Twinkie Cake

Why, yes, it IS Paleo.  No big deal or anything…

I should be studying chem right now but I got really excited about this cake.  Like…poop my pants excited.  Ew.  But for real, you guys, this is my proudest moment in the two and a half years of taking pictures of the stuff I make and sharing them with the interwebs.  There’s a little elbow grease involved, but it’s so worth it.

Paleo Twinkie Cake

After these became a reality last week, I knew I could take it a step further…and clearly since no one will shut up about Twinkies going away and then coming back and going away and coming back…again…the choice was clear.  PS did you know Twinkies don’t actually last forever?  Nope.  They have a shelf life of 24 days.  Fun fact.  Thanks, Wikipedia!

OK, so this recipe is actually just a spruced up vanilla cake.  It’s the frosting that makes it special, since there is a special something about the fluffy white stuff inside our favorite snack cakes.  And as you know, frosting is kind of a Paleo black hole…it’s tough to pull off without pounds of powdered sugar…so I had to do a little digging.  There’s a ton of easy non-Paleo recipes for Twinkie Cake, and again all they are are yellow cakes with a marshmallow-y vanilla whipped frosting.  Marshmallows, you say?  Yep, I made those once.  And, so, my friends, I figured I’d make them again, toss a stick of butter into the mix, and hope for the best.

And yes, it WAS the best.

INGREDIENTS

*for the cake*

  • 1 c Coconut Flour
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 2 t Salt
  • 10 Eggs
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 c Cashew Butter
  • 1 c Honey
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t Almond Extract

*for the frosting*

  • 1 c Honey
  • 4 T Gelatin (unflavored, organic)
  • 1 c Water
  • 1 c Pastured Butter (coconut oil would also work but will be a little more coconut-y in flavor)
  • 2 t Vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

*for the cake*

  1. Combine all your dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs and egg whites with the cashew butter, honey and flavor extracts.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH for 2 minutes (this step is key to a good, fluffy texture).
  5. Grease and line 2, 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper (this makes removal SO much easier)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the cakes are lightly browned and pass the toothpick test.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a cooling rack, discarding the parchment.
  8. Frost and fill with Twinkie frosting.

*for the frosting*

  1. First off, if you don’t have a stand mixer, get one.  If that’s not an option, get a partner who is willing to hold an electric mixer while you pour the boiling honey into the gelatin.
  2. Place the gelatin in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.  Pour 1/2 c water on top and whisk to combine, then set aside.
  3. Pour the honey and remaining 1/2 c water in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn or boil over.
  4. Turn on your mixer to medium-high in the bowl with the gelatin.
  5. SLOWLY pour a steady stream of hot honey, making sure the stream of liquid hits the side of the bowl first so it doesn’t curdle the gelatin.
  6. Have patience…keep pouring until all everything is combined.  Then leave the mixer on for 15 minutes.  Yep.  15 whole minutes.  I covered my mixer with a towel so it wouldn’t splatter.
  7. Add the vanilla and butter and keep whipping everything until it’s well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  8. Frost your cake and enjoy!
  9. If you’d like a photo tutorial of the marshmallow-making process, go here.
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Boston Baked Beef

My husband gave me the crazy eyes after he inhaled his third full-sized portion of this stuff.

“YOU F**KING BETTER MAKE THIS AGAIN.”

*Sigh*  “Yes, dear.  If I must.”  He’s so sweet.

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But god, I’m so slow at posting things anymore.  You would be, too, if you had 87 million pages of reading last night on quantum mechanics.  No, really, I did.  Maybe a little less than 87 million.  But it took a solid hour and a half out of what used to be my time to lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing.  Not OK.

I got the idea for this particular concoction from our little wekeend vacay in Boston.  Shocker.  If I have any native Bostonites reading, I have to apologize and tet you know that I totally would have used a bean pot if I had one.  I swear.  Sorry.  I loveloveloved baked beans when I was young thanks in part to an awful lot of family dinners out at Kenny Rodgers’s Roasters…true story.  Clearly it’s been a looooooong time since I have eaten beans.  Or eaten at Kenny Rodgers’s Roasters.

Like any good Paleo rendition of something that is by its very nature NOT Paleo, I replaced the central ingredient with meat.  I bet if I’d wanted a more bean-like texture I could have used diced sweet potatoes or something…but people always seem to deify beans because, you know…they have SOOO much protein.

Welp.  I’ll see your bean and raise you a moo cow, you silly Vegans, you.

Boston Baked Beef
Author: TGIPaleo.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 12 Thick Slices Bacon, diced
  • 1 Large Onion, Diced
  • 1/3 c Molassas
  • 6 oz (1 small can) Tomato Paste
  • 1/3 c Grainy Mustard
  • 2 T Honey
  • 2 t Salt
  • 1 t Black Pepper
  • 1/3 c Apple Cider Vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, brown the beef in some oil, then set aside, reserving the drippings.
  2. In the hot beef juice, add the bacon and cook until crisp.
  3. Add the onions and stir for a few minutes, then add the molassas, tomato paste, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Stir vigorously to break up chunks and prevent sticking, using a whisk if you need to. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  5. Add your beef and stir until well combined.
  6. Let simmer for 2-3 hours.
  7. Serve over cauliflower rice, regular white rice, or just on it’s own!

 

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Almond Butter Banana Nut Cookie Sandwiches

Between moving back close to extended family and old friends and being back in school, this summer has turned into Social Event Overload.  Which is a good thing for boring people like me because I now have a chance to do something with my weekends other than watch Game of Thrones marathons and stuff my facehole with bags of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks.  (Toss ‘em in a mug with some almond butter and put it in the microwave for 25 seconds and they’re even better…in case you were wondering).  Oh, no…now my weekends are all booked with BBQ’s and coffee dates and potlucks and impromptu drinking parties.  I never realized how lonely my so-called “adult life” had been until I got here and realized that, oh yeah…summer is *supposed* to be all about this kind of stuff.

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But I’m also reveling in the fact that I now have a billion new excuses to cook for people.  And by that I mean bake for people.  You can’t have a BBQ without cookies! These in particular were my contribution to a family picnic at my folks’ place last weekend.  A few of my cousins and now my aunt have done the Whole30 and have begun to dabble in all this Paleo biz, so I wanted to make sure I brought a plethora of Paleo goodies.  The sweet tooth in our family is a force to be reckoned with.

Paleo Cookies

These cookies are perfect for the summer since they’re really not too rich or too heavy…they actually remind me of little peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  But you know, with almond butter.  Feel free to fill them with any nut butter, too…I think next time I’ll use Cacao Bliss and make little reverse-Oreo dealies.  Any excuse to devour that stuff by the spoonful is welcome.  Or you can choose to use no filling at all…they’re great on their own, too.  Not to name any names, but the first half batch kinda…disappeared…before I could frost ‘em.  Oops.

Almond Butter Banana Nut Cookie Sandwiches
Author: TGIPaleo.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 c Almond Meal
  • 1/2 c Almond Butter
  • 1/4 c Honey
  • 2 Mashed Bananas
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Salt
  • 3/4 c Chopped Walnuts
  • 3/4 c Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • More Almond Butter, for filling
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  2. Beat until smooth, then stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookies sheet and flatten with the base of a spoon. The cookies ought to be “silver dollar” sized.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Coolcompletely, then spread almond butter over the tops of one half of the cookies, then top with the other half to make little sandwiches.
  6. Enjoy!

 

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The BEST Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes (w/ My New Favorite Frosting!)

I’ve done it, I’ve really done it!  In three years of Paleo eating, I have never really found a good, plain, vanilla cake recipe I was nuts about.  As a baker this posed a lot of problems since simple recipes like that aren’t just nice to have on hand to serve to a crowd, but they make a wonderful and straightforward base for other, fancier recipes.  I mean, don’t all of our mothers have a go-to scratch-made yellow cake recipe?  My mom’s happens to come from the one and only Duncan Hines.

Paleo Cupcake

Well, now I have one, too.  I’m a little shocked it took me this long to figure it out…but then again a lot of my baking adventures have been a little outrageous at times.  I blame Pinterest for that ssince, I mean, how can you look away from the flood of Cafe Mocha, Pink Lemonade, Red Velvet, Maple Bacon, Pina Colada, and Quadruple Fudge Peanut Butter Caramel Marshmallow Unicorn Poop flavored cupcakes and be all like, “Yeah…let’s go have some VANILLA!”

I was never a vanilla cake person.  I need adventure and variety in my life.  I think if I ever had to throw something together, I opted for good old chocolate cake with a fluffy vanilla buttercream…and then threw in some chocolate chips, marshmallows, or whatever was in reach.  So, I guess I just took a total 180.  Weird.  Sorry.  But for whatever reason I wanted some plain old vanilla cupcakes.  I must be growing up or something.

I’m not sure what exactly clicked with this cake to actually give it a light, fluffy texture without being *too moist*, chalky, or gritty.  I’ve messed around with all of these ingredients at one point or another in various combinations and proportions over the last couple of years but this was the first one I was 100% satisfied with.  I will say that cashew butter seems to be the magic bullet for flavor…it has a very natural “cake batter” kind of taste and made the cake taste like…cake.  As far as texture, I took a gamble and replaced one egg with 2 egg whites and left it in the stand mixer for a solid 2 minutes on high to get it to fluff up (I’ve tried whipping the whites beforehand and folding them in but I’ve had mixed results with coconut flour based stuff)…and by golly it was perfect.

Also got some great feedback from my classmates at our weekly BBQ and that helped to reassure myself that they were, in fact, edible.  No one died!  Yay!  When non-Paleo people can actually stomach my food I consider it a success.  I have a feeling my house is going to be the scene of a summer-long episode of Cupcake Wars…you know, if Cupcake Wars only featured one person talking to herself and yelling at inanimate objects all day.  Let’s see what else I can come up with now that I have a vanilla cake that doesn’t taste like a sponge.

OK, now for the best part…the frosting.  OH, this frosting.  It’s not my recipe but it may be the only one I use for the rest of my life.  I find that a lot of Paleo or Primal frostings…uh…kinda suck a lot of the time.  While I love coconut oil and palm shortening in baking…they give kind’ve an oil-slick quality to frosting, and frankly I’ve given up on trying to get something that tastes like the fluffy, grocery-store sugary crap I used to covet in favor of simpler stuff like nut butters, coconut manna, and melted chocolate.  Good enough for government work.  Until now.

I saw this recipe over at Cookies and Cups and was astonished I’d never heard of such a thing.  TWO ingredient chocolate buttercream.  Like, real buttercream.  And it’s Paleo as long as you use ghee instead of straight up butter!  Go check it out.  Right now.  And start frosting things.

But you know what’s nice about vanilla cake?  You can put whatever the hell you want on it.  So if you’re feeling lazy, try some almond butter and honey.  Split them and fill with whipped cream and strawberries.  Use this icing I made the other day.  I dunno…surprise me :-)

The BEST Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes
Author: TGIPaleo.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 1 t Salt
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 c Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 c Honey
  • 1 t Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Combine all your dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs and egg whites with the cashew butter, honey and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH for 2 minutes (this step is key to a good, fluffy texture).
  5. Spoon into your lined cupcake tins to about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly browned and pass the toothpick test.
  7. Frost with Chocolate Buttercream or frosting of choice!
  8. Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

 

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Carmelized Banana Blondies w/ Rich Butter-Fudge Frosting (Dairy Free!)

Oh, East Coast summer…I didn’t miss you at all.  I can’t walk outside without my hair taking off in every direction and being covered in a sheen of sweat.  There’s no “feminine glow”…just nasty sweat.  Ew.  And what makes it worse is that I go to school with a pretty well put-together group…and not only did I never really learn to dress myself properly, but I walk and/or bike to class and here they all are, dressed up like they’re going to the yacht club and in walks the Swamp Thing.  Yup, real attractive.

OK, let’s talk about these little squares of heaven.  Something about chocolate, nuts, and carmelized bananas is just so…right.

I originally called these “brownies” because that’s exactly what they reminded me of…rich, gooey (not cake-y!  Cake-like brownies are an abomination!!) little squares backed with bananas and nuts…except they clearly aren’t chocolate.  Well…they do have chocolate chips.  Is that enough?  I really don’t know where I’m going with this.

banana-blondies-paleo

Oh, and obviously there is no butter in them, either.  But if you’ve never used cashew butter, I insist you do…you know how cashews are damned addictive because they just…melt in your mouth and taste so…buttery?  OK, well I guess mashing them up into a paste just enhances all of their awesomeness by like, a zillion.  Just…just do it.

One note on these…coconut manna (also known as coconut butter or coconut cream concentrate) is the key to the texture.  It’s smooth (not as grainy as many nut butters) and has a hint of coconut flavor that pairs sooooo well with the bananas.  However, even I have a hard time finding the stuff at times, so in a pinch any nut butter will do.  Do NOT use coconut oil.  For the frosting, in a pinch, just try plain old almond butter with a drizzle of honey.  It’s like a very naughty PB&B ;-)

Paleo-Banana-Blondies

Enjoy!

Banana Blondies w/ Rich Butter-Fudge Frosting (Dairy Free!)
Author: TGIPaleo.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Blondies:
  • 2 Bananas, sliced
  • 2 T Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 c Coconut Flour
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/2 c Coconut Manna
  • 1/3 c Honey
  • 2 t Vanilla
  • 1/2 c Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 c Chocolate Chips (dairy-free, soy-free, etc)
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 c Coconut Manna
  • 1/2 c Cashew Butter (any nut butter would be fine)
  • 1/4 c Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 c Honey
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a skillet.
  2. Add the bananas and sautee until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from heat.
  3. When bananas have cooled slightly, mash completely in a large mixing bowl.
  4. To the mashed bananas, add the coconut manna and honey and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.
  5. Add the coconut flour and eggs a bit at a time, beating well in between. When mixture is fully combined, beat for 2 minutes on high.
  6. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Frost with Butter Fudge Frosting…
  10. For the frosting, add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  11. Beat with an electric mixer, slow at first to combine, then on high for three minutes, until fluffy.

 

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