baking/ dairy free/ gluten free/ this is life/ traditions and rituals

Orange Cloud Cupcakes

Life is busy. Honestly, probably a little too busy. And when life is a little too busy, things can start to feel crazy; just getting through the day involves such a high level of logistics. Things bounce back and forth, decision fatigue gets real and, at that point, trying to make even the simplest decision (like what to eat for dinner) seems impossible (don’t even dare ask me).

When this happens, and my brain starts to feel like scrambled eggs, I need do something simple – one thing that feels easy – then I can start to feel like I’ve got this, whatever ‘this’ is right now.

Orange Cloud Cupcakes with berries

I know it’s super hard when life gets busy (I feel it! I really do), and sometimes the tips you see about how to get life under control like time blocking your diary, batch cooking to feel prepared, or taking time for self care (!) are so far from your reality it’s absurd. Sometimes you just get stuck in the hugeness of it all before you can figure your way out. 

I try to laugh at the absurdity of it all, if I can. Looking at the day/week/month in this way (all these crazy different things going on!) helps release the pressure – it breaks it down, so you can see that what is going is actually just a bunch of random things, a crazy combo that you’re doing really well to find your way through.

Life is list of daily ingredients, and looking at it this way helps me see them for what they are, rather than everything feeling like a mashed up whole.

When life’s feeling overwhelming, I need to keep whatever I can simple. The place I start, and where I can decide to have at least some influence, is with my mind.

I start by doing something that feels easy, and it’s amazing how doing even one simple thing can help break the cycle of overwhelm and shake some of those feelings off.

When I don’t know where to begin (because I often don’t), I start by tidying one thing. Then at least one thing feels sorted, which seems to make everything feel a little more manageable again. One thing can even start a little momentum of my own, the first step towards victory that I can build on.

A quick swim or a walk listening to music or chatting with the kids about anything that isn’t what’s going on right now helps me realise the world is full of possibilities. Remember that whatever is going on, there is more than one way you can handle it – you can choose to be creative in your approach.

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So, where to start? Get up early before everyone else and enjoy a slice of that clear, quiet morning solitude to write a list, a plan, or whatever all those thoughts are down – let the paper take care of remembering them all. If you do just one thing on that list, you’re doing great. Maybe even just writing the list can be your first thing done! Cross it off – with a highlighter, or a big red line, or whatever feels good. Put your stamp on it, and put it to bed. 

Celebrate the small victories, whatever yours are, and let them give you energy. Wherever you can, keep it simple. The simple things really are the best, in good times and in bad.

Simple pleasures, quick fixes – whatever. Just let something in life be easy.

If you’re feeling muddy or a bit stuck right now, I hope you can find something simple that washes some of it off – your answer to at least one of all the things that are going on for you, right now. Know that even if it’s all muddy and sticky and overwhelming, if you take your first step then you’ll be one step closer. 

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Orange cloud cupcakes with berries to bake.

Orange Cloud Cupcakes

One simple thing that helps us feel okay again, when life is all too much, is the thought of snuggling into our beds at night, cosy and warm. We talk about how good that’s going to feel if it’s been a big day, or even talk about it first thing in the morning if the thought of the day to come is all too much. That sinking into bed feeling is something that really makes us feel okay and at home, and helps the big things seem not so big anymore.

When we really need that feeling, and can’t fix it with our cosy beds, there are a few other simple things we try to help us feel more at home, in the world and in ourselves.

A cup of tea and a book is a quick fix and, strangely enough, going grocery shopping works for me if I’m feeling all a fluster – I think it’s knowing that I have ingredients to make something good that makes my world feel alright again.

A card game with the kids or listening to a great radio station can help, as can a little simple baking.

Orange cloud cupcakes for afternoon tea, gluten free healthy treat.

I’m a huge fan of food that is simple to make – things don’t need to be complicated to be good. Flavour equals deliciousness, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to achieve. A little salt and something bright will make most things taste a whole lot better, what could be simpler than that?

A squeeze of lemon, a touch of salt, a sprinkling of spice or a dash of vinegar – whatever you are making, have a taste and give it a little more if it really needs to sing. Orange zest, bright berries, a little yoghurt tang – fresh herbs scattered on right at the end. Eggs with salt. Simple, tasty things.

Orange cloud cupcakes with berries - afternoon tea to make you feel good again

Orange Cloud Cupcakes

For that feeling you get when you sink into bed.

These are a staple for us – and give us that sinking into bed feeling, when we can’t actually sink in to bed right then and there. They are the perfect size for a snack, a lunchbox or just a little something when you really need a little something.

Filled with cannellini beans, they’re going to give you good sustaining protein energy, but they still taste very much like a treat. Low on sugar, because we’re probably crazy enough right now. Simple, because you just whizz them together in the food processor. Even if your day has been totally weird, these will turn out okay.


Adapted from Anna Jones’ recipe for Amazing Lemon Cannellini Bean Cake, these Orange Cloud Cupcakes are soft and fluffy, scented with orange and jewelled with berries. If life is feeling a bit dull, go heavier on the amount of orange zest and use a refined coconut oil to keep the coconut flavour down. If you like coconut, take yourself on a little tropical holiday and use some virgin coconut oil – trust me, either way they’re delicious!

We chose cupcake size so they’re easy to take wherever you go, for that little pick me up – if you feel like a full sized cake, bake the mixture in a 20cm round springform tin for 55 – 60 minutes. A wrapped slice in a lunchbox is a very fine thing and will no doubt bring a little cheer. We used jumbo sized muffin papers, which made 12 full sized cupcakes – or use regular sized muffin papers to make around 16.


1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
2 x 400g cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup (130g) honey
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
zest of 2 – 3 organic oranges
4 large free-range eggs
1/3 cup (65g) xylitol
100g almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
generous handful of fresh or frozen berries, raspberries are our favourite

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.

Line a muffin tray with 12 jumbo sized muffin papers.

In small saucepan melt the coconut oil and set aside to cool slightly.

Pop the drained cannellini beans, honey, vanilla and orange zest into the bowl of a food processor and process for 3 – 4 minutes or until the mixture is completely smooth and silky.

While the machine is running, add the eggs one at a time, incorporating fully before adding the next. 

Stop the processor and add in the xylitol, almond meal, baking powder and pinch of salt. Process again until smooth, then with the motor still running, drizzle in the coconut oil and keep the machine running until the mixture is completely smooth.

Using an ice cream scoop or a deep spoon, spoon the mixture into the muffin papers so the mixture comes around 3/4 way to the top of the paper. Add a few berries to the top of each muffin and pop into the oven to bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer inserted in the centre of one cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tray before turning out. 

Enjoy warm or at room temperature; the cupcakes will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen for up to a month.

Orange cloud cupcakes with berries

Orange Cloud Cupcakes

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 Cooking Time: 35 - 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 x 400g cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup (130g) honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • zest of 2 organic oranges
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 1/3 cup (65g) xylitol
  • 100g almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • generous handful of fresh or frozen berries, raspberries are our favourite

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.

2

Line a muffin tray with 12 jumbo sized muffin papers.

3

In small saucepan melt the coconut oil and set aside to cool slightly.

4

Pop the drained cannellini beans, honey, vanilla and orange zest into the bowl of a food processor and process for 3 - 4 minutes or until the mixture is completely smooth and silky.

5

While the machine is running, add the eggs one at a time, incorporating fully before adding the next.

6

Stop the processor and add in the xylitol, almond meal, baking powder and pinch of salt. Process again until smooth, then with the motor still running, drizzle in the coconut oil and keep the machine running until the mixture is completely smooth.

7

Using an ice cream scoop or a deep spoon, spoon the mixture into the muffin papers so the mixture comes around 3/4 way to the top of the paper. Add a few berries to the top of each muffin and pop into the oven to bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer inserted in the centre of one cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tray before turning out.

8

Enjoy warm or at room temperature; the cupcakes will keep well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen for up to a month.

Notes

• gluten free • dairy free • refined sugar free • makes the world feel right •

Looking for other things that are simple? Banana bread is always a great place to start. As are waffles for breakfast.