Delicious Grain-Free Carrot Cake

There is no better way to celebrate Spring than with a light, fresh Carrot Cake! 

This dessert always makes an appearance at my family’s Easter celebration in one form or another…cupcakes, mini-bundt cakes, 6-layered round cake and this year…a sheet cake.  No matter what size or shape it takes it never disappoints!!!

I am really into sheet cakes right now…no particular reason why, but they are functional, casual and great for serving a crowd.  I also love bar recipes for the exact same reasons.  This cake recipe works for both but I do prefer the different frosting variations since the whipped frosting is a bit thinner and seems to drizzle better over the individual bars which are a little thicker than the sheet cake.

Carrot Cake Bars

Carrot Cake Bars or Sheet Cake

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ Tbsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
1 ½ cups carrots, grated
½ cup walnuts plus 2 Tbsp., chopped
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325° F
Grease a 8×8 baking pan for bars or a 9×12 quarter sheet pan for cake and line with parchment paper
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil and maple syrup
Stir carrots, walnuts and raisins into wet ingredients
Stir wet ingredients into dry
Spread batter into prepared 8×8 baking pan or 9×12 sheet pan
Bake at 325° for 22 to 25 minutes
For Bars: Cool to room temperature and then turn cake out onto cutting board
Using a sharp knife, cut into 9 bars
Top cooled bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

For Sheet Cake: Cool to room temperature and then turn cake out onto cutting board, remove parchment paper
Wipe out the sheet pan and return the cake to the clean pan
Spread Classic Cream Cheese Frosting over the top of the cooled cake, sprinkle with chopped walnuts
Serve and Enjoy!

Frosted Sheet Cake

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (For Bars)

¾ cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Whip heavy cream until stiff
In a separate larger bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
With a rubber spatula, gently blend whip cream into cream cheese mixture
Store leftover frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting (For Sheet Cake)

1 stick butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup maple syrup
½ Tbsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, whip cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
Store frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use

These are great un-frosted too!

This recipe is shared at:

Wednesday Extravaganza, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Fight Back Friday, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free Fridays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made From Scratch Monday,

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Pumpkin Spice Cakes with Pecan Praline Sauce

Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Praline Sauce

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Praline Sauce

Anyone that knows me knows that I love dessert AND that dessert really isn’t dessert for me unless it has some sort of ice cream in it or on it!  This recipe for Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline Sauce was featured in the Paleo Magazine last year but didn’t list the recipe creator so I don’t have a link to the original recipe for credit, the only thing I changed was adding pumpkin pie spice rather than cinnamon and nutmeg.  I took the liberty of adding a nice healthy scoop of Homemade Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream to the top of this delightful holiday treat to help usher it into the “perfect dessert” category, the addition of the Pecan Praline topping is just enough to put it over the top!!!  These are equally good without the ice cream and even without the topping…but it’s dessert after all…just go for it!  You could even skip the cakes and just have the Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream drizzled with the Pecan Praline Topping!

Pumpkin Spice Cakes

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly grease 6 ramekins and set on a baking sheet.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  With a hand mixer blend eggs, oil or butter, maple syrup, pumpkin and vanilla until well combined.  Add in dry ingredients and mix well.  Divide batter among the prepared ramekins and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is set and springs back when lightly pressed.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove the cakes from the ramekins and cool completely.

Pecan Praline Topping

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the mixture thickens and reduces a bit, about 10 minutes or so.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Serve while still warm or refrigerate in a glass container for up to 10 days.  If storing in the refrigerator, warm the topping in the microwave or on the stove before serving.

No ice cream necessary...

No ice cream necessary…

This recipe is shared at:

 Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Fight Back Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays

Cream Cheese Frosting

If I’m going to use frosting on a dessert I generally use a cream cheese based recipe, these are two of my favorites!  I like to use maple syrup as my sweetener but you substitute any liquid sweetener of your choice, if you are using a granulated sugar it’s best to use a powdered version.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

¾ cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup maple syrup (or your preferred sweetener)
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Whip heavy cream until stiff
In a separate larger bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
With a rubber spatula, gently blend whip cream into cream cheese mixture
Store frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup maple syrup (or your preferred sweetener)
1 Tbsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, whip cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until smooth, then blend in maple syrup and vanilla
Store frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use

Grain-Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Maple Drizzle

Grain-Free Coffee Cake with Maple Drizzle

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for me…no matter what time of day I eat it.  I generally like to have bacon and eggs, omelets, frittatas or sometimes even coconut pancakes but every once in a while on the weekends or for holidays a nice sweet treat served with homemade spicy sausage is where it is at!  This recipe is adapted from one in Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook and is truly the best gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free coffee cake I’ve ever eaten…as a matter of fact it is better than any coffee cake I’ve ever had that was full of sugar, gluten and grain!!!

This past Friday was my mom’s birthday followed by Mother’s Day on Sunday so I thought I’d treat my mom, dad and husband (and let’s be honest…ME, too) to a fun, decadent breakfast dessert…and it really hit the spot!

Out of the oven…resting.

Grain-Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake (makes 9-12 servings):

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Topping:
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil, melted
6 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish or pan with butter or coconut oil and lightly dust with almond flour.

To make the cake:

Combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, pecans and raisins in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter or coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla.  Make a well inside the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined, the batter will be very thick.  Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Using a spatula, gently push the batter into place making it as level as possible.

To make the topping:

Combine cinnamon, butter or coconut oil, maple syrup and pecans or almonds in a bowl.  Spread the topping over the cake batter. 

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour on a wire rack.  Slice cake into squares and drizzle with Maple Frosting before serving.

This cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.  Once you drizzle it, store it in the fridge.

Maple Drizzle:

3/4 cup coconut butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or more to taste)

1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, almond milk, or coconut milk

pinch of salt

In a small saucepan, heat all ingredients over medium-low heat, stir until well combined.  Consistency should be thin enough to drizzle over the coffee cake.

***If you eat dairy and prefer a maple cream cheese drizzle…substitute 4 ounces softened cream cheese for the coconut butter and reduce the heavy cream to 2 Tbsp.-1/4 cup and blend in a small bowl with a hand mixer until smooth.  Again the consistency should be thin enough to drizzle***

This coffee cake is delightful with or without the drizzle.

This recipe is shared at: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Fight Back Friday, Beyond the Peel

No drizzle necessary for complete yummi-ness!

But then again…why not just go for it!

Fruit Pizza…Beautiful and Delicious!

Pizza for dessert…yes, please.

This recipe is not Paleo.

It is grain, gluten and refined sugar-free.

And…it is absolutely indulgent, delicious and perfect for special occasions.

  • Sugar Cookie Crust:

2 cups almond flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup, honey or coconut nectar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a pizza pan or line with parchment paper.
Mix all dry ingredients, then add in the wet ingredients.
Blend ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth.
Press dough into the pizza pan.
Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
Remove from oven to cooling rack, cool completely before topping.

  • Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup, honey or coconut nectar

Using a mixer, blend ingredients together until smooth.

  • Fruit Toppings:

Strawberries, halved (about 12 ounces)
Blueberries
1 can mandarin oranges, drained

These fruits are my favorite to use, kiwi is a popular choice as well.  Feel free to use your favorites…keep in mind that bananas might get brown and mushy!

  • Glaze:

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tapioca starch
1/4 cup maple syrup, honey or coconut nectar

In a small saucepan, whisk together ingredients and bring to a low boil over medium heat.  Stirring constantly, boil for 2 full minutes and then remove from heat to cool.

  • Assembly:

Once the crust is cooled spread the cream cheese filling over the entire crust. Arrange fruit as you please on top of the cream cheese.  Drizzle generously with the glaze.  Chill uncovered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Cut with a pizza cutter into slices and enjoy!

  • Recipe Tips:

You can use any sugar cookie recipe to fit your dietary needs.  This dessert will store in the refrigerator for up to two days, after that the crust may start to get mushy.  It may be yummy with a drizzle of chocolate or even a brownie type crust!

  • This recipe is shared at:

Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Bizzy Bakes, Fat Tuesday, Food Renegade

Banana Walnut Pancakes

Banana Walnut Pancakes with Maple Syrup

Sometimes you just gotta have pancakes.

Well, I do anyways.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day…no matter what time I eat it!  I don’t make pancakes all that often, usually only for a special occasion breakfast (think…birthday or holiday) but tonight I just felt like having a comforting meal.  Shannon at Nourishing Days has created the absolute best recipe for Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes I’ve ever tried…I’ve made this recipe dozens of times using both coconut milk and heavy cream and they always turn out great!  Below I’ve posted the recipe I use regularly, which is her original recipe halved with a touch of cinnamon added.  If you do have leftovers they freeze well.  My favorite topping for pancakes or waffles will always be maple syrup, bananas and walnuts, I rarely stray from that combo but you could top your pancakes with anything you like…or they are even great with just a dollop of butter or drizzle of coconut butter!

 Coconut Flour Pancakes (makes 6-8 pancakes)

2 eggs

1/2 cup coconut milk or heavy cream

1/2 Tbsp. coconut nectar or honey (optional)

1/2 Tbsp. vanilla

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

coconut oil or butter for the pan

  1. Preheat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and sweetener.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt and whisk together. Stir wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated.
  3. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Ladle a few tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake. Spread out slightly with the back of a spoon. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the tops dry out slightly and the bottoms start to brown. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with butter, coconut oil, honey, syrup, or fruit.

This recipe is shared at:

Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fight Back Friday

Pumpkin Cake or Pumpkin Pie? Yes, Please!

 Merry Christmas and Happy National Pumpkin Pie Day!

Everyone who knows me well generally understands that when I say “I made dessert” what I really mean is “I have made something yummy with chocolate”.  Now, my dad, who shares my chocolate addiction love, would never object but my mother and husband are a different story…they constantly request desserts without *gasp* chocolate. Although I think you can never go wrong with a decadent chocolate dessert I have been branching out a bit in order to satisfy the non-chocoholics in the family.

Thankfully, the last several years I have developed a taste for all things pumpkin (I know, I feel so grown-up!).  Last month I posted a recipe for my favorite go-to muffin, Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins, and promised a posting for my favorite Thanksgiving dessert (Pumpkin Pecan Pie) once I was able to rework the recipe to better fit into the paleo/primal lifestyle.  My first attempt failed miserably…I had just come off of my Whole 30 and the pie was so sweet I couldn’t even eat it!!!  I was determined to get it right for our Christmas dessert but in the meantime I came across another recipe in the December issue of Paleo Magazine that I knew I had to fit into our Christmas menu…Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline Sauce.  So, Pumpkin Cakes for Christmas Eve and Pumpkin Pie for Christmas Day…it just doesn’t get much better than that…well, unless you add chocolate!

Although this recipe is over-due I’m really happy with the outcome.  It is sweet enough to be considered a treat but not so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.  The recipe can be made as a simple Pumpkin Pie or amped up into a Pumpkin Pecan Pie by adding the pecan topping…you really can’t go wrong either way.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Crust:

1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/4 cup pecan meal (or omit and add an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

2 Tbsp. maple syrup, honey or coconut palm sugar (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine the almond flour, pecan meal, salt, baking soda and spices.  In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil (or butter), maple syrup (or other sweetener, if using) and vanilla.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Press the dough into a 9″ pie pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before filling.

Filling:

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

2 eggs

2/3 cup maple syrup (or 1/2 cup honey)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Add the filling evenly into the slightly cooled crust and return to the 350 degrees F oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling is set.  A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  If you are just making the Pumpkin Pie, cool for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate.  For Pumpkin Pecan Pie, proceed to Topping directions…

Topping:

3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup

1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

3/4 cup pecan halves

Preheat broiler.  Combine honey or maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a low boil. Remove from heat and stir in pecans to coat.  Arrange coated pecans on top of pie and drizzle remaining topping over the pecans.  Place under the broiler until bubbly and golden brown, watching carefully, about 2 minutes.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Cool for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate.

Serve both the Pumpkin or Pumpkin Pecan pies topped with freshly made whipped cream.  If you refrigerated the pies bring them to room temperature before serving (or not…some people like their Pumpkin Pie cold!)…about 4 hours on the counter-top.

Pie…it’s a beautiful thing.

 Now…what about those Pumpkin Cakes?

The recipe in Paleo Magazine for Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline caught my eye immediately…I knew this was definitely making the Christmas menu this year!  It was delightfully light and ridiculously easy to make.  I decided to add a nice small scoop of Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream (dairy-free) to the top of the cake before drizzling the Pecan Praline topping over the whole thing…oh my, it did not disappoint!  Here is a picture of our Christmas Eve dessert, check out Paleo Magazine online to download the latest issue, it’s chocked full of great recipes including this one for Pumpkin Cakes.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Praline Sauce

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, All Gluten Free Desserts

The Best Chocolate Sauce…Ever!

Chocolate Sauce over Coconut Ice Cream

Creamy, decadent, refined sugar-free, vegan (or can be anyways), pourable straight from the refrigerator and OH SO YUMMY!  Did I mention it is really easy to make too?

We enjoy this sauce drizzled over all kinds of desserts, ice cream, fruit and sometimes even pancakes or waffles!

Refrigerator Chocolate Sauce

1 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup almond oil

1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator for up to three months (if it lasts that long…ours never does!).

Sometimes I replace half of the maple syrup with agave, coconut nectar or honey (of course, honey would not be vegan), it makes the sauce a bit sweeter than using all maple syrup.  I use raw cacao powder as well but any unsweetened cocoa powder works fine…

Chocolate sauce drizzled straight from the fridge

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays & Tasty Tuesdays

Gluten Free Wednesdays

Wellness Weekend @ Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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