Eat your veggies part 3: White Chocolate Sweet Potato Macadamia Nut Cake

This is a classic Martha Stewart Recipe. TWO POUNDS of sweet potatoes… layered with a white chocolate mousse. Yum. Remember: ORGANIC INGREDIENTS!!

Sweet Potato Macadamia Nut Cake

2 pounds (about 3) sweet potatoes
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
Unsalted butter, for pans
2 cups sifted flour, plus more for pans
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brandy
1 1/2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, and set aside.
Coat potatoes with 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and place on baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, and mash flesh with a fork into coarse puree.
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add remaining 1 cup vegetable oil; beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the cooled sweet potatoes; mix until combined.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix into sweet potato mixture. Mix in vanilla and brandy until combined.
Fold in 1 cup macadamia nuts.
Evenly distribute cake batter into prepared pans, and transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let pans cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; cool completely, about 1 1/4 hours.
White Chocolate Mousse Frosting

1 pound white chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
Chop white chocolate into small pieces; set aside.
Bring 1 cup cream to a boil; pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes.
When chocolate mixture has cooled, pour remaining cup cream into an electric mixer; whip on medium until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture until fully incorporated.
Assembly

Cut each cake layer in half horizontally, creating four layers.
Spread 2/3 cup chocolate frosting on one layer, then stack next layer on top, and frost.
Repeat frosting-and-stacking process until each layer is frosted. Spread remaining frosting on sides and top of cake.
Arrange remaining 1/2 cup macadamia nuts on top of cake, and serve.

Eat your veggies part 2: Carrot Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

OK, here’s another fabulous cake, with a pound of carrots AND a pound of pumpkin! Don’t forget the fruit: there’s some orange peel in the frosting 😉

Two-layer Carrot Pumpkin Spiced Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

4 cup grated carrot
1 cup raisins
3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp cinnamon
fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground ginger
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP molasses
15 oz can (or fresh baked) pumpkin

Butter and flour 2-9″ cake pans.
Preheat oven to 350*.
Combine carrot and raisins with 1/4 cup water (or enough to cover) in a saucepan, and cook til raisins are plump. Drain excess water.
Sift dry ingredients together.
Mix wet ingredients together.
Add dry to wet, mix til blended. Add carrot/raisin mixture.
Divide evenly into cake pans.
Bake 45-50 minutes or til toothpick come out clean.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix together 8 oz room temp cream cheese, and 6 oz room temp butter til smooth.
Add 1 tsp vanilla, and grated peel of 1 orange.

Assembly

Let cakes cool completely. Run a knife around edge of first cake pan. Invert over a cake plate, tap till it comes out. (If it doesn’t come out perfectly, don’t worry, this is a 2 layer FROSTED cake, no one will know! Just scoop out cake left in pan, and putty it back into the bottom of the cake.)

Frost top. Do the same with the second cake. Frost top and sides.

ENJOY!!

Eat your veggies part 1: 2-Layer Triple-Chocolate Zucchini Chocolate Cake

This fall I made three *delicious* cakes, all with a couple pounds of vegetables in each one! Several friends have asked me to post the recipes, so here they are. These recipes are all tried and true, and combinations of recipes that I have found online and in my multitude of cookbooks (unless otherwise noted). I also always recommend organic ingredients all ways.

You might be thinking, Ayurveda? Triple chocolate cake? Remember, everything in moderation. Organic ingredients. High quality cocoa is a superfood. And we need some yummy desserts that satisfy our taste buds and soul. Remember to appreciate every bite, don’t overindulge, and share the choco-love!

So, let them eat cake! Your veggie-skeptical family will never know they are getting full servings of vegetables when asking for seconds on dessert! (I will take photos next time and re-post. Unfortunately, they all were eaten too fast!)

Two-Layer Triple-Chocolate Zucchini Cake

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, soft
2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 TBSP vanilla
2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 cup+ zucchini, grated
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*
Butter and flour 2-9″round cake pans.
Melt chocolate and oil over double boiler.
Cream butter until light. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla. Beat well. Add the melted chocolate and mix well.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir dry into the batter. Add the buttermilk.
Mix in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly into the pans.
Bake 40 minutes or til toothpick comes out clean.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Heat 1/4 cup water and 2 TBSP butter in saucepan on low.
Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, heating til chocolate melted and smooth.
Remove from heat. Add 2 cup sifted confectioners sugar, stirring well til combined and silky.

Assembly

Let cakes cool completely. Run a knife around edge of first cake pan. Invert over a cake plate, tap till it comes out. (If it doesn’t come out perfectly, don’t worry, this is a 2 layer FROSTED cake, no one will know! Just scoop out cake left in pan, and putty it back into the bottom of the cake.)

Frost top. Do the same with the second cake. Frost top and sides.

ENJOY!!

White Bean Soup with Kale

This soup is so satisfying! Hearty but light, flavorful, simple(!) and literally packed with nutritional powerhouses. Makes an excellent winter meal served with some fresh sourdough bread. (Remember: every recipe I submit, organic ingredients are understood. This is vital.)

Ingredients

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch dino (flat) kale rinsed, and chopped (big thick part of stem removed)
3 cups veggie stock
1-15 oz can Muir Glen fire roasted chopped tomatoes (or other fresh/canned chopped tomatoes)
2 -15 oz cans cannellini beans undrained
1-1/2  TBSP Italian herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley)
salt pepper to taste

Heat large stainless pot on medium high. Add olive oil and heat. Add onion and saute til soft. Add garlic and kale, saute for a few minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, stock, herbs, salt, pepper and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Health Benefits

Upon researching the health benefits of the ingredients in this simple soup, I barely know where to begin. Here is a highlight, but these few food items are powerhouses of health benefits. Check them out in greater detail, or just eat this soup!

Kale: Wow. It is very high in vitamins K, A, and C. Kale’s high levels of several antioxidants help protect our body from oxidative stress. This is important, as our overall risk of cells becoming cancerous is partly related to oxidative stress. Kale is a spectacular source of vitamin K, and we know from research that vitamin K is a key nutrient for helping regulate our body’s inflammatory process. It has cholesterol-lowering and detoxifying properties, and is high in fiber.
Cannellini beans: White kidney beans, cannellinis are high in soluble fiber, folate, magnesium, thiamin, manganese, iron, and (who knew) molybdenum. High in protein all alone, added to a meal with rice, you’ve got all amino acids and thus, a complete protein.
Tomatoes: Providing tons of vitamin C, tomatoes are also full of the phyto-nutrient lycopene. Both are excellent anti-oxidants.
Garlic: Known to benefit the cardiovascular system, garlic has been shown to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. It has high levels of sulfur compounds and also vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and manganese. Add to this its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral properties (eat fresh garlic when you are getting a cold, remember?) and you’ll have no choice but to eat more fresh garlic for its health benefits.

Herbal Chai Beverage!


Chai is a Indian “tea”, traditionally made with a variety of spices, black tea, water, milk, and sweetener. The spices in chai are used in Ayurvedic cooking and healing for their digestive properties.

Cinnamon promotes digestion and strengthens circulation. Coriander is a digestive that balances the heat of pungent foods and spices. Cardamom is one of the best digestive herbs; it stimulates the digestive fire and neutralizes mucous in the stomach. Black pepper is a strong digestive spice, as it cleanses the digestive tract and destroys toxins. Ginger is a universal digestive remedy; it relieves indigestion, and gas and cramps in the abdomen. Clove is a warm digestive aid and carminative. And nutmeg increases absorption, and has a calming effect on  an agitated mind. For a cooler maybe summer version, you can add fennel or licorice. Slightly cooling, fennel strengthens digestion and reduces gas. Licorice is a mild laxative and it smooths and tones the mucous membranes. Together, these spices provide a perfect after-dinner beverage, morning wake-up drink, or mid-day treat! Although I put measurements with each ingredient, everyone’s palate is different, so adjust amounts to your taste; and while you can add black tea if you like, this is a caffeine-free recipe.

Combine in a large pot:

4 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp whole coriander seeds
15 whole cardamom pods crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns
10 thin slices fresh ginger root
10 whole cloves
fresh grated nutmeg
* 1 tsp licorice root, optional
* 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, optional
4 quarts water

Bring to boil, then reduce and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain. More water can be added if it has boiled too long and is overly spicy. This strongly flavored base can be made in bulk and refrigerated. Then, simply heat desired amount in a small pan with 1/2-part milk (cow, almond, rice, etc.) and sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.) to taste!