Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Strawberry-Banana CHOCOLATE Almond-Meal Cake with Faux-Ice-Cream Frosting!

I needed to make a birthday cake recently so wanted to make a new and very yummy cake for the occasion.  So, here's what I came up with!  It is SO delicious & a REAL treat!  It reminds me of eating cake and ice cream together or like a banana split.  The frosting smells and tastes like a creamy strawberry ice cream and the cake is so rich and chocolatey with a boost of strawberry-banana.  This cake is not light and fluffy like an angelfood cake, it's more dense and rich like a flour-less chocolate cake.  That, in combination with the yummy strawberry frosting, make this a very rich and naughty-tasting treat.  It tastes MUCH naughtier than it actually is...


5 eggs
2 tbs melted butter or coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 ripe bananas
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbs apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 cups almond meal (directions for making your own here)
1/2-2/3 cup cocoa powder/carob powder mixture (your choice-- I used mostly cocoa)
1/8 tsp sea salt
stevia powder, to taste

1 cup fresh chopped strawberries

milk, to add in small amounts to add if batter is too thick

1 1/2 cup milk (I use soy or almond)
3 tbs arrowroot powder
9 tbs butter or coconut oil, soft consistency (not melted!)
2 tbs food-grade vegetable glycerin
stevia, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped strawberries (approximate equivalent: you don't need to actually chop them as you will be putting them in the blender)



Beat the eggs, whisk in the butter or coconut oil and vanilla extract.   In a separate bowl mash the bananas while heating the chocolate over low heat, paying close attention to it so it doesn't burn.  Mix the melted chocolate, baking soda and apple cider vinegar along with the bananas.  In a third bowl completely mix together the almond meal, cocoa powder/carob powder mixture, sea salt, and stevia.

Combine ingredients from all three bowls into the a large bowl and stir until mixed but don't over stir.  Add small amounts of milk if the batter is too thick.  Fold in the strawberries.

Grease two cake pans, then lay wax paper cut in a circular shape to fit on bottom of each pan (you can see I pressed the wax paper in the bottom to get an idea of the size to cut out).

Pour batter evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Warm the milk on high in a saucepan until it just starts to boil (keeping an eye on it so it does not burn).  Turn heat down to medium and slowly add the arrowroot, mixing constantly with a wire whisk.  If the arrowroot doesn't mix in smoothly, that's okay, you can get it all smoothed out when you add it to the blender with the strawberries.  In the end, though, you want to make sure it is heated with the arrowroot powder in it enough that it thickens (but doesn't burn!).  Place in the blender along with the strawberries and blend on high for about a minute.  (You might want to let it cool a bit before adding to the blender, so as to not overheat the blender).  If the mixture hasn't yet thickened, you can place it back on the stovetop at a simmer and stir until it thickens.  Once the mixture has thickened, place in the freezer to cool down while you prepare the rest...

Use an electric mixer on high to whip up the butter or coconut oil (make sure it's got a soft consistency, NOT melted, before you do this) thoroughly.  Fully cream the butter or oil, THEN add the stevia, glycerin, and vanilla extract, then mix well.

Mix in the mixture out of the freezer thoroughly with the electric beaters.  

Removing cake from pans is easy, all you to is turn them upside-down over plate and it should come out easy.  Be sure to peel off the wax paper!

Spread the frosting over the first layer.  Next, place the top layer over it.  Finally, apply the rest of the frosting to the top and sides.  Cover (without disturbing frosting) and refrigerate until ready to eat.  It should keep for approximately 5 days (unless you live with me, then it would not last that long!:)).

I found a bowl in the cabinet that fit perfectly over the top of the cake on the plate and this worked very well for refrigerating without messing up the frosting with any cling wrap, etc., or having to find a container made just for cakes:

Strawberry for garnish looks nice...

And it makes a perfect birthday cake!

It's tasty and might go quickly, so make sure you get a piece.  :)

How-To Make Almond Meal (quick and easy!)

This is what I use for breading chicken, making cakes, cookies, muffins, and even a yogurt topping!  I first bought some almond flour years ago and, when I saw how expensive it was I decided to make this "almond meal" instead.  I might not be able to grind it up as finely as the flour but it's okay, my pocket-book thanks me and, in turn, I can use a lot more of it! 

All you need is:

raw almonds
a food processor or high speed blender (you can try a regular blender but you might need to do smaller batches)

All you do is:

Process the almonds in batches of reasonable size.  I probably processed about 2 cups at-a-time in both my food processor and Vitamix blender.  Process until the pieces are as small as possible.  You want it to be as "flour" like as possible, not bigger pieces, yet be sure to stop before you get almond butter (especially with the high-speed blenders)!

In my food processor it doesn't really clump up.  But, in my blender it does start to do that (it was going to make butter if I didn't stop).  So, you can use a fork to loosen those clumps up if you need to.  I dumped all batches in a bowl.

Then, transferred to glass storage jars.  It doesn't have to be glass but, be sure to store in an airtight container in your fridge or freezer to have on hand for whenever you need it.

Just a couple ways to use it:


This real super delicious recipe for chicken nuggets.  I was super surprised the first time I made these just how fantastic they are.  The almond meal locks in the moisture while holding on to all the yummy flavors you mix with it!  The photos I have for that one don't do it justice... try it yourself and see what you think!


A REAL decadent treat, try this Super-Naughty tasting cake that isn't so naughty after all.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Simple, easy and delicious: Stevia-sweetened strawberry frozen yogurt!


1 cup milk of choice (I use soy or almond)
1 cup whole-milk yogurt (or non-dairy alternative)
1 cup strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
stevia, to taste


Combine strawberries and milk in a blender and blend on high about a minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly.   I recommend Trader Joe's Organic European Style plain WHOLE MILK yogurt, but any yogurt would do.

Add to a ice cream maker and follow the directions on the maker.  I use a Donvier Ice Cream Maker and it works real well.

If you do not have a maker you could freeze the mixture in ice cube trays, take out and allow to partially unthaw and then process in a blender.

Creamy and yummy-yum!

If you like this recipe you may also be interested in a Strawberry-Banana "Ice-Cream" Smoothie!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Healthy (yet, no less tasty!) Shamrock (Mint) Shake Recipe

I've always taken a liking to refreshing minty ice cream or shakes.  Mint Chocolate Chip, along with Cookies and Cream, were my favorite ice cream flavors.  My dad and I used to get Shamrock Shakes at McDonalds around St. Patricks Day.  Mmm... so creamy and refreshing with the yummy green mint!!  Well, since I quit eating sugar several years back I've let that sort of stuff out of my mind and have put energy into creating yummy desserts that taste as good, if not better, than the "real" ones (with sugar, flour, etc...).  Here's one that made me feel like I was in heaven when I blended it up.  It was one of the first "desserts" I discovered a few years ago.   Others have probably made similar shakes but I found out about this when I was trying to make some sort of dessert with avocado.   I found out that when you blend it up with milk it creates a VERY NICE, CREAMY AND THICK consistency.  The perfect pair with the green color was mint.  So, I tried it... and, VOILA:  Healthy (but no less yummy!) Shamrock Shake!  It's even real easy to make!


1 hass avocado
1 1/2 cups milk (I use almond, usually, but any will do)
stevia, to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 drops peppermint oil or 1 tsp peppermint extract
6 ice cubes
fresh mint-sprigs, optional (to put in shake and/or on top for garnish)

** Important note about ingredients: The amounts of each I gave are APPROXIMATIONS.  Each time I make this I have to play around the the exact right amount of each, as the size of each avocado is different.  I just included rough estimates to give you an idea.  If I blend it all up and it's not icy enough I add more ice and maybe milk if it's too thick, for example. *** 


Cut avocado in half (like pictured below) and scoop out the insides into the blender (all except the seed, of course) using a spoon.  

Add the remaining ingredients (set aside some mint sprigs for garnish, if desired) and blend on high.  If using a high speed blender with varying speeds, work your way up to high gradually to help crush the ice.  Observe consistency and give a taste to see what ingredients you may need to add more (or less of next time...) of.  Blend on high.  Consistency should be very reminiscent of a classic milk shake.  Serve in glasses of choice with the option of a straw and a mint-sprig on top!  

Check out this along with other delicious recipes at the Wellness Weekend, March 7-11!
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