Organic Chocolate Cake with a Strawberry Acai Buttercream

I just got these fabulous cookbook, “Organic and Chic,” By: Sarah Magid. I was so excited to find this because I LOVE her philosophy being Organic and local as possible! This is completely up my ally… I must admit though, the only little thing that I was disappointed about was the food coloring she uses. It is the generic “chemical” kind. But for my recipes I want ALL of my ingredients to be as pure and chemical free as possible. Therefore, I have discovered this amazing naturally made  food coloring by “India Tree.” I paid $19 for it, but to me it’s worth it 🙂

 I made the Pink Macarons with an Organic Strawberry Acai Buttercream I had left over buttercream so I wanted to make a cake… and Since I love ANYTHING Chocolate, I made Sarah’s “Easiest Chocolate Cake…”

Ingredients

(This is the recipe cut in half for a smaller cake)

1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic AP Flour

1 Cup scant Organic Cane Sugar

1/2 Cup Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon ALMOND EXTRACT (This is a change I made; Original recipe called for Vanilla Extract)

1/3 Cup Organic Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Organic White Vinegar (Apple Cider is what I used)

1 Cup Cold Water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F. Butter and flour a 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the extract, oil, vinegar, and cold water. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, 

being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but this is okay. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-24 minutes.

Allow cake to cool then frost it with the Strawberry Acai Buttercream.

Pink Macarons with an Organic Strawberry Acai Buttercream topped with Fleur De Sel

FINALLY! Successful Macarons!!

It took 3 times and it finally worked… I learned from all this that “Patience pays off!” Initially it was the whole “waiting” thing that I failed at during the first 2 attempts. But I did it and it worked.

I followed this specific Strawberry Macaron Recipe but of course I changed just a few things...

When making the Macarons I completely ommited the “Strawberry Flavor” because I only wanted the strawberry to come from buttercream. The food coloring I used is made by “India Tree.” It completely natural food coloring made from Vegetables. (AWESOME!!) I also sprinkled to tops on the Macarons with a coarse Fleur De Sel. Now the buttercream, instead of using Vanilla I used 1 teaspoon of Acai Berry Powder. Then, I substituted the heavy cream with Organic Sour Cream to give it a little more tang since its super sweet from the powdered sugar.

Im so excited about these little cuties and I hope you will be too!

BIG HUG for this one 🙂

Chewy Lavender Almond Crisps with Honey Whipped Cream

 I have a confession… This recipe was not intentional (at all).. It was my “mess up,” when attempting to make Macarons for the first time. Now I will admit they are obviously not Macraons… but they are seriously AMAZING! They still have the chewy yet crispy texture and incredible flavor from the Lavender. Since these are completely flat, I decided to try to make them work with some short of buttercream or something. So I decided to make a Honey Whipped Cream because honey paired with Lavender is gorgeous!! So when I list the ingredients and directions please laugh along because it will not be accurate. Hopefully my next post will be real Macraons, but for now you get this.. The mess up that became a modern invention of goodness!

Ingredients

(For REAL Macarons)

1 Cup + 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Almond Flour

1 Cup + 1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic Powdered Sugar

4 Organic Egg Whites

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic Sugar (I used Coconut Sugar)

*Directions

1. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat Mat.

2. Blend the Almond Flour with the Organic Powdered Sugar in a food processor to make a fine powder (or sift together, discarding any large crumbs and adding a bit more Almond Flour and Powdered Sugar to compensate). Then sift the mixture through a strainer until it’s as fine as you can get it. This keeps crumbs from forming on the macaron tops as they bake.

3. With a wire whip attachment on an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt. Add the granulated sugar. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks and your meringue is firm and shiny.

4. Pour the beaten egg whites onto your Almond Flour mixture and gently fold them in, using a rubber spatula. Move your spatula from the bottom of the bowl to the edges with one hand, using your other hand to rotate the bowl. Now hit the spatula against the rim of the bowl until the batter falls in a wide ribbon when you raise the spatula. When you can’t see any crumbs of Almond Flour and the mixture is shiny and flowing, you’re ready to start piping.

5. Fill your pastry bag with a number-8 tip (I didn’t have one so I used a plastic bag and just cut the corner to make a hole) and fill with batter. Start by squeezing out a small amount of the mix onto a parchment lined baking sheet to form a 2 1/2 inch circle. Be sure to leave 1 inch of space between macarons so they will not touch each other while they bake. Let the piped macarons rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

6. Bake for 14 minutes.

Let the macarons cool completely before taking them off the parchment. Press the bottom of the cooled macaron shell with your finger, it should be soft.

*If you follow this recipe and directions perfectly, you really should come out with Macarons 🙂

…Here’s the mistakes I made from the directions (I’m guessing)…

I made the batch and had to leave, so I left the mixture in the plastic bag and left it in my fridge. (You may laugh at me) and came home hours later and baked it. When I “piped” the mixture, it just oozed out! So thats when I knew it was a mess up so I literally poured it all over my Silpat Mat. I baked it for the appropriate time and allowed it to cool, then I used a square cookie cutter and make my shapes.

Top with homemade Honey Whipped Cream.

There you have the mess up that wasn’t one 😉

Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Cookies

Almond Paste-Butter-Dark Chocolate… These cookies are sinfully AMAZING!

Ingredients

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 Cup Almond Flour

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Cup Butter, Softened

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 oz Almond Paste

3oz Dark Chocolate, Chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the egg, vanilla and mix. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients and chocolate chunks. Drop a spoonful of dough on a cookie sheet with parchment. Chop the almond paste into small chunks and place on top of the cookies. (I did it this way so you have different textures to bite into, but you may add it with the chocolate chunks if you prefer.)

Bake 12-14 minutes and cool on a wire rack.