Chocolate raspberry birthday cake

DSCN9774_edited-copy

Our traditional family birthday cake is chalk-full of chocolate. But thrown in are other flavors like raspberry and coffee that make it a hit with young and old alike. I use healthy ingredients besides chocolate, like coconut palm sugar, coconut oil and eggs. The alcohol in the coffee liqueur evaporates in the baking. But if you’d rather just use a second half-cup of coffee, be my guest.

I make the two layer cakes ahead of time and freeze them. A day before the party, I let them thaw for a half hour or so. Then I cut the two layers in half while still slightly frozen. It’s easier when the cake is still a bit solid. I fill the layers with jam and whipped cream and top off with a rich icing. This filled cake stays moist for several days in the fridge, the perfect party food.

I give you two options for icings, both of which are richly delicious. The one made with avocado rather than sour cream has more of the healthier fats, but fats never the less. Both toppings are easy to whip up and have good body for spreading. Take your pick.

Hey, it’s a birthday cake, not a diet food. God made chocolate in heaven and the devil threw in the calories! But don’t let that spoil it for you. We all deserve a treat once in a while. Happy birthday!

Chocolate raspberry torte

Chocolate raspberry birthday cake

Cake

  • 2 cups (240 grams) whole-grain pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate (3 ounces total)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur

Filling

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 12-ounce jar double-the-fruit raspberry jam

Topping 1: Chocolate sour cream frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Topping 2: Chocolate avocado frosting

  • 3 ounces (110 grams) dark chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (60 ml) chocolate milk
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) coconut palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 completely ripe avocados, about 1 cup or 225 grams
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder, about 25 grams

Decoration

  • fresh raspberries
  • candles

Chocolate raspberry torte

Make the cake layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch layer cake pans and  cut parchment paper circles to fit bottoms of pans.
  3. Wisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  4. Chop chocolate into pieces and melt it in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Be careful not to get any water in the chocolate or it will curdle.
  5. In a large bowl, beat coconut oil, sugar and eggs at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 min. Beat in melted chocolate and add vanilla. At low speed beat in flour in fourths, alternating with sour cream in thirds. Add coffee and liqueur, blending until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into pans and bake 30-35 min or until surface springs back. Cool in pans for 10 min, then remove from pans and cool on wire racks. When completely cooled, wrap in foil and store in the freezer until the day before the party.

Fill the layers

  1. Slice the two cake layers in half horizontally to make four thin layers (easier if still slightly frozen).
  2. Beat the cream until stiff.
  3. Place one layer with its cut side up on cake platter. Spread with 1/2 cup raspberry jam, then 1/2 cup sweetened whipped cream.
  4. Repeat with remaining layers, ending with the top layer placed cut side down.

Frost the cake with the sour cream topping (option 1)

  1. Melt chocolate chips in top of double boiler.
  2. Add sour cream (with a dash of salt) and stir gently until creamy and smooth.
  3. Work quickly while icing is still warm to frost sides and top of cake. Do the sides first and finish with the top. Use a wide spatula.
  4. Garnish with fresh berries and candles.

Frost the cake with the avocado topping (option 2)

  1. Melt the chocolate in top of double boiler. Stir in the milk, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Scoop out the avocado flesh and put it into a food processor. Add cocoa powder and blend.
  3. Add warm chocolate mixture to the avocado puree. Blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl until no green flecks of avocado can be seen. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if needed.
  4. Add more milk if the icing is too thick to spread, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. Work quickly while icing is still warm to frost sides and top of cake. Do the sides first and finish with the top. Use a wide spatula.
  6. Garnish with fresh berries and candles.
Karen's cake

May one of your gifts be a pony

 

Advertisements

Banana ice cream desserts two ways

Strawberry banana ice cream

A nutritional bonanza from our friendly banana

This dessert is so good, people call it Nice Cream. The riper the banana, the sweeter the dessert.

Ripe bananas also have higher levels of antioxidants, which as any frequent reader of Vinny’s blog will know, fight chronic disease and inflammation.

One interesting thing about fully ripened bananas is that they also produce a substance called tumor necrosis factor (TNF).  TNF combats abnormal cells to help shrink cancer tumors.  The more dark patches a banana has, the higher its ability to fight this dastardly disease. If you are a diabetic, fruit contains significant amounts of natural sugar and you have to watch your portion size.

Banana ice cream is the perfect way to use your over-ripe bananas. Cut three ripe bananas in coins and freeze them in a sealable plastic baggie overnight or until you need them. When you feel the urge for something sweet, whip up one of these delicious desserts in no time.

Banana ice cream, two ways
Each recipe makes 2 cups or four 1/2-cup servings

Strawberry banana ice cream

Raspberry banana ice cream with a strawberry on top

Very berry ice cream

  • 3 bananas, cut in coins and frozen
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries (frozen strawberries or blueberries work well, too)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Strawberry banana ice cream

Store your banana ice cream in plastic food containers with lids.

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour contents into a 2- or 3-cup plastic food container with lid.
  3. Freeze one hour or until solid.
  4. Spoon into a bowl and add toppings if you want, like fresh berries, dark chocolate curls, or chopped nuts. Avoid adding syrups or candy to keep the added sugar down.

Per serving: 107 Cal, 14 grams natural sugar, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, 0.4 grams fat

Chocolate banana icecream

Chocolate banana ice cream with peanut butter.

Chocolate peanut butter cup

  • 3 bananas, cut in coins and frozen
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour contents into a 2- or 3-cup plastic food container with lid.
  3. Freeze one hour or until solid.
  4. Spoon into a bowl and add toppings if you want, like fresh berries, dark chocolate curls, chopped nuts, or chopped dry fruit.

Per serving: 157 Cal, 20 grams natural sugar, 4 grams fiber, 3.8 grams fat

Chocolate banana icecream

Recipe notes

I froze my ice cream for 4 hours before trying it. It was solid but still easily spoonable. If yours gets too hard to spoon, leave it on the counter for 10 minutes first.

The recipe calls for milk, and I usually use skim. But you can use soy or almond milk, and anywhere from 2% cow’s or goat’s milk to whipping cream. Even chocolate milk would be nice in the chocolate desserts. That’s what I used here. The flavor and texture varies with the milk you use.

I avoid high-fat milk products because I can’t afford the calories and I’m leery of saturated animal fats. Use whatever milk you normally like and go from there.

There are no added sweeteners in these recipes.  I think you’ll find the ripe bananas provide all the sweetness you need. But if your family likes it sweeter, try adding stevia. It works well in these kinds of desserts. Add the equivalent of a tablespoon of sugar and go from there.

But do try it without sweetener first. Avoiding extra sugar is the one best thing you can do for your family’s health. You’ll be surprised how good it is. I know I was.

How does it taste?

I loved the flavors of both desserts. I was surprised how chocolaty the chocolate peanut butter cup was. The texture reminds me of fruit sorbets rather than rich ice creams. But that might change if you were to try yours with whipping cream instead of skim milk. The younger set in our family gave both flavors an unqualified high five.

Chocolate banana icecream

Simple desserts are sometimes the best.

Vinny’s on Yum Goggle

Ile de Re: Fish market

Vinny’s been updating older posts recently and putting them up on Yum Goggle. Yum Goggle features food photography from contributors around the world. The photos whet your appetite for the recipes you can get simply by clicking on the pictures or the words GET THE RECIPE. It’s a great site and we’re proud to be a part of the team. More

Healthier Happy Birthday cake-pie

Chocolate cream pie with figs

It’s Sharon’s birthday today, so Vinny brings you a rich, chocolatey tart with no  flour in the filling, that you can stick candles in and sing happy birthday around, merrily. With this dessert, you can enjoy a slice and know that along with your birthday calories, you are also getting a decent helping of nutrition. More

Celebrate Pi day with this easy chocolate cake — only 3.14-ingredients

Pi day cake

A cake suitable for Pi day, photo by Tip Junkie

The story behind Pi day

Normally, I’d choose a pie to celebrate the math constant π (Pi = 3.14159…) on its special day, which is coming upon us soon. Scientists the world over will likely be tucking into a delicious slice of one, perhaps a banana cream or pecan pie, More

1,2,3-Ingredient brownies with low-sugar, nutty spread

3-ingredient brownies

Low-sugar brownies have a secret ingredient

Kids, get your aprons on. We’re going to whip up some brownies that are as good for the body as they are for the soul. Including time to wash up the dishes, these treats should take no more than a half hour away from your Minecraft play time. More

Chocolate-and-pear tart for Marie-Laure

Saint Malo

Saint Malo

A blind orphan threads her way through the streets of Saint Malo at the end of the World War II, with a fresh-baked loaf under her arm. Her name is Marie-Laure and dry bread is all she will have to eat for several days… .

Hidden in the loaf are coordinates destined for the Allied Forces, pin-pointing where the Nazis are headquartered in the town, where their supplies are stored, where their ammunition is kept. Marie-Laure’s uncle radios this vital information across the airwaves on a powerful set hidden in their attic. More

Black magic: Chocolate syrup on ice

Black ice - chocolate magic

Just two ingredients…

Awesome! This idea came my way courtesy of the Paddington Foodie, chef extraordinaire. It’s ridiculously easy. Combining just two super-foods, this simple syrup zaps any dessert you like with goodness that is sure to grant you the superpowers of your dreams. More

BeaverTails deconstructed

2015-01-15 10.20.48_edited

BeaverTails on ice

 

Anyone who’s skated Ottawa’s Rideau Canal knows all about our iconic BeaverTails. Nobody ever leaves the ice without a bite of these sugary deep-fried pastries decorated with cinnamon, chocolate, or lemon, or some other delightful combination of sweet and sour.

As I was focusing on Ottawa’s winter wonderland for my gourmet dinner party, Frozen in Ottawa, I  thought tiny BeaverTails would make a perfect hors d’oeuvre. They would go well with the sweetly tart cocktail we served, Frozen Blues.

BeaverTails are served hot on the Canal. But as my theme was “frozen,” I served mine cold. More

Readers Earl Grey teabag cookies

earl grey tea(bag) cookies

Event…

Our book club was meeting at my house this month. What to serve? Looking in my tea box, I discovered a couple of packets of loose-leaf tea labelled Readers Earl Grey Tea. What could be more perfect for this special group of readers, I thought. More

No stove? Cook dinner with your iron!

iron out the wrinkles on your next grilled cheese

Iron out the wrinkles on your next grilled cheese

I’m not sure we should let the little dears in our lives in on this trick… But if you’re ever stuck in a hotel room with no cooking facilities and limited cash for eating out, you can get by with an iron!

I’m not kidding. It’s simple! More

A cake cup for Krista – Chocolate rules!

cake cups

The candles spluttered out in a blast of air, as 9-year-old Krista blew across her birthday cake and made a wish.

“What did you wish for?” asked Vinny. “A unicorn for the backyard shed? A chest of gold Lego?”

“No… and no,” said Krista. “I wished I was skinny!”

“What? No!” Vinny was aghast. More

Jeremy’s take on kale

Boiled dressing = easy and delicious!

Kale with pears, pomegranate and boiled dressing = easy and delicious!

I’ve been busy with family in the midst of a big move and exotic holidays. So Vinny has been on sabbatical!

But I saw this cute cartoon on Kathy Man’s blog the other day and Jeremy made me laugh. Maybe you’ll like it too :).

 

kale cartoon849

 

Jeremy might even prompt you to have a look at Vinny’s earlier posts on kale. More

Popcorn magic at the Night Circus

DSCN3941_edited

The night circus has a brain and heart… almost human. How eerie!

Last week I raved about a novel by Erin Morgenstern, called The Night Circus. This story asks us to consider the untold power life holds!

One way the author looks at the nature of life is by imagining the opposite.

Morgenstern  thinks of death not as an end, but a change. If you break a bottle of ink in the ocean, the ink disperses because it has lost its container. The ink is still there… just diluted, its parts no longer connected.

When one of the wizards mysteriously vanishes in The Night Circus, his daughter tells everyone he’s died. But in fact he is in this state of dilution… not exactly dead, he’s just not here in one piece.

While you’re reading The Night Circus, I propose a tasty bowlful of black-and-white popcorn to help you hold yourself together. More

The Night Circus: Black-and-white torte with raspberries at centre ring

The clock chimes 4a.m. at the Night Circus and bonfire is burning strong, fed by Marco's book of charms.

The clock chimes 4 a.m. at the Night Circus. Her bonfire burns strong, fed by Marco’s book of charms.

“What’s black and white with red in the middle?” Vinny asks.  “Give up? It’s the cake I made for my book club, when Erin Morgenstern’s novel “The Night Circus” was up for discussion.

On the surface, Morgenstern gives us an enchanting love story about magic. The circus, open only at night, shimmers in black and white. It is the venue for a desperate competition, as two wizards older than time pit themselves against one another through their best students. The light and the dark signify their two opposing ways of manipulating reality. Which will win out, Vinny wonders. More

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia miracle pudding boosts memory

Chia pudding cup

 

Don’t eat your potted pet…

Remember those little Chia sculptures that blew onto the scene about 30 years ago?  We’d water them and give them a little love, and they rewarded us by growing hair and fur in all the right places. They were cute but decidedly not edible. More

I . love . turtles… the chocolate kind

Apple turtle

Mother Turtle, made from apples here, casts a healing spell among First Nations people.

The turtle myth…

In Native American stories, the turtle is a symbol for Mother Earth. This ancient animal commonly lives as long as 150 years. Its shell keeps her safe. And her slow even pace through life sets an example for people to keep going when the going gets tough. Turtle always makes time to enjoy each moment life has to offer.

To honor the turtle, I suggested to my friend Isla that we could make some for Christmas. “They’re so tasty!” I said. More

Creamy triple-chocolate mousse, loaded with omega-9 from avocado

Avocado Mousse

A healthy chocolate dessert

Instead of the suspicious fats usually lurking in rich desserts from heavy cream and butter, this chocolate pudding hides a secret agent known far and wide for his success in fighting disease. His name? Detective Avocado. More

Pack these sweet potato cookies into kids’ lunches

sweet potato cookies, kids' lunches, low-sugar

Sweet potato cookies get top marks for “Delicious!”

Yes, indeed, once again you are looking at sweet potatoes. I mashed them up with some prune butter and a little maple syrup. Then I made a cookie dough by adding oatmeal, whole-grain flour, and ground sun-flower seeds. As a way to get vegetables into the lunch boxes of picky eaters, these are spectacular! More

Count Down to Christmas, Sugar Free!

 

Here we are, boys and girls, December First! It’s that magical time of the year when we start celebrating all things family, beginning with that special couple 2000 years ago who  rejoiced together  in a stable over the birth of their new-born son.

One fun tradition of the season is the Advent Calendar. Kids everywhere will be More

The Queen’s Beets – Let Them Eat Cake

“Woe is me!” sighs Marie.

How Queen Marie learns to dance

Marie Antoinette found herself  bored silly. She had everything she wanted. If she clapped once, her servant would come with a tray full of chocolate cake. Twice got her steaming mugs of cocoa and cream. Three times and she went mad over baskets of truffles and éclairs. But she wasn’t happy. More

Skinny Brownies with Three Kinds of Chocolate

Happy occasions demand chocolate!

A very chocolaty recipe jumped right onto my screen just after Halloween, from Chew Out Loud.

Vinny, however, found this recipe a tad high on sugar (2 1/2 cups). So we experimented with stevia in place of sugar. More

Loverly coconut oil and some kale chips

Click on the coconut to hear Grampa’s song

My Great-Great-Ever-So-Great Grampa used to sing about coconuts at the top of his lungs. But he wasn’t much into eating them. Although he loved fine dining, his choices rarely included stuff that was good for him. Broccoli? Yuck! Brown bread? No way! Bring on the butter and the whipped cream! More

Trail mix for cowboys and cowgirls – but without the acorns

Ke-mo-sah-bee! “Trusted friend”

The power of nuts

In a recent blog we talked about the goodness of hazelnuts. We even used hazelnuts to make some healthier homemade Nutella!

Acorns are nuts, too. But are they a food? Sure! Hazelnut and Acorn are friends. More

Hazel tames the giant Nutella: Easy home-made spread

DSCN7501_edited

Our elf Hazel is deeply wise.
Love her and she’ll quench your thirst for knowledge.
Then, she’ll bless you with a silver tongue,
for teaching others what you’ve learned.

So it’s said. But is there any truth behind the power of Elf Hazel?

What we know for sure: Hazel harnesses the strength of her namesake, the hazelnut. Like some other nuts and seeds, hazelnuts  feed the brain. More

Christmas advent fun can be had, without chocolate!

London Tower helps bring Christmas closer

Only 10 more sleeps until we turn the calendar on a new month – December. Then the fun begins! Many people start counting down the days to Christmas with an advent calendar. Each day comes with More

Vinny says: Be my valentine

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39907732@N00/1178802883/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Hot dippity do

Cook Up A Story is in love with chocolate, and Vinny tells you why. If you’d like to see Vinny’s tiny friend get ready for Valentine’s day, click on Jacquie Lawson’s chocolate shop. It’s beauti-licious! Photo courtesy of Hezoos.

An advent calendar that’s more fun than chocolate

Braided bread at Christmas

Braided bread at Christmas

Only five more sleeps till Christmas! And today I clicked the button for the 20th of December and watched my pal Chudleigh (a friendly black Lab) make a new friend.

My advent calendar this year is a little English Internet village… which gets more and more lively the closer we get to Christmas. More

Let’s do the lobster mash

Yikes! Who’s eating who?

Just 23 days till Christmas! Gotta get going on my Christmas baking…full of chocolate and fruit and fiber and, well, good health! More

%d bloggers like this: