Tag: cake

The First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

The last seven months have been an absolute joy! Nico is a bright light in our lives and a constant reminder of the goodness and love new life brings. I wanted to share a bit about my recent transition from life as a wife and business owner into life as a new mom, wife, and business owner, and the balancing act therein.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Here’s a fun little background story: When my husband was a little boy, he told his mom she had an easy job. She was a stay at home mom with three boys, all close in age. Although she was slightly offended by Nick’s comment, she knew he would see for himself in the years to come. Boy, has he! We have now both witnessed the time and commitment babies bring.

If I’ve learned one thing during this journey, it is balance. Being a parent is a full-time job. I respect all of you who are participating in this noble duty. Add in the day job, and that’s another story. If I want to enjoy being a mother and a good partner to my husband while running a business, I’m learning that I need to seek balance every day in my life. My mentor once told me, ‘Balance does not come in a day, but over time.’ If Nick and I make daily choices to support a more balanced approach to life, we will eventually be in a beautifully balanced life.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Although days are filled with baby, meetings, house chores, emails and lots of baking for Sweet Laurel, I try to do at least one thing every day that’s for pure joy. For me, these activities include going for a walk, taking a yoga class or going in a sauna. I also get a lot of joy out of making dinner for my husband and I, which is a daily priority. I know this about myself and have learned to schedule my day accordingly. Obviously, there are days when this just can’t happen because of schedules, etc., but like I said, we strive for balance over time.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Nico has reminded me to stop and enjoy moments. When I am working at home and he is crawling around laughing at random things in the house, occasionally I will drop everything and just hang out with him for a bit. After all, he’s only going to be a precious baby for so long. I wanted to share these gorgeous family photos by my talented friend Elsie Dardon. She’s helping Nick and I document life with our Sweet Nico.

First Seven Months with Nico \\ Sweet Laurel

Enjoy these photos, and feel free to give me some advice about the motherhood balancing act or share your stories with me!

SaveSave

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

IMG_0475.JPG

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.

IMG_6243.JPG

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.

SaveSave

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!

My Favorite Christmas Cake \\ Sweet Laurel

 

DSC_1538

I know, I know, fruitcake? Does anyone actually like fruitcake? Well this one is different. It has not spent who knows how many months in a tin and while the flavors are indeed fruity, they are also fresh and festive. Play around with toppings such as shaved orange peel, chopped pistachios, and goji berries to brightly decorate the cake!

DSC_1558

DSC_1547

DSC_1589

My Favorite Christmas Cake 

1 orange (washed, halved, and deseeded)
4 eggs
¾ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dried cherries
½ cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried figs
½ pistachios
½ cup walnut (chopped)

Place orange (yes, skin and all), eggs, maple syrup, extract, almond flour, salt and baking soda in blender. Mix until blended. Add dried dried fruit and blend for about 30 seconds. Add nuts. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes.Cool completely and drizzle with coconut butter icing.

Coconut Butter Icing:
1/4 cup coconut butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut milk

Mix all ingredients over very low heat. Add more coconut milk if mixture needs to be thinner.