Category: dessert

Our Classic Vanilla Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

I love sharing cake recipes with you because cake is my thing! At Sweet Laurel, we like to keep it simple, and not to mention, deliciously gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free and dairy free!

I shared this recipe with our friends at The Chalkboard Mag last month and had to share with you as well. I opened up to the gals over there about my healing journey, and what brought me to start Sweet Laurel. Enjoy the read and our delicious yet simple Classic Vanilla Cake! xo, Laurel

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Two years after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s), I decided to do something about it. When I was diagnosed in 2012, my doctor immediately put me on synthetic thyroid hormones to stand in for the hormones my body was not creating. Every morning I popped my pill and went on with my day-to-day activities, all while ignoring my body’s screams for help.

Two years later, I was suffering from extreme IBS, a myriad of digestive issues and secondary amenorrhea. I came face to face with the reality that I could not put my health off another year; I needed to take action. I met up with a family friend who practices functional medicine and she introduced me to the concept of healing through food.

She suggested I remove inflammatory foods from my body/diet: grains, dairy, refined sugar, soy, and legumes. Hashimoto’s disease has a long-standing negative relationship with gluten, which mimics the thyroid hormone in some cases. Removing gluten as well as other inflammatory foods was the first step in taming my thyroid, as well as healing my gut.

I removed foods causing inflammation, as well as processed foods and educated myself in a whole-food approach to eating. I started by eating whole vegetables, fruit, and organic and pasture-raised protein. I quickly learned if I wanted certain foods, like crackers or cookies, I had to make them myself. This was when Sweet Laurel became more than just a thought. I started to work with foods I could eat, like almond flour and coconut oil, as opposed to flour and butter. I fell in love with Himalayan pink salt for balance of flavor in my cooking and baking, and instead of table sugar, I sweetened my baked goods with maple syrup. In most recipes, I used organic and pastured eggs or found they weren’t needed at all! I kept it simple. I discovered the beautiful reality that a whole-food approach to eating doesn’t have to be complicated. In 2015, using these five core ingredients, I launched Sweet Laurel with the goal of sharing this approach to eating with as many people as possible. Here is a simple yet beautiful recipe I love to share with friends on late summer nights. The elegant topping of whipped cream and berries is a classic.

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Recipe Note: Make sure to let the coconut milk set in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight, before making the coconut whipped cream topping. I always keep multiple cans of coconut milk in the back of my fridge so I can whip up this quick and delicious dessert!

VANILLA CAKE WITH COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM AND BERRIES

Yields one 8-inch round cake

INGREDIENTS:

For the vanilla cake:
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 eggs *
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
organic seasonal berries, for topping

* Vegan option – egg replacement:
1 Tbsp freshly ground chia seeds
1 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
4 Tbsp water

For the coconut whipped cream:
1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like Let’s Do Organic brand)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

For the vanilla cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare your 8-inch pan by cutting a circular round of parchment paper to fit the base of your pan. Place the circular parchment round inside the cake pan, then grease the sides of the pan with melted coconut oil.

Place eggs*, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Add almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until batter is formed, then pour into prepared pan.

Bake about 25 minutes (or 35 minutes, if using egg replacement), until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool, then flip cake out of pan onto a cake plate.

For the egg replacement:

Place the freshly ground chia and flax seeds in a bowl, then add water. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, then add to the batter. This cake will need to bake for 10 additional minutes.

For the coconut whipped cream:

Place can of coconut milk in refrigerator the night before you make your cake.

Before you plan to serve your cake, open the can of refrigerated coconut milk. The fat will have risen to the top of the can, with the liquid at the bottom; scoop out only the solids to your mixing bowl, then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk together, then refrigerate whipped cream to keep it firm until you are ready to top your cake.

To frost your cake, place cooled cake on serving plate and top with prepared coconut whipped cream, followed by organic seasonal berries.

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Our Favorite Chia Seed Pudding \\ Sweet Laurel

 

 

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School is back in session, and it is time for a quick and easy breakfast classic. Our favorite chia seed pudding is simple and nutritious. We start with delicious and organic coconut cream. Coconut cream is the solid coconut fat that firm up at the top of canned coconut milk. You can find canned Coconut Cream at grocery stores now with higher percentages of fat, and lower percentages of coconut milk, yielding more creamy deliciousness. If you cannot find coconut cream, feel free to use good canned coconut milk, with no additives. Simply scoop the solids from the top of the can for your use in this recipe.

And back to the chia seed pudding… I said it was simple, and I mean it’s simple! We mix the coconut cream with chia, slightly mashed berries, raw honey and lemon juice to create a satisfying and delightful breakfast or even a special after dinner treat!

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Our Favorite Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 2

1 cup refrigerated coconut cream* (Lets Do Organic and Trader Joe’s both have delicious organic canned Coconut Creams)

1/2 cup fresh blueberries and raspberries, lightly smashed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In a bowl, stir together all ingredients until well mixed. Pour into two 4 ounce glass jars and cover with lid. Store in fridge overnight. Serve with extra berries. Enjoy within 3 days.

* I always keep my coconut cream in the refrigerator. This is because I make a lot of coconut whipped cream and coconut yogurt. These recipes work better when the coconut is solid and not liquid. Refrigerating coconut milk causes the fat to rise to the top of the can and solidify.

Vegan Banana Split \\ Sweet Laurel

One of our favorite ice cream shops is Kippy’s in Venice. Every flavor is created on the foundation of two simple ingredients: organic, raw coconut cream and organic, raw honey. If ice cream could be good for you, this is humanity’s best chance.  The flavors are delicious, and the raw coconut cream and honey are filled with fantastic enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, basically anyone can enjoy it, it’s gluten free, vegan, and raw. The flavor of the coconut cream and honey is so simple and pure, and the perfect canvas for a classic ice cream sundae. Here’s our version, but if you find yourself in Los Angeles or Tokyo this summer, be sure to check them out!

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Vegan Banana Split \\ Sweet Laurel

Vegan Banana Split

Vegan Banana Split


 

Ingredients:

1 pint coconut cream (Lets do Organic or Nature Value brand is what I like best), at room temperature

2 to 4 tablespoons raw honey, at room temperature (depending on desired taste)

Directions:

The night before you plan to make your ice cream, place your ice cream maker in the freezer. The next day, combine the coconut cream and honey by whisking together. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill completely in the fridge.  Then run the mixture through your ice cream machine. Freeze until firm.

Note: if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can try a variety of methods to make ice cream without one. My favorite is to pour the chilled mixture into a shallow dish, place it in the freezer, and every 30 minutes to stir it with electric beaters or a whisk. It will take about 2 hours for it to get the right consistency. 


 

To build the sundae


 

Ingredients:

1 banana, split

Vegan Caramel

Chopped nuts, to taste

Coconut whipped cream

Fresh Cherries

Directions:

Place the banana on a plate, add ice cream, and top with a drizzle of caramel, nuts, and a scoop of whipped cream. Finish with a cherry on top, of course.

Blueberry Muffins \\ Sweet Laurel

Who doesn’t love a scrumptious blueberry muffin? Our Blueberry Muffins are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, and ridiculously simple to make. The flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, almond and blueberry are delicious together, and there’s a subtle sweetness from the maple syrup. This is definitely one of our favorites.

NOTE: we lined our cupcake molds with parchment squares. Feel free to use cupcake tins or liners for your muffins, or grease the molds with coconut oil.

Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping \\ Sweet Laurel

Paleo Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping \\ Sweet Laurel

 

Paleo Blueberry Muffins

12 small muffins (cupcake size)


 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoons vanilla extract

4 oz blueberries (about 4 per muffin)

 


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare your cupcake pan by lining with parchment liners or tins. Alternatively you can grease each mold with melted coconut oil.

In a small bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking soda, Himalayan pink salt and cinnamon thoroughly. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the cake molds and top with blueberries.

Bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool ten minutes before removing from the pan. Enjoy!

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

So simple and so delicious. That’s just how we like it at Sweet Laurel. This cobbler is ready within minutes, and perfect when served warm with a scoop of ice cream or right out of the fridge by the spoonful. Hope you enjoy this special summer sweet treat!

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler \\ Sweet Laurel

Berry Cobbler

Yields 1 8×8 pan


 

To make the filling


 

Ingredients:

5-6 cups of berries (fresh or frozen)

juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Place berries in a 8×8 casserole dish. Squeeze lemon juice over berries. Set aside while you prepare topping.


 

To make the topping


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond or hazelnut flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place all topping ingredients in a bowl and stir until soft dough forms. Press dough onto berry filling.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve with coconut whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy!

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Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

I created this summertime tart to highlight the star of the season: peaches! A simple dessert to prepare, and a beautiful one at that. This tart tastes great with vanilla ice cream or coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!!

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Peach Tart \\ Sweet Laurel

Peach Tart

Yields one 8-9 inch tart


 

To make the crust:


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour + 2 tablespoons

1/2 tsp pink salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

Directions:

Place flour and salt in food processor. Pulse briefly. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball.

Press into 8-9 inch tart pan. TIP: To ensure your tart comes out of the pan easily, you may want to line your tart pan with parchment paper before pressing dough into tart pan.


 

To prepare filling:


 

Ingredients:

5-6 peaches

Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350.

Directions:

Prepare a large pot of boiling water. When the water has hit a rolling boil, drop 4-5 peaches in the water. Blanch for about 3 minutes. Carefully remove the peaches and allow to cool.

After about 5 minutes, remove peach skins. Slice peaches into small 1-2 quarters. Arrange peaches in tart pan in circular formation. Pour lemon juice over the peaches.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-40 minutes, until peaches are soft and they begin to slightly brown. Switch oven to broil, and carefully broil tart for 3-4 minutes. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Pistachio Rose White Chocolate \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Many of you know by now that I am slightly addicted to chocolate. I eat chocolate every day in one form or another, and it is usually 100% cacao from ChocoVivo, my favorite bean to bar chocolate shop in Los Angeles. We use their delicious chocolate in our cakes at the bakery as well.

Some days, I’m in more of a white chocolate mood. Enter cacao butter, chocolate’s better half. Cacao butter is the white fat from the cacao bean. It has that chocolatey flavor as well and when it is mixed with a bit of raw honey, it quickly turns into a super food and a super dessert. I originally made this Pistachio Rose White Chocolate with Shiva Rose, and I’m sharing it today on my blog with you. Enjoy this delectable version of white chocolate, mixed with fragrant dried roses and pistachios.

Photos by Kim Genevieve.

Pistachio Rose White Chocolate \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Pistachio Rose White Chocolate \\ Sweet Laurel x Shiva Rose

Pistachio Rose White Chocolate

Yields one 8 x 8 sheet of chocolate


 

Ingredients:

1 cup cacao butter, chopped

1 cup coconut milk powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons raw honey

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

1/4 cup pistachios, shells removed

2 tablespoons dried rose petals


 

Directions:

Line an 8×8 plate or pan with a sheet of parchment paper.

In a double boiler, melt cacao butter over low heat. It will look like melted butter. Off heat, whisk in the coconut milk powder. Continue to stir until completely smooth.

Add vanilla extract and salt to pot and stir. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Slowly stir in raw honey.

Pour white chocolate mixture onto piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle with dried roses and pistachios. Place in refrigerator until solid. Break or cut into pieces. Keep refrigerated or frozen until serving. Enjoy!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

I love being a mom! In honor of Mother’s Day and my first time celebrating as a mom, I’m sharing some of my most used, and favorite mom-friendly items. This week’s recipe features my Lactation Cookies, which accompanied me to the hospital when Nico was born, and have been made regularly since!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

First off, Nucifera! I LOVE Nucifera, and the amazing entrepreneur who developed it. Nucifera is the ultimate pregnancy and breastfeeding safe, all in one, beauty product. I use it regularly before bed and on my face as part of my cleansing routine. By now you all know how in love I am with coconut, and this is a coconut based product, and the benefits are unending. It moisturizes, soothes, purifies, and combats various skin conditions. Nucifera can even be used as an all natural deodorant. I personally like using it under my eyes. And by the way, Nucifera is not just amazing for mothers, it is great for fathers and children alike!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Second, my Petal Soft Ballet Nursing Bra. Not only is it pretty to look at, it is oh so comfortable. I never thought nursing would change my whole outfit. For some reason, I never made the connection. Well, a good nursing outfit starts with a good bra, and this is my go-to! It is from Bravado Designs, who also makes two other nursing bras I’m digging– the Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra, also comfy, and the Clip and Pump, which gives me mobility with my hands while I pump!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Third, a good notebook. I want to cherish each day with sweet Nico, and this helps me do! I’m a very sentimental gal, so essentially, writing down thoughts, precious moments and words of gratitude have been very therapeutic for me. Nico has made me a more organized person, and this is one tool I’ve begun to use to help in that department.

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Lastly, Lactation Cookies. Do you every need an excuse to eat cookies? Well, when you’re breastfeeding, you automatically have one! Lactation enriching foods have been used for centuries to help with breast milk production, and my cookies contain just a few of the many nutritious foods know to encourage milk supply nursing. I read a book entitled Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, and learned about the foods I should focus on during pregnancy and nursing. I highly recommend this book. Per the words of Planck, two of the most popular lactation foods are oats and beer. I don’t include either of those in my cookies, as I don’t digest either well, but have included several of the other recommended foods. These cookies freeze super well, so I typically make a batch and store them in the freezer to snack on and give to people who come over. Having a baby really ups your weekly visitors!

New Mommy Faves \\ Sweet Laurel

Lactation Cookies

Yields about 30 cookies


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds or shredded coconut

1/2 cup macadamia nuts or pecans

1/2 date paste or 7 dates, pitted

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted) or grass fed butter (solid)

1 cup chocolate chips (recipe below)

Maple syrup, as needed (these cookies are not very sweet, so add if need be)


 

*For Oatmeal Raisin variation

Exchange flax and sesame seeds for 1/2 cup of oats (if you tolerate). You can also add shredded coconut for texture!

Exchange and 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins for the chocolate chips.


 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a blender, combine the flax seeds, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, dates, eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup (optional). Turn on low speed, and blend until batter is incorporated. Remove mixture from blender and place into a bowl. Stir in almond flour and chocolate chips. Spoon one tablespoon sized cookies onto cookies sheet. Gently press dough down with a piece of parchment paper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Lift parchment off pan, and allow cookies to cool all the way.

Enjoy!


 

Homemade Chocolate Chips 


 

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (100% cacao, organic is preferable)

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey


 

Directions:

Break baking chocolate into one-inch pieces and place in thick saucepan or double boiler. Over a very low heat, melt baking chocolate. Once melted, take off heat, and add maple syrup or raw honey and stir. Pour chocolate onto parchment paper and spread into a rectangle, about 8×12 inches. Place parchment in freezer. Once hardened (will take a few minutes), break into small pieces and use as chocolate chips.

 

Blueberry Lavender Donuts with Coconut Glaze \\ Sweet Laurel

Today is my birthday, so I’m sharing one of my favorite new recipes with you! These Blueberry Lavender Donuts have the loveliest flavor, and are perfect for a springtime brunch, or better yet, Mother’s Day! The food grade lavender is optional. The donuts will have perfect flavor with or without. Enjoy!!

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts \\ Sweet Laurel

Blueberry Lavender Donuts with Coconut Glaze

Yields 6 donuts


 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup blanched almond or hazelnut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

3 tablespoons 100% maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 eggs, at room temperature, whites and yolks separated

1 teaspoon dried lavender

1/8 teaspoon food grade lavender oil (optional, for extra lavender flavor)

1/4 cup blueberries


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease your 6-mold donut pan with coconut oil.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl combine all of the wet ingredients except egg whites.

Mix the wet with dry and set aside. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Add lavender oil, dried lavender and blueberries.

Equally distribute the batter between the 6 donut molds. Smooth out the tops of each donut.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow the donuts to cool, remove from pan and then chill in the fridge for half an hour.


 

To Prepare Glaze


 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut butter

2 teaspoons 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup coconut milk

Dried lavender and blueberries for garnish


 

Directions:

Mix remaining ingredients over very low heat.  Allow to cool. If too thick, add a bit more coconut milk.

Dip donuts into icing. Once all donuts have been dipped, you may wish to re-dip donuts for a deeper white color.

Garnish donuts with dried lavender and blueberries if desired.

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel x Jenni Kayne

Last Easter, I had the privilege of working with Jenni Kayne on her annual Easter party.  As always, everything about it was beautiful. Jenni is such a talented lady. I shared a super fun recipe, and I thought you all would like it as well. These are simple yet delicious Easter cookies. They are easy to whip up with kids and beautiful to look at on the table.

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cookies \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies


 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/4 cup 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Either by hand or in a food processor, combine the ingredients into a dough. The dough will be slightly clumpy, so do not fret if the dough doesn’t look like traditional cookie dough. If the dough is a bit dry, add a little more melted coconut oil.

Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough. During this stage, the dough will join together and be much more uniform. Place parchment paper with rolled out dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up. Remove from refrigerator and cut into shapes. Carefully transfer cut outs to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until barely golden brown at the edges. Cool completely, and decorate with icing.


 

Coconut Butter Icing


 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut butter

2 teaspoons 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut milk


 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients over very low heat. The coconut butter can easily burn, and turn a brownish color, so be careful during this step. Color with a pinch of turmeric for yellow, beet juice for pink, matcha powder for light green or other natural food colorings if you like. We sprinkled these cookies with a bit of gold dust to make them extra fancy!