“Have my cake and eat it too” was the phrase that kept coming to mind while I was creating this cake. I wanted to simultaneously indulge in a piece of cake and feel good about eating it. The challenge was on! Gluten free baking alone can be tricky at times but baking with little to no sugar as well? Was I unrealistic for wanting a cake that was gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free and delicious? Surely, there had to be a way. I just needed to figure it out. Over the process of doing so, I started receiving requests from other Moms for this kind of cake. I became even more motivated to crack this cake code for all of us. Thankfully, my son and husband were good sports in tasting all of those experiments. I arrived to this recipe just in time for my son’s 2nd birthday party.
Now EO’s actual birthday was this past summer. While we were traveling through Salzbug, Austria we had a small family celebration. It was a sweet moment seeing him blow out his candles all by himself on his Waldorf, birthday set for the first time. He seemed satisfied with this occasion until after we attended several of his friend’s birthday parties. EO expressed he wanted a birthday cake and I started wanting the memories of him being surrounded by his friends and blowing out his candles. So what did we do? We threw a birthday shindig four months later! Yup! It is never too late to celebrate!
My first thought of using the Waldorf set to blow out EO’s birthday candles was to do something different then the traditional candles on a cake. Am I the only one to question why this is such a strong custom? Come to find out, German bakeries in the 15th century were the first to market the birthday cake and placed candles on a cake to represent “the light of life”. The ancient Greeks also placed candles on round cakes to honor Artemis, the goddess of the moon. The glow of the candles represented the glow of the moon and the smoke from the blown out candles carried their wishes and prayers to God.
Once we decided to throw a party for EO, this beautiful trivia made me excited to continue with a birthday cake tradition of our own. I just wanted it to be a “healthier” cake without white flour, white sugar or partially hydrogenated oils. If you’re interested in why I wanted this, keep reading ;).
Omitting refined sugars any chance I can get is important to me because they are extremely addictive and affect the body negatively in so many ways. Sugar spikes blood sugar levels that contribute to fatigue, mood swings, lowered immunities and increases in stress. Plus, some studies have found that sugar affects cognition in children. Sugar has been my nemesis, taunting me my whole life. This is the most challenging ingredient for me, but the good news is, there are alternatives!
I am not a fan of white flour because it has practically been stripped of all its vitamins and minerals. To me, it is a pointless food to eat because it does nothing for the body but give it calories. Why not use flours that nourish the body?
As for partially hydrogenated oils, they are just one molecule away from being plastic. You read right, plastic. These oils are injected usually with metals that change their molecular structure to increases their shelf life. This process makes the oils thicker and when eaten makes your blood thicker, which makes your heart work harder to pump it.
Once I learned these things about common cake ingredients, I haven’t been able to shake them out of my head. This is why I wanted to create a treat that we could all eat while supporting our bodies at the same time.
The alternatives I came up with are very exciting to me because they actually contain nutrition. For starters, the garbanzo flour has plenty of protein (about 11 grams in half a cup) as well as fiber, minerals and vitamins including folate.
The cacao, of course, adds chocolaty yumminess to this cake, but it also has significant amounts of iron. When iron is paired with vitamin C (the cherries in this recipe) the body is able to absorb the iron better.
The coconut milk and coconut oil add good fat to the cake. The body can use good fat in many ways including supporting a healthy brain. Did you know that the brain is composed of 60 percent fat? It actually needs fat to work its best. I was also super excited when I discovered that the coconut milk helps this cake stay moist, which is a big plus with a dense cake.
On EO’s big day, this cake disappeared faster then I could say “Wowie Zowie” or even get a piece of it! This was the best feedback I could ever get from our guests. I hope you enjoy it this much too.
* Disclaimer: Do not expect this cake to have the same taste or texture of a white flour cake with loads of sugar. Instead, expect a delicious, dense cake that lets you celebrate the moment without sacrificing the tradition.
Chocolate Cherry Coconut Cake
You will need these ingredients:
Step by Step:
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup + 2 tablespoons organic coconut butter OR 2, 6 oz. boxes of creamed coconut
8 ounces kite hill cream cheese OR regular cream cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
¼ cup +2 tablespoons agave (optional)
50 plant colored sprinkles ( I hope this made you laugh!)
Here are some of my top-secret tips.
Celebrating life everyday,