Monday, 9 June 2014

Healthy Natural Chocolate Protein Bar Recipe (with PB2)

Natural Chocolate Protein Bar Recipe

Pretty much every recipe I post seems to being with some variation of 'I love chocolate'. And it's true! It is definately the one thing I practically live on and can honestly say after going a year without it... I am so happy to be a chocolate addict again..! When people say 'chocolate', you'd be forgiven if the first pictures that come to mind were large bars of animal fat and sugar ridden Dairy Milk and Galaxy bars. Or sugary caramel and biscuit stuffed Twix or Mars bars. Cocoa in itself is actually healthy and contains antioxidants that are good for the body (and the soul!). I actually prefer dark chocolate (the darker the better..!), as it has a much richer cocoa taste and nicer texture in my opinion. Although I do indulge slightly in Cadbury's chocolate, I must limit my amount of sugary treats due to hypoglycemia.. therefore due to the much lower sugar content of dark chocolate it is also much nicer to your blood sugar!
 Whether you're trying to get healthier / fitter, lose weight or have blood sugar control issues, it doesn't mean you have to give up on delicious chocolatey treats. These protein flapjack bars are all natural (containing dry milk powder instead of protein powder), packed full of nutrition and taste (dare I say) even better than those store bought factory produced mass bars.

  Although I am trying to track my protein intake to help in building muscle mass at the moment, I do not take any protein supplements or powders for a number of reasons. One of these is that people do not seem to realise that they probably get enough protein in their diet already (protein comes in so many forms; meat, fish, dairy, nuts etc) but too much can actually be harmful to the liver. Therefore I have substituted a more natural way to get a protein boost through ingredients such as dried milk powders (which was initially suggested by my nutritionist). Also, pre-made protein bars (especially in the UK) seem to full of additives, sugars and artificial ingredients that just don't need to be there. (An exception that I do buy is Nakd's fruit, oat and nut bars which contain only natural ingredients and no powders, additives or added sugars but pack a good amount of protein!).

I'm a guilt-free treat.. believe it!

Makes : approx. 9 bars



35g Oat Flour (I made my own by grinding rolled oats until very fine)
20g Rolled Oats
1 Tsp Maple Syrup (or other liquid sweetener such as agave or honey)
1 Banana, mashed (approx. 75g to 85g)
1 Tbsp PB2 (alternatively, use any nut butter)
Optional; Dried Skimmed Milk Powder (depending on how much of a protein boost you want, I typically use between 5g to 15g).

Peanut Butter Layer:

2 Tbsp PB2 Chocolate (or PB2 or any nut butter)

Chocolate Layer:

5g to 7g Dark Chocolate (I used Lindt 85% Cocoa)
2 Tsp (approx. 8g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 and 1/2 Tsp Maple Syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1 Tsp Extract (Ones I have used; Orange, Vanilla, Peppermint, Caramel and Strawberry)


  • Preheat oven to 180C and line / grease a baking tray.
  • In a bowl, mash banana until smooth and mix in the PB2 and syrup.
  • Fold in oat flour and dried milk powder (if using) until well combined.
  • Fold in the rolled oats and mix until well coated.
  • Place base mixture onto tray and spread / press into a flat square (alternatively use a small square tin).
  • Bake for approx. 15 - 20 min until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for approx. 10 min.
  • Meanwhile, make up the PB2 (or nut butter) and spread layer on top of the base.
  • For the chocolate layer, melt the dark chocolate for a few seconds in a microwave.
  • Mix in the syrup and extract.
  • Combine in the cocoa powder and mix until the mixture is a slightly thick / fudgy paste.
  • Spread chocolate on top of the nut butter layer.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing into bars.
  • Keep in a fridge.

Tips & Serving Ideas

  • Use different extracts for different flavoured chocolate coating!
  • Add in dried fruit and / or nuts into oat mixture.
  • Sprinkle chopped nuts, chocolate chips or dessicated coconut on top of the chocolate layer.
  • The milk powder is simply for an added boost of protein and can easily be omitted without any effect on the finished product. (You may also use your protein powder of choice)

 Cara X

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Back from blogging break!

Recently I took a break from my blog.. simply because I'd given up without barely starting..! But as the super busy times are starting to turn more steady I realised I'd still love to not only bake cakes for people but also to show them how to make their own. As my business is now officialy set up (Cacenni Cara - click it!! :) ), I have a little more time to share some recipes for you try at home!

In the future I hope to link my blog with an official website for Cacenni Cara..!

Cara X

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Grain-Free Gluten-Free Paleo Almond Cookies Recipe

Almond Flour Sugar Cookies Recipe

Biscuits are something that can be enjoyed any time of day. Breakfast biscuits, snacks, with tea, as a treat, a dessert, they're perfect for any occasion. I have always been a fond cookie and biscuit lover, but not so much the sugars and added artifical ingredients that come loaded inside them! Although they're great for a treat in moderation, it is incredibly easy to make biscuits that not only you are aware of the ingredients inside them, but also know that they are healthy for you!

The ultimate guilt-free treat!

  These sugar cookies are a great and healthier variation, that taste just as, if not better, than your average sugar laden cookie. Sweet and crunchy and packed full of flavour, you'd never realise that they're actually healthy! (Of course, if you're going to use glaze icing for decoration this makes them less healthy, though in comparison you can still enjoy these guilt-free!). These are great for those who have to watch their sugar intake (such as myself), as they are very low in sugar and net carbs per serving. Also, a great substituion for anyone who is gluten-free!

The amount this makes will entirely depend on the size of your chosen cookie cutters. For me, this made 14 small (bite-sized) heart shaped biscuits. For larger biscuits, you may want to double the recipe.

This recipe was adapted from the lovely chocolatecoveredkatie blog.


50g Ground Almonds (aka Almond Flour / Meal)
1/2 Tbsp Butter or Oil (e.g Coconut Oil)
1 Tsp Almond Extract
2 Tsp Agave Nectar (or liquid Sweetener of choice, e.g Maple Syrup)

Icing Sugar and Water for a glaze icing.


  •  In a bowl, melt the butter (or oil) for a few seconds in a microwave.
  • Add in the almond extract and agave and combine.
  • Mix in the almond flour until the mixture forms a wet dough.
  • The dough should be wet but able to form into a ball.
  • Place the dough onto some baking parchment and fold the parchment over the dough (this keeps the wet dough from sticking to your rolling pin) and roll until it is at your desired cookie depth (approx. 5mm).
  • You may cut out the cookies at this stage, or after it has set in a freezer (I find that cutting them out after the dough has set tends to be easier).
  • Place the dough into a freezer for a minimum of 30min - 1hr for best results.
  • When the dough is set, it is now easier to cut out the biscuits.
  • Place on a greased piece of baking parchment and bake for approx. 5-10min (or until slightly golden).
  • Allow to cool for approx. 10 - 15 min before peeling off of the baking parchment.
  • Decorate with glaze icing if you wish!

Tips & Serving Ideas

  • Experiment with different flavours that compliment almonds, such as cherry, strawberry or vanilla.
  • Add in or sprinkle on some cinnamon.
  • Serve with ice cream, healthy frozen banana ice cream and agave or maple syrup.
  • For a true bakewell experience, decorate with almond flavoured glaze or fondant icing, with jam or cherry coulis. 

Cara X

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Simple Simnel Muffins Recipe

Simnel Muffins Recipe

Are you a dried fruit and spice lover like me? No? Try this muffin recipe and I expect a change of opinion. If you said yes then hooray! You're going to go absolutely head over heels for these super easy full of flavour muffins.
   As Easter is fast approaching, these Easter muffins are a great and flavourful Spring dessert recipe, guaranteed to impress your celebrating friends and family. What I love most about these muffins are how the flavours and spices used are reminiscent of the flavours used throughout fall and winter, but sweeter and not quite as heavy and dense.

Morning Baking at it's finest

Using simple ingredients you most likely already own, these are great for a fiber packed snack, breakfast or dessert.
This recipe uses 3 different spices and 4 different dried fruits, you may add or omit as you desire, this is a great chance to experiment!

Makes 12 - 20.

110g Butter
50g Granulated Sugar
60g Brown Demerara Sugar
2 Eggs
Zest and juice of an Orange
110g Self-Raising Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 and 1/2 Tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Ginger (Optional)
1 to 2 Tbsp Milk
Dried Fruit (I used Raisins, Sultanas, Dried apple chunks, Dried Cranberries)
90g Marzipan (Optional)

1 Tsp Glaze Icing (for each muffin)
Driedfruit, Nuts or Mini Chocolate Eggs to decorate

  • Preheat an oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with muffin cases.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs and add the zest and juice.
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder and spices until well combined, adding milk until the mixture is of dropping consistency.
  • Fold in the dried fruit.
  • Fill muffin cases to approx. 1/3 full and place a piece of marzipan in the centre before covering with more mixture until 3/4 full. (If omitting the marzipan, then simply fill until 3/4 full).
  • Bake for approx. 20 - 25 mins. (Until golden brown and firm to the touch).
  • Allow to cool and decorate with a tsp of glaze icing and decorations of choice.
  • Best eaten within approx. 2 days of baking.

Tips & Serving Ideas

  • Use the left over orange zest / juice to flavour the icing.
  • For more of an Easter theme, make small easter fondant decorations such as mini rabbits, rabbit ears, ducklings or eggs!
  • Candied orange peel also makes a great decoration.

Cara X

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Microwave Paleo Healthy Coconut Flour English Muffin Rolls Recipe

Microwave Coconut Flour English Muffin Rolls

If you're one of those people, who may not be a diagnosed celiac, but have some difficulty with gluten and/or what products, I sympathise with you. I have a bit of a wheat intolerance which has made me stay away from many wheat based and flour based foods, which can be quite daunting and depressing since these seem to be the best types of foods! Think cakes, pizza, tortillas, bread, pasta.. these foods I have been avoiding for some time. If you are a celiac, you understand this situation even better, which is why I'm sharing this life altering recipe with you! (Alright, maybe not life altering ..but it surely brings some excitment to a lunch or two!)

Like muffins... but better!

For months I have been jealous of those who could have a hot buttered bread muffin or roll with their soup or a fresh ham salad sandwich.. only to discover that just by using a couple of clever ingredients, great, healthy and wheat free alternatives are possible!

Alternatively, use a ramekin instead of the mug.

Coconut flour is a wonderful gluten free flour containing no wheat and is the key ingredient to this recipe. If you've never baked with coconut flour before, I must warn you that in baking mixtures, a little goes a long way. It needs a great deal of wet ingredients compared to other flours and is very dense. Although, for me, it has proved the best gluten and wheat free flour that produces the most similar results to ordinary flours.

Baking has never been easier..!

Missing a simple slice of hot buttered toast, I began searching for coconut flour bread recipes. This resulted in realising how many eggs would be needed for my loaf pan (think minimum 12), and the fact that I did not have this many eggs to use on this bread. Upon searching a little more however, I stumbled upon some single serve english muffin recipes, using only 1 egg, ready in 1 minute and baked in its mug in a microwave! Perfect!
   This produces one great tasting wheat and gluten free english muffin alternative that could be easily adapted to your required needs. Want a roll for some homemade soup? Leave plain or add some chopped onion, cheese or chives. Want to make a mugcake? Add agave, honey, sugar, cocoa or cinnamon. You could also make a fruit mugcake, blueberry muffins or a chocolate chip muffin mugcake! All this with none of the illness or bloating afterwards.. too good to be true? Try it!


Remember that coconut flour baking goods are very dense and filling, therefore a small serving is enough to fill you up.

This recipe was adapted from

1/2 Tbsp Butter
1 Egg (Large)
1Tbsp Coconut Flour
1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
1/2 to 1 Tsp Baking Powder


  •  In a mug, place the butter and melt in a microwave (a few seconds).
  •  Beat in the egg.
  •  Mix in the coconut flour, flaxseed and baking powder.
  •  Add any additional flavourings.
  •  Microwave on high for approx. 1 - 2 minutes. 
  •  Cut in half, and enjoy!

Tips & Serving Ideas

  •  Add a flavouring such as vanilla, almond or strawberry extract.
  •   For a sweet tooth, add 1 to 1 1/2 Tsp of agave, honey or sugar.
  •   Add shavings of cheddar cheese with 1/2 Tsp chives.
  •  Add in blueberries, chopped strawberries, candied orange peel and zest, or dried fruits.
  •  Mix in cocoa  powder or melted chocolate, and chopped up chocolate or chocolate chips!
  •  To make a teacake, mix in 1/2 raisins or sultanas, 1 Tsp mixed spice and 1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg.
  •  When split, it is possible (and delicious!) to toast the slices.
  •  Serve warm with plenty of butter and/or jam, use as a soup accompaniment or make a mini sandwich! 

Cara X

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate fudge cake is a classic recipe and a favourite in our family. Although it has many variations that can sometimes leave you feeling a little confused. Many insist that soured cream is a must, while others simply opt for milk. Some use a higher chocolate content while others may use a combination of chocolate and cocoa powder for the chocolate flavouring. Whatever your preference, this recipe can be easily adjusted to suit you. After turning to many different recipes over the years and my own experimentation, this is the best recipe that has always worked for me. I use this as a base for many of my chocolate cakes and just alter it slightly to what it's intended for. This recipe is for a large single layer cake, therefore for a double or triple layered cake you may want to double or triple the amounts listed, depending on the size of your cake tin.

A classic chocolate upon chocolate cake recipe!

This is how worktops should look every evening.

My worktop does indeed  look like this nearly every evening, and thus I have a family complaining of rapid weight gain and constant hunger! The combined mixture should look a little like this, the brown chocolate colour will darken as it cooks.

The finished product! Make sure to allow the frosting to cool and set for the approximate time before spreading onto the cake to allow for better spreading and control. If it is too liquid, it will be more difficult to control and may moisten the sponge.
Chocoholics rejoice!

This is a simple and easy to do recipe, using everyday baking ingredients that won't have you panicking and rushing to the shop!


For the Cake:200g Butter
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
175g Plain Dark Chocolate
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
220g Self-Raising Flour
2 to 3 Tbsp Milk

For the Icing:

50g Dark or Milk Chocolate
1/4 Cup Butter
1 to 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Icing Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk


  • Preheat an oven to 180C and grease a cake tin.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Fold in the flour and cocoa powder and mix.
  • In a microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate.
  • Gently add in the melted chocolate and mix until well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin and spread towards the edges, making sure the top is even.
    Bake for approx. 30 - 45 mins, (until firm and springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean).
  • Allow the cake to cool.
    For the icing, place the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter mixture in a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, stirring to make sure they are combined.
    Once melted and smooth, add in the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
  • Add in the milk until it is of your desired consistency and mix until well combined.
  • Allow the icing to cool for approx. 10 -15 mins to thicken (stir the mixture 2 or 3 times during this time).
  • Once thickened, spread over the cake.
    Place some of your favourite chocolate pieces from a chocolate assortment box in the centre.
  • Use a cheese grater or potato peeler to shave some milk and white chocolate, before sprinkling over the top of the cake.

Tips & Serving Ideas

  • Melt some milk, white or dark chocolate and drizzle in a zig zag pattern over the cake.
  • Combine different sized chocolate curls and shavings or use some chocolate sprinkles.
  • Add a chocolate buttercream filling or border!
  • Chocolate dipped Strawberries or piped chocolate roses would make a great alternative center decoration.
  • Serve warm with some single or whipped cream.

Dessert anyone?!

Cara X

Friday, 14 February 2014

Strawberry Chocolate Valentine Cupcakes Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes

Happe Valentines day! Whether you're single or coupled up this Valentines, the holiday of love is a great excuse for themed cakes! Using this simple strawberry and white chocolate flavoured recipe, you'll be sure to wow your other half and definately be worth that romantic candlelight dinner that is surely planned and prepared! This recipe uses a favourite flavour combination of mine.. inspired by the ultimate romantic dessert, chocolate and stawberries! 

Using a light and fluffy strawberry sponge, combined with white chocolate chips and a smooth strawberry buttercream, this melt in the mouth cupcake is perfect for that after dinner indulgence.

Makes 12 - 24


For the cakes:

120g Butter or Margarine
120g Caster Sugar (could also use granulated)
2 Eggs
160g Self-Raising Flour
2 to 3 Tbsp Milk
1/2 to 1 Tsp Strawberry Extract
5 to 6 Chopped Frozen or Dried Strawberries

For the buttericing:

140g Butter
340g Icing Sugar (+ more if necessary)
1 to 2 Tbsp Milk (+ more if necessary)
30g Melted White Chocolate
Pink Edible Spray
Gummy Heart Sweets
Chocolates from a Chocolate box

Edible Pink and Purple Crystals or Sprinkles

  • Preheat an oven to 180°C.
  • Line a muffin/cake tray (2 if you have them) with cake cases.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a spoon until pale and fluffy.
  • In a jug or cup, beat the eggs with a whisk and beat into the butter mixture.
  • Add strawberry extract.
  • Fold in the flour a little at a time, using a spoon. 
  • Fold in chopped strawberries.
  • Whisk the mixture and add some milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency (take a spoonful and see if the mixture drops / droops off).
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases until half full.
  • Bake in the oven for approx. 10 to 15 minutes (until the tops are golden and firm and an inserted skewer / toothpick comes out clean).
  • Allow the cakes to cool on a plate or wire rack.
  • While the cakes are cooling, make the buttericing by beating the butter until smooth in a large bowl.
  • Add icing sugar until the buttericing is a pale yellow / white colour (here is where I do a taste test to see if more icing sugar is needed!)
  • Add milk until the icing is of a smooth and drooping consistency but not too liquid. (It should be thick but still a droopy mixture).
  • Mix in strawberry extract.
  • Place the buttericing mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cakes. 
  • Spray the cakes with edible pink glitter spray (hold can approx. 20cm from cake)
  • Decorate with chocolate from a chocolate box or heart shapped sweets.
  • Sprinkle some edible red and pink crystals.
  • Dust with edible glitter if you wish!
  • Allow to chill in a refrigerator.
  • These will last for approx. 3 - 4 days.

Tips & Serving Ideas

  • Serve with a large bouquet of fresh red roses...!
  • Colour the buttericing with red or pink food colouring.

Cara X