Tag Archive for: Guilt-Free Baking by Gee Charman

Looking for something different and guilt-free for Easter? Look no further than these Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting.

Perfectly light and moist – a great alternative to the heavier Easter treats around. Using avocado in icing might sound strange, and I suppose it is a little strange, but surprisingly it works! And they’re egg and dairy free so even your vegan friends can enjoy a treat at Easter!

Have a look at our Publicity Assistant, Gemma, making up her batch at home:

The Recipe, in black and white

Makes 24 mini cupcakes (12 servings)

Per serving:
Fat: 4.5g (of which saturates: 0.8g)
Calories: 111kcal
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

For the chocolate cakes:
240ml/8fl oz/scant 1 cup almond milk, plus extra for the frosting
1 tsp cider vinegar
185g/6½oz/heaped ¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
250g/9oz/2 cups self-raising flour
30g/1oz/ ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the avocado frosting:
2 ripe avocados
4 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp clear honey
a little almond milk, to loosen

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line two 12-hole mini-muffin tins with paper cases.
  • Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl and stir well, then leave to one side for a few
    minutes to curdle.
  • Beat in the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract, if using, and whisk until frothy.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins, filling the sections three-quarters full. Bake for 10–12 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • To make the frosting, scoop out the avocado flesh into a small blender or food processor (or bowl and
    work with a hand-held blender).
  • Add the cocoa powder and honey and process until smooth, then gradually add a little almond milk, a drop at a time, until the mixture just begins to hold its shape.
  • Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe the frosting onto the centre of the cakes in a nice high peak. (You don’t need to cover the entire surface as this would add too much icing and therefore too many calories.)
  • Peel back the paper and enjoy – the great thing is they are so mini you can eat two!



Gee Charman

Guilt-Free Baking

£16.99 | available from Nourish Books

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EmmaOur Export and UK Sales Executive Emma loves baking from Gee Charman’s Guilt-Free Baking, and sharing her cakes with us in the office. We can’t wait to try her sweets, that normally don’t last more than five minutes, and also become a good opportunity to have a little chat during a busy day. And all guilt-free! This time Emma surprised us with a Sticky Toffee Tray Bake, and it was truly delicious. You can follow Emma on Instagram.

My favourite baking book at the moment is Guilt Free Baking and that’s not because I’m slightly biased, but because everything I’ve baked from it so far has been delicious! I’m no baking whizz but I do love the exactness of baking – follow the recipe, how can you possibly go wrong? So I saw the sticky toffee tray bake recipe whilst browsing this book (for maybe the hundredth time) and had to give it a go. It’s particularly great for sharing in the office (maybe), and easy to transport. Perfect!

guilt-free baking

Firstly pre-heat your oven. I always forget and have to wait… 180/350/Gas mark 4. Also prepare your tray. I used a 12 x 8 inch tray, but you could easily use a couple of smaller ones and be creative with your portion sizes.

The thing I liked about the recipe is that there are not hundreds of complicated or expensive ingredients to buy. They’re all ingredients that you would have in your kitchen, with very little buying needed. If you have a food processor, the next part is easy. I realised a little late on that our hand blender at home wasn’t going to make this a simple step. But in the face of this challenge, I persevered and managed to blend the dates to within an inch of their datey life. With the dates, add the vanilla coffee essence and the bicarbonate of soda. I found adding the warm water helped with my lack of food processor as I pulverised them into a smooth puree.

Guilt Free baking

Next the butter and sugar is beaten together in a separate bowl until it’s light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time so as not to curdle your mix. Once these are in, it’s time to add the date mixture. Now, this next bit is a delicate affair so please be patient with this otherwise you will end up with scrambled egg. I’ve not tried egg and toffee pudding before, maybe it’s the next thing, but I didn’t feel it was appropriate to share this with the team. Add the mixture in little by little folding gently, and finally fold in the flour.

Guit free baking 2

Now you have everything combined, add this to your tin(s) and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer or kitchen knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave this to cool in the tin for now, or if you’re particularly brave (impatient) you could take it out and leave to cool on a rack so it cools quicker.

Whilst waiting patiently for the bake to cool, you can make the sauce. It is both easy to make and delicious. Pour the condensed milk, sugar and butter into a saucepan and gently melt it together for a few minutes until it starts to turn darker brown and thickens up.

This isn’t in the directions, but I cut the bake before pouring over the sticky toffee mixture. There’s guidance for portions per recipe, which gives you an idea of your calorie intake if you stick to it. Though to be honest when you’ve made many of these recipes, calories fly out the window! I found that having pre-sliced the bake, the toffee went everywhere. In my opinion, this is a GOOD thing!


The photos are courtesy of my glamorous assistant, and partner Maria who had first choice on which square to have first. Again, the recipe doesn’t say this but we had a (small) spoon of cream on the side. I’ve had several sticky toffee puddings but this definitely went down as one of the more delicious versions. You’ll be pleased to know that this will keep for up to five days if you have an air tight container to store it in. Though to be honest if you work in an office like ours, any sweet treat won’t last more than five minutes!

350g/12oz/2 cups pitted dates
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp coffee essence
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g/2½oz butter, softened
200g/7oz/heaped ¾ cup caster sugar
4 eggs
400g/14oz/3¼ cups self-raising flour

For the sauce:
150ml/5fl oz/scant ⅔ cup light condensed milk
100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup dark soft brown sugar
50g/1¾oz butter


Gee Charman
Guilt-Free Baking
Available from Nourish in August 2015



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