Aaron Brunet has a way of having your cake and eating it too.
Last week I mentioned how we get the guys coming to yoga by tempting them with a good feed afterwards, and now I’ll tell you about our original food+yoga combo. Ani came up with a special treat called “The Boost” which adds a lovely dose of indulgence to the mix. It’s a winning recipe — a long rewarding class followed by coffee and cake with lots of laughter and the chance to enjoy time together.
It’s a real hit, particularly with the girls, and has become a much-loved institution. I describe the cake in detail just before we start (to lots of oohs and aahs) then the smells of baking wafting through the air during the class make it an extra-luxurious experience. My recipes this week are two recent favourites, both on the feelgood end of the spectrum.
The beetroot and black bean brownie is full of goodies and goes down really well, served warm from the oven so it’s soft and gooey inside. The lusciously layered pear and chia slice is my new obsession (it’s a "padlock the fridge or I’ll eat the lot’' kind of thing). Only "problem’' is it’s raw — there’s no smell of baking cake. My nicely sneaky solution does the trick: I warm some leftover cake crumbs in the oven during the class. A genuine case of having your raw cake and smelling it.
Lusciously layered pear and chia slice
Three layers of raw goodness with a super-indulgent taste. The base uses almonds and dates to make a chewy, tasty foundation which balances with the lighter fruity filling. The coconut cream ganache topping is utterly luscious and turns this slice into a real treat that puts less-healthy versions to shame. Allow yourself time for this to chill in the fridge before serving so it can firm up a little.
Chewy almond base
¾ cup raw almonds
1 cup dates, chopped in halves
¼ cup raisins
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tbsp cocoa
¼ tsp finely ground salt
Chia mousse filling
2 sweet ripe pears, grated (about 3 cups)
¼ cup chia seeds
Juice of 1 orange
1 cup dried coconut
½ cup dates (75g), chopped in halves
½ cup almond meal
¼ cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Coconut ganache topping
125g dark chocolate (50% cent cocoa solids)
⅓ cup thick coconut cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
⅛ tsp finely ground salt
- Line the base of a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
- To make the chewy base, place all ingredients in a food processor and run until the mixture starts to clump together in a big ball, about 1-2 minutes. Spread over the bottom of your lined cake tin and press firmly until completely flat and even. Chill in fridge while you make the filling.
- For the chia mousse filling, place the grated pears, orange juice and chia seeds in a food processor and pulse until well chopped and combined. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until dates are well broken up. Spread the filling over the chilled base and return to fridge while you make the topping.
- To make the coconut ganache topping, place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl resting over a pot of simmering water. Sir until chocolate is melted and everything is evenly combined. Pour over chilled filling and use a spatula to spread out to a nice even layer.
- Place the slice in the fridge for an hour or two until fully chilled and set. To serve, cut neatly into square portions, wiping your knife clean as needed to avoid getting the chocolate layer messy.
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Beetroot and black bean brownie
This is a brownie for grown-ups with feel-good ingredients (gluten and dairy free). It’s rich, dark and not too sweet. I like it best served warm from the oven.
3 Tbsp chia seeds
½ cup water
300g cooked black beans (canned is fine)
¼ cup juice from the beans
150g dates, chopped
200g beetroot, finely grated
1 tsp vanilla essence
125g dark chocolate, (50% cocoa solids)
½ cup canola oil
½ cup rice flour
½ cup dark cane sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp runny honey
½ cup coconut cream
250g (about 2 cups) frozen boysenberries
Maple syrup to serve
- Set oven to 170C fan bake.
- Place chia seeds and water in a blender and run for about 30 seconds until thickened.
- Warm the black beans, juice and dates in a pan so the dates soften, then transfer to a food processor and run until dates are fully broken up.
- Add the chia mix, beetroot and vanilla essence and process until well combined, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl resting over a pan of hot water, then stir into bean mixture. Add canola oil, rice flour, sugar, salt, cocoa and baking powder and stir well — it's gluten-free so you can't over-mix it.
- Pour into a 20 x 30cm baking dish lined with baking paper and bake for around 35- 40 minutes until just set but still soft in the middle.
- To make the boysenberry whip, first dissolve the honey in the coconut cream. Place in a food processor with the frozen berries and run for a minute or two until nicely smooth. You may need to take off the lid and press the mixture back down a few times until the blades can get hold of it and do their magic.
- Serve with maple syrup drizzled on top.