Posts in Category: Baked
Oh paleo. I have a love hate with the trend that is said cave-man diet. I don’t usually go out of my way to eat, cook or bake paleo. This cupcake creation just happened to turn out best paleo style, so there.
Anyone who’s dabbled, experimented and perhaps mastered in gluten-free baking knows that it’s a whole new learning curve. Even for a seasoned baker – such as myself, it was as though I had to begin all over again. Since baking is a science, this makes sense. While I’ve discovered that my favourite gluten-free baking flour is a blend of almond, coconut, white bean and chick-pea flour – I was in a rush to make these beauties for my little girl’s 2nd birthday party and just didn’t have the time.
So. I threw caution to the wind and stopped fighting against a mental block I’ve been having for a while now. That being the amount of liquid; in particular EGGS, that one should use when baking strictly with coconut flour. I just couldn’t get over the obscene amount of eggs I was always coming up against in recipe research and development. So I bucked and have had many failed attempts at baking with coconut flour on it’s own and became a lover of blended flours. Until last weekend.
I was in a rush and didn’t have time to agonize over the thought of my daughter’s birthday cupcakes not turning out. I vowed to myself that they would be the most delicious cupcakes ever and took 1 PLUS dozen out of the fridge to set on the counter. (TIP: I always take out my eggs about 20 minutes prior to working with them in baking a recipe. Room temperature eggs just do their eggy thing better. I know, SO technical, right?)
Why am I hurting my brain in baking gluten-free? A couple of our very good friends eat g-free and now more recently, my mom has been diagnosed celiac. Plus, why not? While gluten surely isn’t the devil, baked goods loaded with white flour and tons of sugar isn’t the healthiest.
The hot pink and turquoise icing you see? SO not paleo. Chock full of whipping cream, cream cheese and a wee bit of icing sugar as it was out of my hands by then. Or else I would have been in there with maple syrup or honey because white sugar IS THE DEVIL. At any rate, coconut cream icing would be the ultimate paleo, vegan, sugar-free icing recipe (that actually tastes good), which one could typically use but I didn’t have any arrowroot. So my friend came to the rescue with her well-loved and delectably light, fluffy and mildly sweet cream cheese whipped icing.
It’s that time of year. My very favourite type of harvest. Strawberries. Pure bliss. There is no comparing fresh, in season, organic strawberries to that of the supermarket (hello GMO), variety. They are an entirely different fruit. As in, WAY BETTER tasting and WAY BETTER for you. (Me!)
I’m always experimenting with baking. To create treats with less or no sugar, (the high fructose variations at least) healthier flours and fresh ingredients – it’s all become an addiction. I love making delectable goodies, that won’t have my kids bouncing off of the walls or taking a researched and proven toll on their health.
All of this, without compromising on taste has taken lots of playing around. Maple syrup (the real kind, Aunt Jemima and other fake maple syrups are laden with corn syrup) and honey are my two new favourite sugar substitutions. Over the refined, processed kind. Honey and maple syrup obviously contain natural sugars. I’ve linked up my holy grail of sugar free substitutions before.
To make healthy baked goods that don’t taste like cardboard is a notion that receives many a snicker. It can be done. We should all stop snarking, because the evils of sugar are very real.
I’m not saying we are a sugar-free house-hold. We do make many substitutions and eat fresh, pre-fab free and local for the most part. It’s not always easy, but hella worth it. Both in taste and in the measurable health benefits aquired through making educated food choices.
However. There are nights when take-out pizza gets ordered and timbits get consumed. Just keepin’ it real over here. Doing how I do. Now for these muffins. Which we’ve been calling cupcakes around here for their moist, cake like texture, begging for sugar-free cream cheese icing. (So easy, so good)…
That chili recipe is going to have to wait till next week because PIES.
I would be the type of neener who decides to make 6 lasagnas and 4 pies in one day. Like it’s my JOB. Except it’s not. So aside from being a neener, the truth is, clearly, I love cooking and baking and kind of thrive under pressure. I know. Freak. Which is why I didn’t think much about embarking on making half of those lasagnas and half of those pies, gluten and sugar-free, with things I’ve I’ve never made before. (The pumpkin pie).
Simple enough, I mean – it is a tiered cake after all. Tiered cakes are to be respected. Straight up. One must be gentle yet stern with them all at the same time. At least that’s why I believe this sexy cake came out so magnificently. So timely. Surely, it also had something to do with setting a vibe of tranquility. (I’ve been known to bust a move all in the name of a homemade birthday cake many a time.) Having all of my ingredients ready. Researching the substitions I would make once I decided on a recipe.
Which all ends in the minor technicality that the hour in which I profess it took me to make this cake? Well that isn’t really true at all.
I love baking and cooking. I don’t count the research and experiment time. What I can tell you is that this is the perfect cake for the summer season – or any occasion really. I made it for a dear sweet, charming young man in my life, for his 17th birthday. I now plan on making it for my dear, sweet, baby girl for her birthday in one short month. Her 1st! Onwards with this cake business.
Let go of your fear, revel in the fact that your search for the perfect cake is over and you can just get to the business of creating this masterpiece. I don’t have a fancy cake cutting wire (although that would be splendid), or probably half of the tools one could use to make this even more simple and uber profesh looking. The making part is what I’m referring to. Which is fine, because I don’t profess to be a food blog. Just a momma who believes in the inherent, magical virtues of a homemade birthday cake. Bar none.
This recipe is for all the moms who believe in that magic and appreciate the community on the internets that allows us to do so more often. Recipes, tips, inspiration, stories, support. It’s why I’m here. You are here for all that and some cake, too, right?
The ultimate breakfast, (anytime) muffin. These moist and not-too-sweet morsels were created out of the usual need for me to feed the WSL healthy snacks and mix up his breakfast menu. Also, I have a friend who recently gave birth to baby no. 2. She was wishing on FB for a really good muffin, and I noted her previous posts on having to avoid dairy/sugar when nursing the newbie. So. I played. A few rounds later and I was satisfied.<!–more–>
How much healthy can one pack into baked goods you ask? Lots! And why not? If it tastes good? Ahm, isn’t a no-brainer? Of course I covet the usual sugar and butter laden treats like most – but not for everyday. Some of us have dietary concerns, allergies and nursing. Oooo, yes – newborns are finicky little miracles. I’m all about not totally restricting my diet if certain foods cause my little sweetie gas (=discomfort and CRYING). Lets have us some options! Because food and health are beautiful things. Hence these quinoa, spelt, flax, oatmeal, blueberry banana muffins. Spelt flour is delicious, nutritious and slightly nutty coupling beautifully with protein packed quinoa. You may have read some of my previous posts where I go on about how it has a lower gluten, therefore carb count, therefore fat, than in white or whole what flour. I could go on to surmise that carbs are responsible for the current crisis in overdone hispster fashion, explains why Adobe and Apple can’t make nice, and is indubitably why Harper is is just plain evil.
Alright, enough blathering and on with the recipe. This is a double whammy, so decrease the ingredients by 1/2 if you really want, but why bother? These suckers freeze beautifully.
What You’ll Need:
* 2 cups of cooked quinoa
* 2 cups of fresh organic blueberries
* 6 ripe bananas, mashed
* 4 tablespoons flax seeds
* 8 tablespoons of water
* 2/3 cup of sunflower oil
* 1/2 cup maple syrup (the real thing, no high fructose corn syrup knock offs yo)
* 1/2 cup of agave nectar
* 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 2 teaspoon vanilla
* 4 cups of spelt flour
* 2 tablespoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon cardamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups of oatmeal
How You Do:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Oil a muffin pan or use disposable muffin paper cups. You can find recycled and compostable paper cups easily nowadays. Go green. Put the flax seeds and water in a blender and shazam until crushed and gelatinous. This is actually the binding agent (along with the bananas), and replaces eggs in some vegan baked recipes. Flax is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Good for the brain and mood, and growing babies, ya. Use it anytime you would dig a nutty earthy flavor. Place in a bowl and mix in the oil, maple syrup, apple sauce, mashed bananas and vanilla.
Stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamon, salt and 1 cup of the oatmeal (save the other 1 for the topping), together in a medium bowl. Add the wet to the dry, do not over mix. Gently fold in the quinoa and the blueberries. Divide evenly among the muffin tins (I like to use an oiled ice-cream scoop), and sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal. Mayhaps some brown sugar for added crunch. I even sprinkled some flax seeds on top. Do’er up. Bake at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes cleans and muffins are lightly browned on top. Et Voila! Butter up generously (especially since there is none in the muffin!) and devour. Share.