Thursday, August 28, 2014

Muddled Berry Arnold Palmer (Sugar Free)

Muddled Berry Arnold Palmers

Uh oh, it looks like we have another accidental theme week on our hands. Last week, it was chocolate, and this week is berries. I don't know where this berry infatuation came from. Maybe a subliminal swan song as summer comes to an end? Both berry-anything and Arnold Palmers are perfect summer foods. 

I don't know what kind of rock I have been living under, but the first time I ever heard of an Arnold Palmer was a couple of years ago when my coworker ordered one at lunch. It was an hour before a hugely important client meeting, so I was a little taken aback. I thought it was a(n alcoholic) cocktail. 

Turns out, it's not. But it probably would be great with some vodka or rum added. Just, you know, maybe not an hour before a huge client meeting. (The boozy version might be just the right thing to serve at your Labor Day picnic!)

Muddled Berry Arnold Palmers

It turns out that Arnold Palmers, minus the proper name, were a childhood favorite of mine that I had forgotten about, so I have been nostalgically making them at home all summer. They are great any time of the day, and if you aren't a big coffee person, are a great way to start a hot summer morning. I also highly recommend using a glass of this, including the soaked berries, in a fruit smoothie. 

Arnold Palmers are also naturally gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan, and my version below is also paleo and sugar-free. Ultimately, you can't go wrong if you have a pitcher of this in your fridge this summer!

Muddled Berry Arnold Palmers

Muddled Berry Arnold Palmer
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  • 4-5 black tea bags
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave (adjust to taste; you can substitute stevia to taste)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (see note)

Cooking instructions:
  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in the microwave or over the stove, remove from heat, add tea bags, cover, and set aside to steep and cool. 
  2. Bring 3 more cups of water to a boil and add lemon juice and honey or agave. Stir until honey is dissolved. Set aside to cool. 
  3. In a small mixing bowl, defrost the berries (do not discard the juices). Use the back of a spoon or fork to gently mash them to release more juices. 
  4. Add the berries to a pitcher, and pour the iced tea and lemonade over them. Stir to combine flavors and add more water if the flavor is too strong for you. Alternately, you can combine the iced tea and lemonade in the pitcher and then make the drinks one by one by adding the berries to each glass and pouring the drink over it. 

(1) I used honey but you can substitute liquid stevia if you wish. I don't know how many drops you will need; just add it little by little until it tastes right to you.
(2) I used a berry mixture consisting of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. You can use whatever you want and have on hand. As for fresh vs. frozen, I prefer the frozen ones because, once defrosted, they are already a little bit more broken down and have released some of their juices. But if fresh is all you have, give it a try. 
(3) Yield: 1 pitcher. Multiply as needed. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blueberry Chia Quinoa Granola

Blueberry Chia Quinoa Granola (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

The funniest thing about food trends is how dramatically they are reversed some time later. Remember in the '80s when fat was THE ENEMY and low-fat everything was THE SECRET to weight loss and longevity, or at least being able to pull off a super-high-legged leotard without making your thighs look, like, totes massive?

Oh, how the tides have turned. Most of the fashionable diets that have emerged in the last few years (like Paleo, etc) villify carbs and pile on the fats, which are heralded as THE SECRET to weight loss and longevity, or at least being able to get through your crossfit workout without totes passing out? Sidenote: I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that no matter what I ate and in what quantities, I would still almost certainly pass out if I tried crossfit. 

But superfoods are a bandwagon I can get on. It's not so much a trend - although the categorization is, I suppose - as an easy way to identify especially nutritious foods that should make up a larger portion of your diet than, sadly, fries. (Although, sweet potatoes are, according to some lists, a superfood so here is your fry loophole!) Depending on what list you look at, the exact list of most-super superfoods varies, but there are certain foods that are always on the list, including quinoa, blueberries and chia. I have also seen oats, honey and coconut oil, so basically, this granola is essential for health, not taste, no sir, not at all taste. (Good thing it also tastes delicious!)

Blueberry Chia Quinoa Granola (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Blueberry Chia Quinoa Granola

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 Tablespoons whole chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoon coconut (or other mild tasting) oil, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons honey, maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened blueberries

Cooking Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Cover a large cookie sheet with tinfoil and spray with a layer of cooking spray.
  2. n a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (oats, quinoa, chia seeds, coconut, cinnamon and salt).
  3. In a small mixing bowl, stir together coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Warm slightly by microwaving for 10-20 seconds to melt the oil and honey, making it easier to stir, if necessary.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry until everything is evenly mixed and coated.
  5. Turn granola out onto prepared cookie sheet and press together into one thick layer in the center of the sheet. Try to make the layer as even in thickness as possible to prevent some parts burning before others are cooked.
  6. Bake 10 minutes before turning the temperature down to 250 and baking an additional 30 minutes. Crack oven door an inch or two (use the handle of a wooden spoon to brace it open if necessary) for 30 minutes, which will bring the oven temperature down slowly and dry out the granola to crisp it up.
  7. Carefully peel the granola off of the pan, breaking it gently between your fingers to leave some clumps in tact. Make sure it is completely cool before serving or storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. 

(1) If you want a little more sweetness, feel free to add an additional Tablespoon of honey. If you use unsweetened blueberries, you may want to add more sweetness.
(2) You can cover your cookie sheet with a nonstick pad instead of tinfoil, but I find tinfoil is best for crisping foods in the oven.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

(Secretly Healthy) No-Bake Brownie Batter Dip

Two super-chocolatey recipes in one week? Oh well, I guess that's what stress does to you (and by you, I mean me, of course).

So, let's get one thing straight: I detest labels like lightened-up, skinny, and, yes, secretly-healthy. As you probably already figured out, I strongly object to the concept that healthy and delicious or indulgent are mutually exclusive and I don't think you need to trick people into eating healthier. So, here I am, seething at the title of this recipe as I write. But the title speaks the truth. Privately, I call this recipe chocolate hummus, but I thought that might sound really strange, and I think that if you add chocolate, it might automatically become Not Hummus. Plus, this tastes like brownie batter.

So, here we are. Forget what it's called. Let's focus on how it tastes.

If you like black bean brownies (like this recipe or this one), you'll be a fan of this too. You get the same flavor with less work, fewer ingredients and no need to turn on the oven, which is a relief, unless you're in the midwest where the highs have been in the low 70s lately (seriously? I want my money back, summer). You can compliment the healthfulness by dipping fruit in it, or embrace it but still eat it piled on some kind of cookie. Because life is all about balance.

(Secretly Healthy) No-Bake Brownie Batter Dip. It's gluten-free and vegan too!

No-Bake Brownie Batter Dip
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  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons tahini (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons unflavored oil that is liquid at room temperature (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon honey, maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice (or adjust to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or blender. A mini food processor is best, if you have one. 
  2. Puree until smooth, stopping periodically to scrape the bottom and sides. Make sure there are no chunks left. Add a splash more oil if necessary for texture. 
  3. Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately alongside cookies, sturdy fruit like apples, pretzels or other snacks, or store covered in the fridge for up to a week. 

(1) If you are not familiar with tahini, it is sesame seed paste (think of peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts) that is available at health food stores, some supermarkets, and online.

(2) Make sure that whatever oil you use has little flavor and is liquid at room temperature. That means coconut oil is, unfortunately, not going to work well in this recipe. Nor will something pungent like sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil. Try virgin olive oil, canola oil, or any other oil with a mild flavor.  


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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten-Free)

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

There is a wonderful neighborhood coffee shop across the street that sells thick slices of this chocolate zucchini bread that is to die for. It's soft and moist and it just saturates your taste buds with cocoa flavor. After being on a fairly restricted diet for more than eight months, I'm so used to it, and have learned to really enjoy foods that I never quite saw the point in before, so I rarely feel deprived. Every time I stand at the counter making friendly small talk with the manager and paying for my coffee, I am discreetly (well, probably not, but I try) eyeing the thick slabs of zucchini bread that they not-coincidentally place just beside the register, wondering if it is worth the several days of misery I would endure for those few minutes of gustatory satisfaction. 

It's not.

Those moments are some of the very, very few when I feel like I am missing out because of my dietary restrictions. So, having admitted to that, I'm not even going to pretend that I wasn't blatantly trying to copy that bread when making this one. Only, you know, with the Clean Bake twist: gluten-free, dairy-free, and lightly sweetened with honey. You know the drill.

After many tries and many generous friends, coworkers and neighbors who were willing to eat some of the less-than-perfect attempts, I can honestly say that this is as good as the one from the coffee shop.

Only, since it contains chocolate chips...better. 

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
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  • 2/3 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 large egg, or vegan egg replacement
  • 1/3 cup honey (sub maple syrup or agave if vegan)
  • 1/4 cup oil of choice, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 packed cup shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (don't forget that you can make your own)
  • 3/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 3/4 cup Special Dark or natural cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husk powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, plus an additional heaping Tablespoon for garnish

Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Grease a 9" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients (milk through vanilla) until egg is beaten and liquids are incorporated, then whisk in zucchini. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flours through salt).
  4. While mixing, pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so nothing gets left behind. 
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and use your spatula to smooth into an even layer.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, before reducing the temperature to 350 and baking for an additional 45 minutes, or until the top is crisp and a tester comes out clean. 
  8. Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing. 

Yield: 1 loaf

(1) Make sure you are using oat flour that is labeled "certified gluten free" if gluten is a concern
(2) Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies (#Paleo and #Vegan)

Things are starting to get a little overwhelming as work picks up, wedding planning reaches the dreaded few-months-out-frenzy period, and the rest of life refuses to slow down to accommodate any of this. How dare the day only contain 24 hours!? I have long talks with myself in which I convince, um, myself that I need to force things to slow down and there is a way to get back to a state of Not Constantly In A Panic, but then I lose my train of thought and just stress eat instead.

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies (#Paleo and #Vegan)

Unfortunately, the only thing that honestly doesn't have to get as much attention as it does is this blog, so that means that I am officially crying uncle. I have lined up some spectacular guest posters for you during a few of the more insane periods during the next few months, and in the meantime, there just might be some one-post weeks. Like this one. Sorry about that. 

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies (#Paleo and #Vegan)

The irony, of course, is that the only thing that calms me down more effectively than stress eating is stress baking, so I have many wonderful recipes to share with you, but not enough time to share them all. It'll all get done (it just might take longer than I would like). That's my new mantra these days. It'll all get done. 

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies (#Paleo and #Vegan)

But this recipe couldn't wait. Not only are the ingredients at their peak at this very moment, and will disappear quickly, these little mini pies are spectacular for the taste buds and for the soul. Nothing makes you feel more in control of your universe like having an entire pie all to yourself, even if it is only a few inches in diameter (and that's probably a better scenario than the wider pie'd alternative, anyway). 

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies (#Paleo and #Vegan)

These are so easy to make that they take longer to bake than to actually assemble, and they don't even have to bake very long either. They are of the single-crust variety, although, for the sake of ease, that single crust appears on the opposite end of where you would usually find it in a single crust pie. Feel free to make double the crust and press half of it into the base and up the sides of each ramekin but I didn't have the patience for that. Instead, the thick layer of top crust makes up for the lack of dough below and produces what I must declare, in my (questionably) humble opinion, as the perfect crust-to-filling ratio to take your mind off of...really whatever you're preoccupied with. It's summer. Let's stop worrying and enjoy some pie. 

Grain-Free Single-Serve Cherry Rhubarb Pies (#Paleo and #Vegan)

Individual Grain-Free Cherry Rhubarb Pies
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For the filling
  • 1 heaping packed cup fresh rhubarb (see note)
  • 1 heaping packed cup roughly chopped sour cherries (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax
  • 2 Tablespoons raw or coconut sugar + more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the crust
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons raw or coconut sugar
For Garnish
  • 1 large egg + 1 Tablespoon milk, beaten together to make an egg wash (optional)

Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all of the filling ingredients. Divide into two ramekins.
  3. In another small mixing bowl, stir together all of the crust ingredients until it forms a ball. Turn out on to a nonstick surface and press into a ball, then flatten into a disc large enough to trace or cut 2 circles the size of your ramekin out of. I used a biscuit cutter but you can just trace around the bottom of the ramekin with your knife to cut out the circles. 
  4. Place each circle on top of the pie filling, and either leave room around the edges, or, if you'd like to seal the crust to the sides of the ramekin (pot pie-style), make sure to poke some holes in the top of the crust. 
  5. Brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional raw or coconut sugar (optional) for shine and appearance.
  6. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet or other oven-proof tray. This will catch any overflowing juices and make it easier to handle the ramekins.
  7. Bake about 25 minutes or until tops are golden and fruit juice is thick, bubbly and overflowing.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes or so, then serve. 

(1) If using frozen fruit, defrost and drain before measuring
(2) If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
(3) Makes 2 personal pies.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How To: Bake Flatter Cake Layers

How to bake flatter cake layers

When you're making a layer cake, the most frustrating moment is when you have frosted the first layer and add the second only to turn around and find it... jaunty. It tips to one side, or slides backward or just otherwise makes the cake look amateurish. Luckily, baking un-domed cake layers requires just a few easy steps, which I will lay out for you, or if you just want the summary, you can scroll all the way to the bottom of this post. 

How to bake flatter cake layers

Your first option for getting flat layers is, of course, to use a bread knife to carefully slice off the domed tops and risk an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire situation in which you rid yourself of a domed cake in favor of a cake ramp, discarding a significant portion of cake in the process (and we all know that wasting cake is a cardinal sin, right?). 

Your second option, however, is to take steps to make sure that your cakes bake up with less of a dome shape to begin with. Sometimes domed pastries are desirable, like in tall fluffy muffins or quickbreads. You achieve that by quickly heating up the batter so that the air bubbles (from leavener) within it expand as much as possible. Since the outermost batter is closer to the heat source, it will set first, while the center, which is insulated by the outer batter, continues to rise. That is why many cupcake and muffin recipes suggest cranking the heat for the first 5 minutes or so of baking (which triggers as much rising as possible before the outer ring of batter sets) before turning it down to normal baking temperature (allowing the rest of the batter to cook through evenly without burning the tops). 

How to bake flatter cake layers

In order to achieve the opposite effect, you need to do the opposite. First, bake the cake at a steady low(er) temperature, rather than starting at a very high temp and adjusting back down to normal-low temp. Second, have enough, but not too much, air (leavener) in the cake. You need some, because the cake needs to rise enough to be... well, a cake, as opposed to a brick. But you want to have just enough so that it is fully activated by the time the outer batter has set, so that the center doesn't continue to rise too much. You can also take steps to mitigate the amount of heat that reaches the outermost batter in the pan, by insulating the sides of the pan. This helps the entire cake to bake and set at a more even rate, so that the sides are less likely to be set while the center continues rising. 

How to bake flatter cake layers

Tips to Bake Flatter Cake Layers:

  1. Keep an eye on the leavener in the recipe and decrease by a very small amount (I'm talking about 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon less than the recipe calls for), if you feel like the recipe can handle it. This is sort of like cake Russian Roulette, so I wouldn't suggest it in a recipe you have never tried before. 
  2. Firmly smack the bottoms of the cake pans on the counter 5-8 times before you put them in the oven. This has the dual benefits of very reliably leveling out the batter, and of forcing out any large air bubbles that might have caused excessive or uneven rising in the oven.
  3. Insulate the sides of the pan, which prevents heat from reaching the outermost batter quite as quickly, and essentially reduces the discrepancy in baking time between the edges an the core. I do this by folding a sheet of tinfoil, the length of the circumference of the pan, over itself several times to create a loop of about 5 layers of foil that helps insulate the pan. (Although I have been doing this for a long time and it has worked well enough, I recently discovered this tutorial, which calls for a moistened towel as insulation. Has anyone tried this?)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gluten-Free Vanilla Layer Cake & Vegan Cherry Rose Frosting

Gluten-Free Vanilla Layer Cake with Vegan Cherry Rose Frosting: dairy-free and NO special flours required!

If there is one thing I have learned this year, it's that food is more than the sum of its calories. It is art, and it is medicine and it brings people together. The latter is what today's recipe is all about.

I had this concept for a chickpea-based vanilla layer cake clattering around my brain ever since I made a chocolate layer cake out of black beans. Beans are a perfect alternative to expensive specialty flours for people who want to try baking without gluten, or are doing so on a budget. Sure, there are many practical benefits of this cake, and usually that's what I like to talk about here because I like information, and I think a lot of bakers, whether out of uncertainty or expertise, crave as much information as possible before deciding to make a recipe.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Layer Cake with Vegan Cherry Rose Frosting: dairy-free and NO special flours required!

But this cake isn't so much about the ease or the taste, as much as the ability for a mom to throw this together, without too many time-consuming grocery trips, to serve to her family at her 2-year-old's birthday party. I don't have kids, but plenty of my friends do, so I know how particularly special those very early birthdays are.

A reader contacted me with a request for a gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free vanilla cake for her daughter's birthday. I have never met this reader, and I have been promising myself that I will slow down a little because life has been overwhelming these last several months. But she put her daughter's birthday cake in my hands, so how could I say no?

I am so touched that she entrusted me with this important cake, and connecting with people through food is something that, if you haven't already figured it out, is very important to me. I hope this recipe made her day with her family an extra special one, and I hope everyone enjoyed it and went home with a full belly and a happy heart.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Layer Cake with Vegan Cherry Rose Frosting: dairy-free and NO special flours required!

PS: Sorry this post was in no way about the food. Sometimes the people eating the food are just as important as the recipe itself, and what's more, I thought I'd spare you another description of a vanilla cake. (It's easy to make and very tasty; moist with a tight, spongey crumb, and saturated with subtle vanilla flavor. The frosting is cool, creamy, and vegan and the whole thing is gluten-free. And no, of course you can't taste the beans.)

Gluten-Free Vanilla Layer Cake with Vegan Cherry Rose Frosting: dairy-free and NO special flours required!

Please don't be put off by the length of the recipe. It's actually a very easy cake to make in the food processor, and the frosting comes together quickly with a hand-held electric or stand mixer. Note that the frosting is best made with chilled coconut cream, so it does take a little planning ahead. See other notes at the end of the recipe for more tips. 

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake with Vegan Cherry Rose Buttercream Frosting
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For the cake
  • 1x15.5oz can of white or garbanzo beans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, vegan butter, or coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup granulated sweetener (I used Natvia brand granulated stevia), or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup oat flour (you can make your own), certified gluten-free if necessary
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground psyllium powder (optionally, but recommended for structure)

For the frosting
  • ½ of a 14-oz can of coconut cream (NOT coconut milk; available at Trader Joe’s and health food stores), chilled in the refrigerator overnight
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sweetener of choice (I used Natvia brand granulated stevia), or more/less to taste
  • Pinch salt
  • ½  cup frozen sour cherries, defrosted and drained – or equivalent berry (such as chopped strawberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon rosewater (or to taste, optional) OR 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Directions: 

Make the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray 2x6” round cake pans with nonstick spray or brush with flavorless oil or melted butter and set aside.
  2. Puree the wet ingredients (beans through honey) together in a food processor fitted with the S blade until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (sweetener through psyllium) and mix for 5-6 long pulses or until batter is smooth and no globs of flour or other dry ingredients remain.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared baking pans. Firmly smack pans on the counter 5-8 times each, to release the air bubbles. This helps encourage the cakes to rise evenly, instead of doming too much. 
  5. Bake for 23-28 minutes until a tester comes out clean or with only a few crumbs on it. If you prefer to make cupcakes, divide batter evenly between the 12 cups of a standard size cupcake pan, lightly greased or lined with cupcake papers. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean or with only a few crumbs on it.
  6. Allow the cake (or cupcakes) to cool for about 5 minutes in the pans before gently turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. If not frosting or serving immediately, store in the fridge until you are ready. 
Make the Frosting:
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip together the coconut cream, granulated sweetener and salt until fluffy. If it is not chilled (and depending on your coconut cream, even if it is chilled) it may not get as stiff as it would if you were using butter and cream, but it should be thick enough to hold its shape. Rule of thumb: If you could still drink it through a straw, it’s not ready yet!
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree the cherries (or other fruit) until they form a chunky paste. Stir in the rosewater (if using) or vanilla extract.
  3. Using a wide set rubber spatula, very gently (so as not to deflate the whipped cream) fold the cherry mixture into the sweetened whipped coconut cream.
  4. Refrigerate frosting until you are ready to assemble the cake. If your house is warm, you may want to refrigerate the first layer, topped with frosting, before adding the second layer, and then chill the whole cake before serving. 
  5. Note: This is enough frosting to “naked ice” a 6” cake. Naked icing means a thick layer of frosting between the layers, and on top of the cake, leaving the sides of the cake exposed. If you would like to frost the sides of the cake, double the frosting recipe. This frosting does not hold up quite as well as its dairy equivalent, so you may need to add ½ - 1 Tablespoon of psyllium husk powder, flax powder, or tapioca flour, which will naturally thicken the frosting enough to hold. But know that flax and tapioca may have a subtle effect on taste and appearance. 
Assemble the cake (best done immediately before serving):
  1. If your cakes are too domed, use a bread knife to carefully cut off the dome and level the cakes.
  2. Place one of your cakes on a plate or stand. This cake is so moist that you likely will not need a dollop of frosting underneath to secure it to the surface. Gently scoop half of the frosting on to the first layer of the cake and, starting in the center, wiggle it outward toward the edge of the cake layer.
  3. Once you have spread it into an even layer, top with the remaining layer of cake and repeat the frosting distribution process. Garnish with (clean) flowers, fresh cherries, sprinkles, or decorating sugar, or leave plain.
  4. It is best to assemble the cake immediately before you plan to serve it, but if you need to do it in advance, refrigerate until serving.


(1) This cake is very lightly sweetened compared to a typical vanilla cake. Don't be afraid to taste the batter (assuming you are using good quality, trustworthy eggs!) and increase granulated sweetener to taste in both the cake and the icing. Do not increase the honey in the cake, or add honey to the batter, because it has too high a moisture content.

(2) If you are using 9" round baking pans, simple double the recipe. If you are using 8" baking pans, double the recipe, but make a triple layer cake or be prepared to have a very thick double layer cake. Either way, you may have to increase the baking time.

(3) Keep the frosting cold cold cold! If you make the cake on a warm day, the frosting WILL melt off the cake!

(4) Adapted from Chocolate Layer Cake

Yield: A single 2-layer 6" cake