamon and maple syrup. OK, now you can lick the spoon.

3.    Pour into the tin. Place the pears on top of the mixture in a circle flat-side down, then drizzle any remaining juices over the top. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes at 170°C or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning the cake out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Tie up dogs/husbands at this point.

4.    A slice of this cake is fantastic as a pudding served with crème fraîche but try a slice in the morning as well: research shows that eating cake at breakfast can help you lose weight'. In case you needed an excuse...

For A Brain Boost

Flour-free chocolate & beetroot cake

Flour-free chocolate & beetroot cake

Flour-free chocolate & beetroot cake

Serves: 8

Cals: 260

Sat Fats: 4.6g

Ready in: 50mins

News just in: scientists at Wake

Forest University in North Carolina discovered that eating beetroot increases oxygen flow to your noggin. What's more, a University of Exeter study showed juiced beets can improve your exercise endurance by 16%. A slice before the gym then?

·         300g cooked, unseasoned beetroot, peeled and pureed

·         4 large free-range eggs

·         4 tbsp honey        

·         1 tsp vanilla extract          

·         1tbsp raw cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting

·         1 tsp gluten-free baking powder 

·         pinch of salt          

·         125g ground almonds      

·         125g dark chocolate (preferably Green & Black's 70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces

·         4 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

tsp vanilla extract

125g ground almonds

125g ground almonds

1.    Turn on Jazz FM and preheat the oven to 180°C (okay, Jazz FM is optional). Grease and line a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

2.    In a large mixing bowl, beat the beetroot, eggs, honey, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt with an electric hand mixer. When these ingredients are combined, fold in the ground almonds.

3.    Place a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan containing a little water. Make sure the bowl is big enough to cover the top of the pan but do not allow the bottom of the bowl to be in contact with the water. Put the chocolate pieces in the bowl and allow to melt over a low heat, then mix in the oil. Gently stir the chocolate and oil into the cake mixture until combined.

4.    Scrape the mixture into the tin (the one spoon for you and one for the bowl method usually works) and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until that trusty skewer poked in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave the cake to cool.

5.    Once the cake is cool, dust with cocoa powder then serve with a nice cuppa. Put your feet up, tuck in. Bliss.

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