Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

Leave a comment

2017-02-07-13-39-24-1

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.

2017-02-07-07-27-05-1

2017-02-07-12-33-07

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.

2017-02-07-12-35-15

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!

2017-02-07-12-38-10

2017-02-07-12-38-28

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.

2017-02-07-13-12-36

2017-02-07-13-13-16

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.

2017-02-07-13-18-29

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.

2017-02-07-13-24-08

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.

2017-02-07-13-23-12

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”.

2017-02-07-13-33-52-1

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.

2017-02-07-18-38-16

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.

2017-02-07-18-38-33-1

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.

2017-02-07-12-53-50

2017-02-07-12-54-30

 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.

2017-02-07-12-57-44

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

8 Comments

_DSC3260

Yesterday was Memorial Day.

Evidently there’s a bit of controversy about it on the internet because some people get angry when people tell each other, “Happy Memorial Day!” I guess some people don’t feel it’s appropriate to express happiness for their freedom.

I for one AM happy to remember all of the brave people who fought for my freedom. It IS a happy day. Because without them, and their willingness to fight for what they believed in and for the freedom of people who can’t fight or don’t fight, our lives would look entirely different. I know people miss their loved ones who gave their lives, that’s understood. So while we mourn for those relationships lost, we can still celebrate their bravery and character.

2016-05-30 13.13.50-1

My mother’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident when my grandma was pregnant with her. Prior to that, he was a POW. He was missing for quite some time. Little did anyone know that he would come home only to be killed in a hit and run accident. Little did anyone know that her future second husband would be part of the first group into that POW camp to rescue him.

My mother and I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know her father of course, but the man who freed him ended up being a wonderful father to my mother and her brothers and the  best grandpa I could have ever hoped for. He loved me dearly. He taught me how to ride a bike and he let me dig around in his tools in the garage. He took care of me when he fed me too many tacos and I threw up all night long. I got to sit in a rocker on the porch with him and take sips of salted beer during long, hot, summers. He let me ask questions. He was patient with me and always happy to see me. Their house was my favorite place to be in the entire world. I took afternoon naps on the couch with him and Punkin, their weiner dog. I got up when it was still dark to eat smiley face chocolate chip pancakes and bacon with him before he left for work in the mornings.

The best part about my grandpa was his character. I’ve never met anyone who rivaled it. He wasn’t perfect, they swore like truckers in the garage when he and his friends worked on cars together, sometimes he was a little prejudice. He was born in a different time and a different world.  He was real and not afraid to show he cared or to show he was angry or to say he was sorry. He loved “his girls” and I never once doubted it even when he got so ill with leukemia and it tried even his nerves of steel and made him grumpy.

He taught me what love looks like. True, imperfect, love. He and my grandma were a wonderful team. They worked together like a well oiled machine. Smooth and humming along. All parts working together to keep it whole. He worshiped her. He willingly and lovingly raised her three children alongside her and believe me, it wasn’t an easy task.  He was the backbone of our family. This man who rescued my mother’s father from torture and certain death. Amazing! I wish everyone in the world could have the opportunity to have a man in their life like that. What a different world it would be.

Without the bravery of my grandpa, my mother’s father likely would not have made it out of that POW camp alive, he was in very bad shape. I remember my grandma saying that when he finally came home he could only stomach ice cream. No one was allowed to touch him to wake him or to startle him. He needed lots of healing.

Imagine if none of that had ever happened? My mother wouldn’t even exist and neither would I. That series of seemingly terrible yet brave events, created an entire life for us.

I love how God always  has all the details worked out.

_DSC3253

So when I say, “Happy Memorial Day!” I mean it in the best of ways. And I am consistently reminded when I take the time to pay attention, that everything happens for good reason whether we understand it or whether it hurts initially.

We spent the early morning washing windows and tending to a few chores. The afternoon was spent on the patio in the sunlight and fabulous weather enjoying a lovely lunch of assorted goat cheeses, hummus, a cucumber and tomato salad with avocado, and two varieties of gluten free crackers. We found a new flat bread cracker that was delicious!

When I think about the abundance of that, I’m reminded of the story my grandma told me about how my mother’s father had made friends with a guard in that POW camp. The guard would bring him bits of bread and food and tell him when they were doing inspections so he could hide whatever he needed to hide. My grandpa and his fellow soldiers were always working on a plan of escape. That guard was also the reason my grandma finally found out through the grapevine on the radio and through letters from people all over the country, that my grandpa was no longer missing in action.  That guard relayed notes to someone who spread the news…wouldn’t it be fantastic to figure out who that was?

They survived on bits of bread and tiny scraps….a sharp contrast to the abundance we have. We have that because of the people who fought for our freedom. Imagine if we weren’t happy about that? Celebrating it? Then what on earth was it all for?

_DSC3258

We finished the day with a steak dinner and delicious dessert. Because in my family, food and gathering together and celebrations, always went hand in hand. My grandpa would have wanted us to celebrate the bravery of others. To remember and be respectful but not mourn to the point that we can’t celebrate the opportunities and doors opened that their bravery provided us.

This chocolate cake is AMAZING. Versatile for cupcakes, snack cakes, birthday cakes, trifles, or whatever you like. It’s incredible moist and delicate but holds together very well and is wonderfully flavorful without being overly sweet.

For The Strawberries:

Stem and slice 2 cups of fresh organic strawberries. Sprinkle with 2-3 generous Tablespoons of coconut sugar and set aside stirring occasionally for a few hours. You can also do it the night before and refrigerate them.

For The Coconut Whipped Cream

Pour 2 cups of chilled (overnight) 100% coconut milk  into a stand mixer and attach the whisk. Whisk on high (you may need to cover your mixer with a hand towel) until it thickens to medium peak. Add 2-3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and 3-4 Tablespoons of powdered sugar. (You can also use powdered coconut sugar…but your whipped cream will be a tan color. Or, you could add a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder and do chocolate whipped cream.) Continue whisking on high about 2-3 additional minutes until thickened and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Sometimes it will separate just a bit at the bottom after being refrigerated but it doesn’t ruin the consistency or taste of the whipped cream. Just pour it off!

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

*This recipe is grain free and dairy free. It will make two 8×8 square pans or two 8 inch cake pans, or 24 cupcakes. For this recipe I did the 8×8 pans and stuck one in the freezer for later use. One 8×8 pan yields 9 servings.

*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats

Preheat oven to 350° line two 8×8 inch square pans with parchment and spray with coconut oil. 

1 Cup of Organic Coconut Flour

3/4 Cup of Organic 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 Organic Eggs

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

2 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk (set 1/2 cup aside)

1 Tablespoon of Decaf Instant Coffee

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

Add the dry ingredients to a stand mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the coffee to the coconut milk and stir to dissolve. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, and 1 Cup of the coconut coffee milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk  and mix on medium just until combined.

Bake for 25-27  minutes. Cool completely before serving.

_DSC3260

Firemen & a Fabulous Dessert

9 Comments

We had a visit from the fire department on Tuesday morning.

_DSC8587

Our fire alarms started and the automated system was saying, “fire, fire, fire”. We searched and searched and couldn’t figure out where this supposed fire was burning. After 25 minutes, some very freaked out dogs, and no sign of fire…the alarms were still blaring. Fearful that there was an electrical fire within a wall somewhere in the house I made a call to the fire department after calling the construction supervisor of our neighborhood to see if he had any ideas.

Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Base with Coconut Milk & Maple Syrup

Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Base with Coconut Milk & Maple Syrup

_DSC8517

The fire department of course told me to call 911. Which I felt uncomfortable doing because there wasn’t a fire, but did it anyway. Meanwhile, the construction supervisor showed up and began removing all of the alarms one by one. In every single room and hallway.

_DSC8520

The noise was deafening. I’ve never heard fire alarms blare so loudly.

_DSC8521

We’ll certainly never sleep through them if we have a fire in the middle of the night. In fact, the people in the town next to us won’t either. Dogs were moved to the garage where there aren’t any fire alarms. (I made a mental note of that fact.)  Abigail rested quietly on her dog bed in Tony’s “man cave” area of the garage while Romeo hid behind the truck, shaking like it was the end of the world.

The Beginnings of a Honey & Coconut Milk Caramel Sauce

The Beginnings of a Honey & Coconut Milk Caramel Sauce

So the fireman arrived. Extremely friendly and very good looking as all firemen are. Of course we had just returned from walking the dogs and I was dressed in exercise clothing, sweaty, and didn’t have a stitch of makeup on. They searched high and low and used some fancy equipment to test for hot spots in the walls, smoke, and any sign of gas leakage.

Nothing.

A Low Boiling For 7 Minutes.

A Low Boiling For 7 Minutes.

The construction superintendent assured us his electrician would be here at 1:00 PM and then he exited the house as quickly as he came to probably try to recover what was left of his hearing.

_DSC8532

The firemen assured us there wasn’t anything fishy going on. And then they were off to battle real emergencies. We were left wondering if our system really works, and pondering questions like, “how safe are we really?”

  But at least it was quiet again.

Sitting Out At Room Temperature Until Cooled.

Sitting Out At Room Temperature Until Cooled.

Well, 1:00 PM rolled around, then 2:00, then 3:30, then 4:30. I’m sensing a pattern in this neighborhood with the “construction” people and their inability to look at their watches. So I called the construction superintendent and left him a voicemail to let him know that his electrician never showed up.

After A Night of Refrigeration. Glorious!!

After A Night of Refrigeration. Glorious!!

He returned my call to let me know he had sent a text to my husband two and half hours earlier to let him know it would need to be rescheduled to Wednesday morning. My husband was upstairs in his office. Of course he didn’t let me know about the text until 2 1/2 hours later…right after I called the construction superintendent in my mother voice. I wondered quietly to myself how they get through life with such a glaring lack of communication skills.

I Really Wanted Fluted Edges So Baked The Cake In A Tart Pan. The Half Full One Will Be Saved For Non-Guests Only and Late Night Snacks.

I Really Wanted Fluted Edges So Baked The Cake In A Tart Pan. The Half Full One Will Be Saved For Non-Guests Only and Late Night Snacks.

So along comes Wednesday, which was my 46th birthday and the reason for the fabulous dessert. The electrician showed up in the morning, late of course, but he did show up. And as I had guessed, after checking all of the alarms and the electrical, had absolutely no clue as to why they went off the day before.

_DSC8550

Then he actually asked me for the fire alarm manual. Which he then read out loud to us along with 1,000 meanings as to why they flash a red light every 30 seconds, randomly, or continually and when the green light is going to be on and why, and how to reset them….and on and on and on.

_DSC8552

At that point I had checked out. I had enough of late people and no answers and was annoyed quite frankly by the very presence of multiple men who don’t know what they are doing.

A Taste Test of The Half Full Cake.

A Taste Test of The Half Full Cake.

So as I stood there in physical form, my brain had checked out and instead of listening to a grown man read me instructions that I could easily read myself, I sent thank you notes on Facebook to people who were wishing me a happy birthday. Smart phones and Facebook…the all natural relaxation remedy. Amen.

I Placed The Cake in A Cake Dish To Steam To Assure It Would Remain Moist.

After cooling for 15 minutes, I Placed The Cake in A Cake Dish To Steam To Assure It Would Remain Moist.

_DSC8556

 So the electrician left and we had no answers as usual.

_DSC8574

We moved on to enjoy a very pleasant birthday lunch with my mother in law and our son. I made simple chicken and vegetable kabobs and a coleslaw salad. We finished with a flourless cake, coconut milk ice cream, and an impressive dairy free caramel sauce made with organic raw honey.

_DSC8563

Romeo had been ill all day (intestinally) and we figured it was from the stress of the alarms the prior day, considering flies and bees will send him running for cover. But by afternoon, it hadn’t stopped. And then vomiting and panting began. At 5 minutes to 5:00 I called the vet to see what to do. They were closing in 5 minutes and said we needed to take him to the emergency vet on the other side of town because the combination of diarrhea, vomiting, and panting is serious business. So off Brandon and I went. Tony had to submit some paperwork for something or other to someone so he didn’t accompany us.

Absolutely Fabulous Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

Absolutely Fabulous Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

The vet visit turned out fine, nothing horrible thank God… besides the bill of course. $700.00 for blood work and x-rays to make sure nothing of extreme emergency was going on. The doctor said that Romeo’s blood work was SO fantastic that he actually had never seen test results so great. They gave him an anti nausea injection, an antibiotic injection, sent us home with antibiotic pills and recommend ice chips and water for the rest of the night. They also had no answers and figured that he had “eaten or drank something on our walk the previous day that didn’t agree with him”.  After I paid that horrific bill I then felt nauseated and wondered why they didn’t send me home with a prescription included in that price, or at least a cocktail.

_DSC8583

So at 7:30 PM after being up and on my feet since 4:00 AM, I dropped the kiddo off at his house who was kind enough to come with me, even though he had been suffering from a terrible headache all day.

_DSC8585

I then hauled Romeo home, but not before sitting in front of the gate to our neighborhood trying to find the stupid code I had typed in my notes area of my phone. I finally arrived in our garage just in time to have the fact pointed out to me, that the gate opener to the neighborhood was right above my head, on the visor in the truck, all along.

Upon walking in the house I was faced with the luncheon mess that hadn’t cleaned itself up and kitchen that needed cleaning.

I cleaned the kitchen and dining room, ate leftover chicken and vegetables for a late dinner in front of my computer, and thanked all of the amazing people on my friends list who had sent me the most heart-felt, loving, birthday notes that made me cry.

I slathered myself in Lavender oil, and went to bed.

I prayed for rest, and thanked God that Romeo wasn’t suffering from anything serious, said my thank yous that our house was still standing and my health is still holding, and finally… that I had made it through another year.

_DSC8596

Flourless Chocolate Cake

A light and airy texture, but not as intense or moist as I would have liked. Still delicious and very good with the ice cream and caramel sauce. Next time I will experiment with more coconut oil and more chocolate.

(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cakes)

3 Tablespoons of Raw Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil

6 ounces of 70%  Dark Belgian Chocolate, chopped

6 Large Organic Eggs, yokes and whites separated

1 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar Crystals

1 teaspoon of Instant Coffee or Espresso Powder (decaf is fine!)

A Pinch of Iodized Sea Salt

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (I use convection). Line the bottoms of 2 tart pans or one 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and rub the paper and pans with coconut oil. Place the 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil and chopped chocolate in a small glass bowl over a steaming pan of hot water. Stir until combined and fully melted. 

Remove bowl from steaming pan, wipe bottom of bowl with a towel to avoid any water dripping into the chocolate. Set aside. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of coconut crystals on medium high until thick and fluffy and crystals have dissolved completely.  Add the instant coffee or espresso powder, salt, and beat until combined and coffee has dissolved. Add the vanilla and slowly drizzle the melted chocolate mixture and beat for about 1 minute until combined.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until foamy. Increase beating to high and slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar crystals in small batches. Continue beating on high until stiff peak. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture in multiple batches. I did three. Pour batter evenly in one 9 inch pan or 2 tart pans. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until middle is just set when jiggled. Cool and cover until ready to serve. I warmed ours slightly (15-20 seconds) before topping with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Coconut Milk & Pure Maple Syrup

So far, this is my favorite dairy free ice cream recipe…and I have tried several. The egg yolks make all the difference!

(Adapted from Against All Grain)

27 ounces of Full Fat Organic BPA Free Coconut Milk

3 Large Vanilla Beans, slit and scraped

1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup (Use New Hampshire or Vermont, they’re the best!)

4 Organic Egg Yolks

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

In a cold saucepan add the coconut milk, vanilla pods and scrapings, maple syrup, and egg yolks. Whisk to combine. Heat over medium low, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, about 10-15 minutes. Do not let boil.

Transfer to a large, shallow dish, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on liquid to prevent condensation and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. I always refrigerate over night. When chilled, remove the vanilla pods, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. I use the ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. LOVE it.

When it reaches a thick soft serve consistency, spoon into an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream under the lid to prevent freezer burn. 

Allow the ice cream to sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes before serving with an ice cream scoop.

Dairy Free Caramel Sauce

This  has a delicious intense honey flavor with the consistency of caramel. Wonderful!

(Adapted from Against All Grain)

1 Cup of Raw Organic Honey

3 Tablespoons of Spectrum Shortening 

1 Cup of Organic BPA Free Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/2 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

Boil the honey on medium heat in a deep saucepan. Simmer for 5-7 minutes swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the shortening, coconut milk, and salt. Return to heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure the coconut milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pan. You may need to lower heat slightly.

Pour into a glass container and allow to cool at room temperature, uncovered. Chill in refrigerator over night before serving. Will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.

*When I checked it in the morning, the honey had slightly separated at the bottom of the glass dish and the caramel sauce seemed too thick. I stirred it thoroughly with a spoon put it back in the fridge for a bit and it turned out fabulous! Hasn’t separated since.