Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Today was my grandmother’s 91st birthday. She was a wonderful lady and I miss her dearly. She was an excellent example of a woman who loves the Lord first and foremost, and unceasingly cares for all those around her. 

Happy Birthday, Grandma! : )


Grandma had many passions and talents that she shared with those around her. One of her passions (that I now realize was passed down to me) was a deep rooted desire for wellness. She had a vast knowledge of all things nutrition: food, exercise, medicine, etc. She had books upon books dealing with ...wholesome. Just that word makes me think of her.

This is the perfect cake to make on her birthday. Not only does it have vegetables in it (!) but it’s all natural without any refined flour, sugar or unhealthy fats. The only thing I would’ve (should have?) changed, would be to actually cook the pumpkin myself. Grandma would have. But I decided to take advantage of the cans of pumpkin in my pantry and use that extra time to go for a run. Yes, I ran!. I think she would be proud to know that her desire for wellness was passed down to me (and other family members -- Hey, Emily!). And here I am on her first birthday in heaven, making her a wholesome, delicious birthday cake.

This cake is wonderful for many reasons. First, as I said before it’s free of all refined sugars and flours (yes!). BUT it also includes some very health savy ingredients. One of those being Chia seeds. What are Chia seeds you ask? Well, I asked the same thing.

Chia seeds are seeds!

Ha, sorry. They are edible seeds (from a desert plant in the mint family...who would have thoughtl!?) that boast an amazing variety of nutrients. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, lots of fiber!, calcium, magnesium, iron and many more! According to Dr Weil, chia seeds are much like flax but even better. The large quantity of antioxidants drastically slows down the deterioration of the seed, thus allowing them to be stored for a much longer time frame. These little guys are an excellent source of fiber and let me tell you, I am all about that! But we’ll get into fiber another time. Just know, you need it (lots of it!) and chia seeds are an excellent source!

Another fantastic ingredient in this cake is spelt flour. Spelt was one of the first grains to be used for bread. (That is crazy!!) It's in the wheat family so it does have gluten, but it also has lots of fiber! (wahoo!) The first thing I love about spelt is that it has a tough outer shell, which helps protect the grain from absorbing diseases and pests. That’s awesome, because who wants any of that?

...Yes, please -- I’ll have a side of pests and the disease for dessert. ...NO THANKS.

Secondly, spelt is considered a whole food. Don’t you love that? That means it's as close to it's natural state as possible. Spelt's germ and bran are located in the inner part of the grain so when it is milled, they are not as easily lost in the process. Many other grains loose these vital parts in the milling process and therefore loose much of their nutritional value. Just FYI: you should note that grinding your own grains allows the grains to retain many more nutrients in general. But again, that’ll be another post!

Ok, ok! You’ve heard the health and now for the recipe. I promise it tastes as good as it is nutritious!
(aka this is crazy delicious and nutritious...if you didn't get that memo...)

Pumpkin Hazelnut Cake with Coconut Vanilla Frosting
Slighty adapted from My New Roots
Serves 12

Just a little note --  I usually don’t love nuts in my sweets, breads, cookies, etc but the roasted hazelnuts really add a wonderful depth of flavor here. I really encourage you to use them on both layers!

Dry Ingredients:
2 Cups Spelt Flour
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ginger
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine grain sea salt
2 Tbsp chia seeds

Wet Ingredients:
1 ½ cups canned (or fresh!) organic pumpkin
½ cup  100% pure maple Syrup
½ cup local honey
6 Tbsp olive oil (you can’t taste it!)
1 large ripe banana
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all wet ingredients except apple cider vinegar to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together until well blended.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  5. Once completely mixed add in apple cider vinegar and whisk quickly.
  6. Pour batter into two round cake pans (I believe mine were 8 or 9 inches)
  7. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and out it comes all clean. : )

Coconut Vanilla Frosting:
3 cans of coconut milk
¼ cup creamed honey (not the same as regular! I got mine at Whole Foods)
1 vanilla bean

  1. Place cans of coconut milk in the fridge for 4 hours to solidify and separate.
  2. Once separated, drain the liquid and scoop out the cream (I saved the liquid for other cooking uses and will let you know how that goes!)
  3. Combine creamed honey and solified coconut cream and beat together.
  4. Slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape the seeds out; add to coconut and honey mixture.
  5. Place icing in the fridge to set.

Roasted Hazelnuts:
1 cup Hazelnuts

  1. Bake nuts for 10-20 minutes at 350 - until you can smell them!
  2. If desired, place hazelnuts in cloth and rub together. Discard unattached skins.
  3. Roughly Chop.

To Assemble:
  1. Once cake is completely cooled, slice of part of the rounded top so that it will lay evenly.
  2. Place the first layer on the cake stand.
  3. Layer with plenty of frosting.
  4. Sprinkle plenty of chopped hazelnuts on top.
  5. Layer second piece of cake.
  6. Spread frosting.
  7. Sprinkle hazelnuts.
  8. Slice and serve. YUM.

Sarah B has four layers in her cake. To do this, simply slice each layer in half. I would suggest using a smaller cake pan if so.

Enjoy!! This was a delicious dessert but I think it will be just as good as a snack or breakfast with tea. After all, it has all those good for you ingredients in it and you can't go wrong with that. : )


1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited to discover this. And so moved by your honoring Grandma on her birthday. She is so proud of you, and she would have loved that cake! I think it's a great tradition; maybe we can do it together next year. Love you.


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