July 4th is coming. A day where we celebrate the courage of a group of men who said things were just not good enough the way they are. Life can be better and we are going to do something about it. I feel that is the experience too many of us have had with the medical community. There are just too many horror stories of misdiagnoses and suffering at the hands of doctors.
Doctors who ironically take an oath to not cause any harm and to always help us. Unfortunately, they are still people, people who need to feel like all those years of school and piles of debt were worth something. That it has given them all the answers and that the learning is done. But guess what? For a true scientist, the learning is never done. (If you find a doctor who is a true scientist, never let them go.)
Embracing a Paleo diet is saying life can be better. It’s saying I am willing to do what it takes in spite of all the naysayers and people who think I am just some crazy chic buying into some hippy-dippy trend. Hey, maybe it will work, maybe it won’t (though it is already). There is no guarantee. The only guarantee we ever have is that doing nothing, will lead to nothing.
Adapted from Only Taste Matter's Spiced Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
1 1/2 cups raw cacao powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee
3 cups boiling water
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour
1 cup cassava flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups spanish olive oil*
2 cups maple sugar
4 large eggs
*A note on olive oil: While this cake has a distinctive Italian flavor, I do not recommend using an Italian oil. You need to use an oil that is fruity. Not being an olive oil connoisseur myself, my research led me to olive oils from Spain which apparently are fruity. The bottle claimed the oil was “best used uncooked, as heat will lessen its aromatic properties.” Perfect! This is exactly what is needed in an olive oil cake. Too strong an oil makes a really bad cake. I learned this the hard way with too many cakes ending up in the trash.
Adapted from Tasty Yummies’ How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream
3 cans of full-fat organic coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 to 3 tablespoons honey
Beans from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 ounces raspberries
6 ounces blueberries
- In a medium bowl, sift the cacao powder. Add the instant espresso or coffee and and whisk in the boiling water until all the powders are dissolved. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cassava flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, olive oil and eggs and beat on medium high until thoroughly combined (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the bowl. Tip: If using a hand mixer with the whisk attachments, it may combine faster than 3 minutes. Stop mixing when it is combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and pour in the cacao mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl.
- Gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix again until combined.
- Let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes. Tip: The flours need more time to absorb the fats than wheat flour. Resting the dough gives the flours more time to soak up the oil and for the flavors to meld.
- While the dough is resting, position the rack in the center of oven and preheat the oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and line with parchment paper three round 8-inch cake pans.
- Divide the batter equally between the three pans. Bang down each pan a few times to level the batter. Cover each pan tightly with foil. (What!? This is not a roast! I know it seems odd but once you get used to the foreign idea, the result is shocking. The cake is fluffier because it has more time to rise. The foil holds in all of the moisture so the cake stays yummy longer. Usually it is an either/or situation but this method creates both--a light and moist cake. Who thought it was possible?)
- Bake for 50-65 minutes until the cakes are well risen and they have come away from the sides of the pan. If you press the cake lightly with your finger, it should spring back. Tip: If you are not sure if the cake is done, leave it a little longer. It is better to "over" bake a bit than "under" bake.
- Remove the pans from the oven and place them on cooling racks. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes. Then invert them to remove the pans. Invert them again so they finish cooling right side up. Remove the parchment paper before frosting. Tip: Chocolate cake is always better the second day. The flavors need to meld. I always wait until the next day to frost it.
- Turn each can of refrigerated coconut milk upside down and open the can. There will be a white layer of coconut cream on top. Tip: I could only get Thai Kitchen brand to work but don’t really love it. For a fuller analysis, check out this post from Tasty Yummies titled How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream.
- Scoop out just the coconut cream into a large bowl electric mixer. Leave the water in the bottom of the can. Tip: You can save the water for drinking or smoothies.
- Add the honey and vanilla.
- Using the whisk attachment, whip the coconut cream at high speed for 3 to 5 minutes until soft peaks form.
- Spread two or three layers of paper towels on a cookie sheet.
- Take the raspberries out of the container and spread them in one layer on the paper towels. Leave them for a long as is convenient, even up to two hours. Tip: The longer you leave them the more raspberry juice the towels will absorb and less will bleed on your cake. I never wash raspberries when using them like this but if you do, make sure you towel them off well.
- If you wash your blueberries, make sure you have toweled off all the water.
- Place a dot of whipped coconut cream in the center of your serving plate and place the first cake layer on top of it.
- Spread the top of the cake layer with 1/3 of the whipped coconut cream.
- Dot the layer with blueberries and raspberries (almost half).
- Repeat with the second layer.
- For the third layer, spread the top of the cake with remaining 1/3 of the whipped coconut cream.
- Decorate with the few remaining berries. Tip: Assemble near serving time. Keep refrigerated but leave out for one hour before serving.
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