Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Carrot Pineapple Cake with Cashew Date Frosting

A friend of mine and I got into a brief discussion yesterday about whether or not I post the recipe and pictures for everything I cook in my kitchen, regardless of whether or not the recipe is a "success." She had assumed that because she made one of the recipes that I posted  (Aduki Bean Stew with Millet Mash) and didn't like it, that I didn't like it either but was in the business of blogging about everything that I make.

Ironically, she then mentioned that she made said Aduki Bean Stew a second time, but added both olive oil and salt, and substituted Quinoa for the Millet Mash, and loved it!

I'm here today to clear up some myths and shed some light on this very, very interesting subject: Just who will love the recipes posted here at Healthy Girl's Kitchen? I do have to admit, for most people that are accustomed to eating SAD (the Standard American Diet) jumping into Healthy Girl's Kitchen recipes could be quite a shock to the taste buds and the system.

First, I do not post everything that I make. I consider my kitchen a test kitchen of ultra healthy recipes (remember, I am less into creating my own original recipes and more into testing and tweaking other people's recipes). I have had high hopes for many of the things that I have chosen to test, only to dump them down my garbage disposal, and you never hear about any of those experiences. 

Case in point: the following cake recipe from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. I made the cake and the icing that was suggested in the book and ended up dumping the icing. It was tofu based and the flavor of the tofu was too strong in the end. I thought it would ruin any chance that people would like the cake, so I threw it away. It is subjective! Maybe some people would like the tofu icing, but I didn't, so I whipped up an icing that I had made in the past from Eat for Health by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and the cake was a smashing success! Well, at least I thought it was . . . remember it is subjective. But my three kids loved this cake, and that is a pretty great sign!

Carrot Pineapple Cookie Cake
makes 12-16 servings

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup grape nuts cereal
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar
egg replacer for 4 eggs (4 tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 12 tbsp pineapple juice or 2 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 8 tbsp water)
2 cups shredded carrots
1 16 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix first 4 ingredients well in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix.

Scrape batter into two 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Carefully slice each cake in half horizontally with a long serrated bread knife. Frost cake.

Cashew Date Frosting

2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 1/3 cups pitted dates
2/3 cup brazil nuts or hazelnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth.  Spread on cooled cake.

To make a chocolate frosting, simply add 4 tbsp cocoa powder before blending.

But does that mean that you will love, or even like, any and all of the recipes that you decide to try from Healthy Girl's Kitchen?

From real life experience I can tell you that not everyone likes what I like. It's as simple, and as complicated, as that. The following are the factors that I believe account for a person's taste preferences when it comes to healthy eating:

1. Are you trying to lose weight? How serious are you about that goal? It might be that the more serious a person is about weight loss, the more open they are to enjoying a dish that they know is going to get them to their goal. At first, you just can't afford to be so picky if you want to lose weight. In time, those healthy foods that were once "not your favorite" taste better and better. This happened for me with lentils. I used to hate anything with lentils. Lately, I have been eating a soup at a restaurant that is so delicious to me, just amazing, and it is made with red lentils.  And all of a sudden, I just can't get enough lentils. My battle with lentils is over!

2. How recently have you been eating SAD? It takes some time for a person's taste buds to adjust from enjoying a McDonald's hamburger to loving Aduki Bean Stew.  This reality is talked about a lot in places like http://www.diseaseproof.com/ where many people are dramatically changing their food habits. Inevitably, a person eating ultra healthy begins to taste real, whole plant food in a way that they may never have tasted it in their life. Something as simple as a raw spinach leaf can be an incredible taste sensation that a person savors. Sound crazy? You should watch me eat!

3. Different strokes for different folks.  Everyone is unique. I pick and choose recipes to try and ultimately post based on my own unique taste preferences (I love ethnic food, not too spicy). I'm pretty sure that readers can easily discriminate amongst the recipes that I post based on their own taste preferences.

4. Salt. Salt can make almost anything taste good. It's also something that we Americans over consume to a scary degree.  Over time, if you are seeking great health, you definitely want to watch and restrict your salt intake. But limiting salt in a recipe will have a dramatic effect on the way any savory food tastes. It is just another thing that your taste buds will adjust to if you give them a chance.

Did I answer my own question? I don't know, but I think you get the point!


Jessica said...

I have a great recipe for a red lentil soup with mushrooms - it is from one of the Kosher By Design cookbooks- I'll look for it and get it to you.

Wendy said...

Jessica-Sounds fabulous! Can't wait for the recipe.

April said...

Congrats on finishing the 28 day challenge. That's huge, you lost me several days after you began...but it's a life change, right!? Which we are doing well with (with the occasional exception).

It's so true with how one's tastes change over time. I do not by any means crave fast food! It has never been so easy to drive by fast food alley and pull into a grocery store, or just wait till we get home to eat. That's an accomplishment for any American. But, it's a process one goes through over time, and it will happen, if one stays plant strong and processed free (and watch Food Inc).

I have tried the birthday cake from Prevent and Reverse heart Disease. With a little adjustment, there are good recipes in that book.

Thanks for the alternate frosting. I am not a big soy eater and would like to try the chocolate cashew date frosting. Is it very 'cashew-y' tasting? Can't wait to try it!

Blend Well!!! Live Well!!!
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Healthy Girl said...

Thanks April!

The frosting is delicious--I don't really know if you will think it is too cashew-y tasting though. I just happen to LOVE how it tastes! Which is a bit of a problem because it is not exactly low calorie!

Laura said...

I just made this cake (I have the cookbook) and was searching on-line for a different frosting recipe - I didn't think the pineapple one would go over too well here. I was so happy to find your post about this and your website! My boys loved the cake, I love the frosting (used pistachios & cashews,) but they didn't both love the frosting on the cake - like you say, everyone has different tastes!

healthygirlskitchen said...

Laura, What a coincidence! I'm so glad you found my blog and I hope you'll be back to give more input!

Sandy said...

Was looking for a recipe to use up some carrot juice pulp! I might try it in this cause it looks sooooooooooooooooo divine!
I just LOVE your blog so much!

Pam said...

This looks great, but I have a huge issue here: This recipe is not vegan at all. Grape nuts, as most commercial cereals (Post, General Mills, Kelloggs) uses animal products in their vitamin D mixture in all of their cereals. Any cereal that has vitamin D3 is an animal product. Vitamin D2 is plant-based, but it is rare and expensive, so most "Vitamin D Enriched" products use D3. See the following link for a conversation on the vegan dilemma about Vitamin D:


Liz Newsreader said...

What a fun looking recipe! I have lots of great "healthier" cake recipes, but have been missing my carrot cake. A question - do you have any thoughts on what one could use to replace the Grape Nuts? I looked at the ingredients label of the Grape Nuts at my supermarket and it has sugar in it! (cue sad trombone) Is the idea with the grape nuts that it's an extra kind of flower? Anyway, thanks so much for your post! Excited to give it a try, if I can :-)

Wendy said...

Liz-If I remember correctly, this recipe is from Dr. Esselstyn's book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. I know that some of the doctors allow small amounts of sugar in their plans. If sugar is something that you are trying to avoid entirely, this may not be a recipe for you.

Liz Newsreader said...

Hey Wendy! Thanks for your response. I figured I would already be getting boatloads of sugar from the maple syrup and the dates and just wanted to avoid the additional sugars/processedness, if I could. Any advice? Thanks again for your advice, and for sharing the source of the recipe!

Liz Newsreader said...

Oooh you know what, never mind! Just had a brain wave - I can just look on the cereal box for which flours are in it and then use those! Duh. Anyway, thanks again for this great recipe :-)

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