Oh spring! How we've waited for you! And what a great way to welcome the season this first Spring weekend with Easter celebrations. This cake is just perfect for any gathering you may be attending this (or any!) Spring weekend. It has a delicate blend of sweetness and spice just right for this in between time as the days get longer and warmer. And this cake contains an extra special ingredient adding to it's sweetness, lucuma. Sound interesting? Find out more...
Lucuma is a fruit native to Peru and grown in the Andes. It has a natural sweet maple flavor but a low glycemic index, meaning that it does not cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar levels like other sweet foods can. Lucuma is a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. A two teaspoon serving packs two grams of fiber, which means our crumb cake contains twelve grams of fiber from the lucuma alone! Not surprising, lucuma is a popular ice cream flavor in South America and often favored over chocolate or vanilla. The most common form of lucuma found in North America is a powder made from the dried fruit that can be used in many ways. Some of our favorite uses are adding to hot cereals, smoothies, yogurt, home made baby food, and baked goods such as our crumb cake this week. Remember that along with additional nutrients and fiber lucuma will provide a mild sweetness without spiking blood sugar. Lucuma powder can be found at specialty grocers and healthy food stores or online. A brand that we like is Navitas Naturals and more info can be found on their site. But if you don't have lucuma in your pantry yet don't worry! This cake will work without if you substitute another 1/4 cup flour for the lucuma powder. Just this once though because lucuma is worth a try!
Lucuma Cinnamon Crumb Cake
PREP TIME: 20 mins
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 5 mins (includes baking time)
Servings: 8-10 slices
1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp cane sugar
2 Tbsp black strap molasses
4 Tbsp coconut oil, softened but not fully melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup oats, lightly processed in a food processor
1/3 cup oat bran
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
6 Tbsp coconut oil, softened but not fully melted
1/2 cup cane sugar
2 Tbsp ground flax + 6 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain soy yogurt (or plain yogurt of choice)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup lucuma powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cane sugar
In a small bowl, combine the crumb topping ingredients; coconut oil, cane sugar, molasses, oat flour, oat bran, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts. Lightly mix with a fork until a crumbly texture is formed then set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 8" spring form pan* with coconut oil and set aside. To prepare the cake ingredients start by combining the ground flax seed and warm water in a small cup. Mix with a fork until gelatinous and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, lucuma, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt and set aside. In a standing mixer combine the softened coconut oil and cane sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the flax/water mixture, vanilla, and yogurt and continue to mix until fully combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat until just combined. Make sure to avoid over mixing.
Combine 2 tsp of cinnamon with 2 tsp of cane sugar in a small cup for the middle of the cake. Spread half of the cake batter in the prepared pan using a spatula - this may take some patience as the batter is sticky. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the first layer of batter and then evenly spread the remaining batter over the top. Generously crumble the topping evenly over the cake. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to slightly cool then run a butter knife around the sides of the pan to loosen before releasing the spring form side. Serve with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy with loved ones!
*A regular cake pan will work but make sure it is well greased with coconut oil.
Cinnamon. Sweet. Heaven. Basically the only way to describe this cake. This one will go fast so feel free to make an extra, one for your gathering and one all for you! Did we really just say that? You'll get it once you've given it a try...
Jess and Cecelia
If you know us here at TGBK by now you'll know that we love any reason to celebrate if that celebrating means good food and drinks. And here in Chicago there is a lot of celebrating done this week for St. Patrick's Day. Historically, we haven't partaken in the food and drink festivities given that we are vegetarian (no corned beef) and shy away from food additives (no green beer for us), but this year was different. We decided to use the traditional foods and colors of the festivities as inspiration for a vegan, green dye free meal and the results were fabulous! Seriously a meal that we will be making again and again. We will get to the recipe after a little more about our star foods this week.
The two foods we want to highlight this week are both fermented foods, surprise, surprise! And as you know from many other posts, fermented foods are just amazing. Some of the healthiest foods you can consume for your gut and body in general. The first fermented food (pictured above) is tempeh which is a cake made out of fermented soy beans. Tempeh originated in Indonesia and is a vegan, high protein food source. Because the whole soybean is utilized to make tempeh there is more protein, fiber, and micronutrients than standard tofu. The process of making tempeh is actually quite interesting. Whole soybeans are first soaked in water, de-hulled, and partially cooked to soften. The soft beans may then be mixed with whole grains and seeds such as brown rice and flax seed and a starter culture (spores of fungus). The mixture is then spread out into a thin layer to ferment at 86 degrees for 24-36 hours. Because tempeh is fermented, the carbohydrates that may cause abdominal bloating and gas are easier to digest, which means a happy and quiet gut! Tempeh has a chewy texture and a somewhat earthy taste. We love it soaked in a salty/sweet marinade and pan fried just like in this recipe. Sauerkraut (pictured below) is our other star fermented food this week. Traditional sauerkraut is thinly sliced green cabbage mixed with salt and left to ferment at room temperate for several days/weeks. Sauerkraut is naturally sour in taste from the lactic acid produced during the fermentation process. Lactic acid may sound scary but is basically a helpful bacteria that ferments the sugar in the cabbage creating the beloved sauerkraut. This form of fermentation is raw, which preserves AND increases the bio-availability of vitamins and minerals in the cabbage (so cool!) and creates live active cultures of probiotics, specifically lactobacilli, in the final sauerkraut. So hopefully these star foods now have you ready to make this fabulous recipe.
PREP TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 10 mins (+ 7 days fermentation time)
Servings: 1 quart (4 cups)
5 lbs organic green cabbage (~1.5 cabbages)
3 Tbsp salt
Remove the outer layer of the cabbages, reserving 3-4 full, large leaves and set aside. Thinly slice the cabbage and add to a bowl. Generously sprinkle 3 Tbsp salt over the sliced cabbage and lightly massage. Using a clean and sterile large crock or jar, gradually add the cabbage making sure to pack down for a tight "seal" to keep the kraut fresh. Continue this process until all the salted cabbage is in the crock. Make sure you leave at least a 4" space from the top of the crock and the cabbage. Place reserved full cabbage leaves over the top and layer each leaf making sure to press the edges tightly down to create a seal over your kraut, also to keep your kraut fresh. Place a fermentation weight or a clean jar filled with water over the top of the cabbage leaves and let sit at room temperature on the counter. Within the first 24 hours, press down with on the weight every 4-6 hours - you should begin to see a brine. This brine naturally forms as the salt helps to release water from the cabbage. Continue to press down on the weight daily and allow the natural process of fermentation to take over! We let ours ferment for 7 days, which gave the final product a salty and sour taste with the perfect crunch. Once complete plate about 1/2 cup cabbage for this dish.
PREP TIME: 35-60 mins (includes marinade time)
TOTAL TIME: 40-65 mins
8 oz organic tempeh
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper powder
In a shallow bowl combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, onion, and pepper powder and whisk with a fork until fully combined. Cut the block of tempeh in half then add to a zip lock bag with the marinade and allow the tempeh to sit and soak up the flavors for at least 30 minutes. Place tempeh in a pre-heated non-stick or oiled pan and sear both sides until caramelized (this takes about 3-4 minutes on each side). Carefully slice tempeh as thin as possible and fan 1/4 over each plated sauerkraut.
Super Green Sauce
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 10 mins
Servings: 1 cup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 small garlic clove, smashed
1 crushed bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan. Turn heat on to a simmer and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add to a blender, and blend until smooth. Finish plates with a drizzle of super green sauce.
So it's going to take a few bites to taste and appreciate all of the amazing flavors in this dish, and once you do it will rock your St. Paddy's day world. The sauerkraut is just the right amount of crunchy and sour, the tempeh has a sweet saltiness and incredible texture, and the green sauce is so vinegar forward but also rich that it just doesn't seem possible. But it is. And it's our gift to you this week. So enjoy with or without a green beer (we won't judge!) and let us know what you think. We can't wait to hear from you!
Jess and Cecelia
Do things ever get so busy that you just can't find the energy to keep up? Trust us, we feel you. And that's exactly why we created these Sunshine Energy Bites. Also, of course, to acknowledge the longer days with the clocks turning ahead this weekend. Right, just when we can't keep up we lose an hour! So whip these up quick to keep you energized this week.
Sunshine Energy Bites
PREP TIME: 10 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
Servings: 18 bites
6 oz dried unsweetened mango
1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
10 soaked pitted dates + 2 Tbsp reserved date water
1/3 cup thick rolled oats
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp whole fax seed
2 Tbsp sunflower seed butter (we used salted)
1/8 tsp sea salt
Pre-soak dates in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften. Chop the mango into half inch pieces and set aside. Using a food processor pulse the oats until a thick flour like texture is formed then place in a separate bowl. Avoid over processing as you want to be able to see some whole oats. Add the ground and whole flax seed to the oat bowl. Combine the chopped mango, pistachios, sunflower seeds, soaked dates, and 2 Tbsp reserved date water to the food processor. Pulse until mixture comes together then pour contents into the oat/flax bowl. Add sunflower seed butter and salt and stir to fully combine. Form into bites about the size of ping pong balls. If your mixture is too dry (the balls crumble and easily fall apart) add a few teaspoons of additional date water as needed. Continue to form until you have about 18 energy bites. Keep in an air tight jar in the fridge for freshness.
They are sweet, salty, and sunflower buttery - basically everything you need to keep you going through all your endeavors. Trust us, we've been busy in the kitchen and have tons of great recipes coming your way, thanks to these bites of course.
Jess & Cecelia
It's story time here at TGBK and what better way to enjoy a good story than with a delicious cup of tea? When asked how this recipe blog, and our friendship, came to be we easily answer over tea! Soon after meeting through our shared work as dietitians we decided to have a bake night making some of our favorite desserts. And of course this event was not complete without a full blown tea party with beautiful teapots, mugs, and of course great tea. So this post holds a special place in our hearts as we share a deliciously spicy chai latte recipe this week with an extra special ingredient, saffron.
Saffron is the world's most expensive spice by weight, aka fancy! It comes from the the saffron crocus flower which is native to Southwest Asia and Greece. Saffron is expensive because the harvesting is labor intensive during flowering season each fall. Every flower has three threadlike stigmas in the center which are removed by hand and dried to become the familiar spice. Saffron contains carotenoids giving it a rich golden color when added to cooked food or beverages. When using saffron in recipes, remember that a little goes a long way! Saffron has a very pungent taste needing only a thread or two to add a bold, warm, and somewhat exotic flavor to your recipes. We think it is perfectly different and exciting to our taste buds in our chai latte recipe.
Saffron Chai Latte
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 10 mins
Servings: 4, 16 ounce drinks
4 cloves, crushed
3 star anise, crushed
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 Tbsp fresh chopped ginger
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fresh shaved nutmeg
5 cardamom pods, crushed
10 black tea bags or 5 Tbsp loose black tea
3 Tbsp cane sugar
Almond milk (homemade recipe here), soy milk, or milk of your choice
Saffron springs and sprinkle of cinnamon to garnish
Using a mortar and pestle gently crush the cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods until broken and fragrant and place in a tea strainer. Add peppercorn, all spice, ginger, fennel seeds, black tea, and sugar to the tea strainer. Gently pour hot water (~3-4 cups) into the tea pot until full. Allow tea infusion to steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea strainer from the tea pot and place to the side. In a medium size pot, warm milk over medium heat. Feel free to use a milk frother if you have one! Fill half of a large mug with chai tea and top the remainder with warm milk. Add a sprig or two of saffron and sprinkle of cinnamon if desired and enjoy1
*Note that if you don't have a tea pot with a tea strainer spices can be bundled in cheese cloth tied with string for steeping.
Well, we hope you've enjoyed learning more about our beginnings here at TGBK and love the recipe we've shared this week. This chai has a gentle spice, delicate sweetness, and special flavor imparted from the saffron that just can't quite be explained. Looks like you'll have to try this one, friends, for the full flavor story.
We love you a latte,
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.