This is the time of year apple blossoms are in full bloom! I took this photo of a big apple tree in the back yard. Notice the bird feeder is empty! I made the mistake of filling it up a few weeks ago which brought a 2 year old black bear to the backyard. We have families of bears which is normal in our woods and the surrounding forests. But because of their incredible sense of smell, the young, bold bear discovered the sunflower seeds in our feeder that night!
The photo above was taken a few years ago through the window screen when another young bear demolished our bird feeder.
Chai Spice-Orange Cake! Recipe found in my favorite raw dessert book, Sweet Gratitude.
I had about 5 cups of leftover almond pulp in my freezer from making almond milk used in my previous raw vegan cheesecakes. So I decided it was time to make a layer cake from Sweet Gratitude since their cake batters are predominantly made of almond pulp. This worked so well as I didn’t have to waste any of the almond pulp (almond meat) from making the almond milk.
Joyce’s Notes: This is a very lovely and unique cake with the orange and chai spice combination. It wasn’t as sweet as my previous raw desserts and I found it to be very light. Scott and I both enjoyed this cake. It wasn’t quite as good as Heathy Pace’s Chocolate Orange layer cake (from my Feb 23, 2009 post). But it was still a very nice tasting cake.
Sweet Gratitude’s cakes are super big! So I cut the recipe in half! If I didn’t do this, I would have needed 9 cups of almond pulp! Now that’s a lot of cake! I was planning on using my new 7 inch spring form pan but found it better to use my 8 inch spring form pan. We like the cake layers to be a bit thinner so this worked out perfectly!
The chai spice cake was made up of almond pulp, date paste (made from 18 fresh chopped up dates), coconut oil, vanilla, almond milk, strong chai tea, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. I loved the way it tasted and had to make sure I didn’t eat too much batter as I was making the cake! Sweet Gratitude instructs you to use a big expensive Kitchen Aid mixer which I don’t have. However, it’s still very feasible to make the cake without one! I processed up the date paste, almond milk, chai tea, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in the food processor until very smooth. I then added it to a big bowel with the almond pulp and mixed everything together with my hands. I then added the melted coconut oil and continued mixing very well with my hands. This works just great! I have photos of this process when I made Sweet Gratitude’s Tiramisu cake for my birthday. Click here for my March 23, 2009 post. (page down past the skiing & gnocchi photos).
I only had decaf chai tea handy so I used four tea bags in an 8 ounce cup. This made the tea strong enough. Even with the strong chai tea and the spices, the chai flavoring in the cake was very mild, subtle and delicate. I actually would have preferred a stronger chai tea flavor. Next time, I might even add more cinnamon and nutmeg.
The orange frosting was also very subtle and light tasting. It consisted of cashews, fresh squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, agave syrup, sea salt, vanilla, turmeric (for color), soy lecithin, and coconut oil. Being a sweet tooth, I thought it could have been a little sweeter. Although it did work well with the subtleness of the chai spice cake when all said and done. If I was to enhance the chai spice cake in the future, then I would also modify the orange frosting to make it sweeter and a bit more rich tasting.
The overall texture and consistency of this cake was just perfect! The cake held up very well in the fridge. It wasn’t too firm or too soft. The frosting was also a winner in that regard. Not too thin or too thick! Slicing was easy and each piece of cake stood upright on the plate without a bit of trouble while we ate it bite by bite. With a few minor modifications to make it sweeter and spicier, this could be another true winner! I’m so glad we gave this cake recipe a try!
The crab apple trees are also pretty this time of year!
A Trial and Tribulation….
Matthew Kenney’s South American style ‘Potato Salad’ . Recipe found in Everyday Raw. I’ve had my eye on this warm weather recipe for a while now. Who doesn’t love a tasty cooked potato salad at a summer picnic! I was so eager to find a good raw version for a few upcoming events….. However, this is not the answer but it’s a good start!
Joyce’s Notes: This recipe wasn’t a true success or a complete failure for us. Matthew uses jicama in lieu of cooked potatoes. A jicama is a mild and sweet root vegetable grown in Mexico and other warm climates. Because of it’s neutral flavor, it’s a great idea for taking on other flavors. However, jicama is crunchy when it’s raw! So this was a very crunchy raw potato salad. This was the main aspect that didn’t work well for myself and Scott. We found the flavorings to be good, but didn’t like the crunchiness and crispness of the jicama for this particular recipe.
I do have to say that my ‘potato salad’ did look like Matthew Kenney’s photo in the book! The salad consisted of diced jicama, diced yellow pepper, fresh rosemary, green olives, mashed avocado, and red onion. I used ripe green olives which tasted like black olives. This was fine but I would have preferred the tarter/more sour tasting regular green olives. I ended up doubling the amount of avocado and green olives which we both preferred. I didn’t use celery which was also called for since it’s not a favorite of ours!
The dressing was rather unusual. It consisted of tahini (I use the really raw brand, Artisana), cumin, lemon juice, fresh parsley, nama shoyu, sea salt and chili powder. When done blending, I found it rather bland but mixed it with the veggies anyways. Once everything was mixed I found it needed a bit of extra sea salt and ground black pepper. I also added about 1/4 teaspoon of extra nama shoyu. Normally I cut back on salt and nama shoyu, but in this recipe I felt it needed the extra saltiness. And this made it taste OK.
In summary, I would definitely want to figure out a way to soften up the jicama or find another substitute for soft cooked potatoes. The flavorings were unusual but certainly edible. I found it interesting and do believe it could be modified to be even more tasty. So this is a work-in-progress recipe for us! :-)
I might take my leftover jicama and see if I can get it to soften up in the dehydrator as an experiment. What do you think? Any suggestions?
Scott and I absolutely love wine!!! It’s no secret. It’s raw and it’s wonderful. So we decided to plant some grape vines and grow our own grapes with hopes of making our own wines someday (it takes 3-5 years for the vines to produce grapes). So this weekend we bought some grape vines that can withstand temps of –30F degrees. We found these at a nursery on South Hero Island on Lake Champlain. Since we drove 45 minutes to the islands, we decided to do a wine tasting and visit the vineyards at Snow Farm Winery which is also on South Hero Island. Here are more photos of the Snow Farm vineyards:
That’s me. It was a chilly day with temp in the mid 50’s F.
Lake Champlain in the background. Such a lovely place!
Lake Champlain with the New York Adirondacks on the other side.
And lastly, here’s Scott working on our mini vineyard at home!
Cheers to perfect health and a great week!