Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Want to have cake for breakfast?

Bake banana bread in a round pan and smear a generous layer of sweet potato chocolate frosting all over the top.

The breakfast of champions.

It’s no secret that I love banana bread.

Like a-loaf-a-week kind of love.

You know what else I love?

My sweet potato chocolate frosting.

So why not combine the two?

Fabulous deliciouness ensued.

Let’s start with the cake.

Because of the bananas, only a bit of honey is used for a subtle sweetness. A dollop of greek yogurt and some coconut oil provide a moist richness.

Since this is essentially a banana bread recipe, feel free to bake in a loaf pan.

But a round cake seems fancier, right?

And we all wanna be fancy breakfasts eaters.

And the best part of round, cake-like baked goods?

Frosting is a necessity.

Especially when it’s my four ingredient vegan chcolate frosting.

Made with sweet potatoes.

I know, I know…a bit weird.

But don’t knock it til ya try it!

Just trust me on this one.

Make it.

Smear it.

Don’t be skimpy.

Since this is a cake, why not add some fun decoration?

Cause we’ve gotta be fancy and extra. Always.

I added some coconut cookies and flakes on top!

Now you may eat.

Yay.

Cut yourself a big ‘ol slice and enjoy.

I had some with my coffee this morning.

It was the perfect pair!

What are you waiting for?

Dig in already!

Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

A more fabulous version of healthy, gluten-free banana bread. Topped with a generous layer of sweet potato chocolate frosting. Perfect for breakfast and dessert!

Ingredients

Banana Cake

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil *melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 medium sweet potato *roasted
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine the mashed bananas with the rest of the wet ingredients,
  • Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then fold into the wet batter.
  • Scoop into a lined 6″ round pan. (or other baking dish)
  • Bake for about 30 minutes.
  • Blend the peeled roasted* sweet potato with the almond milk and maple syrup.
  • When smooth, add the cacao powder.
  • After the cake has cooled, smear on a generous amount of frosting and enjoy!

Notes

*slow roast the sweet potato at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes

Hazelnut Butter Biscotti

Alright. I admit it. Historically I have snubbed biscotti.

Why make a weird-shape cookie that’s kind of dry, a bit brittle, and rather bland?

Valid question for a lover of ooey-gooey under-baked chocolate chip cookie goodness.

But then I made these.

And boy are they playing on a field all their own.

Hitting home runs at every at bat.

The purpose of biscotti is to be enjoyed with coffee or tea. That’s the reason for the dry crumb texture.

You want them to be a vehicle for both cookie and coffee flavors.

Phew. That’s pretty fabulous.

And even more fabulous?

Adding a layer of hazelnut heaven to the party. And then a chocolate drizzle.

Coffee. Hazelnut. Chocolate.

Talk about #squadgoals am I right?

Another biscotti misconception I had?

They’re challenging to make.

Nope. Not so.

Just a couple simple, real ingredients.

Especially this recipe.

Traditional recipes call for butter and flour, but I upgraded to creamy hazelnut butter and a mix of almond / cassava flours. So these are paleo-friendly! (And honestly more delish that way in my opinion…)

Sweetening these with a combination of maple syrup and coconut sugar allows the cookies to have both the classic structure and a rich, natural sweetness.

Start by creaming them together with the hazelnut butter.

Once well combined, you can beat in the eggs and some vanilla extract.

I have not texted these with flax eggs (for a vegan option), but feel free to experiment!

Do you see those hazelnut pieces?!

Oh yes please and thank you!

I recommend combining the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before you add it to the wet mixture. This will ensure all spices and leavening agents are evenly distributed, and clumps of almond flour.

Also another pro tip: try mixing with a fork.

I use a fork to mix most of my batters actually. Not sure why I started? Maybe all the spoons were dirty? 🙂

Regardless, I have found the dry and wet incorporate much quicker with the ‘ol fork method.

The dough should be thick and stick together in one big blob.

Transfer said blob to a lined baking sheet.

(and use a spoon this time)

Now you’ve got to shape your biscotti log.

The dough is sticky, so slightly damp hands will be your best bet here.

Use both hands to elongate and flatten the dough into a rectangular shape.

It should be about a foot long, four inches wide, and less than an inch thick.

Time for the first bake. Yep. First bake.

Why double oven time? That’s the key to the signature biscotti dry crumb texture.

So throw your log in the oven for 25 minutes.

After the first bake, you will see it has puffed up slightly and is beginning to get nice and golden brown on the edges.

Don’t touch it.

Let it cool for 20 minutes.

Ya hear me?

Be patient.

Okay time’s up. Now let’s cut the biscotti.

Using a serrated knife, slice through the log at an angle.

The slivers should be just over half an inch wide – this will create 14 biscotti.

To prepare for the second bake, lay the biscotti on their sides on the lined baking sheet.

Reduce the oven temperature and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Flip them.

Bake for another 8-10 minutes.

Watch them closely as they develop a gorgeous golden brown crisp.

See? Golden beauties all in a row.

Now, the biscotti are fabulous just like this.

But if you want to be extra (duh), then drizzle on some chocolate.

And even more fancy?

Sprinkle some slivered almonds on the chocolate.

Oh my oh my how pretty.

I placed the biscotti flat on a sheet to stick in the freezer to speed up the chocolate-setting process.

But you can go ahead and dig right in!

As long as you don’t mind a little chocolate on your fingers 🙂

There you have it folks.

Delish, homemade biscotti.

They look like you just picked them up from an Italian cafe.

And was it really that hard? Nope.

I used Georgia Grinders Hazelnut Butter for this recipe (cause I’m lowkey obsessed), but really any nut or seed butter would work!

Peanut butter? Sunflower? Cashew?

Send me a batch if you make those renditions please!

These biscotti are delish on their own, but in true accordance with biscotti best-practices, I highly recommend the only coffee-dunk situation.

Now you can have your cookies and eat them for breakfast too.

Enjoy friends!

Hazelnut Butter Biscotti

Have your cookies and eat them for breakfast too! A couple simple ingredients (including Georgia Grinder's Hazelnut Butter) come together to make this paleo treat.
Servings: 14 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • chocolate to drizzle

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree.
  • Cream together the sugar, maple syrup, and hazelnut butter.
  • Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
  • Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, then incorporate into the wet ingredients.
  • Scoop the dough onto a lined cookie sheet.
  • Form into a long log (12 inches long, 4 inches wide, 2/3 inches thick) with slightly damp hands.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the oven temp down to 325 degrees.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice the biscotti diagonally. You should have 14 cookies.
  • Lay the biscotti on their sides and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Flip the biscotti and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  • Let them cool, then drizzle with chocolate and top with sliced almonds.

Tiramisu Cake

Would you believe me if I told you that slice of heaven was vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free?

Well you should. It’s the delicious truth!

Take another look at those layers.

I’ll bet my bottom dollar you can’t guess what the tiramisu is made of.

Silken tofu.

Say what?!

I know. I know. But please just trust me.

This is worth your trust, right?

Right.

So let’s get started with the vanilla cakes.

Have you ever made a “flax egg”? They’re my go-to for vegan baking. Mixing ground flax and hot water creates a gelatinous gloop that helps bind and provide some lift to the cake.

I used coconut sugar and vegan butter in this recipe, but classic sugar and regular butter will substitute just fine.

Make sure you grease and line your pans with parchment paper. It makes removal significantly easier.

I baked the cakes in two 6″ round pans.

However, different baking dishes will also work. Square, bigger, smaller – use what you have on hand. Just keep and eye on them in the oven to adjust bake time accordingly.

After baking the cakes, let them cool completely.

Carefully slice off the tops of each cake and set aside.

For assembly, you need 3 layers. Two bases and the sandwiched tops.

Now lets transition to the creamy coffee filling.

This is where the tofu comes into play. It provides that smooth, creamy, marscapone-esque texture that will fool even dairy lovers.

I promise.

Add the tofu to a food processor (or blender) with maple syrup, melted coconut oil, lemon, and very finely ground coffee.

Puree until silky smooth.

Time to build the masterpiece!

Have your layers ready.

Brew some coffee to soak the cakes.

If using, line a spring form pan with parchment.

Place a bottom cake layer at the base of the pan.

Pour coffee over the top (or use a paintbrush) to soak the cake.

Spread a generous amount of cream over the layer.

Repeat this process three times.

Chill the cake for at least an hour before removing from the spring form pan.

Check out those layers!

To finish, liberally dust cacao powder over the top.

That’s it!

Finally time to serve it up.

Love at first bite?

For sure

Even all you tofu skeptics out there.

(I know cause I am one…)

Now I just have one final question for you:

What special occasion in the near future will you be making this for?

(And a treat-your-self-just-cause cake adventure totally counts.)

Tiramisu Cake

Ingredients

For the cakes:

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar *sub regular
  • 5 tbsp melted vegan butter *sub regular
  • 1 cup milk of choice *almond, rice, hemp, normal
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 2 1/2 tbsp hot water)
  • 2 cups oats flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the cream:

  • 2 cartons extra firm silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil *melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp finely ground coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For assembly:

  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee

Instructions

For the cakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat together the sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add the flax egg and combine.
  • Fold in the dry ingredients.
  • Scoop batter into two greased and lined 6" round pans.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. 

For the cream:

  • Blend all ingredients until silky smooth.

To assemble:

  • Carefully slice the tops off both cakes and set aside.
  • Place a bottom cake layer at the base of a lined spring form pan.
  • Pour brewed coffee over the cake layer to soak.
  • Generously spread a layer of cream on top.
  • Add the next cake layer, soak with coffee, and top with cream.
  • Sand-which the two cake tops together (inside out) and place on top.
  • Soak that final layer with coffee and smooth the remaining cream on top.
  • Chill cake in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • When ready to serve, remove from the pan and dust the top with cacao powder.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is making my coffee in my apartment and slowly sipping it in bed while enjoying the morning sun.

It’s calm, cozy, and a time I truly treasure.

Once upon a time, I made these paleo cookies and decided to dunk one in my coffee.

Oh my. Game changed.

A moment I thought was perfect just got a little sweeter.

But these cookies are not just reserved for dipping in Saturday morning lattes.

On the contrary, they’re pretty much perfect for every occasion.

Simple, real ingredients.

Easy to whip up.

Delish to both the health-conscious and cookie connoisseur.

They might just become your go-to cookie.

(Sorry Nestle Toll House.)

The base of the batter is almond butter, a bit of coconut oil (or butter), coconut sugar, an egg and some almond flour.

I used cacao nibs in this batch to make them completely paleo and add an extra little crunch. But good ‘ol chocolate chips will work fabulously.

Make sure you leave room in between each cookie dough glob before you bake. They spread.

The spreading action results in a thin cookie, but not crisp.

Using almond butter and flour keeps them moist and chewy.

These cookies are fabulous as-is, but why not make them *extra*?!

Drizzle with chocolate.

Toss on some sliced almonds.

Sprinkle with more cacao nibs.

Don’t they look beautiful?

Almost too good to eat.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nutty, chewy, delish. Paleo or not, this is a simply fabulous cookie recipe to keep in your back pocket.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tsbp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs / chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  • Beat together the almond butter, oil, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla.
  • Stir in the almond flour and salt, then fold in the cacao nibs.
  • Scoop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet. (Leave room between cookies - they will spread.)
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool.
  • Drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle on almond slices if desired.

The Caffeine Conundrum

What is caffeine?

To many, it is synonymous with energy, alertness, the jolt you need to get moving and grooving.

But what is it really?

It’s a crystalline compound (C₈H₁₀N₄O₂) that stimulates the central nervous system of the consumer. Caffeine is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and broken down by the liver. The resulting compounds primarily effect brain function, through bypassing the effects of the neurotransmitter responsible for relaxation – adenosine. This phenomenon increases the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine, boosting blood adrenaline levels.

 

Bottom line: Caffeine stimulates the brain and results in a heightened nervous state of alertness and focus.

Primary sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, and cacao. Approximately 80% of the world’s population (90% of North American adults) consume at least one caffeinated beverage every day. Coffee is the boost-beverage of choice for the vast majority of North American consumers. With approximately 100mg of caffeine per cup, it can provide the surge of energy needed to seize the day.

 

The effects of caffeine have been analyzed by many – with results indicating positive nutritional and functional benefits. Caffeine elevates cognitive alertness, which has been shown to increase memory retention for up to 24 hours. Consumption prior to a workout can decrease inflammation and increase muscle torque. It has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, leading to stable insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The stimulating properties of caffeine can also fire up your metabolism, aiding in weight management. Antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee, tea, and cacao also provide nutritional benefits.

These results seem fabulous. Increased energy and a myriad of other benefits? We should all be chugging cup after cup of coffee. Right? Not necessarily. 

As with most things in life, the greatest benefits are realized through consumption in moderation. The recommended caffeine threshold for an adult is 300mg per day. The equivalent of two Tall brews from Starbucks. Sipping on a small cup of coffee at the start of your day could provide the benefits discussed above. However, the average American consumes over 3 cups throughout the day. So what happens when the scale tips toward the dark side of caffeine excess? 

The stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system caused by caffeine shifts the body into a fight-or-flight state of awareness. The smaller boost provided by a single cup of coffee can be beneficial in the morning when your hormones are primed for higher cortisol levels. However, continual stimulation can send the system into overdrive. Extended periods of heightened adrenaline cause physiological issues such as high blood pressure and heart rate as well as psychological downsides. Caffeine excess can increase the propensity to irritability, anxiety and panic. The problem does not lie with the chemical compound of caffeine itself, but rather continual consumption which repeatedly activates and overrides the nervous system without allowing for adequate recovery. The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is the subsystem which regulates hormones and manages stress. Over time, the heightened cortisol levels disrupt the normal patterns of other hormones, bypassing the HPA axis and ultimately causing dysfunction. The result is adrenal fatigue. The HPA axis can no longer properly manage the effects of caffeine, so it shuts down – draining energy instead of boosting it. 

So what can be done? How can the benefits of caffeine be achieved without the risk of excess? For many, the answer lies in tea. The polyphenols and antioxidant properties found in coffee are also present – sometimes to an even greater extent – in various forms of tea. The world of tea also offers a vast range of choices. Different flavors. Different benefits. Different caffeine levels. At 40mg per 8oz cup, black tea contains the highest level of caffeine. With only 20mg per cup, white tea offers the least. Herbal infusions such as chamomile are caffeine free. Mindfully choosing and brewing a cup of tea can give your nervous system a gentle boost without causing detrimental fatigue.