Blueberry Lemon Pie with Stuffed Crust

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Blueberry and lemon are definitely fruity BFFs. I love blueberries, but sometimes they are too sweet for me. Lemon is the perfect balance to that sweetness. Like all good best friends, these fruits compliment and bring out the best in each other, and the praline stuffed crust adds a lovely, crunchy surprise! Served chilled, this pie is the perfect, refreshing antidote for the hot days of early summer.

We use fresh berries for this, but you can substitute frozen berries, just add a few minutes to the cooking time–no need to defrost them. I like turbinado (raw) sugar for the crust filling–it’s richer flavor is terrific with the pecans. But, if you have regular, granulated sugar, you can use that instead.

Enjoy berry season! It is short and sweet, but always very tasty!

Stuffed Crust Blueberry Lemon Pie

  • 2 pie crusts from your favorite recipe
  • 1/4 cup organic, raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup organic butter, melted
  • 1 cup toasted pecan halves
  • 3 cups organic or pesticide-free blueberries
  • Lemon juice and zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 2 teaspoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 8 ounces lemon curd
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add turbinado sugar, pecans, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until finely textured, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Roll first pie crust into a 9″ pie pan, making sure crust connects with the sides. Brush entire crust with the melted butter.
  4. Add remaining melted butter to the sugar mixture and blend well. Cover bottom of the crust with the cinnamon/pecan mixture.
  5. Top with the second crust, pressing crust down to make contact with the cinnamon/pecan mixture and the sides of the first crust. Crimp edges and trim extra crust.
  6. Use a paring knife, cut small slits in the crust (this will allow steam to escape when baking).
  7. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour.
  8. When crust is cool, combine 1 cup of the berries, lemon zest, juice, tapioca and cane sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium. Mash berries well and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Add remaining blueberries, stir well and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Spread lemon curd over cooled crust. Spread blueberry mixture over the lemon curd.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days (if the pie lasts that long!),

Peach Berry Bars

IMG_2009While part of me is gravitating toward all things pumpkin these days, the more rational part (the part that actually goes outside in the 89% humidity) realizes that summer is still going strong, and the pumpkin extravaganza can wait. No worries, friends, pumpkin recipes are coming. But for now, I still have peaches to eat. Here in North Carolina, we will have peaches and blueberries for just a precious few weeks more and then apples and pumpkins will rein again. So, I’m loading up on peaches–freezing them, making peach jam, baking peach cobbler and trying new recipes like these delicious peach and berry bars.

These bars have an almond crust and topping, with thick, sweet peaches and blueberries in between. Summer deliciousness! You could substitute apricots, raspberries or whatever is fresh at your farmers markets. I may try this again with a thin layer of lemon curd over the crust to give some zing to the sweetness. They are great for picnics and late summer tailgating, so try them before the Polar Vortex returns and peaches are just a lovely memory of summer.

This recipe is based on one from Eating Well. I’ve changed up a few things to cut down on the sugar, but if you want the original recipe, you can find it HERE.

Peach Berry Bars (makes 18 bars)

Crust (also topping)

  • 1 cup almond chopped raw almonds
  • 1.5 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. cold, organic unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large farm egg
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil

Filling

  • 4 cups, chopped fresh peaches
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup quick cook tapioca
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare the crust by combining 3/4 cups of the chopped almonds, flour, coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor. Combine well.
  3. Add butter and pulse just until butter is incorporated (about 5-10 seconds).
  4. Combine oil, vanilla and almond extract in a bowl. With the food processor running on low, add the oil mixture and the egg. Blend until moist and crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crust to serve as the topping. Combine the reserved topping with the remaining chopped almonds and set aside.
  5. Coat a 9 x 13 pan lightly with coconut oil. Press the crust mixture evenly onto the bottom of the greased pan and set aside.
  6. In a saucepan, combine the fruit and orange juice and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Fruit should start to thicken. Add the tapioca and vanilla, stir well, and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Fruit should be very thick at this point.
  7. Pour the fruit mixture over the crust in the pan and spread evenly.
  8. Top the fruit with dollops of the reserved topping, pressing the topping into the fruit a bit.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes more.
  10. Let bars cool for about 15 minutes. Put cooled bars in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes more to cool.
  11. Cut cooled bars and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Enjoy!

 

 

Easy Lemon Bars

fresh_lemon_picture_167142We are having a little false spring here in North Carolina. The ice storms and snow are gone and at the moment we have temperatures in the low 70s. I say “at the moment” because I understand winter will return next week 😦 In the winter, I love to bake and bake and bake, but once the weather turns warm, I want to be outside. My menus turn to quicker meals, grilled foods and all things lemon. Every so often, we accumulate a ridiculous collection of cut lemons, especially when we start cooking using lemon zest. Since one of our goals is to not waste the food we have, I call on a familiar recipe to turn lemons into…well…lemon bars!

Lemon bars are one of those wonderful, southern desserts that combine creamy, sweet custard with tangy lemon flavor. Next to a lemon pound cake, and Italian limoncello, I think lemon bars are a perfect complement to sunny, southern days. These are pretty effortless, so if you are intimidated by making a custard, this is a great dessert for a first try. Note though, that these lemon bars will not be a bright yellow color like you see in restaurants or from a box mix. I don’t use food coloring because really, I don’t care how yellow it is as long as it tastes lemony. So these squares will be a delicate, pale yellow, but still pack plenty of sass. If the light color bothers you, add a few drops of yellow food coloring to the filling and you will be happy.

We used whole wheat pastry flour from a local farm for this recipe, but if you don’t have whole wheat on hand, unbleached all-purpose flour will work as well. We also use our yummy local farm eggs in the filling. While lemons are, of course, not local to North Carolina, we do buy organic lemons, especially if we are zesting them since that is the portion of the lemon in highest contact with pesticides.

I’m hoping to make some of these this weekend before our weather gets brisk again. I’ll sneak any little bit of summer in that I can!

Easy Lemon Bars

Crust

  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/3 c. organic confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into pieces and chilled

Custard Filling

  • 1 c. organic, granulated sugar
  • 3 large farm eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. organic, grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice from organic lemons (about 2 large lemons)

Topping

  • 1/4 c. organic confectioners’ sugar (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray or oil.
    3. Make the crust by combining all the dry ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl. Add the chilled butter and incorporate using a fork, pastry cutter or your fingertips until the crust has the consistency of course meal.
    4. Add the crust mix into the baking pan and press into an even layer along the pan bottom.
    5. Put the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes, then cook for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
    6. Remove the baking pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees.
    7. Make the filling by combining all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing with a wisk until smooth.
    8. Pour the filling over the warm crust and cook for about 20 minutes or until the filling is set.
    9. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for about 30 minutes. Cut and serve or (I like mine cold), pop the pan into the refrigerator for another 30-45 minutes.
    10. Cut into 9 large bars and put bars on a serving platter.
    11. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the bars.

Happy spring baking!

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

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Like many families across the U.S., we have spent the last couple of weeks hunkered down at home waiting for our unusually snowy and icy weather to go away. We have had seven snow days in the last three weeks and really, it is time for these children to go back to school. Now, I love an occasional snow day with all its excitement and plans to make soup, bread and cookies. In our part of North Carolina, “snow events” are typically 24 hour deals–enough to have fun, but not so much that you go stir crazy. Not this year though. Oi vey. I can only imagine how parents in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Atlanta feel.

This is all to say that when the first snow came, we figured that was our one snow of the year, so we had all the big snow fun we could. We made snow figures, went sledding, baked homemade cookies, soup, bread, pasta and ate up. We ate alot. It was great. Except a week later, we experienced another snow and ice storm. Realizing we could not continue on this eating plan without serious consequences, we scaled back on our hibernation feasts and tried to get excercise.

These gluten free, no bake cookies from blogger The Sprouted Kitchen are perfect for when you need a little something, but don’t need any additional sugar or wheat. They are not low in calories, but they are high in protein and fiber and as rich as they are, one is enough to take care of any sweet tooth issues I have. Enjoy these with your coffee as you watch the snow fall. Or while you secretly wish for summer 🙂

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies (makes about 20 cookies)

  • 1 cup raw or toasted almonds
  • 1 cup medjool dates, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, no sugar or salt added
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Put the almonds into a food processor and grind until until you have a course almond meal.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse until you have a moist dough.
  3. Shape into tablespoon sized balls. Flatten each ball with the back of a fork to make a cross hatch pattern.
  4. Refrigerate cookies for 30 minutes.
  5. These will keep in the refrigerator in a air tight container for up to a week.

Snow Cream

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When I was very little, my grandmother would make me maple candy when it snowed (we lived in Maine, so this was fairly often). She would boil maple syrup and pour it over a bowl of fresh, clean snow. The maple syrup would crack and harden, making a candy that we could eat immediately and pour in all kinds of fun designs.

Now I live in North Carolina, where Snow Cream is queen of the snow day. Snow cream is a wonderful, homemade ice cream using snow, evaporated milk, vanilla and sugar. Sadly, I’ve actually lived here for 15 years and never once made snow cream until this week. It seemed like a perfect dessert for a week of missed school and icy weather. Our deck held an ample supply of fresh, unadulterated snow, so we gave it a try and a big thumbs up. The only change I made is to the milk. Our little can of evaporated milk didn’t do the trick for our monster bowl of snow, so we substituted some organic vanilla flavored almond milk, and that was perfect!

This is a great dessert that even small children can help make. All it involves is collecting fresh snow, pouring the ingredients and stirring. Voila!

Many of us are still dealing with the after effects of the Polar Vortex. Snow cream may be a nice, winter way to make lemonade (or ice cream) out of lemons (snow). You can’t get more local than locally harvested snow!

A note about snow: If you ski or snowboard, you know that all snow is not the same. If you have a very wet snow, you may not need as much milk. A dry, powdery snow will require more liquid.

Snow Cream (makes about 4 servings)

  • One large bowl of fresh snow (our bowl held about 12 cups)
  • 1 cup (or so) of organic, vanilla almond milk
  • Vanilla extract (if you like, depending on how vanilla-y your milk is)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Collect the fresh snow in a large bowl. If you aren’t making your snow cream right away, park the bowl in your freezer until you are ready.
  2. Add the milk, extract and sugar to your bowl of snow. Fold the ingredients together.
  3. Taste and add more milk or vanilla if you like (this is more art than science).
  4. Continue stirring and adjusting ingredients until you have the perfect texture. If you accidentally add too much milk, just go get more snow!
  5. Serve immediately.

No Bake, Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

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I have to confess that I ate quite a lot over the Thanksgiving holiday. Lots of turkey and ham, of course, but also more refined sugar than I’ve had in a while. Sugar, I have found, takes no time at all to make me feel bloated and irritable. The longer I eat cleaner foods, the bigger the impact sugar has on me, and it is not good. So in the midst of the holiday food extravaganza, I was very happy to find and try these no bake, gluten free gingerbread cookies from blogger My Whole Food Life! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you might want to mosey over there. She has a wonderful array of lovely–and healthy–snacks, desserts, and entrees. I made her recipe with just a couple of tweaks for my flavor preferences. I like gingerbread to be heavy on the ginger and molasses, so my version reflects that. HERE is her original recipe, which would be perfect if you want a more delicately flavored cookie, and especially if you are making these for children, who might not want the fresh ginger kick.

I took a couple of these cookies with me to fuel up for our 11 mile training run this weekend and appreciated them so much!

No Bake, Vegan Gingerbread Cookies (makes about 16 cookies)

  • 2 cups raw pecans, shelled
  • 10-12 medjool dates, seeds removed
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 pieces honey candied ginger (not sugar crystallized)
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  1. Put the pecans in your food processor and chop until fine.
  2. Add all other ingredients and process until mixture is a thick dough. It will be quite moist.
  3. Roll into 2″ balls, put dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten each ball slightly with the bottom of a glass.
  4. Chill cookies in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  5. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.

Superfood Breakfast Smoothie

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Game on, breakfast! We’ve been working to perfect our morning smoothies to enhance their nutrition density and help us fuel up for our long runs. By George, I think we’ve got it! This smoothie has the taste and texture of ice cream with just a few healthy ingredients, plus the added benefits of maca powder and chia seeds–two superfoods that help with hydration, stamina and hormonal balance. Did I mention it tastes like ice cream? Yep. For breakfast. Seriously, we eat our smoothies with a spoon, they are so thick and ice cream-y.

These smoothies feature two superfoods–maca powder and chia seeds. Here’s a bit of information on each:

Maca Powder

This is our first attempt at using maca powder as a nutritional supplement. Maca powder is an Incan superfood sourced from a root grown in the Andes mountains of Peru. It is known to be high in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12. Maca also contains two essential fatty acids and is very high in fiber. Apparently, maca powder stimulates the endocrine system, which controls hormones, and it is thought to be a good hormone regulator for both men and women. Initial studies indicate that taking regular, small doses of maca powder can help significantly with hot flashes and hormonal fluctuations experienced in early menopause. There are also legendary stories about maca’s effect on the virility of men, but these have not been found to be true in scientific studies.

To be eaten, maca powder really needs to be mixed with something. I tried tasting it by itself and…well…it tastes like a dried root would taste. In the smoothies, though, you can’t taste it at all, so that’s an easy solution!

I can say that for me, I noticed a substantial increase in energy after my first smoothie with the maca powder. Rather than inheriting some Incan super power, I think I may be low in my B vitamins, but whatever works! I notice that I definitely have more energy in the morning and have cut back my caffeine consumption considerably. Maca is a keeper!

Chia Seeds

I’ve posted about chia seeds before with our chia pudding experiments this summer. Chia seeds are pretty incredible. They have tons of fiber, protein and omega-3s. As a matter of fact, they have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of any known plant source. And they absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid, making them wonderful for folks trying to stay hydrated. I’ve never noticed any immediate improvement in my health or well-being when taking chia seeds, but I definitely feel fuller for longer after eating anything with chia in it.

We’re adding chia seeds to our smoothies to add some protein and help us stay hydrated as we add miles to our runs. If you are exercising a great deal, hydration begins before your workout. Like, days before. I’m pretty terrible about remembering to drink water, but I am trying to be more mindful (an alert on my phone helps). And staying hydrated helps keep your skin healthy looking and clear as well!

Here is our recipe for Superfood Smoothies. You could easily add spinach, kale or other greens and change it up the way you like! The goal is to use frozen fruit to get that thick, ice cream like texture. The yogurt adds protein and some thickness, which I like, but you could leave it out with no problem.

Superfood Breakfast Smoothies (makes 2 smoothies)

  • 3 cups frozen fruit (we use a combination of mango and berries)
  • 4-6 ounces yogurt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of organic, raw, maca powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic chia seeds
  • 2 cups organic, unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  1. Put all ingredients in a high powered blender (Vitamix or Nutribullet work well).
  2. Blend on low, then switch to high until all fruit is pulverized and incorporated and the mixture is thick, like ice cream.
  3. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Praline Glaze

20121110-173653.jpgMy sweet T’s birthday cake!

For the record, cake is not health food. I get that. Really. But as we prepare for Thanksgiving (not even a month away!), I’m trying to include as many fresh, local ingredients into our Thanksgiving meal as possible. And for the record, that meal involves cake. And pie.

Don’t judge–you know you want cake, too. Or pie. Or maybe both.

Here in North Carolina, we produce sweet potatoes. A lot of them. Not only are sweet potatoes naturally sweeter than their other tuber cousins, they are packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. After watching THIS video about sweet potatoes, we typically buy organic sweet potatoes because who wants a “bud nip” cake? Not me. Not even with ice cream.

This cake is my “go-to” cake for holiday parties, autumn pot lucks and any time I want to look super fabulous to my family. The sweet potatoes make for a very moist cake. The original recipe is from Southern Living, but I’ve tweaked it a bit over time. I do use whole wheat flour, so my cake doesn’t have a super fine crumb, but it is still tastes great! It is not health food, but it is far better for you than grocery store cakes, which substitute hydrogenated oils and lots of sugar for more expensive (and flavorful) ingredients. They hope you can’t tell the difference, but there is a reason those cakes all taste more or less the same.

You can make this cake without the praline glaze, but I highly recommend making the glaze. The cake itself is not very sweet, so the glaze adds a lot without making the cake too sugary.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Praline Glaze

Cake

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups organic cane sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (2 large or 3 smaller potatoes)
  • 3 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour (I love King Arthur’s flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt cake pan.
  2. Using a standing mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until creamy.
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Add sweet potatoes and vanilla and mix well.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix well.
  6. Gradually add the flour to the wet mixture, beating at low speed (unless you plan on wearing the flour) and mix just to combine.
  7. This batter will be very thick!
  8. Pour the batter into the greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 70 to 75 minutes.
  9. Remove cake pan from oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the cake from the pan onto the wire rack and cool for 1 hour.
  11. When the cake is near the end of its cooling time, make the glaze.

Praline Glaze

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup spiced pecans (you can make these, but I buy them already “spiced” at Trader Joes)
  1. Chop the spiced pecans into rough pieces, but not too small.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk constantly and boil for one minute.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Whisk in powdered sugar, a little at a time and mix with the whisk until smooth.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until glaze begins to thicken.
  5. Pour over cooled cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake glaze with the spiced pecans.

Tip: “clean” the saucepan by dipping more pecans into the glaze clinging to the pan. Eat happily, considering this to be your baker’s reward :-)

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Spice Muffins

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These muffins are more like dessert than breakfast, but they are still healthier than any baked good at a coffeehouse. Light, fluffy and spicy, they are a wonderful, early fall treat and a great break from pumpkin muffins. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Williams Sonoma, using some coconut sugar and chopped pecans. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Spice Muffins (makes 9 muffins)

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted, organic butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup unbleached, organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick unsalted, organic butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put chopped pecans in a shallow pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Butter 9 muffin cups of a muffin tin or use unbleached paper liners. Fill remaining cups with water.
  4. Using a standing mixer or hand beaters, beat butter and coconut sugar for 4-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir well.
  6. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in vanilla and chopped pecans.
  7. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let muffins cool 5 minutes, then remove muffins to a cooling rack and let cool another 10 minutes.
  9. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a wide bowl. Put melted butter in a separate bowl.
  10. One at a time, pick up muffins by the bottom, turn them upside down and dip the tops in the melted butter, then very quickly roll the tops in the cinnamon sugar. Put each muffin back to the rack and repeat with remaining muffins.

Fig and Almond Buttermilk Cake

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I’ll be the first to admit that the photos of this cake do not do it justice. I’m still working on my food photography skills and this one just didn’t work out. I’m hoping to make it again and hopefully get some better photos up. For now, you’ll have to trust me that this simple, one layer cake is freakin’ amazing. I used our buttermilk cake recipe from HERE and adapted it for a combination of figs and almonds. The resulting cake was incredibly moist, but light. The figs baked into the cake and almost melted. Wanting to try cake for breakfast? This is a good choice!

This cake used whole wheat pastry flour and coconut sugar, making it much darker in color than it would be with all purpose flour and white cane sugar. If you haven’t tried coconut sugar yet, this would be a great recipe with which to start. Coconut sugar is a minimally processed sugar that is sustainably harvested from the sap of coconut trees. Unlike cane sugar or even brown sugar, coconut sugar is a low glycemic food (glycemic index of 35) that has 36 times the amount of iron as brown sugar and 16 amino acids. It is also high in potassium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. It is considered safe to use for diabetics and can be used as a replacement for cane sugar in 1:1 ratio. Because it is very dark in color, your baking will also take on a rich, dark brown color, so keep that in mind. I don’t particularly care, but if you are baking a white cake, you’ll want to know that in advance.

I dare you to open a bag of coconut sugar, take a deep inhale, and NOT fall in love. I. Dare. You.

Enjoy the figs of late summer! I hope to make this cake a few more times before fig season is officially over. And maybe–well probably–have it for breakfast 🙂

Fig and Almond Buttermilk Cake (makes one 9″ round cake)

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted, organic butter, softened
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large farm egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pint fresh, organic figs, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 9″ round cake pan. Set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, blend the first four ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the softened butter and the sugar and beat well for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the vanilla, almond extract and egg to the butter mixture and beat until blended.
  6. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just blended.
  7. Add the batter to the pan, spreading evenly. Top with the fig halves and almond slices.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Serve slightly warm.
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