Easy Chocolate Layer Cake {Gluten Free}

Does anyone else crave comfort food this time of year? For me that’s carbs (well, I pretty much crave cabs all year, but let’s not go there right now…) and sweet things like baking. If you saw my post last week with The Sweet Life Apparel, you saw the chocolate cake Ari and I whipped up together. It was one of our messier endeavours (and crankier- at least in the beginning- for Ari), but we ended up having a blast and the cake turned out amazing (sprinkles EVERYWHERE!). While we still make everything gluten free, I’ve been able to add dairy back into what we eat since the end of Summer, re- introducing it in meals and baking. I’m not going to lie, I’ve missed cooking/ baking with butter. And milk. But that’s not to say this recipe wouldn’t turn out if you used a dairy- free milk, I just enjoyed the chance to try it out (this is the first cake I’ve made with milk in a long time, yahoo!). It’s about as easy as it gets, with simple ingredients, and if you’re like us, the decorating is at least half the fun (and most of the mess 😉 ). If you want a sweet treat for holiday parties, why not whip up this baby? Enjoy. 

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour & 1 cup coconut flour)
use an unbleached or all- purpose flour if not gluten free
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Decoration ideas:
– frosting (I cheated and used the store- bought stuff)
– sprinkles
– toasted coconut
– fresh flowers
whatever you like! 😉

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cake pans with parchment paper- use two 9- inch pans for 2 layers, or four 6- inch pans for 4 layers

2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Tip: to help make it lighter- especially if making a gluten free cake- sift the dry ingredients to aerate them.

3. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients and slowly add to the dry mix, stirring to avoid lumps as you go.

4. When combined, pour the batter into your pans, distributing equally among the 2 or 4 that you’re using. Bake for 30 -35 minutes until you can insert a toothpick into the centre and it comes out clean. If baking four 6- inch cakes, bake them two at a time.

5. Allow to cool before removing from pans. Use frosting between the layers and frost the outside however you like. We went more for a naked cake look (at least that’s what I”m calling it!), but pick an icing/ decoration that you like. This is a nice, moist cake that’s not too rich/ heavy so there’s lots of options.

6. Decorate to your heart’s content!

What we’re wearing:
Check out the full line by The Sweet Life Apparel on their website and get the latest news on social media:
Instagram: @thesweetlifeapparel 
Photo credit: Akane Kondo Photography
Instagram: @akanekondophoto

Easy Candy Bark

Who else always gets to the day after Halloween and wonders what to do with all the candy they’ve got kicking around the house? I know a few parents who trade their kid’s candy for money or a toy but if you’re like me and have a sweet tooth, you don’t mind the extra treats in the house (should I mention here that I do ration the candy/ hide it so the sugar rushes are somewhat avoided?).
Now that the trick- or- treating is behind us, why not do something fun with all that candy? Have you ever made chocolate bark? It’s pretty much the simplest thing you can make and it’s a great way to use up some of those sweets (and not that I want to bring up Christmas the day after Halloween, but this would be cute to make for the holidays- just wrap it up in cellophane). You can use melting chocolate like I did or chop up a bunch of those mini bars and melt them for the bark. The options for this are endless- you just have to pick your favourites to use and try not to eat them all as you go!
Ingredients:
– melting chocolate (you can also chop up mini chocolate bars & use them instead)
– assorted candy
– sprinkles


Directions:

1. Begin by brining a pot of water to a boil & melting the chocolate in a double boiler (I use a Pyrex jug to make it easier to grab/ hold onto to pour out the melted chocolate).
2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

3. Take all your candy out of the wrappers (and try not to eat too much while you do! 😉 )

4. When the chocolate has melted, pour it onto your baking sheet and use a spatula to spread it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick (I totally failed on getting out the lumps/ air bubbles 😉 ).

5. Now for the best part! Toss on your candies & sprinkles to your heart’s content. Allow to cool- pop in the fridge for about half an hour to help it set/ solidify faster.

6. When the chocolate has cooled/ hardened, break the bark into pieces and enjoy!


Yummy Mummy Monday: Healthy Chocolate Peanutbutter Powerballs

I’m excited to announce that my friend Jena is joining TPB as a collaborator! She will be contributing on a variety of topics, including healthy lifestyle options & recipes. Since she’s recently made the transition to a paleo diet with her family, I thought a recipe post would be a perfect way to introduce her to TPB readers, and she didn’t disappoint! I can’t wait to see what she’ll share next. Now over to Jena…
These nutrient dense treats are a favorite snack for my son and husband! Since our household decided to cut out processed sugar, gluten, eggs, dairy, and everything else delicious (kidding…not kidding), we are always looking for that little after meal treat. The “Powerball” is my go to and there’s a variety of ways to mix and match these balls. So I’ll first elaborate on the ingredients I like to have on hand so that I can whip up a batch on Mondays, aka MEAL PREP MONDAYS (yes I am a total and utter geek, but no I do not hashtag any food related Instagram photos as MPM on Mondays…maybe I should?).
Don’t’ be scared off by the list, you can buy most of these ingredients at Superstore! And Costco has them in bulk, GMO free, organic options. You buy them once and you’re good to go for a couple months!

The Need to Have Ingredients:
• Butters (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed…)
• Raw Honey or Maple Syrup

The Mix and Matchy Ingredients
(you can literally pick what you want to put in them when you go the freestyle route)
• Hemp hearts
• Chia seeds
• Coconut chips or unsweetened shredded coconut
• Pure dark chocolate chips
• Walnuts
• Pecans
• Cashews
• Almonds
• Coconut oil
• Sunflower seeds
• Gluten free oats
• Flax seeds

 Our favourite version of these is the Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ball

Ingredients: 
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup pecans
½ cup of coconut chips or shredded coconut
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup of hemp hearts
1 tbsp of chia seeds
2 tbsp of flax seeds
½ cup of honey or maple syrup
½ cup of peanut butter
½ cup of dark chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Combine all the ingredients in the a high powered, high speed blender (eg. Blendtech or Vitamix). Blend until smooth consistency (see photo).
Tip: If you are using a food processor, you may want to use a coffee grinder to break down the smaller ingredients (flax seeds) or buy already ground flax. 

2. Once you have a smooth consistency, roll into 1 inch balls.
3. Put on a baking sheet and into freezer for 15 mins. Once hardened, put into tupperwear and into the freezer for quick to grab snacks.

This particular recipe is best straight out of freezer or keep in the fridge as much as you can, as they tend to soften and can get a bit messy. Other versions, particularly those when you omit coconut oil and don’t blend the ingredients to a smooth consistency tend to keep better at room temperature (see below). 

If you want to freestyle, you can combine any of the “Mix and Match Ingredients” with the “Must Haves” by hand or in a blender.

Combine:
1 cup of a butter (or combination of two butters)
(Tip: Some butters taste WAY better than others, so do a ¼ to ¾ ratio with the less tasty butters….eg. ¼ sunflower butter, ¾ peanut butter)
½ cup of Maple Syrup or Raw honey
GO CRAZY…sort of… add whatever ingredients your heart desires to the above until you have a product that sticks together but is not soft (about two cups total of all your ingredients combined). Add more as needed. Mix it by hand or with a food processor or blender.

If you have a Vitamix or Blendtech, the product will have a smooth consistency, with a food processor and by hand it will be more textured.
2. Roll the mixture into balls, place on a baking sheet and into freezer for 15 minutes.
3. When formed and holding the ball shape, remove and place in tupperwear into freezer for easy grabs!

What’s your favourite combo? We want to hear how you mix it up with your Power Balls!


For more great recipe ideas check out the Yummy Mummy Recipes page!

January posts sponsored by Little Dreamers Consulting

Yummy Mummy Monday: Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who can resist a good cookie recipe? Especially one packing a nutritional punch? Aaaaaand added bonus: these puppies are sans gluten (and you’d never know it from the taste!). The night I baked these I barely had them out of the oven before Will had his paws on them, and they didn’t last long. These are a great yummy addition to lunches and a delicious late night snack with milk (for another great cookie recipe, check out this one for thin & crispy chocolate chip!). I think Cookie Monster had good taste in food, no? 
Yummy Mummy Recipe: Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar (you can swap with honey if you prefer)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1/2 tsp xantham gum (I’ve found this really makes a difference in GF baking)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (add more if you love cinnamon!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup flax seeds, whole (sub ground flax seeds if you prefer)
3 cups oats (not instant)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees & line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Beat the butter & sugars until creamy. Add the egg & vanilla and combine well.
3. Follow with the dry ingredients, saving the chocolate chips for last. Add them when the batter is well mixed.
4. Scoop generous tbsp sized balls of batter onto the cookie sheet, allowing approx. 2″ between for them to expand.
5. Bake for 8- 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove & cool.
Enjoy fresh from the oven with a cold glass of milk, or save for later! 
I told you I could barely get them out of the oven! 😉

October posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Yummy Mummy Monday: Easter S’mores

Ok so today’s ‘recipe’ is more of a cute idea to help use up all the yummy goodies the Easter Bunny left! A great idea for camping & bonfires!
Simply swap the usual jumbo mallows & chocolate squares with peeps & Easter eggs! Um, yes please! 
Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend! 
OXOX TPB
Image Source: http://drewsteeves.com/blog.html/recipe-easter-peeps-smores-3104739
April posts sponsored by Gary Gallant Travel

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