Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Paleo Chocolate Valentine’s Day Dessert For Everyone

Valentine’s Day is poorly placed, agreed? You have basically been carb loading for the entire winter and then — BOOM! — it’s sausage-stuff yourself into some lingerie time. The New Year’s resolution has barely sunk its healthy hooks into your meat n’ cheese puppet bod, and you are already supposed to feel the desire to, slip into something a little less comfortable? Nah. Not quite the time, amiright? I am still trying to decide what lifestyle-diets are still “in” this year! (By the way, diets are no longer diets, they are “lifestyles” and I kinda really appreciate this; there is an air of promoted “balance” laced in the diets that are parading around as “lifestyles.” And hey, I am for it!)

There’s no such thing as a one stop shop in the dieting world. Everything diet-oriented must be catered to your person, it really must be your lifestyle in order for it to work. So, yeah, I will drink the Kool-Aid. I’M JUST KIDDING, IT IS MY ELECTROLYTE POWDER! NOT ACTUAL KOOL-AID! I GOT YOU SO GOOD!

Photos by Ryan Ross

The New Year gives everyone a great excuse to get excited about their health. Everyone seems to take a running start and then we all collectively and secretly burn out by the time Valentine’s Day sneaks up on us. It’s like all the healthy eating points we have collected gets spent all at once on National Candy Day and we fall off the healthy wagon and land directly into the chocolate crème brulee caramel ice cream cake. This is partially due to deprivation.

The New Year’s diet motivation is strong and we get a sort of all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to our “cheat” days. Also, there are just so many decadent and themed out options that seem impossible to refuse on such a holiday! All of the rich and romantical desserts are totally impossible to pass up! So we surrender to the chocolate lullabies of this Hallmark holiday and eat it all, all of it, nothing will be left , destroy all the evidence, tomorrow is a new day.

No matter where my rants take me, I always come back to a diet that promotes a lifestyle of balance. I am a firm believer in whatever encourages balance is best, and with balance comes indulgences as well as deprivations. This year, instead of falling off the health-wagon head first, why not split the difference?! Here is an extremely decadent cake for you and all the ones you love this Valentine’s Day — AND IT’S PALEO!!

The bit about the Paleo diet and lifestyle that I am drawn to is that it insists on very high quality foods. It’s not necessarily about eating only meat and berries, but rather cutting out refined sugars and heavily processed foods as well as a select genre of food items that can be tough on the digestion. Paleo meals will steer you away from Lectins, Phytic Acid and dairy products. Lectins are found in grains and legumes, soy products especially, and nightshades like potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants. Lectins can be hard on your digestive tract and can contribute to leaky gut syndrome. Phytic Acid occurs in grains, corn, nuts, seeds, and although nuts are allowed in moderation while eating the Paleo way, because they are not a full force anti-nutrient like grains that are so hard on the digestion, nuts and seeds come in handy while dining in paleolithic style, but sparingly. Dairy is the biggest doozy of all. We as a culture are obsessed with our calcium intake and Paleo literature insists that dairy is so acid forming to our bodies that a diet that is grain and dairy based will actually leach calcium from our bones, contributing to osteoporosis.  Amping up your mineral and protein intake from fruits, vegetables, meats and and other co nutrients will actually strengthen your bones, so you can take your dairy down from the pedestal if you plan on going Paleo.

Even if you feel this diet and lifestyle is a fad, out of style , or no longer relevant — or maybe there’s a hole in your  “Paleo, It’s a No-Grainer” tee — give it a whirl. It’s always in style to try new things, cook at home, and to eat less white refined sugar, no matter the time of year.

Paleo Cake

Serves 4-8

Photos by Ryan Ross

This is a simple recipe, albeit a tad high maintenance. Due to the textures that these ingredients create, there is a lot of “chill in the fridge” time that is necessary to pull this cake together.

You will need a 6 inch round cake pan.

I like making three layers for this cake (preferably one day ahead). If you have three 6 inch rounds, that’s awesome! If not, you simply must take the time and energy it requires to prep your pan, bake a layer, clean the pan, and prep the pan for a second and third time. It will l be worth it.

For the Filling and Frosting:

  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups of raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • ¼ tsp. flaked salt
  • water

In a high power blender, add your cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt. Start with adding enough water so that it almost covers the blender items. You want to err on the side of not enough water rather than too much, you may always add more as you go. Blend and blend until this mixture becomes very smooth, like pudding. You will need the help of a spatula and perhaps a bit more water. Taste as you go. Refrigerate your smooth smooth cashew mixture overnight. Use an electric hand mixer to fluff up the next day.

For the layers:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil and line the bottom of your pan with a round of parchment paper.

  • 9 eggs
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Add eggs and honey to a mixing bowl and using an electric hand mixer, beat on medium- high until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the flours, vanilla and baking powder. Divide the batter between your three pans, ( or go about this business baking one cake layer at a time if you only have the one pan.) Bake until just firm, about 12-15 minutes.

Photos by Ryan Ross

Once your layers are completely cool, slather some filling onto one cake layer at a time letting each layer sit in the fridge for 2 hours topped with its filling before stacking. Once your layers are all stacked, frost your cakes tops and sides. Keep in fridge at least more hours before transporting. Decorate and enjoy!

NOTE: For chocolate cake and filling, add ¼ cup raw cacao powder to your filling recipe plus 1 Tbsp. raw honey. And for the Chocolate Cake layers, omit ¼ cup of the coconut flour and add ½ cup cacao powder.




A Paleo Chocolate Valentine’s Day Dessert For Everyone

Valentine’s Day is poorly placed, agreed? You have been carb loading the entire winter and then it's sausage-stuff yourself into some lingerie time.

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