2013 is a year that I am very happy to see the back of. It has been the most challenging, life changing and downright hideous year of my life. I have seen good people suffer, lose their jobs and have their lives turned upside down by no fault of their own. I have been part of a system that did not support the innocent and caused the downfall of an organisation. Yes; it has been that dramatic!!!
Whilst this year has been one to forget, I made a conscious decision midway through the drama to ensure that I could remember 2013 for something other than the year I lost my sanity. Not an easy task when your world is in shambles and your life is front-page fodder. So this is what I've done and how I will (try) to remember 2013.
I competed in a 5 km and 14 km obstacle course race (a grueling 3 hours!). After not being able to run around an oval in January, I ran 14kms yesterday. This year I have lost 21Kg’s (15Kg’s due to stress... the rest hard work!). I started a blog devoted to creating healthier dessert options.
I made an effort to make sure that my present didn't wreck my future; that would mean that the bullies would continue to win. Instead, I have ended 2013 a winner. I'm in the best shape of my life, I have 2 wonderful sons who I love and cherish more than anything, a supportive husband and a happy life.
This dessert, the Cherry Ripple Cake, is a bit like my 2013. It looks ugly; really hideous.
But go beyond the ugliness and you'll find a dessert worth waiting the year for. Decadent Chocolate Ripple biscuits smothered in Cherry Cream, topped with grated Chocolate and coconut. It tastes so good you'll want it be News Years Eve every day.
This dessert needs to be made at least 24 hours before serving. This allows for the biscuits to soften. The cream may take on a slight brown tinge if left exposed in the fridge; it will taste fine but sprinkling the chocolate and coconut on top will hide imperfections.
Make, devour and forget about the crap times that 2013 brought. This dessert will help you to remember the goodness that can come from overcoming the challenges that life throws. When life gives you lemons, make a Cherry Ripple Cake!
CHERRY RIPPLE CAKE
CHOCOLATE RIPPLE BISCUITS
Makes 18 biscuits
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate
1 tablespoon milk
Combine all the wet ingredients (except the milk) in a blender and mix until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and blend until combined.
Add the milk and pulse in.
Place mixture in the fridge for a minimum 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
Place heaped tablespoons of mixture on the lined tray, at least 3cm (just over 1 inch) apart (this allows for spreading)
Place tray in fridge for 15 minutes.
Bake in oven for 16-18 minutes. The biscuits will be slightly cracked on top.
Cool on tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
The biscuits will firm up as they cool.
400 grams pitted Cherries (I used frozen)
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cans Coconut Cream, can left in fridge overnight and the thick cream used; discarding the watery remains.
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Place the cherries, maple syrup, vanilla and water in a small saucepan and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
Decrease the heat to medium low and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until thick. Ensure that the pot is stirred regularly to prevent sticking or burning.
Use a masher or blender to break down cherries slightly if still chunky.
Allow mixture to cool.
In a bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment, add the thickened coconut cream and whisk on high until thick.
Add maple syrup and vanilla and whisk on high til combined.
Turn the whisk off and add the cooled cherry mixture.
Whisk on medium until combined.
Place the cream in the fridge and allow to thicken slightly before using.
Spread a small amount of Cherry Cream over a serving plate.
Spread Cherry Cream over the bottom side of 1 biscuit and top with another biscuit.
Continue spreading and stacking until you have 6 biscuits in a pile.
Place biscuit pile lengthways on the tray (so that each biscuit is in contact with the plate). The cream already on the plate will help it to stand up and stay in place.
Repeat the process 2 more times, and lay the biscuit piles next to each other on the tray.
Spread the Cherry Cream over the top and sides of the biscuit piles until the biscuits are completely covered in cream.
Cover and keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving.
Sprinkle grated chocolate (link) and coconut over the top of the desert and serving tray.
Slice and serve.