Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

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I keep telling people that having food allergies does not mean the end of the world. With a bit of thought and planning, there are numerous exciting options for those of us with restricted diets.

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Most newbies who find out they have food allergies or sensitivities are completely freaked out. They’re so accustomed to eating a certain way and feeding their families a certain way that they become instantly overwhelmed with even the thought of changing their eating habits let alone the habits of their picky family members.

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They cannot fathom following an allergen free diet and going from fast food and packaged foods to a whole foods, allergen free, diet. Even if it means feeling better!

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Truth be told, we all have that battle until we realize what’s at stake. If we continue eating things that don’t agree with us, the issues build and build until we’re faced with more severe illness issues like autoimmune disease, obesity, ulcers, migraines, hormone imbalances, mood disorders, sleep disorders, and more.

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One of my inadvertent jobs while working in a naturopathic clinic years ago was to talk people off the cliff after they were told what they could no longer eat.

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Like a deer in the headlights they were stunned. They didn’t know where to begin, they were worried about the time and effort it would take, didn’t think they could do it, thought they would starve, and the grumpier more feisty ones thought they’d never be able to eat anything “fun” again.

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I often reminded them that they were at the doctor’s office because their life was anything but “fun”. Most of them had severe health issues. We find comfort in repetition even if it’s not good for us. Changing the patterns of how we eat and how we treat our bodies can be very stressful at first but it goes away quickly and the pay off is HUGE.

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Once the allergens are removed and the body has a chance to begin to heal instead of spending all of its energy on battling gut issues, histamine issues, and inflammation, people are amazed because they had forgotten what GOOD feels like. We get used to a certain level of “sick” and that becomes life. When we remove the things that are holding us back and we go up to the next level and then the next and so on, to where we are eventually feeling well, then the effort to maintain an allergen free healthier lifestyle, pays off and reminds us that it is indeed worth “it”.

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I blog because I like to prove that changing your diet IS worth it, that YOU and your health are worth a little extra research and time, and also to dispel the myths that living an allergen free life is too limiting and not enjoyable.

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We eat allergen free and very well in our house. We never feel deprived! I have hundreds of recipes to choose from not only on my own food blog but from other very talented allergen free bloggers.

Don’t allow the dread of change to overcome the importance of living a lifestyle that helps you be the healthiest you can be. Take the time to invest in yourself.

You are worth it.

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Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Dairy Free Fudge Frosting

*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats

Preheat oven to 350°

1 Cup of  Coconut Flour

3/4 Cup of  Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 Cups of Coconut Sugar

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

2 teaspoons of Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

8  Eggs

1/2 Cup of Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup of Strong Brewed Decaf Coffee

1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Chopped Dairy Free Dark Chocolate

About 8-10 Oz of Smucker’s Simply Fruit Raspberry Jelly for filling

Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, coffee, and 1 Cup of the coconut milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest while you’re getting the cake pans ready (Spray and line with parchment paper). Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk and mix on medium just until combined.

Pour evenly into two 8-9 inch cake rounds, two 8×8 square baking pans, or two 12 hole cupcake pans. If you’re going to make cupcakes, be sure to spray the paper liners.

Bake for 22-28 minutes. (I use convection, conventional ovens may vary.) Cool completely in the pan before removing.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

3/4 Cup Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (You can also use homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar, but it will be a heavier, more moist, consistency)

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

3-4 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk

About 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Decaf Espresso

Pour the coconut milk in a measuring cup and add the instant espresso granules, stir to combine. Set aside and allow the espresso to dissolve.

Cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, scraping down sides once or twice. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract. Mix on lowest setting (so you don’t end up with a cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over your whole kitchen) until mixture starts to come together.

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 With the mixture on medium, SLOWLY add the coconut milk coffee mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time (keeping an eye on the consistency…not too soft!) scraping down the bowl once or twice in between. I like a thick, rich, frosting…if you want that too, you may not need all of the milk. Once the coconut milk has been added, beat on medium for 3 minutes until it expands and becomes fluffy.

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

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We’re finally getting a light dusting of snow in our neck of the woods.

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I was just lying in bed this morning praying for it.

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Not world peace, the end of hunger, an end to violence, or that my husband would stop snoring so I could get some sleep, or even that Romeo would quit passing gas on the floor next to me…but…snow.

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 It’s just so peaceful and beautiful.

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The thing I love most about the omnipotent One, is that our little prayers matter too.

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When I came downstairs at 5:30 this morning to let Romeo out, there was not only a dusting on the ground, it was still falling from the sky!

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I immediately said my thank you’s, turned on the Christmas Instrumentals on Spotify, and started to put some of the recovered ornaments back onto our 11 foot tree in the living room.

We had a tree “issue” yesterday. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be doing this and that and tackling the never ending to-do list… but never forgetting to stop by each window as I go, thankful for the snowy winter blessing.

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Makes 10

2 Cans of Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil – solid

4 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 Cup of Tapioca Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

5 teaspoons of Chai Spice Mix, + extra for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients into mixer and beat on medium until combined. About 1 minute. Spoon a generous amount of batter into muffin papers. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the cakes. Mine were in tall muffin papers, I would say about 1 1/2 times the size of a normal muffin.) Bake for 85 minutes. Do not overbake or they will end up dry without a bread pudding texture on the inside. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before frosting and serving. Best served slightly warm or at least at room temperature.

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

Frosting

About 1/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Powdered Sugar 

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

A Few Drops of Pure Almond Extract

1/2-1 Tablespoon of Non Dairy Milk, I used Hemp

Combine the butter and sugar with a fork until it forms a rough paste.

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Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and non dairy milk and whisk until smooth.

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Refrigerate and about every 15-20 minutes or so, give it a quick whisk. It will become fluffier as it chills.

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Place a generous dollop on each cake and enjoy.

Apple Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

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Nothing says Fall like apples, caramel, and pumpkin. I promised you pumpkin recipes, so I’m going to do my best to give you at least a few fantastic, dairy free and gluten-free ways to use pumpkin over the next couple of weeks.

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Are the trees changing in your neck of the woods? I have to say, it’s absolutely gorgeous here. New England does not disappoint in the Fall. We’re planning a day trip up to the lakes region this weekend and then another weekend trip to a resort in Vermont soon. I’m hoping to gather more beautiful pictures for you of what New England has to offer this time of year. But for now, it’s just apples, caramel, and pumpkin!

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Apple Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

1 Box Simply Organic Gluten Free Carrot Cake Mix

1/2 Cup of Water

2 Eggs

1 Cup Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, melted

3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

2 Medium Apples, cored and thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan with non-stick spray. Melt the butter. Pat down the brown sugar in the bottom of the cake pan and drizzle the melted butter over the top.

Core and slice the apples. Layer the apples in a fan shape around the bottom of the pan on top of the brown sugar and butter.

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Empty contents of the cake mix into a medium bowl. Add the water, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin puree. Stir gently until combined.

Slowly and carefully dollop the cake mix onto the apples so as not to rearrange them. Then gently smooth the cake mix out on top of the apples.

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Bake for about 45 minutes, until cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick tests done in the middle.

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Allow to cool about 90%. Too warm and the topping will slide off when you invert it onto a plate…too cool and the sugar will solidify and will stick to the pan taking the apples with it.

When you invert it onto a plate, have paper towels ready, just in case.

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You can serve it room temperature, cold, warm, plain, with whipped coconut cream, or with dairy free ice cream.

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Here’s a couple of photos of our “second wave” of children. New Hampshire is filled with old rail trails that are fantastic and beautiful for walking during the spring, summer, and fall.

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Sweet Miss Abigail

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And the ever playful and goofy, Romeo.

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Apple Blueberry Crumb Cake

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Apple Blueberry Crumb Cake

For the Filling:

3 Medium Apples (sweet ones are better), peels on, sliced 1/4 inch thick and then cubed

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Raw Sliced Almonds

For the Streusel:

2/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

Pinch of Kosher Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (Cinnamon would work fine too)

3/4 Cup Artisan Blend Flour Mix

1/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

For The Cake:

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar

1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

3 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Plain Goat’s or Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, or Almond Milk Yogurt

1 1/4 Cups Almond Milk

3 3/4 Cups Artisan Blend Flour Mix

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

Wash and dry apples. Core and slice, then cube into a medium bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the apples and stir. Add the cinnamon and sugar and stir, fold in blueberries, set aside.

For the streusel measure the sugar, salt, flour, and pie spice into a medium bowl, stir to combine. Add butter and crumble through with fingers until the mixture has pieces a little large than pea size. Set aside.

For the cake, cream together the butter, salt, baking powder, and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl. Add the vanilla and then begin adding the eggs and mixing until blended one at a time. Scrape down bowl. Add yogurt. Incorporate on low. Measure out flour into a bowl. Measure out milk into a cup. With the mixer on low gradually add 1/3 of the flour until incorporated, then add 1/3 of the milk until incorporated. Continue until all of the milk and flour have been added. Scrape down bowl. Mix on low for about 20 seconds.

Pour half of the cake mixture into the pan. Smooth with a spatula. Stir the apple mixture and with your hands, lightly place the apples and blueberries on top of the cake batter.

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Pour the remaining cake batter on top of the apple mixture. Smooth carefully with a spatula.

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Sprinkle the streusel over the top as evenly as possible. (Forgot to take a picture on the counter, so now you get to see my dirty oven too.)

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Place in a preheated oven and begin checking with a wooden skewer or knife in the middle at about the 55 minute mark. The oven in this house is old and doesn’t hold the temperature well…I had to bake mine for 75 minutes. Once I checked at the 55 mark, I then went in 10 minute increments. You don’t want to burn the streusel or make the cake tough.

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Chocolate Buttercream Cake with Boysenberry & Rum Filling

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This cake was incredibly moist, delicious and very rich! I fed 10 people with it, sent two generous slices home with my mom, and my husband and I ate leftovers for two nights.

It’s incredibly easy and I hope that the next several people who are gluten-free and dairy-free that frequent my blog will pass this recipe on to the next person who complains about “how hard it is to live the gluten-free and dairy-free life”. Honestly, I hear it so often that I don’t even argue with people anymore. I just nod and say, “Yes, it’s definitely a transition at first, but it’s completely do-able if you’re up to doing a little research.” And then I write down my blog for them and hope that they at least have the sense to look up someone’s gluten free blog, even it it’s not mine!

Seriously folks, I don’t suffer one bit. My expanding waistline over the past year (since I started this blog!) is clearly proof that you can live without dairy and gluten and actually enjoy it. Maybe a little too much in my case.

*I made this cake and frosted it one day ahead. Store in a cool place. My fridge was full with Super Bowl food so I stored it in our garage on a shelf. If it’s extremely cold or damp where you are I would stick to the fridge or maybe a cool basement. Then, bring it to room temperature when you’re ready to serve it.

Chocolate Buttercream Cake with Boysenberry & Rum Filling

3 Boxes of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 1/2 Cups Dairy Free Butter ( I use Earth Balance Soy Free in the tub)

9 Eggs, room temperature

3 Cups Water

1 Jar Trader Joe’s Boysenberry Preserves

About 1 1/2 Tablespoons or so of Dark Rum

( 3 cake pans, buttered)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for conventional, 325 degrees for convection.

Place butter in mixer bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating on medium low until fully incorporated, scraping down sides frequently. Turn off mixer and add the three bags of cake mix. With the mixer on low, slowly add the water. Mix on medium for 1 minute, scraping down sides twice. Then, mix on medium for 2-3 minutes until the batter is thicker and ingredients are fully incorporated.

Evenly (I use a measuring cup) distribute the cake batter into the three cake pans. Set timer for 35 minutes and check cakes, if not done, continue baking in 3 minute intervals. Do not over bake them. Nothing is more disappointing that taking a bite of a lovely cake just to find it’s dry and flavorless. I don’t stick something in mine to check them, I simply touch the tops and if they don’t jiggle and do feel moist and spongy, they are done.

Cool the cake in their pans on raised cooling racks until they are 100% cool.

In a cereal sized bowl, add the preserves and the rum, stir to combine. You can add more or less rum. You want it to remain a spreading consistency though, so not too much! Plus, the rum is meant to compliment the Boysenberries not overpower them.

Place the first layer on the cake plate upside down. Cut a thin layer off of the entire top of the cake with a long serrated knife. Spread 1/2 of the preserve mixture over the cake. Remove the second layer and remove a thin layer of the top of that cake. Place the side that you removed the layer from face down on top of the preserves. Remove a thin layer off of the top of that piece and spread with the remaining preserve mixture.

Remove the third layer of cake from its pan and slice a thin layer off of the bottom of the cake, lay it bottom down onto the second layer of the cake. If the top is uneven you can also shave a little off to even it out. Don’t worry if the cake has a couple of flaws, all flaws can be hidden by the delicious frosting!

Set aside.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 Cup Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

4 Tablespoons Dairy Free Creamer

About 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Coffee Granules

Pour the creamer in a measuring cup and add the instant coffee granules, stir to combine. Set aside and allow the coffee granules dissolve.

Cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, scraping down sides once or twice. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract. Mix on lowest setting (so you don’t end up with a cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over your whole kitchen) until mixture starts to come together.

Stir the cream mixture to make sure the coffee granules are dissolved. With the mixture on medium, slowly add the cream, 1 Tablespoon at a time, scraping down the bowl once or twice in between. Once all of the cream has been added, beat on medium for 3 minutes.

Using a frosting spatula and a small amount of frosting, cover the cake with a crumb coat.

Do a second thicker (but not too thick!) layer of frosting and smooth it out. Fill a piping bag with a star tip.

Pipe (however you like) around the bottom of the cake and the top. I have zero cake decorating experience so I always choose something easy that I know I can get away with without making it look too crazy.