Tag Archives: vegan

Welcome Friends with Vegan/Gluten Free Coconut Carrot Cake

8 Aug


I’m in a super mood today because a) my show opens on Saturday; b) several of my closest friends and collaborators are in town to see it and; c) I just made the above referenced awesome V/GF Coconut Carrot cake as an “afternoon tea” cake to share with my buddy Victor who is already here and John who is set to arrive in mere moments.


I made this cake recipe up on the fly but it turned out pretty delightful so I’m sharing. I really love the challenge of baking both vegan and gluten-free. I looked at a lot of similar recipes when developing this one and they all called for either eggs (for the non-vegans) or egg replacer or flax seed goop (for the non-animal consumers). I figured the apple sauce would be a perfectly fine binder and, as always, it is. This cake is moist and has a lovely chew without feeling overly dense. The cinnamon and ginger enhance the cake’s overly “carrotyness” and the toasted coconut adds a nice textural counterpoint.


For additional texture, add the last tree ingredients listed in the recipe. They’re not mandatory but they will definitely make this cake even more delightful. If you have them on hand, toss ’em in. I had none of them BUT I don’t think that adding them would radically change either the texture of the finished product or alter cooking time. If you do add them and find that your batter is a too chunky, just add a little non-dairy milk of choice to thin it out. No big thing.

As for all you nut-heads out there, if you must, you may add crushed walnuts or pecans to your batter. I rarely do this because I find that nuts baked within often put people off. I think the addition of one beautifully toasted pecan on top is perfect because it looks lovely and it also gives the non-nut eaters out there the ability to opt out without forgoing an entire treat.

Carrot Coconut Cake


1 cup gluten-free flour blend of choice
1 1/4 cu gluten-free oat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup cooked carrots, mashed (some chunkiness is OK)
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup raw shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup shredded pineapple (VERY WELL DRAINED)

Frosting and garnish:

4 oz vegan cream cheese
4 oz vegan sour cream
4 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 shredded coconut, toasted
15 pecan halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 7″x11″ baking pan and set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, spices, and baking powder and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, mashed carrots, apple sauce, and maple syrup. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Stir in shredded carrots, coconut and pineapple. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan.

Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature and then combine with sour cream and maple syrup. Turn the cake out onto a cutting board and frost (only when the cake is absolutely, totally cool). Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the frosting so that it covers the cake entirely and then place each pecan half about an inch apart on the cake (see top photo). Pop the cake in the freezer for a couple of minutes until the frosting firms up a bit and then cut into 15 fairly even squares. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!




Recovery Monday Bars

13 Feb

Today is Monday. Monday is a recovery day. Now, before I go any further into what this particular Monday has looked like, I want to make sure we’re all up to speed on the lingo. Recovery does not mean that I am “off” or enjoying a day of “rest.” On off days, I don’t have a scheduled triathlon workout but I can take care of other stuff–like my job, my badly neglected social life, etc…I can do yoga, I can tootle around on my bike. On full rest days, I’m supposed to stay off my legs as much as possible. Full rest days normally come 48 hours before a race or 24 hours before a long training session, say a long run or a long bike or a long bike followed by a long run (a.k.a. a “brick.”)

On recovery days, I still have to run. In fact, the run that is scheduled on my Training Peaks (more on TP later) is referred to as a “recovery run.” The benefits of recovery runs are apparently hotly debated. I am learning that most techniques for effective endurance training are. Hotly debated, that is. There doesn’t seem to be any debate that recovery runs are good for the athlete, just a debate about why they are good.

I’ve been told that RRs get blood moving through the legs again after a long or hard training run the previous day and that promotes the clearance of lactic acid. This article I just found on Active, claims that the benefits are more about training the runner to run on fatigued legs. Whatever. It’s a win-win either way and I gotta do one regardless. Tonight.

I gotta recoverun (ya’ like that?) tonight because I didn’t get up and do it this morning because I really, really wanted–no, I needed–to sleep in.

Another translation: “sleep in” for triathletes means, “wake up a minute after sunrise.”

But I don’t mind running at night. And I actually look forward to Monday night recovery runs because a) they’re easy (depending on where I am in the training schedule, they can be anywhere from 30-45 minutes at a luxuriously slow pace in a luxuriously low HR zone) b) I normally do them with the group (although tonight, I have to go it alone a little on the early side so I can make 6:30PM yoga so I can get home and get to bed before 10PM so I can get up at 6AM tomorrow to get my swim in before the work day begins) and c) …wait, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, Recovery Monday. Yoga has to happen on a Recovery Monday otherwise I won’t be able to get to class until WEDNESDAY! Oh, the humanity! Before I started participating in this ridiculous sport, I was doing yoga 4-5 days a week. Now, I’m lucky if I can get eight classes in a month. If I don’t practice 2 days a week, I find that my running suffers. My sleep suffers. My brain suffers. My mood suffers. My friends suffer. My students suffer. There’s a whole lot of unnecessary suffering.

Also on Recovery Mondays (“RM,”) I like to catch up on “life” stuff. As in, I do laundry, I grade, I prep for classes. I’m feeding my teammate’s dog this week so I did that on RM. I bought a new vacuum last week so today I took that little red devil for a spin around the old casa. I also went grocery shopping.

And the same thing happens that always happens: I go off-list for a second and suddenly find myself in the granola bar aisle. This happens constantly. I never buy anything but it has become a kind of grand dream that I will find a box of granola bars that does NOT list High Fructose Corn Syrup (or even SUGAR) as its first ingredient. And even grander still, is the dream in which I find said bars and they don’t cost $5.99 for six of them.

So I stood in the aisle and I picked up every box of granola bars on the shelf and I scrutinized the labels, trying to find ONE that had less than say, 10g of sugar per serving. I’m sure I looked like a right ass, studying a box of Fiber One bars like it was a Biology text and finally I was like, “I never studied for biology.” And I threw the box at the head of a woman standing next to me (no, I didn’t) and I ran home in a rage (no, I didn’t)  to make my own (yes, I did).

I’ve tried making protein bars and granola bars in the past and I’ve never had much success. But this batch, I think, might be a winner. I also decided to experiment with soy flour (since I never have before and it packs a mega protein punch). It’s working for me.

I can’t remember exactly what I did–silly me, I didn’t write anything down–but I think it was like 2 2/3 cups oats, 1 cup soy flour, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, a handful of dried cranberries, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup canned pumpkin, like 1/4 cup blue agave nectar, some cinnamon and a twee pour of almond milk. Mixed it all together, baked it in a 9×9 pan at 375 for 25 minutes and voila. Here they be:

I kinda can’t stop eating them. But I will. I will freeze half the batch (individually wrapped) and throw them in my lunch sack when needed. Oh, I also made those muffins on the rack below. Here’s their Sears glamour shot:

These are old hat at this point. Couple mashed bananas, more canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices, white whole wheat (with some soy flour thrown in today), agave and almond milk. I make them all the time and freeze in pairs. I like to have one before a long bike. They’re totally vegan too. In fact, so are the bars!

But don’t worry. I roasted a chicken at the same time I was baking.  No pic of the chicken. That would be indecent. I will tear it apart and try not to think of it as it once was (alive) and use it in spicy chicken-vegetable hash and other such recipes this week.

So now that all that’s done, I can stuff myself into my “cold weather” running gear (it’s 60 degrees here today) and head out to recover.