300,000-349,999 SparkPoints 317,774

What am I doing with my life? (HEALTHY cake recipes)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Riffing off my 'Today...' blog, I think I'm an egg with a choice to make: hatch or go bad.

Before I go forward with an explanation, let me back up a bit....
(and I just have to say whereas writing these blogs used to just come so easily, this currently is like slogging through mud... it all seems important to me, but makes no sense as to why... and grabbing just one mental thread to follow is easier said than done because they all seem connected and jumbled together in my heart)

This past weekend was SO very busy....

We had a church function Thursday evening.

Saturday we had an all-day event (a curling funspiel - the Divine Miss O entered a team - and silent dessert auction)... a fundraiser for an organization very dear to my heart: our city's Pregnancy Options Centre. Having a child through adoption is the greatest blessing of our life, and that would not have been possible if one very special woman hadn't valued the life of our daughter over her own comfort and convenience, and had she not had the support necessary to live true to her convictions.

The Friday before was spent baking, baking BAKING treats for the Dessert Auction. By the time I had made 4 triple-layer cakes, 4 fillings, 4 frostings and 3 dozen cookies, I was SO tired, but SO happy and delighted with my effort.

Hence the title of this blog...
Let them eat cake... glorious, delicious low-carb, gluten-free, sugar-free
(even most of the candy used to decorate),
could-eat-it-for-breakfast CAKE!

Chocolate-Skorr Cookies

Triple-Layer Mocha Cake with Mocha Cheesecake Filling & Mocha Frosting

Triple-Layer Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Cheesecake Filling & Lemon Glaze,
with home-made Lemon Peel Garnish

Triple-Layer Strawberry Cake with Fresh Strawberry Puree & Vanilla Cheesecake Filling
& Vanilla Cream Frosting

Triple-Layer Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Cheesecake Filling & Peanut Butter Frosting

My $120.00 investment in ingredients raised $300.00 in an unprecedented bidding war, LOL! So many people were so excited that they could participate in an activity that would normally exclude them.

Here are 3 other standards from my kitchen that didn't make the cut this time:

Triple-Layer Chocolate Cake with Browned-Butter Cheesecake Filling & Salted Chocolate Ganache
(it's not as salted as it looks, honest)

Triple-Layer Chocolate Cake with Peppermint Cheesecake Filling & Chocolate Ganache
(this was our Christmas cake this year)

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting
(our Thanksgiving Cake this year.. The Divine MIss O actually baked this one on her own... she was SO proud of herself, and watching her watch everyone else eat it was priceless!)

Every cake is a 6" triple-layer cake that serves up 6-very-generous to 12-normal-slices (so no left-overs... you make a cake for an event and it's all gone at the end), uses no more than 7-10 whole-food ingredients, and is virtually indistinguishable from a cake baked with regular flour (you know... that fluffy, rich, light, moist crumb that makes cake so delicious), with a carb count of 3-7 net grams per slice, as compared to 35-70 net grams per slice for that gluten-flour sugar-laden cake people are used to.

Who knew I loved baking cake so much? I certainly didn't.

When I used to bake for special occasions before my little family found we had to go gluten/sugar-free, I would be ill to the point of having to take to my bed for a day or two afterward with joint pain, migraine, and nausea. I could never explain it... just thought I was THAT fragile, because doctors said there was nothing wrong with me. I now know that just touching the ingredients affected me... and interestingly enough, I wasn't very good at conventional baking. I never previously produced such pretty products for my efforts. I hated the task, but I did it because that's what people expect for special occasions, right? Beautiful celebratory food. Never mind if it ruins your health (be it in the short, or long-term).

Now that I know I can produce something that is beautiful, delicious and makes no one sick (including me), "Let them eat ALL THE CAKE!" I love, love, LOVE baking cake! Mostly, I think, because it's fun, pretty AND over-all, HEALTHY. And... maybe not so weirdly... I seem to have a real knack for gluten-free baking.

Which brings me to where I am currently muddling around.

I have people approaching me several times a week wanting me to bake for them, or make meals for them, or open a restaurant (seriously!)... and while I'm flattered and even a tiny bit excited at the thought, I can't even imagine how I'd do any of this, and keep my sanity (or my JOY).

I'm an almost 60-year-old woman with a newly-minted teenage daughter (I was 44 when she was born) who needs me very present/available in her life, a family that requires me to prepare three meals a day for THEM (because for better or worse, the well-being of every person in my house and the food we eat is inextricably linked), I still have my own health concerns to address and manage, and so many other draws on my time... not to mention my own unfulfilled dreams to sort out.

The realities of my life are seriously out of sync with my age and stage of being... and while I'm nowhere near ready to leave the stage (in fact in some weird way I feel a deep abiding sense of re-birth), I have no idea what my next act is supposed to be.

Essentially, I'm pondering... or to keep with the egg analogy, I'm incubating, LOL. Ideally I have three more years to figure it all out and set the stage anew for my 'hatching' (the Divine Miss O will be finished high school and starting her own life)... yet I'm also chaffing to 'fly' once again right now.

...and the process and struggle to balance all these opposing needs makes me quiet. I feel deep in the throes of watching, waiting, listening, trying to find enough time to simply 'be' rather than 'doing' every minute of the day... but as I described at the start of this blog, finding the time needed to simply incubate thoughts and feelings is an almost impossible task in the midst of my current circumstances.

So, in the meantime, I take any opportunity to "try on hats" and see what fits, and take to heart the experiences which allow me to explore the various tuggings at my heart....

...preparing a week of food (21 meals) at one go, to go... so my Divine Miss O can attend summer camp and not worry about food (I've learned so much and can now do this over the course of one day without even really thinking about it)... seven years ago, when this food journey first began for our family I couldn't have even attempted this... the thought of it would have leveled me.
...carving out time to blog again to keep my writer's heart beating strong, and my own heart/mind sorted.
...baking cakes for fundraisers.
...baking special occasion cakes for friends who ask (I know many people with special dietary needs).
...catering the odd meal for special family occasions.
...taking on short volunteer stints in the community where a voice/support for these sorts of concerns is needed... a self-declared ambassador for the those with food sensitivities.
...catering meals inclusive of people with food sensitivities for weekend conferences.
...providing health coaching for people on an individual basis.
...studying real estate: we're planning on selling our house in the next 6 months and buying closer to school for The Divine Miss O, and as part of the move we're considering buying a house that would allow us to create a B&B side business that would address a long-dormant dream/call of ours (to provide sanctuary for individuals in need), while also making use of my new and long-honed skills... I think a B&B which caters to people with special dietary needs might do very well....
...any number of other seemingly unrelated but illuminating side-trips....

In the past year I've felt so overwhelmed by everything flying at me at seemingly the speed of light (while uncompromisingly preserving our sense of family) because I don't generally do well without a context to my comings and goings. I've also found it very challenging to remain RESPONSIVE at all times, and not revert to a habit of reacting to every little thing that tugs or lunges at me. Reactionary thinking and being has only ever served to yank me out of good habits back into old counter-productive unhealthy ways of coping... a place I'm just not willing to go anymore for any reason... though some days I still don't do as well as I'd like with respect to being RESPONSIVE.

It's only now... as I consider the egg analogy... that I'm able to see a sort of shape and intention to all the seemingly unrelated and chaotic events and demands which swirl around me, and the compulsion I feel to respond in some way.

...and while I'm starting to "get it," I miss feeling succinct, and well-ordered in my thoughts and choices, yet I feel exhilarated in my new-found ability to adjust my sails to the winds of opportunity and embrace the invitation to 'other-wise' (though it's only now I'm beginning to see the Divine wisdom in any of it).

So, If you're still here, reading this convoluted missive, I thank you, so very much. I deeply value the perspective I gain from your support and comments... and I apologize for the lack of clarity which you may have come to expect from me. My hope is that as time goes on in the next few months, I will start to make more sense... especially to myself, LOL.

So, I continue to refuse to let the judgments and expectations of others define who/how I'm going to be in this world.

...And even though I've struggled, and am still struggling, I'm mostly winning. Having to struggle is the human condition. Struggling isn't an invitation to quit.



Let's not worry about all the rest, and be FLAWSOME together!

To that end, I pray that you may find peace within and all around you. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content. May the presence of Perfect Love settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

May God always and abundantly bless you, and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart always an extra special awareness of how deeply you are loved, and may you see his miracles all around you. Amen!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

My favourite all-purpose cake recipe:
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

* recipe, as is, makes one 10" round layer, or one 8" square... for a 9"X13" or a 2-3 layer cake double the recipe
* to make it a neutral cake I use 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce instead of the strawberries, and then flavour it accordingly
* I've used all manner of fruit and vegetables in place of the strawberries: grated zucchini, pureed pumpkin, pureed kiwi, mashed banana, mashed sweet potato thinned with some water and they all work just as well... essentially I use whatever I have on hand and what may go best with the flavour I want my cake to be
* I always use butter instead of coconut oil because I feel it makes the taste more like a regular cake
* to make the cake more keto, I use erythritol sweetener instead, and add a 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
* I've made this into a
.....pumpkin spice cake (pureed pumpkin and 1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice)
.....vanilla cake (applesauce and 1 tbsp. vanilla extract)
.....chocolate cake (applesauce, add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and increase the eggs to 4)
.....raspberry cake (pureed raspberries, and raspberry extract)
.....creamsicle (pureed well-drained mandarin oranges with orange extract in addition to the vanilla, and then layer it with vanilla filling and ice with whipped cream)
..... lemon poppy seed (applesauce, 1/8 cup poppyseeds added to batter, lemon extract and lemon zest)
* Wilton makes great flavourings to create a HUGE variety of flavours for cake and fillings www.wilton.com/tr

* the drawback to low-carb cakes is that they cannot be made very far in advance (they dry out quickly), but for this recipe the cakes can be baked a head, tightly wrapped and frozen until assembly. The advantage to this is that the cake once assembled thaws slowly and stays fresh. The Maria Emmerich filling (below) can also be made ahead and kept in the fridge. When ready to assemble, just beat with a mizer until it's soft and spreadable.
* to avoid confusion and mistakes I write out the recipe for whatever I want it to be at each baking and check my math THRICE, LOL.

Keto Chocolate Cake

This is a great cake idea, but I prefre the texture of the chocolate version of the cake above. The real beauty of this cake is the filling... I use this basic filling for almost all of my cakes, I just melt the butter without browning it and then flavour as I'd like (I've made peanut butter, lemon, chocolate, caramel, raspberry, and butter pecan)... I've folded in pureed fruit, too, for an extra element. Also, there are better ganache recipes, just follow a classic one if you want a ganache.

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake (but also makes a decadent chocolate Peanut Butter layer cake)

This cake is SO GOOD!!! The only thing is that you have to be careful to not overbake it or it will be dry and crumbly. I've had good success with adding 2 tbsp. psyillium husk powder (Amazon) or 1 tsp. of glucomannon powder to make it less crumbly. For a layer cake, I fill it with the Maria Emmerich filling (above), but use peanut butter in the recipe rather than the cream cheese and beat in some whipping cream until it's the right consistency, and then frost the cake with chocolate ganache.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

The glaze for this cake is lovely, but the following cake itself is better...

Suuuper Tender Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins gluten free, keto & paleo
(you need to quadruple this recipe for a 2-3 layer or sheet cake)

Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake

Can't beat the classics!

Low Carb Italian Cream Cake

I haven't made this one yet, but I think this would make an incredibly beautiful and elegant wedding cake... though I'd make it four layers high (so doubled). I wouldn't hesitiate to make it because ANY recipe I've made from Carolyn's website ALWAYS turns out!

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake gluten free, paleo & keto

EXCELLENT frosting, and pretty good cake, but I still prefer my first cake with the chocolate variation.

Suuuper Tender Carrot Cake (Cupcakes!) gluten free, keto & paleo

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

If you want a cake you can just cut and serve as individual desserts, this one is absolutely AMAZING... it's a bit fussy to make, but worth every minute. Anyone to whom I've served it has never believed it was gluten/sugar-free. When I want an elegant crowd-pleaser (the wow-I-can't-stop-eating-this factor), I make this one.

For a large celebratory event (like a wedding) perhaps you want to make several flavours of sheet cake for your guests... they're less fussy/faster to make, travel well, and serve up beautifully because they're easy to cut into equal individual servings:

Salted Caramel Sheet Cake

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

Keto Pumpkin Spice Sheet Cake

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

This cake is SO GOOD!!! The only thing is that you have to be careful to not overbake it or it will be dry and crumbly. I've had good success with adding 2 tbsp. psyillium husk powder (Amazon) or 1 tsp. of glucomannon powder (also Amazon) to make it less crumbly.

If you're interestedin your own cake experiments, this should keep you busy for awhile, LOL! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to holler... I'm more than happy to help.

Why I'm Still Here... my SparkJourney Saga

No more Mrs. Doubtfire... or Picture UPDATE at nearly 100 lbs. ELIMINATED!

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Losing a Lot of Weight

How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS Weight'

CICO Shove Off! 'New Kid on the (Nutritional) Block' Hits Mainstream

(ponder this some and you come to see this SPARKjourney in a whole new light)

I continue to maintain for the most part (I managed one year at the same weight, and for the last five months and counting (hopefully DOWN, now) within 20 pounds of that... life remains too hectic to do anything else.

(I started my journey at 250 lbs. & over 50% BMI... Obese Class III)

(...it's best to never forget from whence you came. Those who don't acknowledge history are doomed to repeat it.)

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Those baked goods are masterpieces! Just beautiful. I love reading your blogs - and now, with all those links, I have so many more to read!
    emoticon emoticon
    153 days ago
    Well done for those bakes. You have made lots of people happy and made money for charity too. Go you!
    211 days ago
    Uuuummm you have real gift! The fact that those are all healthy as well is absolutely amazing. No wonder you are having an internal awakening right now. Age is nothing and with every day type parenting ending sometime in the relatively near future it's good for you to get back in touch with the other aspects of who you are not with all of that knowledge and experience you have. We had our last baby when I was 41 and I just knew that I wouldn't survive an empty nest even though everyone talked about grandkids etc.... I knew that I had been a devoted mother and that if I didn't find myself again I'd be a toxic one because it's all I've done for almost 30 years. I went back to school and will begin my career when I am close to 50. I will still be a mom of course but there is no way I can be home alone without toddlers so I set a plan in motion because I just knew I wouldn't survived the depression or be able to find the courage/energy if it set in. What I'm trying to say is, those ideas and thoughts you have now are helping you gear up and set the stage for when she goes off to college so something creative and exciting is already in the works and you don't have to find them through the emotions that will bring. They will live side by side and fuel each other. I am the oldest person on campus, some of my professors could be my kids but it is a matter of health for me that I say the course and every year that I am older I am also closer to that rebirth of spirit and person outside of "mom". I used to think that was selfish but looking around to friends and family it usually happens anyway just some ways healthier than others. I think it's your wisdom gently calling you forward and your cakes prove that you are an amazing artist!
    220 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Looks like I missed a previous opportunity to cheer on my good friend! ~ Loved the remarks by @ALOFA0509. (She is definitely "spot-on" regarding your writings / blogs!)
    Thanks for sharing some of your talents w/ the community at large! Seems like some possible suggestions for how things might work out in the days ahead...
    Blessings to you this weekend! Hard to believe April is upon us!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    223 days ago
    Wow! Your cakes are absolutely stunning! You are amazingly talented. I can certainly see why you have many requests to open a restaurant. It sounds like your priority is your daughter and family (which I strongly support and commend) so perhaps you could do an online business with your baking. It would have to be local, as the transport of those delicate beauties would require very special care, but it might be a way to test the waters, as far as bakery sales go, and still keep your family first. I have a friend who does this with her beautifully decorated cookies and it seems to have melded well with her SAHM priorities. Something to consider! emoticon
    224 days ago
  • ALOFA0509
    Ramona The Brave Bakery❤️ Oh mouth watering goodness!! Your blogs are soo rich with insight & careful break down of your thought process. I always learn soo much from you. Hugs Sister❤️
    227 days ago
    Your cakes made my mouth water just looking at them. How amazing they are SFGF AND Low carb. WOW! You have so much going on. If you are considering a baking business why not just do a wee little bit at a time as you can handle. I would also suggest charging a premium price. You offer something nobody does with the SFand GF, it's labor intensive and you will scare off the people trying to take advantage. You have done your good deed donating some cakes to an auction. You deserve to be paid well if you try out baking as a business.In fact, there are people on etsy.com offering cookies, etc with these specifications and they charge a fortune.

    Oh and FLAWSOME sounds like a word I need to be using! I am so very flawed and need to embrace that I can still be awesome.
    228 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/1/2019 9:30:28 PM
    My goodness--You have done such an excellent job and I will come back to check out some of these links! Your cakes look amazing! .. What a talent you and such insight you give too .... emoticon
    229 days ago
    What an inspiring, delicious blog - I can't even list ALL the things that touched me/spoke to me. Your cakes are absolutely stunning! Your writing is inspiring! And FLAWSOME - sounds like there should be a Flawsome club to join so we could all share this attitude. Will be reading more … congrats on all the changes you made in your life and thank you for sharing with us.
    230 days ago

    FABULOUS! And boy did those cakes make my mouth water, LOL.
    235 days ago
    Your cakes are beautiful! Congrats on the weight loss.
    241 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Love the C.S. Lewis image. You are an impressive baker. I'm sure the answer(s) will come in time as to what your next steps are. I had a long-time friend (RIP), later employer, who recreated her life about every 12 years and it was fun to watch her transformations.
    241 days ago
    they all look delicious!
    241 days ago
    It can take a little while to get your bearings after 60 and find the direction the rest of your life takes you, or, like me, you can find that a series of random tasks, groups, people and opportunities adds up to a pretty good life with absolutely no planning whatsoever! And it's flawsome for sure -- also flabulous!

    241 days ago
    You are very brave to surround yourself with all these caloric treasures as you fight for your own health. Admire your talent and restraint! Best wishes for continued success!! -Marsha
    241 days ago
    Those cakes look fabulous! No calories to bake for others!
    241 days ago
    Flawsome we are!!!

    HUGE emoticon emoticon emoticon to you.

    Sense a rebirth in process. May you seize the time necessary to incubate and prepare for what's to be birthed.
    241 days ago

    First off, WOW!!! Both on the blog, which boggled me for a moment and on the cakes too!!!

    Here's my two cents worth. Please step back from every issue and go into your prayer closet and earnestly seek Him, which I know you do and "here's the hard part" W A I T for His answer. He may be telling you to take a R E S T and if you are not listening then He will put you down and I don't want to see that happen.


    - Nancy Jean -
    241 days ago
    Yes it was a lot to take in.. I may have to go back and read it several times till my brain gets it..but I love the cakes..didn't have any trouble that any of them would be delish. I re-read your blog..it was funny that you mentioned hats.. I just had a dream about all the hats have given me to wear..they are all me just a different for time I need to express a different part of myself.
    241 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/19/2019 7:39:28 PM
    The cakes looked amazing! I'm sure they tasted just as amazing! You certainly are talented.
    241 days ago
    Oh my goodness! I was 41 when we adopted our youngest -- my DD who is now 23. Getting them thru the teen years takes lots of energy, so taking care of yourself is definitely priority #1.

    I am awestruck @ the gorgeous cakes you've created! I can see you doing a B&B.

    Wishing you all the best as you move thru this tage of life with your family. It's honestly exhilirating! And exhausting!
    241 days ago
    Flawsome, an incredible word!!!! Thank you for this blog although it has left me somewhat breathless just reading about your busy life and your creativity, whew :). And in any spare moment you may have please share your recipe for the lemon poppyseed cake; I have lost mine along the way but I can assure you that the ones I made never looked as elegant and yummy as yours.
    May your aspirations of running a B&B for folks with special needs come to fruition, a wonderful initiative. emoticon
    242 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.