Category: holidays

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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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.

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so here’s a fun DIY gift you can give to the mommas you love! This soak includes two of our favorite ingredients at Sweet Laurel: coconut and pink salt. Both are beneficial to your body inside and out! Pink salt and coconut have benefits once digested, and several topical benefits as well. While the coconut milk powder in the recipe works to moisturize the skin, the pink salt acts at a detoxifier. Roses are used for their gratifying and soothing effect to the senses. This bath soak is a simple, yet beautiful little gift! Enjoy.

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak for Mom \\ Sweet Laurel

Rosebud Bath Soak DIY Gift


 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Himalayan pink salt (I like to use the coarsely ground salt)

1/2 cup coconut milk powder

3 tablespoons dried rosebuds

1-2 drops essential rose oil

1 8 oz glass jar


 

Directions:

Grind a few of the rosebuds in a mortar and pestle until slightly broken. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Spoon into a jar and seal. Keep in a cool. dry place until use.

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!

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Spring has sprung! These adorable little cupcakes are perfect for any celebration. We love the mild yellow color you can achieve with our all natural, yellow food coloring, turmeric. Turmeric is also an anti – inflammatory powerhouse, so it is a win-win way to color your frosting. This is the debut of our vanilla cupcake recipe that many of you have been requesting, so enjoy!

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes \\ Sweet Laurel

Easter Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes


Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Directions:

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. Using ice cream scooper, scoop batter into prepared cupcake molds.

Bake about 20 -25 minutes. Allow to cool.

 


 

To prepare yellow icing:


 

Ingredients:

1/4 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

1/4 teaspoon turmeric (more or less depending on the brightness you’d like)


 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except turmeric over very low heat.  Allow to cool. If too thick, add a bit more coconut milk. Whisk in turmeric to color icing.

Dip cupcakes into icing. Repeat with all cupcakes. You may want to double dip them for deeper color. Enjoy!

Top with fresh, organic chamomile flowers.

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Here’s a wholesome upgrade for a Shamrock Shake! Mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite flavor of ice cream. Whenever I’m craving my fave ice cream, and Kippy’s doesn’t have mint chip at their shop ;),  I whip up this simple shake. It is a delicious St. Patrick’s Day treat, and creamy, minty, chocolatey, and totally healthier than your average shake.

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake \\ Sweet Laurel

Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

Serves 2


 

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas

2 cups coconut milk, I like Nature Value

1/2  cup fresh mint leaves

4 dates, pitted

2 handfuls fresh spinach

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 scoops protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons cacao nibs


 

Directions:

Put all the ingredients except for cacao nibs in the blender and mix on high until fully blended. You may want to add extra coconut milk depending on the texture you desire. Pour into two large glasses and stir in cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

We’ve received numerous requests for cake recipes, so here you go! When I was a little girl, my mom made heart shaped cakes every Valentine’s Day. I remember they were always delicious, and always pink! It was not long before I took over the tradition, and now I make one each year. This is a deliciously moist vanilla cake with coconut whipped cream frosting, colored with beet juice. It is perfect for your sweetheart or any occasion! If you don’t have a heart-shaped pan, feel free to substitute circular or square pans. We hope you enjoy this Sweet Laurel favorite!

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Pretty Pink Valentine Cake

Yields about a small heart pan (6 – 7 inches in diameter) with this recipe or a large heart pan (9-10 in. diameter) with double the recipe


 

To prepare the cake:


 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Prepare a heart shaped cake pan by coating with coconut oil. For small heart pan, about 6 – 7 inches in diameter, use this recipe. For larger heart pan, about 9-10 inches, double this recipe.

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. Using a spatula, pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cakes in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpic inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the pan. Once cake is cooled, top with coconut whipped cream (recipe below).


 

To prepare the coconut whipped cream:


 

Ingredients:

2 cans of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons beet juice


 

Directions:

After the coconut cream has set in the fridge overnight, the coconut fat solids separate from the coconut water. Open cans of coconut cream and spoon the solid cream into Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. You can also use a bowl and hand mixer. Beat the solid coconut cream on high speed until cream peaks form.  Slowly stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Add beet juice to color until desired ‘pink’ is reached. Refrigerate until use. When you are ready to frost the cake, smooth coconut whipped cream over sides and surface. Sprinkle with dried rose buds.

Enjoy!

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

This cake is a festive and delicious holiday beauty. We start with our grain-free and refined sugar-free chocolate cake and then top the cake with a super simple, dairy-free cashew based frosting. The whole cake is topped with shredded unsweetened coconut to make it look fun and festive, and giving it the name Snowball Cake. We hope you can include this your holiday baking this season!

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

Festive Snowball Cake

Yields one two layer 6-inch cake or one 8-inch cake


 

For the cake:


 

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup cacao

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

2 eggs

1 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


 

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease one 8-9 inch pan or two 6 inch pans with coconut oil.

Mix almond flour, cacao, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add eggs, maple syrup, water, and vanilla. Stir until batter forms. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.


 

For the frosting:


 

4 cups cashews (soaked for at least 1 hour)

1 cup water

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


 

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until use.


 

To Finish:


 

Place one cake round on a cake plate. Cover with frosting. Repeat with next layer (if you chose to make a two layer cake). Smooth frosting all over cake, covering tops and sides.

Top cake with coconut flakes and sprinkle with gogi berries. Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Santa is getting an upgrade with these Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons paired with Vegan Egg Nog. This perfect combination of holiday favorites will satisfy all at your next holiday gathering. The eggnog is not too rich and has the perfect pop of flavor. Enjoy, and we wish you all a beautiful holiday season!

Coconut Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Coconut Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Coconut Macaroons with Vegan Eggnog \\ Sweet Laurel

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons


 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup almond flour

3 cups shredded coconut

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

3/4 cup maple syrup

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop ball – like rounds onto a cookie sheet.

Bake about 15 minutes. You can bake longer if you’d like your macaroons to be crispy. Allow to cool in pan about 10 minutes. Move to rack to cool.

Dip cooled macaroons in chocolate sauce, then let set for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!


 

To prepare chocolate sauce:


 

Ingredients:

2-3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

Melt chocolate over low heat. Allow to cool, then add maple syrup.


 

Egg Nog

Makes about 4 cups


 

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight

3 dates

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Combine almonds in Vitamix or high-speed blender with 4 cups of water. Add all remaining ingredients. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth into a bowl. You may wish to switch the egg nog to a pitcher, then store in the fridge until serving.

Enjoy!