Sweet Treats

This post is part of our Easy, Waste-Busting Food and Drink Recipes resource.

This page includes recipes for:

  • Your Favourite Cake to a Winning Formula (can be V+, can be OF, can be NF, can be RSF)
  • Fruit Crumble (V+, can be OF, NF, GF, RSF)
  • Lemon Coconut Cookies
  • Mug Cakes
  • Anzac Cookies (coming soon…)

Scroll down to find the recipe you are interested in.

Your Favourite Cake to a Winning Formula (can be V+, can be OF, can be NF, can be RSF)

Orange + cardamon cake (vegan and oil-free)

We love using what we unattractively call “formula recipes”. What we mean by this are recipes that go by categories of ingredients rather than being overly prescriptive, meaning that you can mix and match based on what flavours you feel like or what you have in your pantry. This works really well for cakes. Here’s the formula we have developed. If you’ve ever come to one of our talks and eaten the cake, it will have been made with this formula:



  • 1 and 1/4 cup plain white flour (we have never tried GF and we have also not had success using wholemeal flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or coconut sugar for RSF). If you are a sweet tooth you can add more sugar. We find this to be enough.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp (or so) of your spice(s) of choice – ginger/cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves/cardamon/lavendar/chai masala etc.
  • If you are making a chocolate or carob cake: 1/3 cup of cocoa/carob.


  • 2 tblsp of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds (or a tablespoon of each) mixed with 6 tblsp of cold water
  • 1 cup of liquid of your choice. For example:
    • luke warm water
    • squeezed lemon, lime, or orange juice
    • non-dairy milk
    • the leftover soaking water from soaking dates
    • OR a combination of the above (if we are making an orange cake we often juice 1.5 oranges and then top up the rest of the cup with date juice, or non-dairy milk).
  • 1/3 cup of oil OR your choice or oil substitute. Oil substitutes can be apple sauce, mashed banana, the mush leftover in the sieve or cheesecloth after making homemade non-dairy milks, grated/mashed zucchini, pumpkin puree, nut or seed butter. You can use butter instead of oil too, if you have a zero waste source of butter.
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • Optional: 1 tblsp of syrup of your choice (golden syrup, maple syrup, apple syrup, agave, honey etc.)
  • If making a citrus cake: the finely grated peel from two of the type of citrus you are using (i.e. lemon, orange or lime <- if using lime which are usually small you may want to add lemon peel as well, to get enough peel).


  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees celcius.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the chia seeds/ground flaxseeds with the water and leave to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients until combined (you can sieve them if you want; we don’t because we are lazy…)
  4. In a pyrex bowl with a lip (if you have one) or some other small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except for the chia/flax mixture. If your liquid of choice combines more than one liquid, measure it all out in a measuring cup first.
  5. Add the chia seed/ground flaxseed mixture to the wet other ingredients and then stir well to combine.
  6. Make a well in the centre of the bowl with the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir well to combine and ensure there are no sneaky lumps of flour, but don’t overmix.
  7. Put the mixture into a cake tin.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 45-55 minutes (until a toothpick/skewer comes out clean). We do not use baking paper, it is not necessary, the cake does not stick (we don’t even grease the pan). We have found that cooking time seems to vary dramatically based on the oven. We usually start checking to see if the cake is cooked from about 40 minutes in the oven.
  9. When ready, remove the cake from the oven, leave to sit for about 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin.
  10. If you are making a citrus cake, squeeze the juice of half a lemon/orange/lime over the top of the cake while the cake is still warm. If you want, you can add a dusting of sugar/coconut sugar or a drizzle of syrup as well (not so necessary to add a sweetener for an orange cake, but is nice if it’s a lemon cake).

Here are some examples of the kinds of cakes we make with this formula recipe:

  • Orange + cardamon cake
  • Lemon + lavender cake
  • Chocolate/carob + peanut butter cake
  • Apple + ginger cake
  • Lemon + zucchini cake
  • Plum/peach + chai cake (with this particular cake, BEFORE we put the cake in the oven, we actually cut up thin slices of plums or peach and then layer them, evenly spaced, over the top of the cake mixture once it’s in the cake tin. We then sprinkle brown sugar or coconut sugar over the top before putting the cake in the oven. This allows the stone fruit to caramelise in the oven).

Fruit Crumble (V+, can be OF, NF, GF, RSF)

A blackberry and damson plum crumble

We adhere to the philosophy that fruit crumble should be neither difficult to make nor overthought – a very forgiving dessert that can be made with a great range of fruit (like whatever’s seasonal/easy to forage). It’s our go-to for potlucks or other occasions where we want something sweet, but without levels of effort much higher than cake in a mug.

For this reason, we’re very slapdash about fruit crumble, as you’ll see from this recipe. Please be emotionally prepared to change ingredient quantities around, especially with the crumble part – we never measure the crumble ingredients out, we just chuck them in a bowl and mix it with our hands until the mixture resembles our desired crumble texture. So, everything that follows uses a healthy dose of guesswork.


Fruity part

  • Roughly two cups of chopped raw fruit (or whole berries). You can mix and match, it doesn’t have to all be one kind of fruit, for example, apple and rhubarb, blackberry and plum, pear and apple etc.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (use coconut sugar for refined sugar free). Add more or less depending on how tart the fruit is and also how tart you like your crumble generally
  • 1 teaspoon or so of ground spices of your choice (we often use cinnamon and ginger)
  • 6 tablespoons of water (or sub some of the tablespoons for citrus juice if you’re fancy)
  • Optional extras:
    • Zest of orange or lemon
    • Chopped crystallised ginger or fresh grated ginger root

Crumble part

  • ½-2/3 cup of flour (we generally use plain white flour, but we have had success with rice flour for GF. We haven’t tried other kinds of flours but you could experiment!)
  • ½-2/3 cup of rolled oats (you can use buckwheat groats instead for GF)
  • 3 tablespoons, roughly, of sugar (can use coconut sugar for RSF)
  • 1 teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon and ginger
  • 3 (ish) tablespoons of some sort of oil OR for oil-free, use nut or seed butter, as needed
  • A conservative splash or two of water (as needed)
  • Optional extras
    • ½ cup of some sort of seed or nut (we use sunflower seeds)
    • ½ cup of buckwheat groats


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius if cooking straight away (note you can make this in advance and cook later – we often bring crumble to dinner parties/potluck in the pot and cook at the destination so it’s hot when ready to serve).
  2. In an oven dish, mix together all the “fruity part” ingredients.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry “crumble part” ingredients. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the oil or nut/seed butter a tablespoon at a time and mix with your hands by clumping and crumbling the mixture with your fingers (you’re not going for a ball of dough here). We basically add the oil or nut/seed butter a bit at a time until it almost reaches that perfect crumbly texture you want on the top of your cooked crumble. We then finish it off/bring it together a bit more with the water, as needed.
  4. Sprinkle/crumble the crumble on top of the fruity mixture so it is evenly spread across the whole fruit mixture.
  5. It’s now ready to cook – about 40 mins in your preheated oven. NB, you can pre-prepare and leave it uncooked until dinnertime and then just put it in the oven when you start your mains so it’s the perfect temperature by dessert time.
  6. Ready to serve pretty much immediately.

Lemon Coconut Cookies (optional – with zucchini)

This recipe is a real crowd-pleaser and a great way to use those abundant lemons (if you’re in a part of the country where citrus thrives in abundance) AND, if go for the optional extra, this recipe is also a good way of using up some of your zucchini during that time of the year when mountains of zucchini are on every community fruit and veg stand in the country 😉

NB: the recipe is largely adapted from this one, though we’ve changed a couple of things here and there (for example, this recipe uses too much sugar and oil for our tastes and the recipe also suggests the use of baking paper, which is not necessary)


For the cookie

  • 6 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • Lemon zest off the lemons that you juice for the recipe
  • 2 tablespoons of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon of flax meal (i.e. ground flaxseeds)
  • 1/3 cup of oil (we use sunflower oil) OR 1/4 cup of oil (we use sunflower) + 1/4 cup of the mush leftover in the sieve or cheesecloth after making homemade non-dairy milks OR if it’s zucchini season then use 1/4 cup of oil and 1 medium-sized finely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (you can use coconut sugar instead of refined sugar if you wish)
  • 1 cup + 3 taplespoons of plain white flour
  • 1/2 cup of threaded/desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cookie icing

  • Icing sugar (as much as you need)
  • Lemon juice (as much as you need)
  • Optional: a bit of threaded/desiccated coconut and/or a bit of lemon zest


  1. Mix together the flax meal and the cold water in a LARGE bowl and leave to sit for 10 mins or so while you get on with the next few steps
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, coconut, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the large bowl where your flax meal and water mixture is hanging out, add the oil (and homemade non-dairy milk mush, if using), sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat with a spoon until well-combined.
  4. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in the large bowl and then mix until well combined.
  5. Cover the bowl with a plate or beeswax wrap – NOT PLASTIC CLING FILM <– let’s keep this zero waste 😀 – and then pop the bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  7. After your batter has been hanging out in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, it’s good to go! Remove it from the fridge. Take a tablespoon of mixture at a time, rolling it into a ball between in your hands and then pop the ball on a baking tray (you do not need to line the tray with baking paper, trust us), press the ball down gently with the back of a fork to flatten it nicely. Repeat this until you have used up all the mixture, making sure each cookie is a couple of centimetres apart on the tray.
  8. Bake in the cookies oven for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden. Don’t overcook. Even if the cookies look like they might not be done, if they’ve been in a preheated oven for 12 minutes then they will be done – if they seem soft, don’t worry, they harden as they cool.
  9. Let the cookies sit on the tray outside the oven for a couple of minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack.
  10. Make the icing by mixing together the icing ingredients until you get the consistency you like (a bit thicker is better as it will set more readily).
  11. Once the cookies are cool, apply the icing.

Mug Cakes

Cakes in mugs are for days when you want something sweet but honestly can’t be bothered to spend more than 5 minutes on it. The recipes involve a microwave, which is probably not great for nutrient-rich resulting product, but, let’s be honest, are we really trying to achieve that with a cake in a mug? No, no we are not…

Apple Crumble in a Mug

We’ve got two recipes here for you:

  • Citrus Cake in a Mug
  • Apple Crumble in a Mug.

Scroll down to find the one you want.

Citrus cake in a mug (you choose which citrus you’d like)

Watch Hannah recite this recipe in ridiculous low-fi fashion right here.

Dry Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of grated peel/zest from the citrus of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of juice from the citrus of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

Icing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • Extra juice from the citrus of your choice


  1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a microwave-resistant mug.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients to the mug and mix everything together thoroughly (taking care to eliminate lumps).
  3. Put in microwave on high for 1 minute.
  4. While the cake is in the microwave, make the icing – mix icing sugar with citrus juice until you get the consistency you want.
  5. When the microwave bings, remove mug, drizzle icing on top of cake.
  6. DONE!

Apple Crumble in a Mug

Apple Mixture Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium sized apple – cored and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (regular, brown or coconut sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Some cinnamon powder. If you like, a dash of ginger powder (or a bit of fresh grated ginger) is also nice as well.
  • Optional: a teaspoon of syrup (golden syrup, maple syrup, honey, apple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.)

Crumble Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (regular, brown or coconut sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of oats and/or buckwheat groats or combination
  • Pinch of salt
  • Some cinnamon powder. If you like, a dash of ginger powder as well is nice too.
  • Optional: a sprinkling of nut or seed of your choice, and/or buckwheat groats


  1. Put apple mixture ingredients together in a mug, mix together and then put in microwave on high for 1 minute.
  2. While apple mixture is in the microwave, start on the crumble. Mix together the oil and sugar in a bowl. Once combined, add in the rest of the crumble ingredients, mix together well.
  3. Remove apple in mug from microwave. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top. Return mug to microwave and microwave on high for about 1.5 minutes.
  4. Remove from microwave and let cool for about a couple of minutes.
  5. DONE!


2 thoughts on “Sweet Treats”

  • Hi,
    Absolutely loved your Wanaka presentation. Been making many changes at home 🙂

    You made some delicious lemon buckwheat cookies , different from the one on your website. Was wondering if you might share the recipe?

    Thanks so much.

    • Hiya! Thanks for your kind words and great to hear you’ve been making changes. We used this recipe, but we didn’t do the making two and then putting jam in the middle thing and fairly sure we put less oil than the recipe called for, but can’t exactly remember (have only made them once for that Wanaka talk!): https://www.tashasartisanfoods.com/blog/lemon-buckwheat-linzer-cookies/

      Also, did we ice them? If so, the icing would just be a random amount of icing sugar with enough lemon juice to get it to the consistency you want – that’s it. Hope they’re successful!

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