I wanted to write today about my latest efforts in raising a bit of money for these two charities that are quite important to me in the hope of raising a bit of awareness of all the fantastic work they do.
This won’t be a long explanation as unfortunately everyone I know has some sort of link to cancer and knows only too well the pain it causes for all affected. It goes without saying that the work Cancer Research does in trying to find better treatments and a cure for this horrible disease is amazing and after sadly losing my granny to cancer last December, this was the first charity on my list to raise money for.
Whilst I was in my final year at university I decided to write my dissertation on Crohn’s disease. At the time it was just something that was most convenient (it was my tutors specialism and my dad’s profession meant he could help me along the way) but over the course of a very stressful few months l I learnt a huge amount about not only the biological side of the disease but also about the way it affects sufferers, a large majority of which are young women. Crohn’s & Colitis UK are a charity that aim to improve the life of everyone affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) through funding research into the diseases; running workshops to help people coming to terms with living with IBD and building resources that inform sufferers and their families about different aspects of IBD. I have seen first hand how brilliant the charity is at helping young sufferers of Crohn’s disease and wanted to do whatever I could to help raise awareness about and funds for the work they do.
Serious stuff aside, I wanted to put my love of baking to good use and hold a little cake sale last Saturday. I managed to secure a spot at my local tennis club (link here) right in the path of lots of mini Andy Murrays and prima ballerinas (and their parents) which meant I was able to raise a of £76.06 over the course of just 2 hours. A massive thank you to everyone who supported me through this as it meant I smashed my £100 fundraising target for the year! 🙂
Most of the recipes for the goodies I made are already up on the blog, and you can find them in the links below, but there are a few I haven’t shared with you yet, so keep your eyes peeled for those in the next few weeks!
On the treat list were:
White Chocolate Cake Truffles
Gluten Free Almond & Honey Cupcakes (recipe below)
Now I used to think that if you were going to have a cake then you should go all out. I’m talking full fat butter, double cream, proper sugar and of course jam crammed in wherever possible – I wanted to have my cake and eat it and I didn’t care about the affect it was having on my body. Since finishing university I’ve tried to maintain a healthier lifestyle and look after myself a little more and balancing this with my love of anything baked has been difficult at times!
Over the last year I’ve started reading more about baking with alternatives, be it substituting sugar with honey or agave to lower the GI load of the cake; or using natural yogurt in place of butter to lighten the fat content of the cake and I’ve loved trying out a few of them whilst I’ve been home for summer. Last weekend I wanted to offer something to the health-conscious adults that would pass my stall and for any little ones that might be coeliac sufferers, I didn’t want anyone missing out.
These gluten-free cupcakes went down so well I’d feel bad if I didn’t share it with all of you – no one even noticed they were gluten, refined sugar or lactose free so a definite success for ‘healthy’ baking I think! The recipe is initially from Cookie Monster Cooking, an American blog that is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t done so already, which is why the measurements are in cups, I haven’t quite got around to converting the recipe yet!
Ingredients (Makes 12 Fairy Cakes or 8 Cupcakes)
3 Cups Ground Almonds
½ Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup melted coconut oil (make sure the oil is melted when you measure it)
½ Cup Raw Honey
3 Large Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
½ Tsp Almond Extract
– Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F and line a muffin tray with 8 cupcake/muffin cases or a fairy cake tray with 12 fairy cake cases.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ground almonds, baking powder and salt and leave to one side.
Add the melted coconut oil, honey, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract to a smaller mixing bowl and mix together until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and give everything a mix together until well combined – no gluten means no over mixing and getting a heavy cake hooray!
Scoop equal quantities of the cake mix into the prepared cake cases and place in the centre of the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes.
After 20 minutes check the cupcakes as they can catch quite quickly – they’re ready to come out of the oven when they’re golden brown and a skewer can be inserted into the centre of the cakes and come out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool, decorate the cupcakes as you wish – I went for a classic glacé icing (made with icing sugar and water) drizzled over the cakes.
Do you have any interesting baking substitutions?