Our family consists of a bunch of chocolate lovers. We are such fans of chocolate that my husband has said that dessert isn’t dessert unless it has chocolate in it. And, he wasn’t joking! 🙂
We don’t make cake very often. However, when we do, it is chocolate. We make carrot cake on occasion. That gets a pass because it has traditionally been a favorite of ours. But, that’s definitely the exception to the chocolate rule. Up until now, it has been the only exception. That has changed.
We had some friends over for dinner last week. When I asked them beforehand if there was anything they didn’t eat, I got a one-word answer, “chocolate.” What? WHO does not eat chocolate? Well, it’s just my friend’s husband. But, nevertheless, no chocolate for dessert. So much for ALL my go-to desserts. I had made carrot cake for them recently. So, I didn’t want to repeat that again. It was time to look for a different kind of dessert recipe. Keep in mind, we like for our desserts to be relatively healthy and as gluten and/or grain-free as possible. So, this was a bit of a challenge. A fun one, though, I have to admit 🙂
In my search, I found a recipe that looked amazing. I usually don’t like to make something for guests unless we have tested it. But, I felt confident that this one would work. And, boy, did it work!
I highly recommend this if you like easy, healthy and delicious cake!
For the cake:
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl combine the eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup or honey, and vanilla. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt and continue to blend. Once this is smooth, stir in the shredded coconut. Grease two 9 inch cake pans with coconut oil and divide the batter between both pans. I like to add parchment paper to the bottom of the pan to make for easy removal, but it’s not necessary. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from pans and frosting them.
For the frosting:
16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
I actually only used 8oz of cream cheese simply because that’s all I had on hand and it worked just fine. (See photos). Let the cream cheese soften to room temperature. Using a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla and blend until smooth. Stir in the shredded coconut. You can spread this on the cake right away or refrigerate it for later.
It’s our new favorite!!! Enjoy!
What’s your favorite healthy indulgence?
We’ve been thinking about trying the gluten free route for the health of my son. And right now gluten free diets seem to be very popular. Everywhere you go you see gluten free options for restaurants, bakeries and all over the store. However, these specialty items can tend to be expensive too just like any other specialty food. For people who truly have gluten allergies or celiac disease, this can be frustrating to live within a budget and still eat some of your favorite foods.
Here are some of our Thrifty Diva tips for eating gluten free while saving some money.
1. Buy your awesome already gluten free stuff on sale. There are tons of gluten free options that are always naturally gluten free and we all enjoy them. So when you see beans, rice, canned tomatoes, quinoa and gluten-free pasta on sale, buy up!
2. Eat more potatoes! Seriously it’s the ultimate comfort food and there isn’t a lick of gluten in them. They are also VERY cheap to buy and you can literally make thousands of things with them. And don’t forget sweet potatoes, they are like dessert!
3. Stay away from gluten free breads, wraps, etc. Anything that’s specifically engineered to be gluten free is going to be expensive. Unless you catch it on sale, just try to live without it. Even mixes to make your own are expensive.
4. Make your own broth. Do this anyway to save money, but especially if you need a gluten free version. It’s so easy to make broths. All you need is some celery and onions along with whatever meet/bone you are cooking and let it cook on low for a couple of hours. It makes a highly nutritious and cheap broth! It can be frozen VERY easily and brought out whenever you need it 🙂
5. Watch for coupons. Because of the rise in popularity for gluten free items, there have been a lot of coupons lately for those items. You can definitely clip coupons for gluten free items!
Did I mention that this is a delicious cake recipe? I know people who assume that if a recipe is delicious, it cannot be healthy; and, if it is healthy, it surely can’t be delicious! It’s just not true. My husband and I LOVE carrot cake. And, since we have been working on cutting out gluten where we can, I have wanted to find a good recipe for carrot cake I can feel good about my family eating. I think I just hit the jackpot!
I tried the recipe for Father’s Day and my husband and the children devoured it. Yes, I did have some too! But, I felt like it could be improved a bit. So, I made some slight adjustments and made it again this week. I can now say that I, too, love it! If you get as much of a kick making healthy food as healthy and as yummy as possible, you will love this recipe. Give it a try!
Paleo Carrot Cake w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 50 mins
- For the Cake:
- ½ c Coconut Flour
- ½ c Almond Meal
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ c honey
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 4 Eggs
- ¾ c Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 4 Large Carrots, grated
- 3/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
For the Frosting:
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- ¼ c Maple Syrup
- 3 Tbsp Full Fat Coconut Milk
- Note: I used this recipe to make two 8-inch cakes so that I could layer it, as seen in the photo above. Double the recipe for additional layers.
- Whisk all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients (except the cream cheese, extra syrup, and coconut milk for the frosting) and beat on low with an electric mixer until everything is well combined.
- Pour into a greased and parchment-lines baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely and frost with the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
- To make the frosting, bring the cream cheese to room temperature and beat well with the maple syrup and coconut milk.
What’s your favorite healthy indulgence?
Have you gone gluten-free? We did due to health reasons and it’s been a wonderful change for our family!
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If you are like me, you look for the best deals on what you would already buy (or really want to buy). I always want to buy all-natural or organic but can’t always do it. As such, I’m always looking for the best deals and ways to get the best deals on organic items, produce, meats, baking ingredients, etc… Here are some of this week’s best Natural and Organic deals. Happy–and healthy–shopping!
Abe’s Market is offering $10 off any order to new sign-ups through 4/30! Shipping is free on orders over $49 or flat rate of $3.99 for smaller orders.
Pastariso Instant Brown Rice, Mac and Cheese Meal Cup, 2-Ounce (Pack of 6), $8.49 shipped with subscribe & save. That’s $1.42 a cup, and it’s gluten-free!
Jovial Fig Fruit Filled Gluten-Free Organic Cookies, 7-Ounce (Pack of 5), $14.14 shipped with subscribe & save.
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6), $18.24 shipped with subscribe & save.
Kay’s Naturals Protein Chips, Crispy Parmesan, 1.2-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12), $7.91 shipped with subscribe & save. These are gluten free and made with soy protein.
SunButter Creamy Sunflower Seed Spread, 16-Ounce Plastic Jars (Pack of 6), $21.76 shipped with subscribe & save.
Get a TWO-year subscription to Eating Well for just $7.
My best organic or natural deals are at my local grocery store. However, I have found myself buying more gluten-free items (brown rice flour, tapioca flour, etc) at Amazon lately because my local store simply can’t compete with those prices! What are your best all natural or organic deals?
Recently, we realized that my husband may have a sensitivity to gluten. So, we have begun the process of removing gluten from our diet. And, if you haven’t done it, you may not realize that gluten is EVERYWHERE! However, there are a few things that, at this early stage, are carrying us through the bread-less, pasta-less lifestyle in a thrifty manner. Just to clarify, we can have bread and pasta that is gluten free. It’s just that it costs an arm and a leg. And, we haven’t yet begun to make our own gluten free bread (oh, that’s coming soon, though).
That said, my husband wanted spaghetti a few nights ago. Usually easy prep for me. However, I didn’t want to go to the grocery store and pledge next month’s income for 8 oz of pasta (okay, okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit!). In any case, I wondered what it might be like to make something Italian using the potatoes in my pantry. I looked online and realized that I was not the only one to have had that very same thought! Potato lasagna was an option, using potatoes instead of pasta!
I made a very simple–but very yummy–lasagna using potato slices (that I’d boiled until they were tender beforehand) in place of the pasta. I didn’t have ricotta. So, I just used what I did have.
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of spinach
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 jar of pasta sauce
1 cup of shredded mozarella cheese
4-5 potatoes (which I boiled for a few minutes before slicing)
1. Brown ground beef and add onion, garlic, parsley, spinach, additional seasonings and jar of sauce. Simmer.
2. Thinly slice potatoes and layer them into a 9×13 greased pan. Lightly salt and pepper potatoes.
3. Top potatoes with 1/3 of the sauce mixture and then with 1/3 of the cheese.
4. Repeat the layering of potatoes, sauce and cheese. Then, top this layer with remaining sauce and remaining cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it begins to bubble.
Of course, you can transform almost any lasagna recipe inexpensively into a gluten free one by substituting potatoes for the pasta. But, you can also have a tasty dish by just using what you have (even without ricotta and eggs, etc). Keep in mind that you don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy this tasty variation on traditional lasagna! Enjoy!