I'm tired. As in, can't get off my butt right now and do a single thing exhausted. This is, in part, because of my long day working at the restaurant, and in part because I haven't been getting much sleep lately. Just a few hours a night if I'm lucky, and the self-induced sleep deprivation is catching up with me.
I am beat.
That said, I haven't been doing much in the kitchen these days. But occasionally, I bake. And because I've been so ridiculously tired, I am incredibly grateful for the plethora of gluten- and dairy-free recipes available to me in the blogosphere. Like many of you (or so I imagine), I have a steadily growing list of bookmarked recipes in my Web browser, and over the past months of fatigue and pre-moving stress, this list has certainly come in handy.
For example, the night of my dad's 56th birthday, my mom bought a Wegmans Ultimate Chocolate Cake, which for those of you who aren't familiar with Weggermans, is to-die-for delicious. Moist and chocolatey, I used to eat this cake more often than I'd like to admit when they first started selling it. But all that gluten, wheat, and dairy—not to mention the laundry list of additives and other strange, hard-to-pronounce ingredients—simply put, makes me sick.
And of course, my family adores it. It's become a staple at birthday gatherings since my mom has gone back to work full-time and doesn't have as much time or energy to bake at home. So I knew that it was either watch everyone else indulge and enjoy while I stood by salivating and cursing my food-allergic insides, or suck it up and make a little side dessert that would satisfy both mine and my brother's sweet tooth (he's gluten-free, too).
Well, thanks be to Chelsey over at The Crazy Kitchen. I had marked her Bad Ass Black Bean Cake recipe months ago, but it wasn't until this celebratory night in August that I had a reason to buckle down and bake it.
And the verdict is?
Delicious! Seriously, this cake is one of the most pleasantly surprising recipes I've ever tried. Of course, the batter is a little funny looking until you get the beans fully blended. But once it's smooth and creamy, it's also one of the best-tasting GF batters I've sampled to date!
Out of the oven, this cake is moist, smooth, and light enough to not be too rich or fattening. Oddly enough, I kept commenting to my brother about how much the texture reminded me of cheesecake. Overall, quite a delectable treat.
However, I do not recommend the Mocha Cream Avocado Icing recipe listed along with the cake. This was my first time experimenting with avocados in frosting, and it really just did not work with its pudding-like consistency and mildly unpleasant aftertaste. I know there must be a way to make avocado icing taste good, but this one just doesn't cut it for me. Any thoughts? Because I like the idea of staying away from all that confectionary sugar, and mocha cream frosting sounds like the perfect topping.
Regardless, even without any frosting, I liked this cake so much and it was so easy to make that I baked it again tonight! Mmm, mmm good.
And this post wouldn't be complete without a brief mention of those Rainy Day Chocolate Chip Cookies over at Hope for Healing. I wrote about these a while ago for May's Adopt a GF Blogger carnival, and I've made them several times since. It wasn't until last week, however, that I tried using sunflower seed butter instead of cashew butter (as per Stephanie's suggestion) in this super simple, five-ingredient recipe (five when you include the gluten-free vanilla extract, which I like to add for a little extra flavoring).
I don't know what it is about those sunflower seeds, but when buttered down and blended with a little sucanat and some chocolate chips, they make an unbelievably tasty treat!
Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies, as I'm now calling them, to bring into work this morning. I really didn't know what to expect, considering the gluten- and dairy-friendly palettes of my coworkers, but to my utter delight, the cookies were a hands-down hit! I had to endure a decent amount of food-allergy-related teasing, but as a whole, these cookies held their own. One girl kept saying how delicious they are. Another of my coworkers actually told me they're the best cookies he's ever tasted.
I can't tell you how happy this made me! I used to love baking for people prior to the wheat- and dairy-intolerance diagnosis, and it's been a long road getting to a place where those same people actually enjoy my culinary concoctions now that I'm baking sans flour, dairy, and refined sugar.
So here's to the GF and DF blogging community and all these lovely little recipes being passed around! I have no idea when I'll get around to making everything on my list, but as for the ones I've tried so far... Yum!