Paleo German Chocolate Cake

When I first found out that I had celiac, one of my inital thoughts was of all the things I was never going to eat again. Most of that was unnecessary thinking because there are great companies out there that make breads and pasta and treats. But what about those traditional family recipes? The favorite in my family is my Grandma’s German Chocolate cake. Every birthday growing up, my siblings and I would request it and no other store-bought version could ever compare. For my brother’s birthday this year, I was making him dinner (his fave paleo pad thai) and wanted to make him a cake as well. But because my kitchen is completely gluten-free and I can’t handle gluten ingredients, making him the original was out. So I decided to challenge myself a bit and see if I could transform Grandma’s traditional cake into a paleo one. I scoured the internet for recipes and couldn’t find a single one for a paleo, two-layer, German chocolate cake! Finally, I found this recipe for the chocolate cake but instead of making it as a bundt cake, I made two traditional 8-inch round cake pans. But the frosting was still alluding me because nothing looked like my Grandma’s recipe, which was always the best part and star of the cake. Working from my Grandma’s recipe I transformed it into a paleo one and was so pleased with the results. It had the same amazing flavor and stayed together perfectly on the cake! One thing to note is that this isn’t a truly healthy recipe, it’s definitely one for a treat! But since it was his birthday, I was going for paleo + taste above all, rather than how healthy I could make it which is how I generally cook.

German Choc Cake GGGF

Paleo German Chocolate Cake Frosting

Gluten-free, dairy-free

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Cup Earth Balance Coconut Spread or Coconut Oil
  • 2 t. Vanilla
  • 2 2/3 Cups Shredded Coconut
  • 2 Cups Chopped Pecans

Directions

  1. Mix coconut sugar, coconut milk, egg yolks, coconut spread/oil and vanilla in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’s a serious arm workout and all stoves are different, but it took mine about an hour to thicken up.
  2. Once thickened, combine saucepan mixture with shredded coconut and pecans in a large bowl.
  3. Mix all ingredients together until well combined and frosting sticks to a spoon when you lift it up.
  4. Leave to cool and set on the counter for 20 minutes.
  5. Frost cake!

German Choc Cake2 GGGF

My Grandma always uses a double batch of frosting (that’s what the above is) so that there is lots of frosting on the cake. When you go to cut a piece, there should be a very generous amount of frosting in between the layers and on the top and sides. When it all came together, I was so happy with how it turned out and then it was time for the true test- did my family think it tasted similar? It was met with rave reviews and was absolutely delicious! It’s not the easiest recipe, given how long it takes to stir the frosting, but it is definitely worth it, so pull up a chair and start stirring. I promise it won’t disappoint!

German Choc Cake3 GGGF

Question:

-What’s your favorite family recipe?

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What I Made Wednesday

Instead of doing one of the popular What I Ate Wednesday posts, I thought I’d show you some of the things I have made recently! I usually only post about recipes that I create but I cook a lot of recipes from other gluten-free bloggers. So today I’m featuring photos of my creations, a little about why the particular recipe rocks and a link to the recipe in the title! One thing they all hold in common though, is that they are all delicious and are great recipes for people who think eating Paleo means you can’t have yummy food. Spoiler alert: You can. For even more recipe ideas, be sure to follow me on Pinterest! 

Flourless Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

This is one of my favorite muffin recipes because the ingredients are super simple and ones that I always have on hand. It’s a quick and easy recipe that also happens to be delicious. I like to keep my muffins in the refrigerator and they are perfect for that pre-meal snack when you are starving but making something else, or a snack any time of day. I follow the recipe exactly but find that they take about 15 minutes in my oven, rather than the 10 the recipe suggests.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins GGGF

Paleo Pad Thai

This is a recipe that I have made numerous times now, including this weekend as my brother requested it for his birthday dinner. It really is that good. If you are new to spiralized noodles, or paleo cooking in general, this recipe is a game changer. With the tahini and almond butter in the sauce, it’s also super filling which isn’t always the case in paleo, vegetarian recipes. Another great thing is that you can prep the recipe in advance and then when guests come, or you get home from work, throw it all together on the stove and have dinner ready in 10 minutes.

Paleo Pad Thai GGGF

Paleo Nut-Free Chocolate “Peanut Butter” Cookies

Taylor makes amazing desserts and these cookies are no exception. Her original recipe calls for Sunbutter making them a great nut-free dessert, but because I can have nuts, I substitute either almond or cashew butter. I’ve always loved chocolate cookies, but there is something about the texture of these cookies that makes them unique. Even people who claim not to like chocolate cookies (I don’t understand them, but they exist) happen to love these little pillows of deliciousness.

Double Chocolate Cookies GGGF

Questions:

-What’s one of your favorite recipes right now?

-Would you like to see this as a new GGGF series?

Gluten-Free Spotlight: Pushkin’s Bakery

Oh, do I have the spotlight for you today. I’ve been saving this one because this is my favorite gluten-free discovery to date. As much as I love cooking and baking, there is something so fun about going to a bakery. I’ve been to a few gluten-free bakeries before that are great, but Pushkin’s Bakery easily became my favorite because everything is gluten-free and dairy-free. Jackpot. This means that I can eat everything in there and don’t have to ask which items are dairy-free. If you haven’t experienced life with food allergies, let me tell you, the opportunity to go into a restaurant or bakery and eat anything there is incredibly exciting and liberating! Pushkin’s is located in Downtown Sacramento which is a bit of a drive from the Bay Area but is totally worth it! For the sake of research for my blog post (ahem, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) I may have tried quite a few items so that I could report back on them.

Pushkins

Walking into the small storefront, you are met with a bevy of options ranging from muffins to cookies to cupcakes to something they affectionately call Awesomes. Spoiler alert: everything that I tried was absolutely amazing. When deciding what to order, my family and I all had things that were on our “must-try” lists. One of those was the Awesome, which is a miniature lemon poppyseed poundcake. I’ll admit that poundcake isn’t something that’s usually at the top of my list, but I wanted to see if they lived up to their name. And oh my goodness, they did. It was perfectly moist and had just the right amount of tart and sweet. Another breakfast-type favorite was the zucchini bread. I don’t think I’ve had zucchini bread since becoming gluten-free, and this was absolutely delicious. The ideal small loaf, this is the type of bread that you cut off a slice of, and then find yourself back cutting another one 2 minutes later. Also worth mentioning was the maple walnut scone which was fabulous and not too crumbly which is often the case with gluten-free scones.

In the cupcake arena, I’ve had some great gluten-free cupcakes before so I was going in with pretty high expectations. Luckily, Pushkins did not disappoint. We tried three of their vegan cupcakes: the Barracuda Cupcake (chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache), the chocolate coconut cupcake and the chocolate cappuccino cupcake and all were winners in my book. Also sense a theme here? Clearly my family likes chocolate.

Pushkins Cupcakes

All of the things I mentioned were fabulous, however, the star of the show was the chocolate crinkle cookie. First, a bit of background story. Of all the cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies have always been my absolute favorite. For about 7 years my Mom, Grandma and I would attend plays together and at intermission they would serve the best cookies. As soon as intermission came, you know I was standing in line for our cookies and hoping that I could get a chocolate crinkle before they sold out. They were perfectly moist and chewy with powdered sugar on top that I had to eat carefully so it wouldn’t get all over my outfit. Needless to say, I have many happy chocolate crinkle cookie memories. I’ve had a chocolate crinkle cookie since going gluten-free from a different bakery that was delicious but didn’t recreate that memory. Well that all changed once I tasted the one from Pushkins. Not only did it look like the ones I remembered from my childhood but it was every bit as good. I can wholeheartedly say that this is the best gluten-free baked good that I have ever had. I know that’s a bold statement but it’s 100% true. A few weeks later, I found out I wasn’t the only one with this opinion. Sacramento News & Review held a blind taste taste with three of their food critics to determine Sacramento’s best cookie. As the only gluten-free cookie in the mix, I think it came as quite a shock to many that it won! But that’s just further proof of what I’m saying- this cookie is the best of the best! (Sidenote: I’d suggest calling ahead and putting a chocolate crinkle on hold if you plan on visiting later in the day. I failed to do this last time and my beloved cookie was sold out. Next time, I won’t be taking any chances!) Also, they are now offering sandwiches that look absolutely amazing and I will definitely be trying one on my next visit!

Pushkins Crinkle Cookie

Paleo Quadruple Crunch Salad

Before I started cooking, I was known for my salad making abilities. People in the office used to see me assembling mountain high salads at lunch and always remarked how good they looked. Back then, my secret was in the toppings. I eat salads on a near daily basis and have a few favorites that I rotate, but this one is so good that I just had to share. This salad is also perfect for Fall as it features Granny Smith Apples which are perfectly crisp and deliciously tart these days. I also really recommend making the dressing that goes with it! I used to use bottled dressings but after finding out I had Celiac, I realized I didn’t like the taste of any gluten-free bottled dressings. Plus, once I saw the ingredient lists for those dressings, I decided to leave them behind and start making my own. I have a few favorites that I’ll be sure to share in upcoming posts, but this dressing works perfectly with this salad as it’s garlic-y, sweet and savory all at the same time. This is also a great one to impress guests with as it comes together quickly but tastes so delicious it will seem like restaurant-quality and will fit any audience as it’s naturally, gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo!

Paleo Quadruple Crunch Salad

Serves 4 Large, entrée size salads

Paleo Quad Crunch Salad GGGF

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 Bunch Lacinato Kale
  • 1 Bag Shredded Red Cabbage (or approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 Large Granny Smith Apples
  • 1/3 C. Roasted Unsalted Almonds

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 C. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 1/4 t. Honey
  • 1 1/4 t. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Meyer Lemon, juiced (or approx. 3 T)

Directions

1. After washing and drying the kale, remove kale leaves from the stem. If you haven’t done this before, hold the kale leaf by the stem with one hand, and using your other hand pull the leaves from the stem in an upward direction. It sounds more complicated than it is but I promise it’s really quite easy.

2. Cut your kale leaves into thin slices. I like to do this by layering a few leaves on top of each other, bunching them up a little and cutting them in small strips with a sharp chopping knife.

3. Next, cut your apples into matchsticks. This shape works perfectly with the salad and ensures the apples still keep their crunch factor.

4. Roughly chop almonds and combine all ingredients into a bowl.

5. Now it’s time for the dressing! First, juice a Meyer lemon in a bowl, so you have approximately 3 Tablespoons worth of juice.

6. Mince 2 garlic cloves and add to the lemon juice.

7. Next, combine honey and Dijon mustard with dressing.

8. Slowly add in olive oil, whisking the mixture together with a fork or whisk. At this point, I like to taste the dressing and make sure it’s got that perfect ratio of sweet and savory and make any adjustments as needed.

9. Pour dressing over salad and massage the dressing into the mixture with clean hands. This is a crucial part so don’t skip this step! By massaging the dressing into the kale, the cellulose structure breaks down and wilts the kale slightly so it is much softer (but still crunchy) and takes away the bitter taste.

10. Plate your salad and enjoy!