Tag Archives: raw

Vegan Gluten Free Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes with Raw Cashew Icing

Have you ever tried to make a non-sugar laden birthday cake? Me neither. This past week my family had a mini celebration for Mr. Bean’s birthday and I wanted to make something special that everyone in my family could enjoy. (To be honest, I also wanted to make a birthday cake to participate in the Daily Dietribe’s Gluten Free Birthday Cake Challenge. I’m a huge fan of the two birds with one stone thing.) In previous years, I’ve made some quite pretty birthday cakes (including this awesome one for Mr. Bean), but they all have too much sugar for what I (and my family) can handle:

FIL’s Roughriders Birthday Cake
Friend’s Birthday Cake
Mr. Bean’s Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake for Coworker’s Daughter
Sister’s Birthday Cake
First Birthday Cake
Jesus’ Birthday Cake

I didn’t think about it for very long – shocking I know as I usually scheme for a while before making something – but I decided to take this family friendly Happy Day Cake up a notch and add a raw cashew icing. (For what’s better than raw cashew icing? Not much.) I could have made this into a cake, but I wanted cupcakes as they are so much easier to transport and people can put on variable amounts of icing to their taste.

How did they turn out? Quite well, in my opinion. They had a nice crumb, weren’t too sweet (I reduced the amount of sugar from 1 1/3 c. to 1/2 c. plus a banana) and received rave reviews from my family.

Vegan, Gluten and Soy Free Blueberry Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.

1 c. almond flour
1/2 c. each rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
scant 1/2 c. oil (I used a combination of canola and grapeseed oil)
1 c. rice milk (put 3 tbsp aside for egg replacer)
2 tsp. egg replacer mixed with 3 tbsp of the rice milk
1 banana, mashed
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12 muffin tin with paper cups.
  2. Sift flours, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.
  3. Mix in oil and milk – beat for two minutes.
  4. Add “egg,” mashed banana, lemon juice and vanilla and beat.
  5. Mix in blueberries until distributed in batter.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let sit in pan for a few minutes. The cupcakes will deflate a bit, but that is okay. Remove from pan and onto a cooking rack.
  8. Enjoy!

Note: The original recipe is made in a cake, so if you want this to be true birthday cake, divide the batter between two parchment lined 8″ circle cake pans and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the cake is set.

Raw Cashew Icing

Makes about 1 c. of icing. Based on this recipe.

3/4 c. raw cashew pieces, soaked in water for a few hours
1/4 c. water (or enough so it blends well)
1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
Pinch salt

  1. Drain cashews and place in blender.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. I used my magic bullet – given the quantity and the consistency, it worked very well especially compared to my last experience using it!
  3. Place in fridge and cool for a few hours before using.
  4. Spoon it onto the cupcakes and try not to eat it with a spoon!

What is your favourite kind of birthday cake?

Linked up to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 51 and Seasonal Sundays.


Filed under Baking

Mostly Raw Gluten Free Vegan Coconut Tarts with Berries (GAHIGF)

You know how sometimes you get a bit ahead of yourself and decide that you’re going to make things without a set recipe? This is one of those recipes. I needed to make something for a birthday party Mr. Bean and I went to yesterday, but I was unsure of what to make. This month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free hosted by A Gluten Free Day has the theme of “Garden Tea Party,” so I used that as my starting point. I asked Mr. Bean what I haven’t made in a while and he said flan or tarts with flan in them. Since I’ve been on a bit of a raw kick, I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to make them raw or not, so I did both. Over achiever much?

Since I didn’t use a pre-set recipe, I want to share who I received my inspiration from (Other than my new Raw cookbook.)

Strawberry Icebox Pie from Pumpkin’s Pantry
Fruity Coconut Cashew Cream Tarts from An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Lime Tarts with Coconut Almond Crust from The Lively Kitchen

Oh man, were these an adventure. First, I learned why when recipes call for a vitamix, using a magic bullet doesn’t cut it (especially since overheats after about 10 seconds.) Secondly, I learned that you shouldn’t stick cans of coconut milk in the freezer as both the cream and clear liquid freeze, which means that the frozen chunks that you think are cream aren’t, so it didn’t whip up the way it was supposed to. Duh. Now that we established that, these wouldn’t have nearly been as time consuming had I not done those two things, so please do not be discouraged! Everything is fairly straight forward if you have the correct equipment and techniques. I’m not saying that this is impossible with a magic bullet, but it will save you so much time, frustration and agony!

Thankfully, these turned out very well, so it made it worth the effort. I made two different crusts and two different fillings. It’s hard to say which combination was my favourite, but it’s probably the raw crust with the raw coconut filling. Feel free to use whatever kind of berries you want!

Note: I did use one fresh coconut for this recipe. I cracked it open using the first set of instructions here, cut out the meat by cutting triangles and prying it out and used a vegetable peeler to remove the remaining husk.

Raw Macadamia – Almond Crust

1 c. raw macadamia nuts
1/3 c. almonds, soaked for an hour
2/3 c. fresh shredded coconut
3 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. raw agave nectar
Pinch Salt

  1. Process macadamia nuts and almonds together in a food processor until crumbly.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until combined. Don’t process too long as you might end up with nut butter!
  3. Take a heaping tablespoon of mixture and press into individual tart holders. It should make 12 – 14 tarts depending on how thick they are and their size.
  4. Store in fridge until you need them.

Coconut Almond Crust (Inspired by Elana’s Coconut Almond Pie Crust)

1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. dried shredded coconut (Or you could use coconut flour like I did in my banana cream pie.)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Mix together almond flour and coconut.
  2. Over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the agave and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.
  4. Take a heaping tablespoon of mixture and press into individual tart holders. They should make between 5 – 7 tarts.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. The bottoms do kind of puff up a bit, so don’t be alarmed when they do.
  6. Remove from oven and cool before filling.

Raw Coconut Filling (Inspired by Matthew Kenney’s Coconut vanilla cream from his Everyday Raw Cookbook.)
1 1/2 c. fresh coconut
3 tbsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
6+ tbsp. coconut water from coconut (may not be needed if you have a vitamix or any good blender)

  1. Add all ingredients to your blender and process until smooth. (Mine never got smooth but it was still okay!) Add some of the water from your coconut to adjust consistency if desired.
  2. Cool in the fridge for an hour or so or until it is the consistency that you want.

Coconut Cream Filling

Coconut cream (taken off top of a can of coconut milk – see instructions here)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tbsp. agave nectar (or more to taste)

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whip on high speed until peaks form.
  2. Store in the fridge.


To Assemble:

  1. Drop a spoonful or two of your desired filling into the tart crusts. (I used two for the raw crust and one for the baked crust.)
  2. Decorate with your desired berries.
  3. Store in the fridge until ready to be served.
  4. Enjoy!

What is your favourite kind of tart?

Submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 49 and Gluten Free Wednesdays. You can also see one of my photos on foodgawker!


Filed under Food

Gluten Free Raw Cranberry Mango Nut Bars

Do you ever worry about food when you’re away from home for a few days? Like about how you don’t know if you’ll be able to eat anything and how frequently you’ll be able to eat? I do. I know now it’s irrational as most places are good at accommodating allergies and it’s easy enough to find food in grocery stores, but I still fret over it and end up bringing a bunch of my own food on trips. It doesn’t really help that I can get extremely irritable, tetchy and light-headed when I get hungry – Mr. Bean can attest to this!

This past weekend Mr. Bean’s brother got married in Banff (pictures to come!) and (unsurprisingly) I was worried about food. Being my pro-active self,  I decided to bring some snacks to munch on and help keep me from becoming a hungry grumpy pants. As well as some apples and fruit source bars, I wanted to make something full of protein and fibre, not full of sugar and something to help keep me from feeling deprived for not getting all the fudge and chocolate we usually get when we go to Banff. Inspired by this  oat free granola bar recipe and my energy bars from last summer, I started adding various nuts and dried fruits and came up with this delicious creation.

Gluten Free Raw* Cranberry Mango Nut Bars

3/4 c. raw almonds, chopped
3/4 c. raw cashews, chopped
1/4 c. raw walnuts, chopped
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1/3 c. apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 c. non-sweetened dried mango, chopped
1/3 c. almond butter
1/4 c. raw honey (more if not staying together)
2 – 3 tbsp. coconut oil

  1. Grease an 8 x 8″ pan with vegetable oil. Set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine almond butter, honey and coconut oil. Heat over low heat until coconut oil is melted and mixture is creamy. Note: since I did not boiling the honey, these bars are softer than your average granola bar.
  3. Dump in the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Scrape into the greased pan. Using a spatula, spread mixture out and press until the bars are an even thickness.
  5. Put in the freezer for 2 hours to solidify. Part way though freezing time, cut into bars.
  6. Once they have solidified, store in the fridge.
  7. Enjoy!

As it turns out my worrying about food was completely unnecessary as I was very well fed this weekend (I probably ate enough for two people – oops!) but the two times where I started to feel my hunger induced grumpiness coming on, I ate one of these bars and some fruit and life was good again. I guess one could say I’m easy to please. 😉

Are you like me and get really grumpy when you’re really hungry?

*Please note that while most of the ingredients I used were raw, I am assuming the rest of the ingredients are as well. If they actually are not, please accept my apologies and let me know what you decide to substitute them with! 🙂

This recipe has been submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 48 and Gluten Free Wednesdays!


Filed under Food

Birthdays and Strawberry Cheesecake Raw Vegan Cake Pops

Today is my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me! To celebrate, I wanted to try making raw cake pops for the Raw Cake Pop Challenge hosted by Vegan Culinary Crusade.

Update: These babies actually won second place in the raw cake pop challenge! How exciting is that?

Initially, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I thought about how much I loved the “cheesecake” part of my raw carrot cake, so wouldn’t it be great to eat that on a stick? Fabulous. I didn’t know how I would create a non-chocolate based coating until I came across this raw frosting that uses coconut oil. In case you didn’t know, coconut oil hardens at slightly below room temperature, so it would be fairly easy to make it liquid-y enough to dip into and remain hard enough to stay on. Perfect!

I’m quite pleased with how well these turned out – much better than my first try at cake pops. They also have considerably less sugar and are slightly healthier than those ones, too! I say slightly healthier as man, oh, man are these babies rich. It’s a good thing that they only come in small balls!

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake Cake Pops

1 1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 c. chopped strawberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon + 1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. dried coconut
1/3 c. agave nectar
6 tbsp. coconut oil
Strawberry coating (recipe below)
Dried Coconut

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Place in a food processor or blender with all the ingredients.
  2. Process until smooth (or as smooth as you can get it), stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and taste to see if you need to add anything.
  3. Scrape mixture into a bowl and stick in the freezer for 1 hour or the fridge for 3, stirring occasionally until the mixture is solid enough to form into balls. Place balls in a wax paper lined pan and store in the fridge.
  4. 30 minutes before you plan to “ice” the cake pops, dip the end of lollipop sticks in agave nectar and insert into cake pops 1/2 – 3/4″ (depends on the size of your pops. If it pokes through, that’s okay. Just re-roll the balls and insert the stick perpendicular to the original hole. One they all have sticks, place them in the freezer for at least 20 – 30 minutes or until the outside is frozen.
  5.  Make strawberry coating (recipe below.) Store bowl in a sink 1/3 full of warm water to make sure the icing stays liquid.
  6. Pour some dried coconut into a cereal bowl.
  7. Remove pops from freezer. One at a time, swirl the pops in the strawberry coating (it should be liquid enough to cover easily and then since the pops are frozen, it will immediately start to solidify.)
  8. Dip the non-quite solidified pop into the dried coconut, doing your best to evenly coat it.
  9. Place pops upright in a piece of styrofoam. Store in the fridge or else they might get too soft and want to fall off their sticks.
  10. Enjoy!

Strawberry Coating

105 g Coconut oil (according to these people, this is 1/2 c.)
2 tbsp. agave nectar
4 – 5 tbsp. strawberry purée (I pureed 6 – 7 small strawberries in my magic bullet until smooth.)

  1. Place coconut oil in the mixing bowl. Place the bowl in a sink of warm water until the coconut oil is half melted.
  2. Beat on high until coconut oil is fluffy.
  3. Add agave nectar and beat until well combined.
  4. Add strawberry purée and beat until well combined. This coating should be fairly liquid-y.
  5. Keep bowl in warm water to ensure proper consistency, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from separating. Remove as necessary.

Have you tried making cake pops before?

This recipe has been submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.


Filed under Food, Life

April in the Raw: Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cheesecake “Icing”

My first exposure to raw eating was when my mum bought a copy of “Uncooking with Raw Rose” from a health food store on Vancouver Island a few summers ago. My entire family found it to be quite entertaining (perhaps not the original intent of the book!), especially the logic given for going raw: well, cows eat grass and grow big and strong, so we should just skip the middleman, eat grass and we will also become big and strong. Uhhh… Right-O.

Anyways, I put the raw diet out of my mind as school started shortly thereafter and I really enjoy eating meat, baking things, etc. too much to give it up. Besides, it’s REALLY difficult to eat 100% raw in Calgary because for half the year the produce is iffy at best and can be ridiculously expensive given that it has to be shipped such a long distance to get here. (Plus, I have to count my blessings as Mr. Bean is okay eating lots of vegetables, having gluten free (plus dairy and egg free at the moment) meals and puts up with me when I do things like the Daniel Fast. I don’t think he could do it if I went completely meat free and to be honest, I don’t think that I could do it either!) Nevertheless, I do realize how things are more nutrient rich when they’re raw and try to eat as much raw produce as possible. 🙂

Fast forward to 2011: when I was perusing the internet for vegan/sugar free/unprocessed food recipes, many of the recipes I came across were raw. Interesting. I thought that the methods used to create dishes were quite interesting (you mean you can make cheesecake out of cashews and use dehydrators to make cookies?!?) and I started thinking about how “cooking” raw would be a culinary challenge worth undertaking – similar to my adventures in baking and cooking gluten, dairy and egg free.

Then, the lovely Brittany of Real Sustenance asked me if I wanted to  participate in April in the Raw and I said yes. (Where else will I have a better opportunity to learn about raw cooking than by participating in such a carnival?) But this left me with a conundrum: what should I make? I mean I could make a salad or something, but that almost seems too easy. So, I went to my parents house and borrowed good ‘ol Raw Rose’s cookbook and began perusing the internet for inspiration. In my over zealous nature, I decided to combine two raw desserts: a carrot cake from Raw Rose’s book and raw vegan cheesecake, of course with my own twist. I LOVE “real” carrot cake with pineapples and coconut in it, so why not try adding that to the raw recipe? It seems to have worked out quite well and is incredibly tasty! The cheesecake part, in my not so humble opinion, is just as good if not better than actual cheesecake!

Raw Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cheesecake Icing

For the carrot cake:

2/3 c. + 1/6 c. each of raw walnuts and pecans, soaked for 4 hours
1 c. de-pitted dates
1/3 c. raisins
2 tsp. cinnamon
Scant 1/2 tsp. each nutmeg and cardamom
Pinch sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
3 1/2 c. carrots (cut into 1″ chunks before measuring)
1/2 c. freshly grated coconut
1/2 c. fresh pineapple chunks

  1. In a food processor, process soaked walnuts and pecans until in small bits.
  2. Add the dates and process until no more big date chunks exist.
  3. Transfer nut mixture to a large bowl and add raisins and spices. Mix until well combined.
  4. In food processor, process carrots, coconut and pineapple until fine. (I should have processed mine for a bit longer!)
  5. Add carrot mixture to nut mixture and mix until very well combined.
  6. Press into a lightly greased 8 – 9″ springform pan, using a spatula to pat down edges so surface is  flat.
  7. Put in the fridge to set.

Cheesecake Part

2 c. raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. raw agave nectar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 c. freshly grated coconut
2/3 c. coconut oil, melted slowly in oven or on stove
3 – 4 tbsp. coconut milk (I forgot this, so mine was a bit thick)

  1. Process together cashews, lemon juice, agave, coconut and coconut milk.
  2. Then add in the melted coconut oil.
  3. Process until smooth. Taste it and see if it needs anything.
  4. Pour on top of the carrot cake.
  5. Put back in fridge and let it chill for a few hours until set.
  6. Serve with coconut cream and pineapple pieces if desired, but most importantly enjoy!

Given that this was the first time I had made a raw dessert, I definitely learned a few things:

  • I added too many carrots (as they were very small to start off with), so I reduced the amount called for here.
  • The food processor I have isn’t the best as it struggled to get things to be really fine or smooth – but beggars can’t be choosers as it was free!
  • Adjust amounts of flavourings if desired in both the cake and the cheesecake. I think you should make sure that both parts taste good to you as this creates a lot of cake!
  • I made little snacking cakes by filling ramekins about 1/2 full with carrot cake and covering them with a large spoonful of the cheesecake mixture. It’s like a carrot cake muffin with cream cheese icing but raw and in a dish.
  • You can use all pecans or all walnuts in the carrot cake if you desire. Honey can probably be substituted for the agave nectar – just start by adding around 1/3 c. and then adjust to desired. sweetness. 🙂

I don’t think I’ll ever switch to a 100% raw diet, but with desserts like this, it almost makes me want to consider it.

Have you ever tried making a raw dessert before?

If you want to see more raw recipes, make sure that you follow along with April in the Raw!

Recipe linked up at: Hearth and Soul Hop Volume 42, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten-Free Wednesdays!


Filed under Food