Glorious & Gluttonous Paleo Gingerbread Cake

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If you read day 29 of my blog you know that during my 30-day primal/paleo challenge I was enticed, seduced and ultimately fell in love with a sweet treat introduced by a friend of mine, paleo gingerbread.

If you haven’t read day 29  – then get on it!

The seduction itself occurred on day 21, but I was too in lust and love with the dessert to bring myself to post about my forbidden love and treachery.

I admit, weeks after I ate that wonderful paleo gingerbread that my ‘almost always’ paleo friend made for me, I thought perhaps I had just imagined the goodness of it given I was in the middle of a tempting feast of sugar (dinner party) and was in day 21 of a 30 day paleo challenge.

So when the challenge finished, and I along with fellow challenges were invited by Primal Junction, to join a celebration, I thought I too would try my hand at making the gingerbread goodness, and see if a) I was a good as cook as my friend and b) if it really was three slice worthy and that good.

So I pulled up the original recipe, and just as my friend did for me that day made a few modifications. The modified list of must have’s is below –

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup coconut nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract or vanilla bean (I have used both)
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Now the recipe we had, said stern words like follow the ingredients exactly, and make sure you do everything just as I have blah blah blah, and while I very much appreciate the author had taken the time to experiment and find a great paleo option for us all, there were adjustments to be made.

For instance the original recipe called for 2/3 cup blackstrap molasses, which we substituted for coconut nectar, and also for maple extract, which we left out completely. The first time I made these I also omitted the baking soda (by mistake) but it didn’t seam to matter and I didn’t have cloves so just added in extra cinnamon. So basically, you can just work through the spices to your taste and don’t get too hung up about it.

And best of all, its very easy to make.

Simply combine the eggs, coconut nectar, coconut oil and vanilla and beat well until its combined.

While your kitchen aid is churning that goodness, combine the rest of the dry ingredients in another bowl and mix with a spoon so it is combined.

While your blades are still churning, add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly, until it is combined and mixed well.

Now the recipe I had also was very particular about cooking this in a glass greased dish, 13×9. I used a metal non-stick square loaf pan that I greased with a coconut oil. On one occasion, because I was scared it wouldn’t come out cleanly; I also used baking paper to line the tin. Again don’t get too hung up about what you cook it in – but it does effect cooking times.

Choose your tin/pan/dish and spread the batter in evenly as best you can.

Bake in your pre-heated oven at 180 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to about 110 for another 30 minutes.  Personally, my tin takes a little longer at this temperature so keep checking and don’t stress out if you need to keep the oven hot for a little while longer.

I also found this temperature and time often did not darken the cake enough, so would crank up the heat again to get a nice dark colour. You know its cooked inside if your poker/prodder/toothpick comes out clean, so if you do like a darker colour you might like to do the same. Word of caution however, this baby tans quickly so keep your eye on it or your brown will soon turn to black….

Once cooked, let the cake cool enough that you can safety take it out of your pan, but not completely or it might get stuck.

If possible try to let it cool completely before cutting  – more harsh words from the original recipe author – although again the first time I made this I was running late and cut it as steam was rising from it, and it still got rave reviews.

So, back to my original questions.

A)     Was I as good a cook as my friend? – No. Her colour was better, and its always nicer when someone makes it for you.

B)     Was the paleo gingerbread cake as good as I thought it was? Yes. It was snaffled up by most of the challenge celebrators and the recipe was asked for. Even my sugar loving family and Great Baker Gma complemented it the second time I made it for a family dinner.

The only problem with this little puppy is its so easy to make and eat, you will end up doing both WAY too much!

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The Primal Challenge Day 8

Week two was looming and I needed to shrug off the painful monkey that seemed to be both clinging to my shoulders and clutching my leg with his painful claws simultaneously, and send him scurrying back into the forest in search of a banana.

So after my roast pork dinner and a self indulgent winging blog post, I regrouped, and inspired by a colleague and fellow crossfit/clean eater’s photos of protein balls, zucchini cheesecake and coco-nutty granola, started cooking up a storm.

First – my ‘don’t hide the greens’ smoothie. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to hide the greens. The strange colour actually puts me off and reminds me I am drinking a leafy vegetable, but I had no beetroot to help change colour – and I don’t like beetroot anyway – and needed to (in more ways than one) suck it up. So I added in extra kale and a few extra berries and some chia seeds and imagined it was a lovely pastel colour rather than something that resembled grass when I took the first sip.  

And despite its strange spinach like colour, the taste test proved it was a winner.

Which at 11pm on Sunday night when I had to be up at 5:20am was a life savor.

Time then for some breakfast muffins.

These were easy and really are like a mini quiche. You can basically put whatever you want in the mixture. I used 1 x onion, 1 x green capsicum, 1 x tomato, around eight pieces of cooked free range bacon, some basil, salt, pepper, a little water and nine x free range eggs from our friends the happy chickens. I can almost hear them clucking with joy as they wander carelessly around.

Make sure you give your muffin pans a good spray of coconut oil, and when taking out the muffins let them cool but don’t go cold or they could get stuck in the bottom. Not that it matters – then you just have an omelet.

I actually ended up with two omelet’s as my impatience to get them out of the pan broke their little bottoms off (hey it was 11:45pm by then). But never fear my husband who has finally cottoned on to my new way of eating was up for a few. So into the Tupperware went the broken bums of bacon along with two sizeable full muffins.

I took the other eight. Don’t judge me, he has cereal as a backup and not afraid to eat it.

So yes, my husband finally knows that pasta is no longer on the menu. Or maybe he hasn’t realised that yet, because he has been very supportive. When I dragged him to the health food isle in Coles and stood staring blankly at the items trying in vain to find coconut oil – turns out it was in a jar and looked like a paste, not in a bottle that looked like oil, thanks for the heads up guys – he waited a full 30 seconds before leaving and wondering down to the freezer section to sneak an ice-cream tub into the trolley while I was not there to refuse.

He has eaten everything I have put in front of him, which is generally the same dinner as mine with a few slight modifications like adding a potato to his vegetable selection, without complaint. Although he did look at me quizzically with raised eyebrows when I told him it also meant I was off the grog.

The expression was short lived however before his eyes lit up with excitement. I realized then his light bulb moment was in fact the discovery of having a designated driver for the next few weeks.

The biggest realisation however comes when he offers me something, or goes to add something to his meal and I explain why I can’t have it.

  • Like tomato sauce having sugar.
  • Like the tinned mangoes having sugar added as a preservative.
  • Like the roasted vegetables Masterfoods herb shaker having sugar.

Although I couldn’t explain to him why potatoes are a no go. I love potatoes and am convinced I was Irish in a past life because I could eat them with every meal. So if someone can please explain to me why potatoes are not allowed I would be grateful. They come from the ground, and while I know our primitive paleo ancestors didn’t have spades as such, surely they could have given the women a rest by putting the club to a better use.

I can only imagine it is the starch or carbohydrates – everything I like about them.

However back to my breakfast muffins.  

Very tasty! I had two with a cup of smoothie this morning and am sure both would give Jamie Oliver a run for his healthy eating money.

They also filled me up delightfully and have kept me going with the aid of some trail mix going until lunch time.

I also think the monkey has gone, or at least run up a tree for the day. My shoulders are not as sore as they were this morning, despite the WOD – although I am glad I still used a lighter weight. Seems my muscles might need a bit longer recovery time than they did previously, but we will see during the week.

Again, I’m feeling pretty good. Not fantastically better than I was before the challenge, and I’m sure there are still a few downs throughout the ups, but overall I’m enjoying the challenge of taking part in the challenge.

I’m also looking forward to making the latest Primal Junction MOD – slow cooked beef ribs – and pretending I’ve just been clubbed by a stranger and dragged by the foot to a campfire to take part in a last night’s leftovers. If only there was potato. 

egg muffins geen smoothie muffinsave