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gluten free, dairy free, carrot cake

gluten free, dairy free, carrot cake

It’s been over a few months that I have been living Paleo style. Although the transition for me is not that hard (tossing away breads, pasta, cakes, etc. are, in fact, a piece of cake. It’s the yogurts that I miss), I can’t force it on my kids.

In order to minimize, what I believe, is one of the most harmful “foods” that can go in my kids’ bodies, aka gluten, I try and make snacks, cakes, and munchies that are gluten free for them. These are not a major portion of their diet, but “that little something” when they need something sweet, when they have friends over, or when I have friends over ­čÖé

Experimenting before with gluten free chocolate cake that turned out awesome, I went ahead and concocted this carrot cake, after a regular recipe that I had, but of course, modified it. Once again, the star ingredient is the chickpea flour, that I discovered in the Indian store.

my secret ingredient to gluten free baking

chickpea flour, also called Besan flour, or Gram flour, from the Indian store.

So if you’re looking for a gluten free cake, for any bunch of reasons (hey, Passover is coming up, so it’s kosher, too), give it a try.

you’ll need:

  • greased 9″ round cake pan. I used the spring-form one.┬á A square pan will also do.
  • 1.5 cups chickpea flour;
  • half cup sugar;
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder, aluminum free;
  • pinch of salt (yap, salt);
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder;
  • 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract;
  • 3 heaped Tbsp coconut oil, in a small glass;
  • 1 cup water;
  • 2 cups grated carrots;
  • 1 egg;
  • good quality chocolate chips, optional.
love the colors

love the colors

how-to:

Heat oven to 350┬░f.

Throw the chickpea flour in a bowl. Since this flour tends to have clusters, try to crush them with a tablespoon. Add the rest of the dry ingredients (not the chocolate chips), and mix well.

Add the grated carrots in the dry mixture, and mix so the carrots are covered well with the flour all over, and you see these cute orangy little chunks.

carrot chunks, cuties

carrot chunks, cuties

Insert the glass with the coconut oil into the micro, run it for 20 seconds, mix the oil with a spoon until it’s melted. If not melted, insert for another 10 seconds. This should be enough. Add the coconut oil to the mixture, along with the water, and vanilla extract, and whisk slowly together, until smooth and all the flour dissolved. Now add the egg, and once again, whisk slowly together.

It's not snow. It's coconut oil in a cool blue glass, waiting to be melted

It’s not snow. It’s coconut oil in a cool blue glass, waiting to be melted

Pour the whole mixture onto the greased pan. Now is the time to add some chocolate chips if you want, right on top.

The whole thing goes on vacation in the oven, for 50-60 minutes. As with chickpea flour, don’t expect a high rise. Good things come in small packages.

notes:

  • Grated carrots? I just throw them in the food processor. Life should be easy.
  • I try to use coconut oil for almost all of my bakings/fryings, for two main reasons: (1) I stay away from bad industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, canola, etc.) and use only, what I consider, good fat, for the reasons mentioned in the link about the gluten (above), and (2)┬ácoconut oil is not vulnerable to the oxidative damage that occurs with high-heat cooking using other fats.
  • If you’d rather keep out of refined sugar, use Raw honey, or, soak a few dates in hot water for 30 minutes, and┬á throw them with the carrots in the food processor and don’t use any other sweetener. Feel free to adjust sweeteners according to your sweet tasting buds (most cake recipes call for 1.5 cups of sugar, but we don’t like it that sweet);
  • when adding the water, you may notice that you need a bit more than 1 cup. you want to have a smooth fluidish batter.
  • I mentioned 50-60 minutes in the oven, as every oven is different. Check after 50 minutes to see that the cake is dry on top, and golden.
  • If you want to get fancy, real fancy, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, once the cake has cooled down.
fancy carrot cake

fancy carrot cake

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Paleo almond cookie and mini muffin.

For quite some time, I’ve been reading about the Paleo diet. Finally, as a token to the endless tradition of making resolutions on New Year’s Eve, I have joined the crowds, and made a resolution of my own. I have decided to try out this diet, for at least a month.

Paleo is not just a diet, but a way of life. As a holistic view, one should eat right, exercise daily, and sleep well (and… keep un-stressed). Sounds logical, no?

The very basic nutritional diet rules rely on the right proteins, fats, carbs and veggies. Nothing new here, right?

Well, as Paleo goes (or primal, caveman, stone-age diet), one should NOT consume refined sugar, refined salt, dairy, legumes, gluten, and processed oils. More or less.

Oy!! Then what have we left to eat??

Grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables. More or less.

Read the basics here.

Left to brighten my coffee with only almond milk (and I must confess, I’m slowly getting off coffee as well), I needed that something comforting to chew on, next to my coffee.

It didn’t take long for the aha moment to arrive.

As I make my own almond milk (easy peasy, see previous post), I’m left with all that almond pulp, which leads to… almond cookies.

for 25-30 cookies, you’ll need:

  • almond-date left-over pulp from 3 cups of almonds (that were used for the almond milk);
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut;
  • 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (try not to use the dutch processed one);
  • 1/3 cup raw sesame seeds. Some seeds, sesame among them, may be considered Paleo, yet they contain high amount of omega 6 fatty acids (compared with its low omega 3 content), which is not so good. Rule of moderation! I find 1/3 cup for 25 cookies to be OK. You can definitely play around with the quantity. Take some off, add more coconut…
  • 2 Tbs raw honey, or pure maple syrup, or any combination. Those sweeteners are sugary and processed, and honey is fructose, so they are not ideal per-Se, but in this case I go for moderation again, thinking these 2 Tbs are divided among 25-30 cookies. You may want to try Stevia or dextrose. Lemme’ know if you did, and the outcome.
  • 3 eggs
  • optional : dates.

how-to:

heat oven to 350┬░f, and grease baking paper (in the pans) with coconut oil.

combine all ingredients in a bowl (excluding the optional dates).

Almond milk pulp

drop a spoon full of dough onto baking sheet, and then press it down slightly with the back of the spoon. keep them around 1 inch apart.

don’t move girls

another option is to fill a greased mini-muffin pan with the dough.

finally, you can add small chopped pieces of a date by pressing them onto the cookies or mini-muffins.

into the oven they go for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven, until the cookies are beginning to tan. Let cookies cool outside the oven for 10 minutes.

mini muffins in pink

now, I (and you) can enjoy one (or two) cookies with our coffee.

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