Tag Archives: carob

Cabernet Carob Cake

Cabernet Carob Cake with Vegan Blackcurrant "Cream Cheese" Frosting

I ate the crap outta this cake for days.  It was a recipe that kept morphing: I wanted something chocolaty, a cross between a brownie and a cake.  I was craving blackcurrant in everything for some reason.  And I was digging throwing multiple textures around.

But then I decided to not go with chocolate.  Chocolate, while I love it, has a lot of caffeine in it.  And carob, its under-acclaimed cousin, contains no caffeine.  It’s also high in fiber, has a decent amount of protein, and has one third the calories and half the fat of chocolate.  And it’s incredibly high in antioxidants.

It’s also naturally sweet, meaning you use less additional sweetener in baked goods!

So in this I used 8 Tbsp of carob and 2 Tbsp of cocoa, to give the cake an incredible depth.  Layers of blackcurrant jam and vegan blackcurrant “cream cheese” frosting packed an incredible punch.  And a sprinkling of slivered raw almonds added the crunch I was craving.

The gluten-free flour blend was pushed along by the addition of 2 tablespoons of Cabernet wine flour.  It’s an uncommon one – sort of hard to find online.  Made out of the skins of grapes, it’s a bit grainy and offers an aftertaste that can be a bit sour, which is why 2 tablespoons is the top I’d go in a delicate cake recipe.

I then slathered it with my vegan Blackcurrant “Cream Cheese” Frosting.

The result: an incredibly rich combination of currant and carob, dynamic and layered.

I literally ate it for days.  And kept piling the frosting on top of anything I could find to go with it.

Make this.  And enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 13 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 Tbsp carob powder
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup Ribena blackcurrant concentrate (it’s a British product, found in specialty stores)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet white sorghum flour
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp Cabernet wine flour (I found out online from Marche Noir Foods)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper or 1/2 tsp grains of paradise
  • 4 Tbsp blackcurrant jam (found in awesome food stores… sorry I don’t have more advice on where to find it!)
  • one recipe of Vegan Blackcurrant “Cream Cheese” Frosting

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease desired cake pan of choice.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter.  Slowly add carob and cocoa and whisk until dissolved.  Then slowly whisk in blackcurrant.  Set aside to cool.
  • In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer on medium/high speed beat eggs, and palm sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very smooth and creamy.
  • Reduce the mixer to low speed and slowly add the carob mixture until combined.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the carob / egg mixture.
  • Pour into the pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool completely in pan.

Assemble:

  • Cut the cake into squares or circles as you see fit, into three layers.
  • Layer 2 Tbsp of blackcurrant jam between each layer.
  • Cover with blackcurrant cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with almond slivers.

Chunky Carob Cake – Ridiculously Allergy Friendly!

Chunky Carob Cake

There are few names I’d put on my “soul-mate” list.  Nina Simone.  William Shakespeare.  James McAvoy (did you SEE X-Men First Class?  Totally redeemed the franchise from Wolverine and washed the bad taste of Bridesmaids out of my mouth).

In all seriousness, while I am surrounded by so many loving, special people, I am particularly grateful for my dear friend Lyndsey – a soul-mate if there ever was one.  We met through my college boyfriend over a dozen years ago, and aside from the many things we naturally had in common, we shared a history of chronic illness.  There’s no way I could summarize our friendship – but let’s just say we’ve been an ear, a shoulder, a hug, the voice on the other end of the phone that won’t hang up… I don’t know where I’d be without this woman.

So on my quick days off I scooted my little blue car down to DC to visit her and her husband, two of my favorite people in the whole world!  

Lyndsey is still suffering greatly from her illness and deep digestive problems, and her diet completely eliminates grains, sugar, chocolate, fruit, any sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, certain meats and fishes, fried foods, certain vegetables and is pretty much devoid of any sweet indulgences. I lived like that for several years but never as long as she, and don’t know how she hasn’t gone ballistic on a grocery store or restaurant by now.

But carob! Oh, yes, Lyndsey can have carob!

So the other morning she showed me how to make her “Chunky Cake”.

This cake is chocolate-free, sugar-free, grain-free / flourless, oiless, nut-free, low-carb, high-fiber, low-glycemic.  Really.  It does have ghee (clarified butter) so it’s not dairy free completely, but you can easily substitute with coconut oil or a fat of your choice.

And it’s incredibly easy – all ingredients mixed in a bowl and poured in a pan!

I was amazed at how light and airy the carob cake came out, while still packing a delicious aroma.  I’m going to have some fun experimenting with the recipe at home, using coconut products, tucking the batter around almond butter, soaking vanilla beans in almond milk.  But for now, here’s the original recipe.  Enjoy!

Moist and light Chunky Carob cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1 cup carob powder
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted ghee
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°.  Heavily grease a pie plate or single cake pan.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (in no particular order) with a whisk until thoroughly combined.  The resulting batter should sort of glop a bit off the whisk and not run completely smooth.  Because of the goopy result of using flax, Lyndsey describes it as “falling like boogers”.  One of the thousands of reasons why I love her so much.
  • Pour into prepared plate and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork inserted comes out relatively smooth.

Nutty Irishman St. Pat’s Pancakes

Nutty Irishman Gluten-Free Pancakes

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I have a pancake addiction.  And possibly an addiction to St. Patrick’s Day too.  I’ve blogged about my uncontainable love for Blueberry Lemon Pancakes and have already made allergy-friendly Soda Bread and Irish Cream Carob Cupcakes, though it’s only a few days into March.

Yesterday morning, though, I just didn’t have time to make pancakes and blog the recipe.  I had an audition and five articles to write, for Pete’s sake!  No time for delicious food and playing when there’s work to be done, right?

Yeah, you guessed it.  I went into the kitchen.  I just had to try out the first go of my new creation, Nutty Irishman St. Pat’s Pancakes.  I mean, a girl’s gotta eat breakfast, right?  And I had laundry down in the basement so my eye had to keep on a clock.  What’s an extra half hour in the kitchen when there’s creation to be had, right?

Addiction.  But I know many of you out there are addicted too.  As evident by your confessions on the last pancake addiction post.  Yes, I think this support group should happen somewhere.  In fact, I just bought AddictedToPancakes.Com.  Message me if you want to be made an author and contribute a recipe, or just divulge a food addiction.  This could be fun.

Anyhoo, in the spirit both of St. Patrick’s Day and Pancake Addiction (which would make a good band name, no?), I’ve made these.  Dessert for breakfast.  A coffee drink in a pancake.  Somehow I captured a bit of the delicious after-dinner drink, though I used no whiskey (sniff).  I ate a bunch.

Now, notes:  These are not that sweet.  I used 4 Tbsp of sucanat to make the cocoa a bit fuller, but these do not taste like a brownie, cake or even chocolate muffin.  They are definitely pancakes.  If you want a sweeter treat, throw more sugar in there.  And if you don’t mind a little alcohol in the morning, throw a shot or two in.  Or soak your hazelnuts in whiskey for a while and then leave them out to dry / toast them.  Yum.  I’m gonna try that next time.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (or hazelnut if you can find it… I couldn’t… sniff…)
  • 1/2 cup fine unsweetened cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 4Tbsp sugar (I used sucanat)
  • 2 cups gluten-free pancake mix (Bob’s Red Mill or I used equal parts tapioca, oat, white rice and sorhgum this morning)
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum (if NOT using a premixed pancake mix)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • salt
  • 2 eggs

Directions

Now I did this in a blender, because I was anticipating making it at my boyfriend’s apartment or my dad’s house, and they both have those and not other methods of equipment.  You could also do this in a bowl on a standing mixer or with a hand mixer.  The blender method was affective and did make pouring the pancakes easier, but I did get mix all over my white kitchen cabinets.  It was funny.

  • In a saucepan combine melt butter.  Then add coffee and milk and heat on low until warmed.
  • Whisk in the cocoa until combined completely.
  • Pour in liquid measuring cup and set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together remaining dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt).
  • In a large bowl or blender, beat eggs until a tiny bit frothy.  Then slowly add the liquid ingredients (retain about 1/4 cup) and beat to combine.  Add the dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time until incorporated.
  • If the batter is a bit too thick, add remaining wet mixture.
  • Let stand while you heat your cooking instrument (I used a griddle that covered two burners).
  • Now, these will brown more easily than other pancakes, so I recommend heating the surface well and then turning down the heat and letting it cool a tad.
  • Bake on both sides until fluffy.  This made me 14 small pancakes.

Nutty Irishman Pancake Addiction

Irish-Cream Filled Carob Cupcakes

Gluten-free Irish Cream Carob Cupcakes

Have I mentioned that I love St. Patrick’s Day?  Well, I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day! Hence the little green background that I’m sporting this month even though it really doesn’t work with the color scheme I’m playing with.  Which, if you stop on this site somewhat regularly (thank you, by the way!) you’ll notice keeps changing because I’m indecisive and not the best at settling on colors.  I painted my last bedroom four times and was still never satisfied.  Come to think of it, I change my mind all the time about online everything.  I used to edit my online dating profile every time I went on the darned thing.  Thank dog that I now have this site to obsess over instead and actually met the best man ever so I’m out of that world.  But maybe I’m getting a little too personal.  Back to St. Pat’s.

Every year I spend it feasting with friends, listening to good Irish punk music and drinking Guinness, which I rarely let myself do (I think the last one I had was during the World Cup in July).

This year I’m starting early, preparing some allergy-alternative options for the little shindig I’m hosting.  A few days ago I made Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread, which made me do a little happy dance.  And the other night my roommate had some friends over to watch the Oscars, which was the perfect time for me to play with an allergy-friendly alternative to the Irish Car Bomb Cupcake recipe I’ve made for the past few years.  I’m still going to make it for the pals who are coming over for St. Pat’s (in case any of you are reading this, I’m not only going to stuff you with healthier options), but frankly, I want a treat I can eat!

So this recipes uses carob instead of chocolate (primarily), gluten-free flour and can be made completely dairy-free by using butter flavored Earth Balance instead of the unsalted butter I used.  I’m still playing with sugar alternatives (I’m not a fan of using agave syrup and xylitol can be a bit rough on my stomach… the experimentation for this hypoglycemic continues!) so powdered sugar made its way into the frosting and organic sucanat into the cake.  The result was a dense carobey-chocolatey cupcake with a nice bang of whiskey to it.  The buttercream frosting is just delicious and overall the amount of sweetness between cake and frosting was in perfect balance for me.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy milk or Guinness (if you’re not worried about the gluten)
  • 9 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter-flavored Earth Balance
  • 2 Tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup carob or cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (another second cup from the first)
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used the High Protein Blend from Rebecca Reilly)
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sucanat or brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup chocolate soy butter
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 4 Tbsp Irish whiskey (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened milk (almond, soy, rice)

For the Frosting:

  • 14 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (or butter flavored Earth Balance)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground instant coffee or espresso
  • 3 Tbsp Irish whiskey

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 20 cupcake tins with liners or use these nifty mini-pannetone liners I found at a baking supply store.  Using these will make your cupcakes a bit squat but they’re pretty when frosted and SO easy to use.  For the actual St. Pat’s party coming up, I’ll be using metallic green liners in regular tins.  Oh, what a fun world we play in!

Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add the 1 cup of milk-alternative or Guinness and butter, let butter melt and whisk together.  Whisking constantly, add coffee and whisk until dissolved.  Remove from heat and then slowly add carob or cocoa powder, and whisk together until completely incorporated.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, xantham gum and sugar.  In a second bowl, whip the eggs until light and foamy, and then add vanilla and 1 cup of almond milk or milk of choice.  Whip until creamy.

Slowly pour the egg/milk mixture into the chocolate mixture, whisking continually until well blended and no dark traces remain.

Fold in the flour mixture until just fully incorporated.  Fill cupcake liners equally, and bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to cooling racks and cool for about 10 minutes before filling.

To make the filling, place all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth.  Taste test – if the flavor of the whiskey is too strong for you, add a bit more soybutter and almond milk.  Put mixture in a pastry bag or one-gallon plastic bag and cut a small hole in one corner.  Make a small slice in each cupcake and fill with as much chocolate-whiskey frosting as you can!

For the frosting: Place the whiskey, vanilla and instant coffee in a medium bowl and whisk to dissolve the coffee.  Add the butter and, using a hand mixer, beat until smooth.  Progressively add the powdered sugar until fluffy and light.  Ice half of the cupcakes with this white icing, then add a few drops of green food coloring and beat to incorporate. Have fun decorating!  I used edible glitters – one opaque and one light green, and some coloring gels.  A small container of the glitter lasts FOREVER and creates a shimmery touch.  Fun fun.



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