Un-Red Velvet Cake

If you take a moment to peruse our Recipes page, I think you’ll quickly figure out what our favorite type of food to make is.  Yep, you guessed it, dessert.  Now, when I arranged our recipe page and discovered this, I thought I would try to focus more on the other categories of food to make it more even.  Well, symmetry is just going to have to wait, because I have been trying to make this recipe for what seems like forever.  I’ve attempted red velvet pancakes, red velvet brownies, and red velvet cake, but have not succeeded.

So why have I been trying so hard to succeed in making a Skinnyfat version of this Southern delicacy?  Well, let’s just say that I have a special spot in my heart for this cake.

Yes, I had red velvet cake for my wedding.  It was the most delicious, moist, melt-in-your mouth slice of heaven I have ever had.  Maybe part of it was the how special the day was, but my memory of that cake has been difficult to get out of my head.

I have finally succumbed to the idea that I may never achieve the brilliant red color naturally, ergo I give you  my very own un-red velvet cake.

The best part of this cake is that it has no artificial coloring or white flour and it has beets in it!  Have your dessert and prevent cancer too.  How much better can it get?

Un-Red Velvet Cake

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping cup fresh beets, peeled and chopped (about 2 small beets or 1 large beet)
  • 1 cup raw sugar (or healthier sugar alternative)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (canned coconut milk with guar gum)
  • 2 organic eggs (or 2 flax eggs)
  • 1/4 cup butter (or vegan alternative)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (use whatever cooking vinegar you have, I used pomegranate vinegar)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Sift your flour and mix your dry ingredients, except for the sugar, together.

Peel and chop the fresh beets.

Then blend the beets, sugar, and the rest of the wet ingredients until smooth.

Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones, stirring constantly.

Take a picture, because this will be the last time the mixture will be such a pretty color.

Pour batter into an oiled cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.

Once you remove it from the oven, be sure to let it cool completely before taking it out of the cake pan.  I wasn’t that patient and it fell apart a little bit.

Even though this cake is obviously not red, it is a velvety, delicious, treat.  You can top it with this cheesecake batter for added perfection.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

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Strawberry Scones

When I was 18 I worked at my aunt’s coffeeshop. I consider it one of my favorite jobs ever, which is saying something, seeing as how I’ve already had over 10 jobs in my 24 years.  The Moonstruck Cafe; I have such fond memories of that place.


It was just barely big enough for the counter and a few small tables, but it had plenty of faithful customers. Everything was decorated in suns and moons, and my aunt had stenciled hundreds of hand-painted gold stars over the midnight blue walls. Ecclectic paintings hung for sale by local artists and hometown bands would come in and play live music on Friday nights.

Whether it was The Talking Heads or Duke Ellington or an old 80’s mix playing overhead, the musical selections were unpredictable and yet somehow always just right. The atmosphere was laid back and everybody knew each other. It was fun to see the regulars pull up – Teacher Tim, Steve the Green Tea Guy – and have their drinks ready by the time they reached the counter. It was cozy. It was home.

But my favorite thing of all was the scones. Blueberry scones. Selling that last scone was the happiest moment of the week, because I knew that in less than an hour I would take a fresh batch from the oven and escape into a rich, warm, blueberry scone heaven. Yes, being the owner’s niece had its perks. Free coffee was great, but nothing compared to free scones.

Before I knew it, we had moved out of state and my coffeeshop days were over…and I haven’t had a scone that good since. With that realization, I made it my mission to recreate scone bliss, only this time a healthy version. A daunting task; scones are all cream, butter, sugar, and white flour. But I’ve done my best, combined multiple recipes, and present to you my best attempt at a very nutritious and delicious scone.

Warning: turn back now if you like crumbly (DRY) scones like the ones you find in most coffeeshops. These scones are moist. Not dense, moist – because there’s nothing I hate worse than a mouthful of dry crumbs. Oh, and for the record, these taste nothing like the blueberry scones from Moonstruck. Completely different flavors, but even more satisfying. Trust me, I tested these on a number of people who are not fans of typical health food. Even my brother, whose favorite food in all the world comes from Taco Bell, came back for seconds and told me repeatedly how good they were.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever berries are in your fridge. These can just as easily become blueberry scones, raspberry scones, or boysenberry scones! I just happened to have strawberries on hand, but you can bet my next batch will be blueberry.

One last thing: you’re going to be adding some vegetables. Beets and carrots, to be exact…because that’s just what we do around here. Don’t get me started about beets. Poor, underrated root! To be brief: Don’t want cancer? Eat your beets. 

Let the scone-making begin.

Skinnyfat Strawberry Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 T Stevia (or sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener)
1/4 cup cold butter or substitute (I used Smart Balance)
1/4 cup oil (healthy variety; I used coconut)
3/4 cup milk (the thicker the better. I use 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup coconut cream. Creamier means richer, moister scones)
1/4 cup finely shredded beets
1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup fresh strawberries (or berries of choice)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400. Combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and Stevia) in a bowl.

Step 2: Add the wet ingredients (butter, oil, milk, and cream, if using) to the dry ingredients. Cut in with a fork or pastry cutter until just combined.

Step 3: Shred the beets and carrots onto a paper towel. Press until most of the juice is gone and you have semi-dry vegetable shreds. You’ll go through a couple of paper towels.

Step 4: Add the berries, beets, and carrots and mix until just combined.

Step 5: Shape the dough into a round, very thick pizza shape on a cookie sheet (think deep dish pizza, only deeper!). It should be about 2 – 3 inches deep. Cut into 8 equal parts and separate the pieces about an inch apart so they have room to expand while cooking.

Step 6: Bake for 17 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. You can drizzle agave on top or add a glaze, which can be made by whisking together a bit of melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla. Serve with butter or jam, or devour them plain like I do. Scrumptious any way you look at it!

So grab a cup of hot coffee, that book you’ve been wanting to read, and savor a warm scone (or two). The best part? Now there’s no scone guilt, because – let’s face it – most scones are just a dense cake that managed to weasel it’s way into the breakfast food category. Enjoy the satisfaction of eating baked goods that are actually that: good for you. “Baked good-for-yous”, if you will. 🙂

~Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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