October 13, 2012

I'm Back...With Chocolate Cake!!!

I must have composed my next blog post two dozen times in my head. My last post was in June and it seems like yesterday and like a lifetime ago all at once. I am not under any false pretense that my blog was an important part of anyones lives, though I know that there are a few of you out there that do read very consistently and I thank you for that. I think that I am the one that likely missed my blog posts the most. 

Too me this is a type of diary and a social and creative outlet unlike any other. I feel held to a high standard to be as honest and forthright with my blog writing as I am when I talk to myself. Maybe that is why I have not blogged in a few months. While some exciting and great things have happened, there have also been events that maybe I am not ready to put to paper keyboard. 

Maybe that is OK. Maybe I can share what I wish to share and let the rest come out naturally on its own. I have so missed this ritual and am so happy to hear the clicking of keys once again as I type this. 

One of my big motivations to return was a delightful recipe that I received many requests for. I knew that writing up the recipe on my blog and posting was the easiest way to share and so here I am. 

This past month I launched a new nutrition program from my home called Plant Strong. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and I finally decided just to go for it. The program was a great success and I was so pleased with the amount of interest and support that this program received. I limited my first group to 8 people since we would be meeting in my home and I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to really get to know each person over the course duration of 4 weeks. 

Each week I provided a nutrition lesson, Plant Strong recipes , recipe samples and a cooking demonstration. I think I can speak for the group when I say that we had a fantastic time and we all learned so much from each other. For the final week, I asked to group to bring their own Plant Strong dish and recipe to share with the group. I was so blown away by the yummy foods that came into my kitchen from carrot soup to pizzas to golden flax seed bread with coconut whipped cream. 

The dish that I prepared for the group was of course a dessert..... anyone who had read my blog before knows that I have a terrible sweet tooth. The person who has read my blog before also knows that I don't just bake sweets the 'normal' way....

Chocolate Cake With a Plant Strong Secret

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
2 tbsp ground flax
1/3 cup pure cane sugar
1/4 cup sugar replacement (stevia) or more sugar
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 loosely-packed cups frozen cauliflower, thawed completely but not cooked  (Or omit and sub 1 cup canned pumpkin, if cauliflower is too weird for you. I cant wait to try the pumpkin version )
1/2 cup milk of choice. For pumpkin version, use just 1/3 cup milk 
3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease an 8×8 square or 9 inch round baking dish. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix very well. Combine all liquid ingredients and the cauliflower in a food processor and blend until super-smooth, so there are NO lumps whatsoever.
Pour wet into dry, and mix until just combined, then pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

If making a double layered cake like I did, double the ingredients and bake in two round 9in pans.

Avo-Yum Chocolate Frosting

2 avocados
1/2 cup raw agave or sweetener of choice (I LOVE making date paste)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tbs vanilla extract
a tiny pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Feel free to play with different additions.... instant coffee grounds, coconut, cinnamon, mint extract etc....

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can full fat canned coconut milk (placed in refrigerator at least overnight)
1 Tbsp sweetner of choice (agave, sugar, maple syrup or stevia work well)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Open can of coconut milk upside down. Pour liquid into a container to be saved for future culinary uses. You will be left with the “solid” coconut milk on the bottom. Scrape in a large bowl and beat on medium/high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy and soft peaks form. Add-in sweetener to taste and vanilla. 

A great recipe to get creative with- add flavors of choice such as mint, coconut, almond extract etc...

Assembling the Cake

I spread my vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream on one of the 9 in cakes and then gently placed the 2nd cake right one top. I frosted the whole cake with the Avo-Yum frosting. I placed dollops of the Whipped Cream around the top of my cake and sprinkle coconut shreds on top for a special touch.

There is a lot of work to be done on the blog..... my 'Recipe Archive' is a mess and my 'About Me' and 'Contact' is completely out of date... 

But for right this moment, lets just eat some chocolate cake.

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