Tag Archives: dessert

Pear Maple Spice Cake (vegan)

22 Jun

Well, fortunately and unfortunately, work has gotten busier in the past month or so…. I state it as both a positive and negative because I’m torn. I really love working, and I love my job – it’s so much fun and I’m so lucky to have a job I enjoy! But I also really enjoy my free time because that means I can do tons of stuff: go on adventures, climbing trips, long beautiful trail runs during the day, and BAKE to my hearts content!!  Needless to say, work has indeed picked up speed, which leaves less time for baking and creating new recipes.  Lately, I find myself using past recipes I’ve posted when I bake for friends (be it birthdays, potlucks, etc) .. which is ok, though, since it means I can re-test the recipe and make fun changes!  Which, as you can probably guess, is exactly what I did here.  :)

I love, LOVE my vegan chocolate cake recipe. I’ve made it on multiple occasions, and it’s always a hit.  I had just baked one, in fact, and less than a week later needed to whip up another cake for another friends birthday.  One of the things that’s great about that recipe is that it’s QUICK. No fuss. I can literally have it in the oven in less than 10 minutes, and it only takes another 20-30 to cook.  Granted, yes, I have some practice.. but it really is a quick recipe.

I decided to transform my staple vegan chocolate cake recipe into a maple spice cake.  I thought this would be a nice “outfit” for the cake… just take out the chocolate and add maple and spices! yum! right?  Yep. Right.

The cake, once again, got rave reviews. Fluffy, moist, amazing.


  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (a little more if you like it on the sweeter side)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 or 2 tsp cinnamon (depending how cinnamony you like your cake!)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (olive oil works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 medium pear, diced (dice into about 1/4″ cubes.  I used a bosc pear, other varieties would be fine too)
Frosting (optional):
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • +/- 1 tsp maple syrup (stir together until smooth, add more sugar or syrup accordingly to attain the right consistency)


    1. Heat oven to 375 F
    2. Sift together all dry ingredients (sifting is important).
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil and other wet ingredients. Blend until well combined.
    4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir well until smooth. Add the diced pear and gently mix in.
    5. Pour into a greased cake pan (I like to use a 9″ springform bundt cake pan, but a simple 8″x8″ pan works fine too), and bake for about 30 minutes, or until done. Check often after 20 minutes by inserting a knife and seeing if it comes out clean. Clean means done! Don’t overcook it or it will become dry.
    6. Serve while it’s warm with ice cream, or let cool and drizzle with frosting.
    7. Enjoy!

Makes one cake, serves about 10-12


Simple Vegan Pie Crust

24 May

I recently discovered this pie crust, and I immediately added it to my crust repertoire.  Seriously, yum.

It’s super simple, quick, healthy and delicious… what more could you want? I can imagine using this crust for a variety of pies – chocolate, apple, pecan, pumpkin…. mmmmmm…. I can’t wait till pumpkin pie season rolls around again… but who am I kidding, pumpkin pie is an ANY season pie! I bet you’re wondering what type of pie I used this crust for? Well, I haven’t posted that post yet… but I will :) I will say this – it included chocolate!

This crust does have an underlying coconut taste/aroma, since it uses coconut oil.. so if you aren’t a fan of coconut or don’t want that flavor, I don’t recommend you use this recipe.  But I can’t really think of a pie that wouldn’t go with this crust (unless it’s a savory pie…).  The coco powder is optional, and I’ll leave that decision up to you, since it’ll probably depend on what pie you’re making if you add it or not.  Obviously, your crust will be a little lighter in color than what’s pictured here if you don’t include the coco.

I imagine it would work just fine with a gluten free flour… if you try it, please report back!

I can’t wait to use this crust for more pies! :D



makes one 9″ pie crust

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (in solid state)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar together.  Add the coconut oil and slowly combine with your fingers. (NOTE: make sure the coconut oil is in it’s solid state, the consistency of butter… place in refrigerator before adding to the flour mixture if it’s too soft).
  3. Keep mixing with your hands until it becomes a little crumbly and thoroughly combined. Then add the cold water one tbsp at a time, until it turns into dough.
  4. Place the ball of dough in the refrigerator for 20-30 mins.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and using a rolling pin, roll it into ¼ inch thickness (you might have to repair cracks as you go, just smash them together and keep rolling). Place in pie tin/plate and use your hands to even the crust out and shape the edges how you want.
  6. Use a fork to poke holes in the crust (see picture).  Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes. Let it cool completely before adding whatever your ingredients might be. :)


Kitchen Sink Cookies

16 Mar

These cookies have no flour in them. None. It’s like magic. They get their name from my quest to find something to put in them (the original recipe called for chocolate chips and nuts). I scoured the kitchen, and came up with about a cup of trail mix – dried cherries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, cashews and the occasional hazelnut. Into the batter it went, and the result was delicious.

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar (I used sucanat)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 C treats of your choices – dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl, stir almond butter and sugars together until well combined
  4. Add egg, baking soda, honey, vanilla and salt and mix well
  5. Stir in your treats
  6. Using a teaspoon, scoop out small, walnut-sized amounts of dough and roll them in your hands to form a ball
  7. Place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart
  8. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned (be sure to rotate your pans halfway through baking to ensure even browning)
  9. Cool for 5 minutes

Grapefruit and Olive Oil Cake (brought to you by Paula)

14 Mar

Yep, grapefruit and olive oil. Just crazy enough to work! I came across this recipe on my new favorite recipe blog – The Yellow House (http://casayellow.com/). This was my first experience with the gluten-free all purpose flour by Bob’s Red Mill, and I have to say I was very pleased. I did add some xanthan gum to help fill gluten’s shoes, and I would not have known the end product was gluten free!


makes one standard sized Bundt pan, or a 9×5 loaf pan

  • butter for greasing pan
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 1 cup sugar (I used sucanat, though turbinado or even granulated would be fine)
  • scant 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 C gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C brown rice flour
  • rounded 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sucanat (or brown or muscovado sugar)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 teaspoons grapefruit juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or standard Bundt pan.
  3. Zest the 2 grapefruits into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the sugar to the bowl, rubbing the zest and sugar together with your fingertips to help the sugar become infused with grapefruit oil.
  5. Halve one of the grapefruits and squeeze its juice into a measuring cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice in the measuring cup until there is a total of about 2/3 cup of liquid.
  6. Pour the grapefruit juice/buttermilk (or yogurt) mixture into the bowl with the zest and sugar and whisk well.
  7. Whisk in the eggs and olive oil.
  8. In another bowl, whisk or sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  9. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.  (Note: I wish I had used my stand mixer and really mixed this thing for a few minutes to help its structure develop – something to try in the future!)
  10. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured pan.
  11. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and doesn’t jiggle in the middle (Note: mine was more done than I would’ve liked after 50 minutes, but still tasty). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  12. Remove the cake to a rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  13. When completely cool, mix up the glaze and glaze your cake!

At this point you’re probably wondering, ‘But Paula – why does your glaze look like peanut butter?’ Good question. Because I used sucanat I had to heat the glaze up to help the large crystals to dissolve. This resulted in losing some of the moisture in the glaze, and it seized up. I should’ve added more juice but I’d already eaten the grapefruit remains… oops…

Peach Ricotta Soufflé

4 Mar

The other morning I decided I wanted to try and re-create a recipe that I had come across a while back… though the problem was, I couldn’t remember for the life of me where I found that recipe, nor could I remember exactly what was in it.. all I knew was it had ricotta.  SO, I went to the drawing board… err… kitchen… yesterday morning, grabbed a cup of coffee, and started whipping together some eggs, ricotta, a little agave syrup, folded in some whipped egg whites, threw some cubed peaches on top and stuck it in the oven. Fast, simple, only 4 ingredients plus a peach (or whatever berries are in season). It couldn’t not be good… I mean, I was basically making a soufflé.  Well what I found out when I stuck my fork in and took a bite, was that it was definitely not the recipe I was trying to recreate… but it was TOTALLY delicious! So even through a “failed” attempt, I came out on the other side with a new recipe to share. It’s healthy, not too sweet, fluffy, and the bottom even has an almost flan-like texture (I think because some of the agave sank to the bottom and settled as it baked).  Needless to say – pretty amazing. :)


Makes about 4 servings (8″x8″ pan)

  • 3 eggs (2 whole, 1 separated)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta (I used skim)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup (maple syrup or honey would work, too)
  • 1 peach


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat two eggs, ricotta, vanilla and agave together in a small mixing bowl, set aside
  3. Cut up peach, set aside
  4. In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat just the egg white of the 3rd egg (discard the yolk) until it forms soft peaks. After you’ve accomplished soft peaks, right away pour the egg white into the ricotta mixture, and gently fold it in with a spatula or wooden spoon until it is just barely fully incorporated (don’t over do it).
  5. Pour the mixture into an 8×8 cake pan, sprinkle the peaches over the top, and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center feels like it’s set (should be soft but slightly springy, and the edges will have puffed up and started to brown). Remove from oven and serve hot! You can drizzle a little maple syrup over the top if you like things on the sweeter side. Enjoy!


Vegan Chocolate Cake

17 Mar

Not in a million years would you guess this cake was vegan AND healthy!! Nor will anyone you feed it to. It’s so moist and chocolatey, fluffy but not cakey… I’m not usually a fan of cakes, but this one… amazing.  I’ve fed it to vegans and non vegans alike and everyone gives rave reviews.  It’s excellent served with ice cream when it’s right out of the oven (well, coconut bliss ice cream for the vegans).  Frosting, strawberries, fruit compote… all would go wonderfully.  It has become my staple, go-to cake recipe, and I can’t wait to try different variations on it! Stay tuned :) Alex


  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (olive oil works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


    1. Heat oven to 375 F
    2. Sift together all dry ingredients except the sugar and chocolate chips (sifting is important).
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil and other wet ingredients. Blend until well combined and no sugar chunks appear.
    4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir well until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and mix in.
    5. Pour into a greased cake pan (I like to use a 9″ springform bundt cake pan, but a simple 8″x8″ pan works fine too), and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until done. Check often after 20 minutes by inserting a knife and seeing if it comes out clean. Clean means done! Don’t overcook it or it will become dry.
    6. Enjoy!

Makes one cake, serves about 10-12


Easy as pie!

29 Jul

I think this pie would be amazing using Alex’s Ultimate Crust, but I’m also grateful to have an easy traditional pie crust under my belt. Mom came across some tart cherries – they’re anti-inflammatory! – and asked me to give cherry pie a go. Super easy, very beautiful, and REALLY tasty! ~ Paula

Pastry for a double-crust pie

The key to making a flaky delicious pie crust is to keep it as cool as possible. If you really want to prepare ahead, I suggest chilling the dry ingredients for at least 40 minutes. Cut the butter into large cubes, then let it chill in the refrigerator as well. Once the crust is in the pie plate, cover it with plastic wrap and let it chill overnight even! (I used a 9″ pie pan.)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 6-7 tablespoons cold water


  1. Combine dry ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times to combine
  2. Add the butter and 6 T cold water, and pulse until the mixture looks coarse, like large grains of sand
  3. Pinch a little between your fingers – it should come together. If not, add the last tablespoon of water and pulse a few more times
  4. Divide the mixture into two plastic bags, and using your palms and finger work it into disks within the bags
  5. Let the disks of dough chill for at least 20 min
  6. Roll the first disk out, on a floured surface, into a circle, roughly 12″ across. It helps to roll it out between two pieces of lightly floured plastic wrap
  7. The easiest way to transfer the dough to a pan, I’ve found, is to fold it in half, then into quarters (it makes a little V), then to unfold the dough in the pan
  8. Trim off any overhanging dough so that the crust is even with the edge of the pan
  9. Cover the pie crust, and let it chill

The Filling


  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh tart cherries, pitted with the juices reserved
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 425, with a rack on the lowest level possible
  2. Combine the dry ingredients, stir in cherries, any juice, and almond extract, and let rest for at least 10 minutes
  3. This is a good time to roll out the second dough disk into an 8″ x 10.5″ rectangle
  4. Cut 9-10 3/4″ strips for the lattice crust
  5. When the cherry mixture has rested, pour it into the shell and weave the lattice across the top, pressing the strip ends lightly into the crust in the pan
  6. *There are lots of ways to finish the edge of the crust – I pressed a fork into mine for a bit of texture
  7. If you want, brush the lattice and edges of the crust with a lightly beaten egg white, and dust with sugar (I love to use turbinado or demerara)
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes, covering the edges with a foil ring after 15 min to keep from over-browning, until the filling bubbles thickly and the center is slightly puffed
  9. *If the lattice starts to brown too much, cover the pie with foil with a vent hole in the center!