Tag Archives: baking

Paleo Banana Carrot Muffins


I sure didn’t appreciate my freezer enough until it was broken and we couldn’t get in touch with our landlord for an entire week to get it fixed! My daily morning protein smoothie became a warmer much less appetizing juice of sorts and all of the food we had in there was quickly defrosting in the Topanga Summer heat. As some of you may know, I really loathe wasting food (thanks to mom! ;)) So when I noticed the  fully thawed shredded carrots in the freezer and the overly ripe bananas on my kitchen counter (I now fully appreciate my frozen bananas), I had to put them to use. I decided to make some banana carrot muffins (sort of similar to my primal carrot cupcakes, but less sweet and without dairy for all you paleo folks) which were a great breakfast alternative while I impatiently waited for frozen fruit to return to my blender.


Paleo Banana Carrot Muffins (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes ~12 muffins)

  • 2 c blanched almond flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 organic free-range eggs, at room temp.
  • 1/4 c organic pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin organic coconut oil
  • 1 c organic carrots, grated
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2/3 c coarsely toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325° F and line a muffin pan.  In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer,  gently mix together eggs, maple syrup, and oil on low speed. Fold the carrots, mashed bananas, and shredded coconut into the wet ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients and fold in the toasted walnuts.

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Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners. Bake at 325° F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.



Peanut Butter Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache


I made this cake for my roommate’s bakery last summer and it was TO DIE FOR! There is no better indulgence in my mind than a chocolate-y peanut butter treat–whether’s it’s a Reese’s peanut butter cup, chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, or this heavenly pound cake. Of course none of these things are on my Primal diet so when my friend Boomer requested a peanut butter chocolate birthday goody, I jumped at the chance of making this cake again. (I also made Blueberry Lemon bars for the other of this Birthday extravaganza, Stacy). He was having a pool party so for the sake of convenience I made mini bundt cakes, but I have to say I STRONGLY urge you to make this cake in a 10″ tube pan as the batter is just not meant for small spaces. They were adorable and quite tasty, but definitely did not live up to the first result of this recipe. Pound cake is just meant to be consumed in the form of a beautifully tall slice of cake lightly smothered in a thin layer of frosting. Trust me!


Peanut Butter Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting (Adapted from the Penzey’s Catalog) (Difficulty-Medium; Serves 12-14)

For the Cake:

  • 1 c. butter softened
  • 1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 5 cage-free organic eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. milk

For the Ganache:

  • 12 oz. premium semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream

Make the Cake: Do not preheat oven.  The Penzey’s test kitchen suggests placing the cake in a cold oven.  Lightly grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter.  Add the sugar and beat until light in color.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  The mixture should be light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix the batter until smooth and creamy.  Pour into cake pan.  Place in the cold oven.  Set the oven temperature to 325°F and bake until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean; about 1 hour and 25 minutes.  Please note that all ovens are different, so check the cake’s progress after 1 hour 10 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool completely before icing.



Make the Ganache: Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl.  Heat the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan until boiling.  Pour over the chocolate and stir until creamy and smooth.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes.  Brush any loose crumbs from the cake.  Place the cooling rack on a clean baking sheet to catch the drips.  Pour the icing evenly over the cake, allowing it to cascade and cover the cake.  Move the cake rack to another clean baking sheet.  Scrape the drips from the first baking sheet, reheat and pour over the cake.



Blueberry Lemon Bars


Last weekend two of my dear friends in LA had a joint Birthday pool party so of course I had to bake something! My friend Boomer always requests anything with peanut butter and chocolate, so I decided to make this delicious peanut butter poundcake recipe I have into mini bundt cakes. Check it out here! Stacy doesn’t love chocolate so I wanted to make her own special birthday treat. I thought these blueberry lemon bars would be the perfect summer pool party snack. They were definitely a hit! unfortunately they are not gluten-free or primal…would love to have tried to adapt them but had no time with 5 out-of-town visitors all in the same weekend!!


Blueberry Lemon Bars (Adapted from IMPROV Kitchen) (Difficulty-Easy; Makes ~2dozen bars)

For the Crust:
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temp.
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For the Filling:
  • 2 1/2 c. frozen blueberries thawed and drained of juice
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 3 ree-range organic egg whites
  • 1 free range organic egg
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line an 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the bars out once they’ve cooled. 
Make the crust: Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add the vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Place dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 minutes until slightly golden brown. 
Make the filling:  Add blueberries, sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice + zest, flour, and salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust (don’t worry, it’s a very loose mixture, it will thicken) and bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven and the sized baking dish you use. 
Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or until they’ve cooled completely). You can place them in the freezer if you need them sooner but refrigerator is best. If you can wait overnight, that’s even better. Slice into bars and serve!

Chocolate & Olive Oil Fig Cakes


I have been holding onto this recipe since last summer and I am so glad I finally got around to making it! The fig season is so short that by the time I went to make it last year, I couldn’t find fresh figs anywhere. So do yourself a favor and try this while you still can. Fresh figs are like a completely different food than their dried counterpart that we usually find in salads. Don’t get me wrong I love dried figs too, but fresh figs are a summer delicacy to savour! Their sweet juicy flesh pairs perfectly with the rich chocolate and olive oil in the cake. And the sea salt and fresh ground pepper in the chocolate topping perfectly finish off this decadent treat. I know what you’re thinking…ground black pepper on chocolate cake?!? Believe me! It heightens the lemon zest and pairs with the sea salt to balance the chocolate, olive oil, and figs. Chocolate Perfection! A great Italian dessert to follow up my Salmon Florentine.

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Chocolate & Olive Oil Fig Cakes (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 6-7 mini cakes)

For the cakes:

  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1 c. almond meal, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. raw honey
  • 1 large cage-free organic egg plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 3-6 fresh figs, halved

For the glaze:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for topping

Make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the cakes: Brush a 6-cup muffin pan (I used a mini bundt pan) with olive oil and dust with almond meal. Whisk the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let cool slightly. Combine the almond meal, salt and baking soda in another bowl.


Combine the honey, egg and egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed until pale and slightly thick, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the almond meal mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake 8 minutes, then top each cake with a fig half and continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, 8 to 10 more minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack, 20 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.




Make the glaze: Place a small saucepan of water on the stove to boil, then turn off the heat. Put the chocolate, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a metal bowl and place over boiling water, stirring, until smooth.

Top the cakes with the glaze and more fresh ground pepper. You can add additional fig slices to the top of the glaze if desired.


Primal Chocolate Zucchini Cake


I just returned from the most glorious week of cooking! I helped my wonderfully creative Aunt Nancy cook for a silent meditation retreat at Insight Retreat Center near Santa Cruz, CA. The menu was all vegetarian and we made variations on dishes to accommodate other dietary restrictions and needs like gluten-free and dairy-free–there was even a yogi sitting the retreat that was Primal! It was such an amazing change being able to cook more nutritionally balanced and health-focused meals, especially for a group of such insightful and loving individuals! I also managed to get out for a few hikes in the beautiful redwoods. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity–my soul is fully charged and inspiration high! I am very much looking forward to the several catering events I have coming up and am already trying to figure out a way to get back up North for another retreat.


A calm and quiet kitchen at 6am–just before the breakfast rush


De La Veaga Park, Scott’s Valley, CA


Came upon this precious scene on my hike through Henry Cowell State Park


Aunt Nancy and I took a little trip the Santa Cruz Boardwalk…boy was that a lot of stimulation in comparison to the tranquil retreat center

   All of the meals we cooked were focused around the seasonal organic produce that came from local farmer’s markets and even the on-site garden and orchard–what a dream come true! So my Aunt and I got to talking about different uses for zucchini one day and I remembered the chocolate zucchini cake I had seen in the Food Network Magazine just before I left. With the abundance of food and goodies to be created, we never got around to making the zucchini cake so I obviously got right back in the kitchen at home on Sunday and made a Primal adaptation for all of you. This cake is so incredibly easy and the perfect answer to a chocolate craving. Not to mention it is full of the vitamins and nutrients from fresh organic zucchini. Taste it for yourself!


Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 6)

  • 1 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. raw honey
  • 1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cage-free organic eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 medium organic zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 c. semisweet vegan chocolate chips

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a small 8×6 pyrex dish or other small cake or bread pan with all natural cooking spray. You can also make this into cupcakes with a muffin pan.

Mix the 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes. Add the almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda allspice and nutmeg and mix on low to combine, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the 1/2 c. chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.


Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

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Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a metal bowl. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Turn the heat off and set the metal bowl over the boiling water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Be sure to use a potholder to hold the bowl steady as it will become hot quickly. Spread over the cake with a spatula.

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