This recipe is a piece of cake, but your guests won't have to know. A single slice in a pool of maple syrup--simple, elegant, delicious!

I originally came across this recipe a while ago in my search for wheat-free apple cake recipes. It won’t take any more time to make than a regular batch of muffins or chocolate chip cookies, so it’s really pretty easy. I made a few minor adjustments to my taste, but essentially it’s the same recipe.

This wheat-free cake is perfect for a Sunday brunch, with your morning coffee, or afternoon tea. Shredded apples keep it moist, while a toasted topping of pecans and maple syrup add sweetness and crunch. Convert these to cupcakes for a portable breakfast or healthy snack on-the-go.

Apple Spice Cake

1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (reduce by half for table salt)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 cups grated apples, with about 1/3 cup juice squeezed out (drink it, it’s delicious!)
1/3 cup vanilla soy milk (or equal amount of juice squeezed from grated apples)
1/4 cup chopped dates (optional)
1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans or walnuts
maple or amber agave syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ pan or 8″ square cake pan. If making cupcakes, line 12 baking tins with paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Stir in shredded apples and dates until well distributed. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients, mix well by hand. Add remaining dry ingredients, making sure to incorporate dry ingredients without over mixing.

Pour batter into pan, bake on middle rack in oven for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. If making cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

While cake is baking, toast pecans or walnuts on cookie sheet on top rack of oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from oven, cool until easy to handle then chop. Set aside.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack. Invert cake onto plate, then flip over again onto serving plate (so top side faces up.) Before serving, garnish with toasted nuts and drizzle with maple or agave syrup. Cake serves 6-8.

You'll go nuts over this moist apple cake that's spiced just right!

Roasted cacao nibs (Left to right): with parchment, without parchment, broken, and pulverized.

My parents sent me some cacao nibs last year and only recently have I started experimenting with them. They’re very bitter and have a strong cocoa taste, but kinda smooth because of the coca butter. It is very fragrant after grinding, better than a can of Hershey’s cocoa!

Our neighbors had us over for dinner the other week and prepared an awesome Chocolate Mousse Tart. I’ve never had an avocado-based chocolate dessert before and this was better than I could have ever imagined! Since I’m sensitive to dairy and wheat, I could eat my fill of this incredible dairy-free/gluten-free concoction without feeling bloated or tired. Thank you, Elena, for sharing this amazing recipe! In my version I couldn’t form a crust so I just parfait’d it (see pic below), but Wolfie doesn’t seem to mind it one bit! ;)

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE TARTS

Maple Walnut Crust

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups walnuts
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados
10 very soft dates (soak in water for a few hours to make them soft)
4 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cacao powder (or cocoa powder if you don’t have the other)

Directions:
1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add the maple syrup and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is combined. (You can create a smoother crust by blending longer if you like, but in my experience leaving some chunks is a good idea to add contrast against the smooth chocolate pudding).
2. Get out a muffin pan. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the walnut mixture at a time and press into the bottom of a muffin cup. Press firmly so that the walnut mixture is compact and holds together. You should be able to fill about 8 cups with the walnut crust. Refrigerate.
3. Finely chop the dates.
4. Cut open all the avocados and scoop them out into a clean food processor. Blend. Add the other ingredients and blend to incorporate.
5. Remove walnut crusts by running a knife around the perimeter to loosen, then lift out. If the crust breaks or becomes dented, simply press it back together once it’s out the mold.
6. Spoon a large dollop of avocado mouse on top of the crust base. Garnish with whatever fruit you have on hand (fresh berries, banana, dates, pomegranate, pineapple…). Enjoy! =D

 

Wolfie wanted a taste of my parfait — no way, Jose!


I also tried a Shallot Marmalade recipe using cocoa nibs, and substituted about half the ingredients. Instead of shallots, I used sweet onions. No prunes so I used dates. And though you could use either balsamic or red wine vinegar, I think the balsamic was too overpowering, so only a little bit of marmalade and lots of rice worked for me. I served it with miso-lemon marinated chicken (marinade recipe here), brown rice musubi and greens.

Shallot Marmalade recipe became “Onion Jam,” or o-Jam.