Chocolate Cake

This recipe will make 20 cup cakes or one decadent birthday cake.

This Father’s day I wanted to make my dad a dessert that would be both decadent and diabetic friendly.   I was aiming for brownies by combining some ideas from a bunch of recipes I found on line and instead I accidentally made this moist and springy chocolate cake.  I love when that happens!  To sweeten the cake I used a few tablespoons of raw honey (we usually have some left over from making Fire Cider) and then rounded out the sweetness with a small amount of stevia.  I find that using a little bit of a flavorful sweetener like wildflower honey or molasses in combination with stevia takes the bitter edge off  the plant based sweetener without adding loads of sugar to the recipe.  We ate our cake, yes, it’s also gluten free, with whipped cream from the Jersey cows at Highlawn Farm in Lee.

The last piece of cake, great even without the whipped cream!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the following dry ingredients in a separate bowl and work out any lumps of coconut flour:

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In another large bowl combine the wet ingredients, using a whisk, adding in order:

2/3 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tablespoons almond milk (or soy/dairy milk)

2 Tablespoons strong coffee and/or coffee liquor

3 Tablespoons honey plus stevia to taste- add a little at a time and taste test in between.  If you added the liquor, which is quite sweet, use only 1 Tablespoon of honey.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

6 eggs- I get huge farm eggs that are over 1/4 cup each so make sure your eggs measure at least 1 and a 1/2 cups all together.

Whisk all the wet ingredients into a smooth batter.

Add the dry ingredients to the batter in several stages, stirring well to combine in between.  The batter will be like thick brownie batter.  Bake at 350 for 22 minutes (or until just set in the center)  in a well greased 8×8 pan.  Be careful not to over bake, a knife inserted into the center should come out clean so check the cake after 20 minutes.  It should be springy, moist and really rather decadent with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and maybe some sliced ripe strawberries!

A half recipe will make 10 cupcakes, bake them at 350 for 16 minutes, until just done.

5 Star Dessert

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Cocao Nibs

One of my clients recently went to Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a chef whose day job is at a 5 star restaurant in San Francisco, lucky her!  She was worried, of course, that there would be only a few things that she would be able to eat since she is on the Candida diet.  And rightly so, it’s usually difficult to get someone who doesn’t have any idea what Candida is to understand this diet.  I recently had the pleasure of eating a meal at Eat in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  They usually serve a small, set menu based around what’s local and fresh, my kind of place!  And the set menu on Saturday night was not looking very Amy-friendly.  The chef, surprisingly, wanted to accommodate my diet and asked me, what can I eat?  We went through a list of the usual suspects and he seemed to understand.  What came out of his kitchen was absolutely delightful, lots of greens, some smoked fish, a little cheese, more fresh green herbs in an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.  I was impressed.  And so thankful that he was willing to be flexible and to listen.

I went to a restaurant with my mom yesterday for a little post holiday shopping meal.  Mom was familiar with the menu and quickly pointed out the things I could eat and probably get on the side.  And she was right!  It’s funny how something so seemingly insignificant as the minutia of what I can and can not eat means so much to me when someone else gets it, especially family.  Eating the same food, together at the same time, is so important and that’s why it’s so easy to feel lonely and left out when your diet seems drastic, mysterious and limited to those around us.  With all the holiday parties and family get togethers coming up it’s important to speak up and participate.  Bring food to share so that your friends and family can understand that your diet is full of delicious food.  Plenty of recipes to choose from here!  Ask ahead about the proposed menu and make sure that there will be plenty for you to eat that doesn’t compromise your health.  Is it really worth it to just eat what happens to be available (and end up starving) or have your health suffer for days because you ate something to be polite that you really shouldn’t eat?  Eating together is one way that we social creatures bond, so speak up and share your food, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Avocados: creamy, rich, healthy and versatile.

Back to the Thanksgiving dinner, my client had a great time because she chose to get in touch with the chef and, politely ask about his Thanksgiving menu.  The chef was very nice and had a chat with her about what she can eat.  He made plenty of friendly foods and he even made dessert!  Here’s the recipe for the rich chocolate pudding that he made.  My client loved it and, a few days later, replicated the recipe easily at home.  So we’ll call this one ‘Five Star Dessert’.  The recipe can easily be doubled.
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Stevia, to taste
A bit of heavy cream or coconut cream, to desired consistency, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup
1 ripe avocado
Optional: vanilla extract, just a dash and cocao nibs, sprinkled on top!
Procedure:
Put everything (except the stevia) and about 1/4 cup of the coconut or dairy cream into a blender and blend.  Adjust the consistency by adding more cream and/or more cocoa powder.  Add stevia, a little at a time until it’s sweet to your liking.  Top with cocao nibs and/or shredded coconut.  Share, eat and enjoy!

Date Coconut ‘Fudge’

Clearly these are not on the candida diet, they are however nutritious, raw, vegan spheres of deliciousness.  This recipe was sent to me by my friend Jess who accepted my offer to make these for her, everyone needs a taste tester!  The original recipe calls them ‘Bliss Balls’ and they are blissfully good and round but the name just seems a little over the top.  The texture of this naturally sweet snack is similar to fudge due to the dates and Dutch process cocoa powder, yum! These snacks are packed with protein from the almonds, and full of fiber from the dates, which also provide energy-fueling carbohydrates and have more potassium than bananas.

I was too busy cuddling Jess's new baby to remember to take a picture of these yummy treats! Thanks to EcoBeautyEditor for the picture.

Ingredients:

1  1/2 cups raw almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cup dates

2 tsp coconut, plus more for rolling (optional)

Enough water to make it sticky

Grind nuts in a food processor.  Add in dates, cocoa and coconut.   Blend until mixed, then slowly add in water until the mixture is sticky but stays together.  Roll into golf ball-sized balls, and cover with shredded coconut.  These remain fresh in an air-tight container for a week but I bet they’ll get eaten way before then!

It’s Chocolate, For Breakfast

This is something that I recommend to a lot of my clients who are on the Candida diet and want something other than eggs or leftover veggies for breakfast.  There are plenty of variations but this basic breakfast shake recipe packs in a lot of protein, fiber and antioxidants.  It’s easy to digest and, duh, it’s chocolate, for breakfast!

Healthy chocolate breakfast, or snack or dessert...

Basic Breakfast Shake: Ingredients

1 Cup or more Unsweetened Almond Milk or soy/dairy milk

2-3 Tablespoons Hemp Protein/Fiber Powder (basically just ground hemp seeds, they sell ‘Living Harvest’ Hemp Protein at Whole Foods and I get Nutiva brand through my co-op)

Nutiva brand ground hemp seeds, lots of fiber and protein and it's vegan too.

2 Tablespoons unsweetened Dutch cocoa or raw cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons ground raw flax seeds (the omega 3 fatty acids help with inflammation and overall health)

1-2 Tablespoons almond butter and/or coconut milk.  Don’t bother with ‘light’ coconut milk it’s just regular coconut milk with a lot of water added.  A little of the full strength variety goes a long way for flavor and satiety.

Stevia to taste for sweetness

Dash of Cinnamon and/or ground ginger (both of these combat Candida and add unexpected flavor)

Optional: ¼ Cup organic whole milk yogurt. Hawthorne Valley Farms makes great yogurt or you can use soy yogurt by Wildwood, the plain flavor tastes like plain, tart yogurt!

Add some ice if you like and blend it up! You can use stand blender or immersion blender, my favorite kitchen tool. Drink right away.

Close up of ground hemp

Gringa’s Mole Verde y Pepitas

A quick and easy version of mole with greens, onion, raw carrot and toasted pepitas

Dana came up with this recipe (I came up with the name!) when I was craving Mole sauce but the traditional recipes we had were all too far off my diet.  I made this for lunch yesterday, the most time-consuming part was stripping the kale leaves from the ribs, which can be done in advance.  The toasted pepitas and grated raw carrot add crunchy sweetness to this dish.  If you don’t remember how easy toasted pepitas are, here’s a reminder!

Ingredients and procedure for 2 servings:

Collards or kale, one big bunch, ribs removed, leaves chopped

A big bunch of lacinato kale chopped and ready for the skillet.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat saute about 1/3 cup chopped onion

and 2 cloves crushed garlic

in 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil with salt.  After a couple of minutes….

Add 1/2 teaspoon each: chile or chipolte powder, sweet smoky paprika, (smoked) black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon each cumin and coriander.  Mix to combine.

Ground smoked black peppercorns, chipolte pepper, coriander, cumin and smoky sweet paprika

Then add a heaping tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, a tablespoon tomato paste, juice from half a lemon and a little water, about  3-4 Tablespoons.

Mix well again to make the chocolatly sauce, if it’s too thick, add a little more water or oil and then…

Combining the spices, onion and garlic with cocoa powder and a tablespoon of tomato paste to make the sauce.

Add the chopped greens, salt and a bit of stevia to taste.  Cook, continuing to stir so that the greens get completely covered in mole sauce.  Cook until the greens are wilted.  Taste and adjust any seasonings.

Top individual servings with toasted pepitas and grated raw carrot.

If you want to add cooked chicken, tempeh or pulled pork you can easily make this side dish into a filling meal.  This recipe is easily doubled and wicked delicious.