Dreamy Dairy-free Lemon “Crème” Brûlée with Fresh Berries

We had just finished picking like a gagillion berries from a local organic farm (shout out to Whitley Farms in Sharpsburg, GA), so I had to find something special to make with them.


I’ve been mentally masticating on custards lately. Some of my attempts have not been so successful. But I wanted to keep at it until I got it right. Nothing brightens berries like lemon, so why not a fresh take on crème brûlée? – lemon with berries it is. And of course, I wanted to make it dairy free🙂 As a bonus, it’s basically paleo-friendly (look for my suggestions at the end to make this full on paleo).

This recipe is super easy, but will certainly impress your friends with even the most discerning palates.

Prep for this one is minimal and custard cook time is about 10 minutes. The custard takes about 35-45 minutes to bake, and then an additional 2 minutes or so to finish. You could easily make the custard ahead of time, keep in the fridge, and bake just before you’re ready to serve.

For this recipe, you will need:

2 1/3 c. full fat coconut milk
2/3 c. nondairy milk
1 t. lemon oil
1 t. vanilla
1 T. tapioca flour
3 eggs + 3 egg yolks
5 t. fresh lemon zest
1/4 c. + 2 T. evaporated cane juice
a few tablespoons of brown sugar for finishing
1 1/4 c. chopped strawberries
1 1/4 c. blackberries
1 1/4 c. blueberries

You’ll need 8 small ramekins (8 oz. capacity). Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

First, zest about 4 lemons – you want at least 5 t. fresh lemon zest.

Next, prepare your eggs and egg yolks for your custard.


In  a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, nondairy milk, vanilla, and 1/4 c. of evaporated cane juice. Add the tablespoon of tapioca flour and whisk until smooth. Scald the milk – i.e. heat the milk on medium heat until the milk just starts to bubble at the edges. Turn the heat down to a simmer and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.


How do you know when it’s done? The custard will just coat the back of a wooden spoon such that if you make streak, it holds shape.


Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.

Next, beat the eggs and egg yolks well.

It is key that you do not curdle the eggs/egg yolks with a milk mixture that is too hot. How do you avoid that? Temper the beaten eggs with a spoonful of the milk mixture at a time. Add one spoonful of the milk mixture to the egg mixture and mix, allowing the egg mixture to rest before adding more milk mixture. You’ll continue to do this until you’ve added about 3/4 of the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Add the remaining milk mixture and mix well.

Next, add the lemon oil and 3 t. of lemon zest – mix.

Pour the custard into the ramekins and add fresh berries to each ramekin (about 2 T. for each ramekin).


To bake the custard, place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and fill the bottom of the baking sheet with at least 1″ of water (more if you have a deeper baking sheet/pan).


Bake the custards for 35-45 minutes, until the center is set (i.e. it doesn’t jiggle when you move the sheet or pan). Remove the custards when set.

Preheat the oven to a high broil. The final baking step of the custards is to add a sprinkle of brown sugar to each ramekin and broil for about 2 minutes (to carmelize the sugar and create the sugar crust that crème brûlée is so well known for).


In a small bowl, combine the remaining berries, lemon zest, and evaporated cane juice and toss. This is your fresh berry topping.


Top the crème brûlée with the fresh berry dressing and enjoy warm!


I promised I would add a few notes on how to paleo-ize this dish. Substitute palm sugar for the brown sugar and substitute honey or maple syrup for the evaporated cane juice. Note, if you’re using honey or maple syrup, you’ll need to reduce the amount of nondairy milk that you use to account for the extra liquid.

And viola! Bon appetite🙂

– Nicole


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Hello Summer Strawberry Rhubarb and Oat Scones (Gluten-free)

Strawberries have been coming to the end of their season as summer comes into full swing and the stores have been full of bright red, perfectly ripe and sweet strawberries. We couldn’t resist buying two quarts. To boot, rhubarb was also on sale and I immediately thought of my grandmother’s strawberry rhubarb oatmeal crisp. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it! The contrast of the tart rhubarb with ripe, sweet strawberries has got to be one of my all time favorite flavor combinations.

I’ve also had scones on the brain. A while back I tried making vegan apricot and anise scones and they didn’t tun out so well – think hockey puck😦 But I’ve been determined to redeem myself. This recipe is not only gluten-free but also egg-free. You can make it dairy-free by substituting vegetable shortening or coconut oil for butter (I like to use Nutiva’s Palm Shortening).

Be sure to bake these on the day you plan on devouring them, because their delicate biscuitness takes on moisture, and by the next day it resembles something altogether different.

This recipe is based on Fannie Farmer’s Cream Scones recipe. I got mine from the 1936 edition. Pretty cool. For the record, a cream scone is basically a biscuit.


For this recipe, you will need:

2/3 c. oat flour
2/3 c. tapioca flour
2/3 c. almond flour
4 t. baking powder
2 t. honey
1/2 t. salt
4 T. butter, softened
1/3 c. nondairy yogurt
2 stalks of rhubarb, sliced into small pieces
1 c. chopped strawberries
5 strawberries for decoration
honey for drizzling
parchment paper

First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

If you haven’t done so already, chop the rhubarb into 1/4″ or smaller pieces.


In a small saucepan, combine 2 t. of the honey with the chopped rhubarb and cook on medium heat until the rhubarb is tender.


Set aside and allow the mixture to cool.

Next, in a medium sized bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking powder and whisk (to mix).


Cut the softened butter into 1/2″ sized pieces and add to the dry ingredients.


Use your fingertips (or two forks) and cut the butter into the flour mixture. I like using my hands for this but make sure to always keep a light touch so that I don’t inadvertently melt the butter or shortening.


It doesn’t have to be perfect for the scones, so don’t stress about the texture being a super fine meal.


Now, add the yogurt and mix until just combined. The dough will be fairly wet.


Add the 1 c. of chopped strawberries and the rhubarb with honey and stir until just combined.

Because the dough is so wet, it makes cutting out shapes difficult and just plain messy. Go ahead and pull out two pieces of wax paper.

Lay one piece of wax paper on a baking sheet and sprinkle with flour (I used oat). Spread the dough out so that’s it’s basically a 1/2″ thick rectangle.  Don’t forget to sprinkle with a bit of flour again.


Cover with the second piece of wax paper and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes – this allows the dough to stiffen a bit, enough for cutting out shapes.


Thirty minutes later, pull out the dough and cut with a knife or biscuit cutter.

I opted for triangles. First cut the dough into rectangles, and then cut diagonally across each rectangle for triangles. I was able to get about 24 small triangles (two-three bites each).

Place the triangles onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Finally, I sliced up the five strawberries I had set aside for garnish and placed one slice on top of each scone.


Bake at 450 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes.

The scones will puff up a bit and golden around the edges.


I added a sprinkle of palm sugar at the end. You could also drizzle them with honey.

Serve these babies while they’re warm and enjoy!🙂 It’s like early summer having a party in your mouth.

– Nicole


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Charoset and Horseradish Passover Cupcakes

This year I was invited to my first seder. It was a Passover seder. What an awesome experience! And such an honor to have been invited – thank you Abby and Steve for letting us crash it with my mom🙂 I loved the storytelling, I loved the questions, I loved the company, and I loved the singing (even if I didn’t know the tune).

And of course, I really enjoyed being introduced to new foods. I got to try charoset, huevos haminados, gefilte fish, and the best lamb I probably ever had. Afterwards, I was sent home with leftover charoset and horseradish root and of course my mind immediately started to churn ideas on what to do with them. Well, I can tell you, if I was ever on Chopped and they gave me charoset and horseradish, I’d crush it.

There are six symbolic foods used in the Passover seder (mind you, this is not a lesson about Passover). They are horseradish (maror), romaine lettuce (chazeret), charoset, parsley (karpas), roasted lamb (zeroa), and a hard boiled egg (beitzah). Since I was sent home with charoset and maror – well, this recipe is what came out.

The other big food related item with Passover is unleavened food, particularly bread. That’s where matzah bread comes from. So, with this recipe, it was important that the cupcakes be unleavened – that also meant no egg because of it’s properties as a leavening agent.

If you’re not familiar with Passover, you might ask, what’s in charoset? There are lots of variations for charoset, but it is typically a “paste” made of fruit, nuts, and wine. Abby’s recipe included chopped apples, walnuts, raisins, apricots, Manischewitz wine, and spices. Delish!

Lastly, I had to incorporate the horseradish. If you going to eat something sharp and bitter in taste, then coating it in cream cheese and sugar should lighten it a bit😉 Every bite or so, you’ll still get a bite of horseradish🙂

Did I mention that this recipe is gluten-free and grain-free?

For this recipe, you will need:

2 c. charoset
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
3 flax eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/4 c. + 2 T. almond flour
1/4 c. + 2 T. tapioca flour
3/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. + 2 T. evaporated cane sugar
2/3 c. nondairy milk (I used a 50/50 mix of almond and coconut milks)

8 oz. cream cheese
2 t. vanilla extract
3 t. fresh grated horseradish
3 c. of powdered sugar

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcakes tray(s) with 12 cupcake liners.

Prepare your flax eggs by combining 3 T. of flax meal with 9 T. of almost hot water. Water temperature is important here as it helps to activate the mucilage of the seeds, making the mixture “snotty”. Initially the mixture will appear watery.


Stir and let it sit for a few minutes. It will start to bind together, literally like snot. That’s good – it’s going to help bind the cupcake batter so that it doesn’t just fall apart when you take a bite.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (spices, flour, and sugar).


Next, measure out your charoset and applesauce, and add to the flour mixture.


Add the oil, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk and continue to mix the batter until well combined.


Portion equally into your cupcake liners. Note, you can fill them to the top because we haven’t added any leavening agent. Now that doesn’t mean that your cupcakes won’t rise some, but they definitely won’t billow over the liner.


Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.


The cupcakes get a bit golden brown. Mine fell after a minute or two; they probably could have baked another  2-3 minutes.

I, of course, saw this as an opportunity for icing spackle😉

After about 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the tray and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now, while the cupcakes are cooling, go ahead and make the icing.

The icing is a simple cream cheese icing with the addition of finely chopped horseradish.

Peel and chop about 3-4″ of a smaller sized root, 2-3″ for a larger sized root.


I wanted a much finer chop so I decided to break out the mini food processor. I first added about 4 oz. of cream cheese and 2 t. of vanilla extract to lube the horseradish.


Keep processing until you almost can’t see little pieces of horseradish.


But I promise you, they’re there😉

Next, transfer the cream cheese mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 c. of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add another 2 oz. of cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Add another 1 c. of powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Repeat this one more time until you’ve added a total of 3 c. of powdered sugar to your cream cheese/horseradish mixture.


I didn’t get all fancy pants when I iced these – mostly because we were in too much of a hurry to eat the cupcakes. Ice them as you see fit of course.


A few words about this cupcake recipe – this is an extremely moist cupcake. It is also a very sweet cupcake. That’s all intentional. If you want a drier cupcake, up your flour content by a few tablespoons and/or remove the applesauce. Sweet works here, but if you want more balance, by all means add some kosher salt to the batter and the icing (about 1/2 t. should do it).

These cupcakes are basically paleo-friendly. You can always omit the cream cheese and make a standard vanilla icing with the horseradish using vanilla, powdered sugar, and grass-fed butter. To make it vegan, just substitute your favorite vegan cream cheese in the icing.


Finally, enjoy! Mazel tov!

– Nicole

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Spicy Carrot Top Kimchi

This year, I am exploring my love (and ability) for all things fermented. So far, Monkey Man and I have made a few different varieties of kombucha, and I have a few different varieties of gluten-free levains going in the fridge. Fermented beverage? Check. Fermented baked good? Check. I decided it was time to take the plunge and try making my own kimchi. Fermented condiment? Check🙂

Traditional kimchi is a fantastic fermented cabbage condiment that originates from Korea (third century C.E.). Originally, it was made mostly from fermented radishes but over the years, as trade increased and new foods emerged, it incorporated modern day kimchi’s cabbage and red pepper. Supposedly there are over 200 varieties of kimchi – which either means this is version 201 or I’m repeating someone else’s kimchi recipe unknowingly.

You might ask, why carrot tops? Well, Monkey Man and I have been pretty keen on grilling carrots as one of our veggies with dinner. But I’ve always felt guilty about throwing away the carrot tops that inevitably come with the carrots. Of course I could compost them – if I had a compost (don’t judge me). Well, why not turn them into kimchi? And so this post was born😉 In fact, I don’t use the typical kimchi veggies – napa cabbage and daikon. Instead, I used carrot tops, brussel sprouts, and bok choy. Hey, why not?

I’m pleased to say that it turned out well, and I’ve already enjoyed one of the three jars that this recipe made. Note, this recipe actually takes one week to make (it has to ferment of course!), and there’s an overnight brine – so plan accordingly.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 c. carrot tops, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 head of bok choy, matchstick cut bottoms and roughly chopped green tops
1 lb. brussel sprouts, roughly chopped
2 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ – 1″ pieces
1/4 c. sea salt
Cold water
1 T. minced garlic
1 t. grated ginger
1 t. honey
2-3 T. fish sauce
2 T. red pepper flakes
1 T. hot paprika
1 T. chili powder

This recipe is also a great way to recycle washed glass pasta sauce jars or large jam jars. I used one canning jar and two pasta sauce jars. You can also use plastic jars, the material shouldn’t affect the fermentation process itself.

Prepare your vegetables.

Rinse and chop everything – carrot tops, bok choy, brussel sprouts and scallions.


Carrot tops


Bok choy



It ends up being about 2 cups of chopped carrot tops and 2 cups of chopped bok choy.



Carrot tops and bok choy

I mandolined the brussel sprouts and then placed them in a large casserole dish with the other chopped veggies (bok choy and carrot tops). You could place them in a large bowl, either works. It needs to be large enough that you can cover the veggies in salt water to brine overnight without splashing all over the place😉 Add cold water until the veggies are covered/submerged, then add the 1/4 c. salt and mix well.


Brining veggies

Now, set aside the veggies in the fridge overnight.

The next day, drain the brine and allow the veggies to drain any excess water in a colander.

Go ahead and mix your kimchi paste by combining the garlic, ginger, honey, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, paprika, and chili powder, and mixing until well combined.


Kimchi paste

Here comes the messy part. I might recommend using gloves if you have them, otherwise your hands may stain a bit. Of course I like being messy, so I was all in with ungloved hands (yes, I liked making mud pies as a child).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained, brined veggies, the chopped scallions, and dollops of the kimchi paste.


Here comes the messy part

Now, mix very well, ensuring that every bit is coated in the kimchi paste.

Finally, pack tightly your jars. The more tightly they are packed, the better the fermentation will be. Truthfully, two of my jars were not completely full and it still fermented just fine.


Tightly packed kimchi jar

Now you just have to be patient. Set the jars in a dark, warm room. For me, that was the garage (we had highs in the 70s and 80s), but that could also be the laundry room (that’s where I keep my scoby), closet, you get the idea. It’s best if the room is at least 70 degrees and does not get direct sunlight.

After 24 hours, twist the lids and release the gas that has built up in the jars (you’ll hear a poof when you do this). Tighten the lids and leave the kimchi be for one week.

If you hold the jar up to your ears, you’ll hear little bubbles of gas being released inside the jar. Pretty cool – that means you’ve got a nice active culture!

After fermentation, store your kimchi in the refrigerator. If you don’t, the fermentation process will continue; that’s perfectly fine if you want a more sour kimchi, it’s totally up to your personal preference.

Personally, I eat some every morning to give my gut flora a boost of natural probiotics. And the spice is a great way to help me wake up😉


Spicy carrot top kimchi


– Nicole

A few notes:

I only brined my veggies for 2 hours originally. This wasn’t enough for the salty kimchi flavor I love, so I added brine at the end. You can also do this if you don’t feel like brining overnight.

If you want a really mild flavored kimchi, only ferment overnight with an initial brief brine. But then you’re missing out on some of the great probiotics that develop with a longer ferment.

Play around with different veggies combinations! Why not try adding french finger radishes or purple cabbage for a pop of color?

Want to make it vegan? Just omit the honey and use agave nectar or cane sugar.

Lastly, this is a SPICY kimchi. If you want less heat, just reduce the amount pepper added.



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Facing Your Dreams (Why A Chemist Becomes A Baker)

I’ve loved science from the beginning. It’s pretty much been a love/love relationship from the start.

My mom tells this story about how, when I was 1 ½ years old, I learned how to climb out of my crib one night. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a big mixing bowl, I grabbed an egg and relish from the fridge, and then grabbed the bottle of Prell shampoo from the bathroom. I mixed it all together and proceeded to rub it everywhere, including all over myself. She argues that that was when she knew I was smart. Maybe that was the budding chemist inside of me😉


Budding Baker/Chemist

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Marie Curie when I grew up. I played chemist with my friends at an early age. We made some cool looking mixtures with flammable things that I now know are dangerous (luckily no one ever got hurt). Looking back, when I made the choice to go into science and study chemistry, it made sense. And I’ve had a great and rewarding career as a scientist.

But I didn’t come from a sciencey family. Growing up I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom and my grandmother. I mean literally. When my mom couldn’t find a babysitter for my brother and I, we would go into work with my mom. She happened to work in the kitchen of a restaurant. Fortunately for her, my brother and I were excellent silverware washers🙂

My grandmother worked in a diner at 5th and Penn in Reading, PA. She worked the counter so she was the short order cook and the server.


Grammy at 5th and Penn

My mom started as a cook at a small restaurant chain in PA and worked her way up to general manager. They chose her to open their newest and biggest restaurant.

I started working for a restaurant supply company at the age of 14. When I was 16, I worked in my mom’s restaurant as a cook. It turns out that my great-grandmother (my mom’s mom’s mother) was a baker. Truthfully, I believe it is in our blood.


Three Generations – Mom, Me, and Grammy

So growing up, even when not in a restaurant, I was in the kitchen with my mom and/or my grandmother learning how to cook and bake. I love to cook and thinks it’s a lot of fun, but baking is a spiritual experience for me. It connects me to my earliest memories of baking Christmas cookies with my mom and my grandmother; it calms me when I’m over stressed; it brings me joy (when the recipe turns out well); and it even plays into my scientist brain (working on a new recipe is an experiment!).

Though I am a scientist, I have also dreamed of being a baker. I have baked on the side and sold specialty baked items (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, etc.) for the past 5 years. My fiancée and I have talked about what it would take to open a bakery. So in August, when I was connected with someone looking for a baker to open a gluten-free bakery (my specialty), facing my dream became a reality.

So what would you say if someone was willing to pay you a salary to follow your dream? Of course the answer is YES!!!!!

That’s not to say that it’s a not bit scary to leave everything that I know to start this new adventure. I mean, we’re moving to Georgia (where I know maybe 3 people), my fiancée is moving away from his business, and I’m leaving a successful career in science.

But when your dream comes a knocking, the only thing to do is jump in both feet. Keep your eyes open for Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Bakery outside of Atlanta in 2016!

– Nicole

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Tired of Pumpkin? Try Spiced Clementine Cake with Rum Soaked Dried Fruit Sauce

To me, Thanksgiving is all about pumpkin pie. Really. I could pass up on just about everything else (exception = mashed potatoes) but I live for pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Growing up my mom and grandmother made three types of pumpkin pie. Did you even know there are three types of pumpkin pie?

But I realize not everyone feels the way I do about pumpkin, so I thought I’d post an autumn inspired dessert, worthy of Thanksgiving, but sans pumpkin. It’s a spiced version of the Clementine Cake I posted in January, with a dried fruit and rum sauce that make this so not Walter Mitty’s mother’s cake. This cake is great because it is gluten-free and can be grain-free with a simple substitution.

It takes about 3 hours to prep and 45 minutes to bake, and needs time to cool completely before serving. I made this one day before I was planning to serve it.

I really enjoyed this recipe and I hope you do too🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

Rum Sauce and Candied Clementines
3/4 c. dried dark fruit (any mixture of cherries, currants and prunes)
1 1/2 c. spiced rum
2 1/2 c. cane sugar
1/2 c. water
1 T. vanilla extract
3 clementines

Spiced Clementine Cake
1 1/4 c. almond flour
1 c. finely ground corn meal
3/4 c. candied clementine syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
4 clementines
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. allspice
pinch of cardamom
6 large eggs, brought to room temperature

First thing is first. In a small bowl, soak the dried dark fruit in 1 c. of spiced rum. Set aside and allow it to soak for about 2 hours. I used 1/4 c. of dried cherries, 1/4 c. of currants, and 1/4 c. of prunes. You can really use any combination you’d like, but I strongly encourage you to have some cherries in that mix – I think they made the sauce.

Next, if you have not pulled the eggs from the fridge, do so now and let them come to room temperature.

About one hour into the dried fruit soak, you can start making the candied clementine slices. You’ll use these to line the bottom of your spring foam pan.

Thinly slice three clementines (a 2 or 3 setting on a mandolin, or about 1/8″ by hand).



Make sure that you save the ends that you are not candying – set them aside in a bowl. Make sure you’ve got the right amount by laying them out on the bottom of a parchment lined spring foam pan bottom.


Next, you’re going to candy the slices. This makes them soft, soft enough that you can easily eat them (i.e. cut with a fork). In a large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of cane sugar, 1/2 c. of water, and 1/2 c. of rum to a boil until all sugar is dissolved.

Add the slices of clementine to the sugar water and simmer for 30-40 minutes.


Lightly spray the bottom of your parchment lined spring foam pan (9 or 10″).

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently remove the slices from the syrup and line the bottom of your parchment lined spring foam pan.


Save the syrup that candied the clementine slices. Add 1 T. of vanilla extract and set aside (should be about 3/4 c.) to cool.


After removing the pithes, quarter 4 clementines and place in a medium bowl with the extra ends and pieces left over from preparing your candied clementine slices.


Cover them with a plate and microwave for 3.5 minutes on high. Next, “mash” the clementines in a food processor.


In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, spices). Note, if you want to make this cake grain-free, simply substitute almond flour for all of the corn meal.

Now, here is where you pause from cake prep and switch gears to rum sauce prep.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small pot, add the dried fruit and rum, 1 T. vanilla extract and 1 c. cane sugar. Bring it to a boil (to cook off the alcohol and dissolve the sugar) and simmer for 15-20 minutes.


The sauce will darken and thicken and the fruit becomes very soft.


Blend in a food processor until smoothish.

Spoon some of the rum sauce onto the bottom of the spring foam pan, over the sliced clementines.


Now that the sauce is done, switch gears back to the cake batter.

The syrup should be cooled. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Via slow drizzle, add the cooled syrup to the eggs, whisking on low speed. Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to medium-high until the volume of the mixture has doubled (about 5 minutes).

Switch the whisk to a paddle and add the mashed clementines until combined. Next, add the flour mixture until combined.

Pour the batter into the spring foam pan.


Bake for approximately 45 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

Cool the cake on a wire rack. Once the cake is mostly cooled (a little warm is okay), transfer it to a serving plate. Drizzle or pipe the remaining rum sauce onto the cake. Be sure to have some drip down the sides of the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.


And enjoy!

– Nicole


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Savory Meets a Little Sweet – Creamy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

This is the time of year where all things squash, pumpkin, and allspice seem to hit the shelves of the grocery store (and every other store for that matter!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love it, love it, love it! Fall is my favorite time of year, in part because I love the seasonal flavors.

In the span of two weeks I had had some type of butternut squash soup – once from Whole Foods (try the Triple Squash, it’s amazing) and once in England. Twice was enough for me to consider it my destiny to make some at home🙂

This soup is fairly easy to make (bonus) and full of vegetables (double bonus). It is creamy, but don’t be deceived – there’s no dairy in this recipe. And if you subscribe to a vegan lifestyle, no worries – just substitute coconut oil for the butter and vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Note, it is savory but with a mildly sweet finish (that’s because of the maple syrup and brown sugar). If you’re not sure if you like that, then be very modest when adding the syrup and sugar. I’d start with half of the syrup and adjust to your liking. For the brown sugar (or palm sugar), add one tablespoon at a time and adjust to your liking.

In total, it takes about 1 hour to make the soup, but most of that time is allowing the vegetables to simmer😉

For this recipe, you will need:

2 c. peeled and sliced carrots
4 c. peeled and cubed butternut squash
4 stalks of celery, trimmed and sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 T. butter
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. water
1 T. thyme
1 t. ground black pepper
2 t. minced ginger (or ginger paste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. coconut cream
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 T. brown sugar (or palm sugar)
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. salt

Aside of the simmer time, prepping the vegetables takes a bit of time (all that slicing and dicing). Slice the carrots about 2mm thick (1/8″) and cube the butternut squash into approximately 1″ cubes.

Cuber butternut squash

In a large stock pot, melt the 2 T. of butter on medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and thyme and cook for about 6 minutes.

Cooking the vegetables - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

You want the vegetables to brown just slightly.

Browning the vegetables - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Add the squash, broth, water, ginger and garlic.

Simmer down now - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Simmer for 40-45 minutes on low heat.

Once the vegetables are tender, drain the liquid into a pourable bowl or large measuring cup and set aside.

Transfer the vegetables into a food processor (or blender).

Get ready to blend! - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Blend until the mixture is basically smooth.

Blended - Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

Now, add the coconut cream, maple syrup, allspice and brown sugar and mix well.

Finally, add the broth back into the soup one cup at a time, blending at least one minute between additions, until you reach the desired consistency. For me, that was about 2-3 cups of broth.

Serve warm with a dollop of coconut cream and a sprinkle of ground allspice – and enjoy!

Creamy Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup🙂  Nicole

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