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Monday, October 27, 2014

Cinnamon Cauliflower Coffee Cake

I have used cauliflower in many dishes.  I have made cauliflower au gratin, I have made quite a few stir fries with cauliflower tossed into it.  I have also made MANY a salad with cauliflower and even soups.  I have NEVER made a coffee cake (or anything sweet for that matter)  with cauliflower.  That is until just this month.  This month I made a lovely puree of steamed cauliflower, mixed in some eggs, melted coconut oil along with some maple syrup and honey and stirred it all into a dry mix of flour and other regular components of a coffee cake batter.

Magically the pureed cauliflower made a beautiful and delicious coffee cake!  Imagine that.  Once again, my world as been enlightened by my participation in the Secret Recipe Club.  I was assigned, 84th&3rd this month.  I owe my new insight and experience of baking with cauliflower to the lovely and EXTREMELY talented, JJ of 84th&3rd. JJ's world on her blog of 84th&3rd is full of exquisitely gorgeous food.  Although JJ was born and raised in the United States she now lives, works and plays in Australia.  Her writing is witty and well spoken.  Her recipes are full of vibrant flavor, beautiful presentation and amazing creativity.  Even though JJ eats eggs, dairy and fish (no meat though) many, if not most, are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.  I have honestly never seen so many beautiful and decadent CHOCOLATE recipes that are actually good for you as I have on JJ's blog.  So yes, I am completely smitten with amazement over all JJ's talents in the kitchen.  She truly creates a beautiful world around eating well and eating healthy (delicious and beautiful) food. 

 I did alter JJ's recipe for this fantastic one-of-a-kind coffee cake in a few areas as I didn't have all the special gluten-free or vegan ingredients available in my pantry.  For the cake batter instead of using spelt flour and arrowroot or tapioca flour I used all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour.  For a sweetener I replaced rice syrup with maple syrup.  And then in the filling ingredients instead of using coconut sugar I used brown sugar. All of these substitutions worked out fine as the taste and appearance of the cake both came out wonderfully and I was given rave reviews from those that shared the cake with me. 

Please take the time to make this cake.  It may sound a little out of the norm at first glance but it really is a wonderfully creative treat.  Your friends and family will be impressed and maybe even in a little bit of shock once they discover that cauliflower has been baked into such a delicious cake.  But seriously, no matter what they will continue to eat the cake with a smile on their face along with happy taste buds to encourage them to continue on eating.

Cinnamon Cauliflower Coffee Cake 
(recipe adapted moderately from 84th&3rd )

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup raisins
1 Tbsp rum or fruit juice
1 Tbsp warm water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp brown sugar (JJ used 1 Tbsp coconut sugar)
2 Tbsp flour (my addition to the recipe as it helps keep the raisins and chopped nuts from falling down into the batter)

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 -2 cups fresh cauliflower
2 Tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup (JJ used 1/4 cup rice syrup)
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (my addition)
1 cup all purpose flour (JJ used 2 cups spelt flour)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (JJ used 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon 


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour bundt pan and set aside. 

2. In a medium bowl combine raisins, water and rum (or fruit juice).  Toss all together and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. Then add in chopped nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar and flour.  Mix well and set aside.

3. Steam fresh cauliflower until very soft and then place into a food processor along with lemon juice.  Mix in food processor until cauliflower is smooth and silky. Add in 1/2 of melted coconut oil and pulse to combine.  Add in remaining coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup and honey - mix well all together.

5. Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl and whisk to combine well.  

6. Add cauliflower mixture into dry ingredients.  Mix well all together.   

7.  Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared bundt pan.  Spoon filling mixture evenly over batter and then pour on remaining batter over the filling layer.

8.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake is golden brown.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto serving plate. * Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

 Happy Cinnamon Cauliflower Coffee Cake Baking! 

*JJ made a delicious caramel sauce to be poured over this cake.  I choose not to make the sauce but instead to sprinkle confectioner's sugar over the cake. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Maple Almond Granola

I have discovered and perfected a recipe for granola that I am completely smitten with. Head over heals, in-love I say.   The simplicity of how to make it, the ingredients are fantastic (um yeah - oats, dried fruit and chopped nuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and spices all make my heart happy) and the taste are all just divine. 

I like to have my granola is all different ways.  I sprinkle it over fruit and yogurt.  Sometimes (well, most of the time I should say) I eat it by the handful.  I have also been known to bake with it, tossing into cookie batter or over fruit to make a crisp.  BUT I think my all time favorite, favorite way to eat granola is fresh out of the oven with milk, a spoon and a bowl.  How about you?  How do you like to eat your granola? 

Jolie - my dear oldest daughter - likes her granola any way she can get it.  Especially straight off of my camera shot! I do have to point out that granola is also a wonderful gift to give to others.  Make up a big batch and package it up in pretty bags with a ribbon and such.  Your friends, family, neighbors and long lost friends will adore you even more once being handed such a gift. 

Maple Almond Granola  
(slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients -

3 cups rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt  
1 cup whole almonds - divided
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
6 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract 
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, chopped apricots, chopped dates etc.) 

Directions -

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine oats, cinnamon and salt.  Roughly chop 1/2 cup of almonds and add to oat mixture.  Mix well all together.  Set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan melt coconut oil.  Add in maple syrup and honey once coconut oil has melted.  Cook and stir until all are combined.  Remove pan from heat and add in vanilla and almond extract.  Stir to combine.  

4. Pour warm liquid over oat mixture. Gently stir all together.  Pour carefully onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes - tossing granola half way through baking time. Continue baking for remaining baking time.

5. Once granola is finished baking add in remaining 1/2 cup whole almonds and dried fruit to granola.  Toss gently together and enjoy! 

Happy Maple Almond Granola Making!


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