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Dessert, Snack, Breakfast

BANANA SNACKING CAKE WITH CASHEW COCONUT CREAM

It hasn't completely sunk in, but the holidays are paving their way. The tree lots are popping up, we've got our Thanksgiving assignments and little white lights are slowing starting to line the houses in our neighborhood. I've got tubs of peppermint ice cream (my absolute favorite) in the freezer and there is a blooming white poinsettia on the porch. I just began to feel taken by the sentiment of this time of year in craving more time with friends and family, reflecting on the past year with thanks. Days pass and then you look back at a years time and so much has happened. So much! I know I have a ton to be thankful for. The big things like a kind and funny husband, a supportive family (two of them now!) a great place to live and good food. But the little things are not lost on me either. I just hope we all take the time to soak it all in.

This snack cake is my last non-festive treat before I jump into the holiday dishes with two feet. You don't get much less festive than banana cakes this time of year, but I couldn't help myself. I'm now ready to burn out on pumpkin and peppermint with the rest of you. I've been having a thing with almond meal lately, as I appreciate the flavor, extra protein and the crumbly texture in my baked goods. Because it is gluten free, I am careful when I use it exclusively, to make sure everything stays together. You could go all almond meal if need be, but know it will be a fragile cake. Here, I mix in a bit of spelt flour (wheat free, but not gluten free) and it yields that delicate texture while tasting pleasantly grainy from the spelt.

It's a tasty little snack, a perfect compliment to afternoon coffee, but personally, a distraction to keep Hugh out of my peppermint ice cream.

BANANA SNACKING CAKE WITH CASHEW COCONUT CREAM // Makes one 8x8 cake

The cream frosting is from So Good and Tasty via My New Roots

You could use sweetened coconut if that is what you have on hand, just know your cake will be a bit sweeter. I gathered a tip from Kamran's recent post, and think it's perfect for baked goods with almond meal. I pull it out a tad early and cover it with a dishtowel to hold the steam in and it keeps it moist. He leaves his cake covered for 8 hours, I felt mine was good after an hour. Lastly, I have found that nut meals dry out quicker, so keep it air tight and it should last you 2-3 days. They have a great, well priced almond meal at Trader Joe's.

1 Cup Almond Meal

1/2 Cup Spelt Flour

1/2 Cup Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Light Muscavado Sugar

1/4-1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, plus extra for finishing

Few pinches of Fresh Grated Nutmeg

2 Large, Extra Ripe Bananas

1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, warmed to a liquid

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Cashew Cream

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews, soaking in water for an hour

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk

1 Tbsp. Honey or Maple

1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

Preheat the oven to 350'.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, smash the bananas really well, breaking down the chunks. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and mix. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients.

Grease an 8x8 glass baking pan and pour in the mix. Bake on the middle rack for about 22-24 minutes. Being sure the center is just set.

Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, cover it with a dish towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour as it re-absorbs some of the steam.

For the cream, drain the cashews and put them in a food processor with the coconut milk, honey and lemon juice. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. It will have a bit of texture to it. The cream will keep in the fridge for about a week.

I prefer to add a bit of the cream to each piece as eaten, not frost the whole cake. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Dessert, Snack, Summer

GINGER CAKES WITH WHITE PEACHES + BLACKBERRY COULIS

It's summer. And not to say I would turn down a stick-to-your-ribs piece of chocolate cake, but I feel good about this dessert. I will claim it as my current favorite. We made four, each ate one and while I'd normally give the rest away, these little babes are tucked away my fridge for this afternoon. I doubted them, thinking they looked like ginger egg souffles coming out of the oven, but looks can be deceiving. A zesty ginger angel food cake of sorts, with the tang of fresh blackberries and the warm sweetness of a ripe, white peach. It's not that any of the three components are show stoppers on their own, but together, the combination is absolute perfection. This dessert is a case in point, that heavy and rich is not always better. If I were serving this to other people, I would consider adding a very small scoop of good vanilla bean ice cream on top. However, for the sunny days of August, where it is just me and Hugh needing an afternoon treat, they are perfect as is.

My side note: a few of you think myself, Sara, take the pictures here on Sprouted Kitchen. I wish it were the case, I would love to have his talent, but Hugh is the genius who makes my cooking look even better than it actually is. He encourages me to make good foods, so he can take pictures like we have here; I am a lucky lady. Don't worry, I pay him with ginger cakes.

GINGER CAKES WITH WHITE PEACHES + BLACKBERRY COULIS // Makes 4 Small Cakes

Inspired by The Golden Door Cooks at Home by Dean Rucker

Tip: Egg whites are easier to beat when they sit at room temperature for a bit. As far as substitutes, you could use regular white sugar instead of what is listed below if that is what you bake with, and have on hand. I imagine they could be made gluten free with rice flour or a gf baking mix, but I haven't tested that myself. I like a lot of ginger, and found the below measurement to be pretty modest. If you make them, I'd love to hear your feedback on the ratio!

3 Extra Large Egg Whites (4 if any smaller)

1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

Pinch of Salt

1/4 Cup Natural Cane Sugar/Sucanat

1/4 Scant Cup Turbinado Sugar

1 tsp. Real Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Tbp. Fresh Grated Ginger

1/4 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour

1 Ripe, Organic White Peach

1 1/4 Cup Blackberries

Juice of one Lime, about 2 Tbsp.

1 Tbsp. Honey

1 Tbsp. Half+Half/Heavy Cream

Oven to 350'

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a hand mixer on high until peaks form (about 3 minutes). They should quadruple in size. Once it's holding shape, continue beating it, while slowly sprinkling in the sugars. Beat in the vanilla extract and fresh grated ginger.

2. Using a rubber spatula, sprinkle and fold in the 1/4 flour, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.

3. Coat four, 4-6 oz. ramekins with natural cooking spray, gently divide cake mix between them. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, and put in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 14 minutes. Allow them to cool about 5 minutes, then remove them from the ramekin. * I give mine a good slam down on a cutting board, and flip them over, the cake comes right out.

4. While the cakes are cooking, blend the blackberries, lime juice, honey and splash of cream together. Taste for sweetness, as the quality/ripeness of the berries may require you to add a tad more honey, it should be tart.

5. Cut the peach in half, and in thin slices.

6. Assemble with one cake, a few spoonfuls of the blackberry sauce and some fresh peach slices.

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