Rustic chocolate layer cake

Every year I make a birthday cake for my dad. And every year, it’s the same recipe base: chocolate espresso cake with dark chocolate ganache. This year I attempted, as always, to make the ganache frosting smooth. This year, as always, I failed to do so.

Luckily, rustic-looking things are a trend, especially around this time of year, and we also had some rosemary and raw hazelnuts on hand. I may not be the best cake decorator, but I’m not the worst!

Warning: this is a super rich cake and it’s not very sweet. Choose chocolate at your own discretion and do not feel pressured to eat the rosemary.

Ingredients

for the cake

  • 1 ⅛ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

for the ganache

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 88% cacao)
  • 8 ounces heavy cream

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer* beat the cooled butter and the sugar together for 2-3 minutes or until it’s light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape down the sides after each addition.

Alternate adding in the dry ingredients and the sour cream, starting with dry and ending with dry. After the last addition, scrape the sides and finish mixing by hand.

Pour the batter into two six inch pans, greased and lined with parchment paper.

Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer placed in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool completely, then chill in the fridge before decorating.

In the meantime, heat the heavy cream to a boil, and chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heatsafe bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate, and cover the bowl with a plate to keep the heat in. After around 10 minutes, take the plate off and mix the ganache. Let it sit at room temperature until it’s cool but spreadable.

Level the tops of both the cakes, spread ganache between the layers**, then coat the outside of the cake with more ganache. You should have used about ⅔ of the ganache at this point.

Pop the cake in the fridge to set, then add more ganache and create a bark-like pattern by running your spatula from bottom to top and top to bottom, creating vertical lines.

I topped the cake with a sprig of rosemary, some hazelnuts and chocolate shavings. Keep the cake refrigerated until 30 minutes before serving.

* you can also use a hand mixer

** I just used two layers, but you can cut each cake into two layers to make a total of four

Cookie dough espresso truffles

Oh heck yeah. 

The CDC recently told us not to eat cookie dough but… I feel like you’ll be fine with this one anyways. These cookie dough espresso truffles are perfect for a gift or a holiday party, or even just to eat for breakfast when you’ve slept in too long. Which I know from personal experience.

Note: these can also be vegan if you use margarine, dark chocolate and a nondairy milk!

Ingredients

for the edible cookie dough

  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • scant ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

for the coating

  • 4 ounces baking chocolate, melted (I used 65% cacao)

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Next, add the espresso powder, whole milk, almond flour and chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly and let the dough sit in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into small balls, then let them freeze for another ten minutes. In the meantime, melt the baking chocolate and line a plate with parchment paper.

Dip the chilled dough in the melted chocolate — work quickly, and immediately place the truffles in the freezer to set up. They’ll keep in the fridge for around a week.

Espresso chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are iconic. They’re most people’s favorite cookie, and they’re undeniably delicious. But I’m irreverent of tradition, and if it ain’t broke, you can probably make it even better somehow, especially if coffee is involved.

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At the start of testing, the two main things I wanted to do with these cookies were (1) diversify the flavor profile and (2) make a cookie that wasn’t too sweet. Adding espresso was the best way to fit both of those criteria, but halfway through my first test I realized I was low on chocolate chips. I went in my pantry to see if there was a good substitute, and I decided to chop up some 100% cacao baking chocolate and toss it into the dough.

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The first test went well, but I had some things I wanted to change. The cookies were chewier and crispier on the edges than I wanted, and I still wanted more depth of flavor. For the second (and successful) batch, I browned the butter and added some cinnamon. I also changed the brown to granulated sugar ratio from 3:1 to 1:1, which gave the cookies a cakey texture in the middle. They were perfect. They are perfect. These cookies are the pinnacle of cookie.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done an all out unhealthy recipe complete with all purpose flour, cane sugar and butter. But traditional baking is something I really do enjoy, and felt like I wanted to do more. If you don’t want to look at these ~terrifying~ real cookies, then close the window. If you wanna have fun, make them.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup browned butter
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons espresso powder
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ounces 100% cacao chocolate, chopped*
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips**

Instructions

Brown the butter in a small saucepan, then transfer to a heatproof bowl and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you’re short on time, you could put it in the freezer for 10 minutes instead.

Once the butter is cool and thickened, mix with both sugars until combined, then mix in the eggs one at a time.

Add the vanilla, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and espresso powder, and mix until incorporated.

Gently fold in the flour and chocolate, then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375º F.

Scoop the cookies and bake for 11-13 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the middles are still soft.***

Let cool completely before serving.

 

*I used Ghirardelli 100%

**I used Equal Exchange semisweet baking chips

***using my scoop, this recipe makes 14-15 cookies—they’re pretty big 

 

Fudgey flourless brownies

There is nothing better in life than a brownie. Especially when you’re in week five of ten of spring quarter, it’s nice outside and you somehow always have an essay to write. I’m not kidding, I have at least one essay for everyone one of my classes this year, and one of those classes is a psych class. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking.

Regardless of what I was thinking when I registered last quarter, I know exactly what I think about these brownies. And I think they’re freaking amazing.

It’s not like I haven’t made good brownies before. My paleo brownies were delicious, but they were more like your traditional brownie. A little fudgey, a little chewy… I was craving something bolder and with a little more punch. Enter the flourless brownie.

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Though this post is not sponsored (#iwish) I’d like to mention two brands that I used in order to make the experience what I wanted it to be. The chocolate i used is Equal Exchange, because I care about people, and the coffee I used was Chameleon Cold Brew, because I recently found it and I really enjoyed the bold flavor. (Note: these don’t taste like coffee. The coffee only brings out the chocolate flavor.)

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I’m not saying these brownies solved all my problems. Yes, I still have an enormous amount to write about topics I don’t fully understand. And yes, I’m still both mentally and physically exhausted and can’t wait to be done with this quarter. But eating these made it better for a good 2 minutes, and i’ll take whatever I can get.

Peace, love and cold brew,

Cam

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Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons grass fed butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or in chips (I used Equal Exchange)
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cold coffee (I used Chameleon Cold Brew)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup arrowroot starch
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a large metal bowl, add the chocolate and the butter, then melt in a bain marie until smooth.

Add in the coconut sugar, stir until combined, then add in the eggs one at a time.

Next add the vanilla, coffee and cocoa powder and stir until incorporated.

Fold in the arrowroot starch and chocolate chips, then pour the batter into a lined 8 by 8 square pan and bake for 28-30 minutes.

Let cool completely before serving, because they will fall apart when hot.

 

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Truffles

Valentine’s Day is almost here once again, and like every year, your inboxes and insta feeds are being bombarded with V-day recipes. Today is no different. What IS different is that I have a paleo and vegan recipe for y’all, and it’s not only delicious but pretty healthy as well!

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This is the first Valentine’s I’ve been single for a couple years, so I decided to really engage in self love this month. That’s pretty much meant eating food that nourishes my body and soul, getting some extra sleep and finally using a face mask I’ve had for a while. But the sooner we get to the 14th, the more than actually just means eating chocolate. And trust me, I really enjoyed eating this chocolate.

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These truffles are the perfect Valentine’s gift for your friends, family or bae, especially if those people have food intolerances you need to work around. Plus, homemade gifts always score some extra points. Hope y’all have an awesome week!

love ya,

Cam

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded or dessicated coconut
  • ½ cup cacao butter, liquid
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup freeze dried raspberries, crushed
  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate, melted (I use Eating Evolved)
  • 2 more tablespoons freeze dried raspberries, for topping

Instructions

In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients but the chocolate and put in the freezer until you can form balls out of the mixture.

Once chilled, roll the coconut mixture into balls about 1” in diameter. Put the truffles back in the fridge or freezer until completely set. In the meantime, melt down your chocolate.

Once your truffles are set, roll each in the chocolate and sprinkle with more freeze dried raspberries. Move quickly, because the chocolate will start to set as soon as it touches the cold truffle.

Let set completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Bananas are a huge part of my diet. Fruit pickings are slim in the dorms, and the most reliably high quality sweet things happen to be bananas. So my roommate and I often bring bananas back to the room. And then sometimes forget about them.

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I threw together this recipe while at home over break, but it’s also a perfect way to use up all those old bananas I forget I have.

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Since school started in September, I’ve had a hard time eating mindfully and making sure to eat until I’m only 80% full–yummy treats like this help me slow down and savor my food. Especially since they’re not actually too unhealthy either.

Here’s to never wasting a banana again!

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Ingredients

  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut or almond butter
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder*
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips**

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas (I used my hands) until they are a smooth pulp. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until combined, then add the coconut sugar and coconut oil and whisk again.

Add the vanilla and peanut butter, and mix thoroughly.

Whisk in the salt and baking powder, then fold in the cocoa, almond flour and chocolate chips.

Line a cupcake tray with paper liners and scoop about ¼ cup of batter into each. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely before serving.

*baking powder does come in cornstarch free versions. If you’re not strictly grain free, don’t worry about it.

** I prefer a vegan chocolate, such as Equal Exchange, for these

Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Can you believe that Wednesday is National Peanut Butter Day? I know–crazy how this one sneaks up on you every year.

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You’re probably thinking, “Why the hell does this woman care so much about peanut butter?”

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Well, I’ll walk you through it. My best friend in elementary school loved peanut butter; in fact, she still does. It was only fitting that my roommate is also in love with peanut butter–they both are known to eat it directly out of the jar with a spoon.

Regardless of whether you also love peanut butter or have close friends that do, these cookies are awesome. Grain-free, dairy-free and naturally sweetened, there are few things as wonderful as sinking your teeth into this chewy goodness and realizing it won’t make you feel like crap for the next 12 hours.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup peanut butter (+ more for drizzling)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (+ more for topping)
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 2.5 ounces paleo chocolate (I use Eating Evolved)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your peanut butter, maple syrup and egg. Add the vanilla extract and salt, then mix again.

Fold in the almond flour, ½ cup at a time–I needed the full 2 cups because I had runny peanut butter, but you might not.

Break the chocolate into small chunks and mix throughout.

Roll the dough into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter and place on a lined baking tray and press down with the back of a spatula to flatten.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the cookies are baked through and the edges are golden brown. If necessary, flatten again with the back of your spatula.

Let cool completely before drizzling with more peanut butter and topping with a sprinkle of sea salt. Enjoy!

BEST. EVER. BROWNIES.

If I had to choose one dessert to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose brownies. And if someone said I had to choose a specific brownie recipe, I’d choose this one. You can’t even call my bluff on this either; I had all the necessary ingredients to make myself a birthday cake, but instead, I made brownies.

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These aren’t ordinary brownies. They’re grain-free, naturally sweetened and can be paleo as well if you make them with coconut oil–but I used butter, because it was my birthday and I wanted to live a little.

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But I still didn’t want to feel like crap after eating my own birthday dessert. So to make them easier on me, I used Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour and Eating Evolved chocolate. This isn’t sponsored, but both are great brands. Eating Evolved chocolate melts down really well, and the paleo baking flour is a super easy shortcut to having to mix a bunch of different flours together–both products are totally worth the price tag.

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BEST. EVER. BROWNIES. Also, if you’re looking to top them, I recommend a nut butter of your choice and some cinnamon. Takes it to a whole other level.

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Ingredients

  • 5 ounces paleo chocolate (I use Eating Evolved)
  • ½ cup coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup + 2 teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a bain marie or in a microwave until the mixture is smooth.

Whisk the coconut sugar into the chocolate mixture, then add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, until the batter is smooth.

Stir in the vanilla and cocoa powder, then fold in the flour, making sure not to overmix the batter–you don’t want it to get tough and chewy.

Pour the batter into a greased 8 by 8 inch pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Let the brownies cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying… it’s gonna be hard to wait, but it’s worth it.

Cranberry Apple Crumble

Need a last minute dessert this holiday season? Look no further. I got you.

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This cranberry apple crisp is a healthier, no fuss option for the holidays this year; sometimes it’s easy to get swept away in the details and forget what you’re really celebrating. As you read this, I’m probably on the Amtrak from Union Station in Chicago to Troy, Michigan, to see my dad’s side of the family for Thanksgiving. My paternal grandfather died last month, and my family was kind enough to postpone the funeral until my other college age cousin and I could make it without missing classes.

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Though I’ll be happy to see them, this isn’t going to be a traditional Thanksgiving, with a turkey and multiple courses and stress about the meal being perfect. Though I’m not 100% sure I’ll make this specific dessert, this is a dish that shows what it means to have a laid back, low stress holiday season. I won’t be posting again until after the holiday, so to my American followers, have a great holiday!

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Ingredients

  • 2 apples, diced (I used one pink lady, one granny smith)
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • ⅓ cup halved pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a large bowl, mix together the apple pieces and the cranberries, and toss with the arrowroot starch.

Pour the fruit into an 8 by 8 inch baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, in another bowl, whisk together the almond flour, the nuts and the cinnamon. Add the coconut oil and the maple syrup and mix until a wet dough is formed.

Spread the crumble dough evenly over the fruit and bake for another 30-35 minutes, until the cranberries and bubbling and the crumble topping is dry and golden.

Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

One Bowl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Who else loves banana bread!?

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I know I do, especially when it’s getting colder outside and all you want is a warm banana loaf to snack on when you get home from class.

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Buuuut coming off Halloweekend, the last thing you want to do is eat something unhealthy–at least, if you’re anything like me.

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Enter: gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free vegan banana bread. And depending on the chocolate you use, it could also be paleo*, but no matter what, it’s delicious. Trust me, this is too good to pass up, even if you’re not vegan or gluten-free.

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Ingredients

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 flax egg
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

In a large bowl, mash together the bananas with a fork. Then whisk in the coconut oil, flax egg and coconut sugar.

Add the vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

Next, add in the two flours and the chocolate chips. Be careful not to overmix here, because you don’t want a tough loaf; lumps here and there are okay.

Bake in a greased pan for 45-50 minutes, then let cool completely before slicing–it’s super moist!

 

* for paleo chocolate I like to use Eating Evolved, but they don’t make chips, so I would suggest just breaking them into small pieces like I did with my paleo cookies. the brand I use for non-paleo goods is Equal Exchange.