Grain-Free Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

strawberry cake

Mother’s Day is upon us and this strawberry upside-down cake is perfect for a celebratory brunch or dinner. It’s not too sweet, incredibly moist, and full of flavor. It’s got that rustic, yet pretty thing going on too.

Traditional upside-down cakes have a lot of sugar, especially in the “top” glaze layer, but I scaled it way back (no refined sugar either) without sacrificing any of the flavor. The strawberries are a nice change-of-pace and pair so well with the cardamom too. This cake can be served warm, room temperature, or cold (keep leftovers in the fridge). I recommend serving it with a generous dollop of  homemade coconut milk whipped cream or if tolerated, dairy-based whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp melted grass-fed butter, separated
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • About 1 cup strawberries, hulled (if need be) and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which has no gums)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pour 2 Tbsp of melted butter into a 9-inch cake pan, coating the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the coconut sugar on top of the butter. Then, arrange the strawberry slices on top of the coconut sugar in an even layer.
  3. With a stand or hand mixer, mix the remaining 8 Tbsp melted butter with the raw honey, vanilla, eggs, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Mix until fully blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cardamom.
  5. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix again, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
  6. Spread batter evenly over the strawberry layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edge of the pan and place a serving dish on top. Invert the cake onto the serving dish and let sit for a few minutes before fully removing the cake pan.
  8. If desired, serve with homemade coconut milk whipped cream or if tolerated, dairy-based whipped cream. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Yields: 6-8 servings

 

Dairy-Free Pistachio Pudding

 

pistachio pudding 3

It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s day without something green and I’ve got just the green thing for you. No green dye either. Fresh spinach is what gives this pudding its beautiful green color and no, you cannot taste it. The pistachios add a little bit of green too.

This pudding is not to be confused with the extremely processed, boxed pistachio pudding you may have grown up eating, so don’t expect that flavor. I will admit that I did enjoy said pudding as a kid though and even remember buying boxes of the instant stuff for myself as a teenager. Ick. Meanwhile, the banana acts as the sweetener in this pudding and it was enough for me, but if you want it sweeter, feel free to add a little raw honey, maple syrup or even a couple dates. Also, this is a thicker pudding and more mousse-like in texture, but if you want it thinner, experiment with less gelatin.

Oh, and I am back from Iceland as of late Monday night. It was an incredible trip and we loved it there! I will share more about that soon. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram if you want to check out some of the photos and videos from our Icelandic vacation.

Cheers and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

P.S. Anyone else excited about eating corned beef and cabbage today?!

vertical 3 pistachio pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1 small just-ripe banana (yellow with no spots)
  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
  • *Scant 1 Tbsp gelatin, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • Extra pistachios, chopped, for garnish

*Experiment with less gelatin if you want a thinner texture. I personally like the hybrid pudding-mousse texture, but make it how you want it.

Directions:

  1. Pour about 3/4 of the coconut milk into a high-speed blender container. Then, add the vanilla, banana and spinach. Blend until totally smooth.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining coconut milk over low heat. Once warm, whisk in the gelatin and continue whisking until dissolved.
  3. Pour the gelatin mixture and pistachios into the blender and mix about 20 seconds or until mostly smooth (I like to keep some coarse pieces of pistachio).
  4. Pour into desired-size ramekins and place in fridge to set for 1-2 hours. Before serving, add chopped pistachios for garnish, if desired.

 

“Peanut Butter” Chocolate Mousse

choc-mousse-3

Traditionally, chocolate mousse is made with whipping cream, sugar, some form of chocolate (chocolate chips or cocoa powder), and egg yolks or egg whites — I’ve seen both. Not totally sure which came first. The mixture is also heated on the stove.

However, my variation is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and couldn’t be any easier. No stovetop needed and everything mixes together in the blender. I added sunflower seed butter too, so the final product tastes a bit like a peanut butter cup. It is so decadent and heavenly! Of course, there are no peanuts, but sunflower seed butter mimics a peanutty flavor, in my opinion. If you want a quick, easy and painless Valentine’s Day dessert, make this recipe!

mousse-bite2

Also, if you really want to go all out, make homemade coconut milk whipped cream (or dairy-based whipped cream, if tolerated) and top each serving with a dollop or two. Add fresh berries, fresh grated chocolate or a sprinkling of cacao nibs, if desired.

And, one last thing…I will be making this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live today, so tune in if you like (show is from 3-4 PST). I will share the replay clip afterward though, so you can catch it that way too. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE!

Enjoy!

pb-choc-mousseIngredients: 

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like and used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I like and used this brand)
  • 3-4 Tbsp raw honey or more if you want it sweeter
  • *Scant 1 Tbsp gelatin, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one OR this one)

*Note: experiment with a little less gelatin if you want your mousse to be a bit thinner. Also, this recipe sets up fine without “blooming” or dissolving the gelatin first, but I know I am doing it differently than the standard. If you prefer to let it “bloom” in a small amount of chilled coconut milk first and then add it to some warmed coconut milk on the stove, go for it (you’d then of course mix it with the remaining ingredients & pour into dishes). I just know it works for me without doing this step and the directions on my gelatin container even instruct it can be used this way.

Directions:

  1. *To a blender container, add the coconut milk, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla, sunflower seed butter and honey. Blend for several seconds or so on low or medium-low. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, if needed and briefly blend again. Then, add the gelatin and blend on low or medium-low to incorporate it into the mixture. Make sure the gelatin is thoroughly mixed in and the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-blend!
  2. Immediately pour into small dishes or ramekins and place in the fridge to set. Allow to firm up for at least a few hours or longer, if needed.

*Note: this can be whisked in a large bowl by hand, but it’s harder to get a totally smooth texture. You have to whisk somewhat vigorously, but it works pretty well. I have done it this way too and still liked it. The texture was a little thinner too. Blending yields a smoother, thicker texture. Both are good, in my opinion! If you choose to blend the mixture, but want your mousse a littler thinner, see my note above about the gelatin.

Avocado Mousse Ice Cream

Avocado mousse turned ice cream

So, remember that Coconut Caramel Mousse Pie that I posted the other day? Well, while making that, I got the bright idea to use the avocado mousse to make ice cream. Crazy talk, right? Needless to say, I tried it out, and it turned out wonderfully. It’s not as bright green as the mousse initially is on its own, and it does still turn a little brown in the freezer, but the taste is all there. I suppose a little citrus in the mix would probably help — I just wouldn’t want it to change the flavor at all. Lime might actually taste pretty good in there though, especially with the coconut. Feel free to give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch avocado mousse (see recipe here)
  • 1-1/2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Raw honey, to taste (I probably used 1/2 Tbsp)
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract (probably about 1/2 tsp)

Directions:

  1. Mix mousse mixture and remaining ingredients together in a blender or food processor (if large enough that it won’t leak!). Blend until smooth and well incorporated. If need be, you can mix everything together in a large bowl with a whisk.
  2. Turn on the ice cream maker and slowly pour in the mixture. Let process about 20 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl and store in the freezer.
Creamy avocado mousse ice cream
Creamy avocado mousse ice cream.
A late summer treat
A late summer treat for this last bit of hot weather we’ve been having.

Caramel Coconut Mousse Pie

Okay, I think I may have created a new vice. For real, this dessert is ridiculous and almost too damn good. It combines some of my favorite fats — coconut, avocado and macadamia nuts — all together in a decadent, layered concoction. It’s perfect. The worst part, aside from trying to get it out of the pan (as you’ll see below), is when it’s all gone. This dessert is worth savoring and definitely worth making again. It sets up a lot better if you wait several hours to serve it, but then the avocado layer doesn’t look as nice and green (as you’ll see below).

Look at those layers!

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Dash of sea salt
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Blend until nuts are broken up a bit and all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Empty into a small loaf pan or small baking dish and place in freezer (Note: I used about a 4×7 Pyrex dish).

Caramel:

  • 6 medjool dates
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp water
  1. Briefly soak the dates in very hot or boiling water for several minutes. Once softened a bit, carefully remove from the water with a utensil. Pit the dates and add them to the food processor once cool enough to handle.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Empty into a bowl and set aside.

Avocado Mousse:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  1. Place all ingredients into the food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pull the crust out of the freezer and spread the caramel on top. Next, top with the mousse. Garnish with chopped macadamia nuts or shredded unsweetened coconut flakes, if desired. Serve right away, messy style, or place in fridge until ready to eat (warning: the avocado will turn brown in the fridge though).
Avocado caramel coconut bars
Caramel coconut mousse pie.
A messy serving, but hey, life's not perfect!
All those layers combine so well. It almost reminds me of one of those dump cakes, where everything is thrown together in the bowl in layers, but way better and more wholesome, obviously.
This is what it looks like if you wait several hours or overnight, but as you can see, the avocado layer turns brown on top, so it’s not so pretty. The layers look nice, but the green color … not so much! I actually like to eat it the messy way better.

Moo-less Mousse

I’ve been digging into the recipes in Practical Paleo this week and have not been disappointed thus far. Before this week, the only thing I made from the book is the summer squash caprese noodle salad, so I was anxious to try more, especially after meeting and listening to Diane speak on Sunday. The recipes are easy to follow, uncomplicated and flavorful — a winning combination if you ask me!

One specific recipe from her book that I want to share is the Moo-less Pistachio Mousse. Oh.My.Gosh. It’s unbelievably creamy and almost brought me to tears. Yes, it’s that good. It really does remind me of pistachio pudding, minus the green dye, chemicals and over abundance of sweetness (I used to love that stuff and could eat a whole mix by myself … funny to think about now).  Here’s the recipe, as written in Practical Paleo:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1-2 tsp pistachio or almond extract (use 1 if alcohol base or 2 if oil base)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe bananas
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup or softened honey (optional to taste and may not be necessary if bananas are sweet enough)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pistachios
  1. Scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a small food processor, or mash them by hand. Add the pistachio or almond extract, coconut milk, bananas, maple syrup or honey, and sea salt, and process until creamy, whipped and well blended. You may whisk the ingredients together as well, if necessary.
  2. Serve in individual bowls. Garnish with chopped pistachios.
Moo-less mousse in my late Grandma Reilly's bowl.
Moo-less mousse in my late grandma’s retro bowl. My mom said she remembered this bowl being around when she was a kid. It seemed very fitting for a green pudding.
Delicious mousse in Grandma Reilly's bowl. That bowl contains many memories at the dinner table, during holidays and at family cookouts. I think it add extra love to anything it's filled with.
I think the bowl adds extra love to anything it’s filled with. In this case, it’s mousse.
Grandma's bowl and the mousse are a perfect match!
Grandma’s bowl and the mousse are a perfect match!

Just a couple things, I used almond extract (which is mentioned as an option in the book) because I couldn’t find pistachio extract anywhere. Anyone know where you can find that stuff? I also forgot to buy pistachios at the store, so I used sliced almonds instead, but it went well with the almond extract. On top of our individual servings, I also put some unsweetened coconut flakes. Jesse really loves chocolate and I can’t have chocolate or cocoa powder right now because of adhering to the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), so I scooped some separately for him and mixed in some cocoa powder and a touch more honey, so the chocolate wouldn’t taste too bitter. Diane does have a moo-less chocolate mousse recipe in the book too and the recipe is similar to the pistachio, except for the following changes/additions:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2-4 Tbsp coconut milk (instead of 1/4 cup in the pistachio)
  • 1 ripe banana (optional in this recipe)
  • 1-4 Tbsp maple syrup or softened honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (instead of pistachio or almond extract)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
His and hers moo-less mousse
His and hers moo-less mousse.
Chocolate and pistachio (or I guess I should say almond?). Play around with the garnishes too ... lots of possibilities!
Chocolate and pistachio (or I guess I should say almond?). Play around with the garnishes too … lots of possibilities!

Recipe Review: Sugar Detox Carrot Cake Pudding

I recently made PaleOMG’s sugar detox carrot cake pudding and it is stellar! It’s like creamy, spicy pumpkin pie filling, but with carrots instead of pumpkin. It’s fabulous, light and satisfying and really quick to make. The longest part is cooking the carrots, but mine cooked in even less time than the recipe states because I used sliced big carrots rather than whole baby carrots. I also steamed the carrots instead of boiling them, which took about 10-12 minutes.

I think my batch came out extra tasty since I used fresh garden carrots that came in my CSA box. I’m sure it’s awesome with baby carrots too, but you just can’t beat the taste of fresh garden carrots. Also, I made a few changes to the recipe:

  1. I added two medjool dates for a dash of added sweetness (it tasted a bit too spicy before).
  2. I used almond extract instead of vanilla because I am still out of vanilla extract (I keep forgetting to pick up the darn stuff).
  3. I used almond butter instead of sunbutter.
Garden fresh carrots
Garden fresh carrots.
Coconut cream concentrate
Coconut cream concentrate — it’s the exact same thing as coconut butter. Run the packet under hot water until it softens and then squeeze out into a jar.
PaleOMG's sugar detox carrot cake pudding.
PaleOMG’s sugar detox carrot cake pudding.
Spoonful of carrot cake pudding
Spoonful of carrot cake pudding.

Last night, I took another go at the recipe, but instead of carrots I used canned butternut squash that I picked up over the weekend. It turned out just as great and is even faster since there’s no need for chopping and steaming carrots. I made the pudding as I did prior, with my addition of two dates, almond butter instead of sunbutter and almond extract instead of vanilla. Oh, I also added a little ground ginger and would’ve added it to the carrot version, but didn’t think of it at the time. Next time.

Retake on the carrot cake pudding, but with butternut squash instead.
Retake on the carrot cake pudding, but with butternut squash instead.
Spoonful of butternut squash pudding.
Spoonful of butternut squash pudding.

You know what else is really tasty in a pinch? Baby carrots dipped in coconut butter. I thought of trying this combo after making the pudding and to be honest, I don’t know why I never thought of trying it before. It is g-o-o-d! I am such a sucker for coconut butter. I love it on a spoon too … tee hee hee.

If you haven’t been to PaleOMG’s site, I highly recommend it. I’ve been making her recipes and reading her blog for many, many months now and it never fails to entertain me. She’s got quite the personality and comes up with wicked good recipes, many of which are simple to make. There’s lots of deliciousness on her site, so check it out!