Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentines Day Dessert and Velvet Aroma Love

Happy early Valentines Day! To vote for this recipe go here, and see details below.

Are you the make a reservation in advance and spend a night on the town type? Or are you the type that just orders in and cuddles up for a movie? I'm definitely the latter! Somewhere along the way I became more of a home-cooked meal and dessert lover for special occasions. If you're the same, I would like to introduce you to something exciting....

First, I have been meaning to devote a post to how much I love Velvet Aroma! It is kind of like pin boards meets google reader meets an online cookbook library. And that really just doesn't do it justice. I urge you to try it out (which you can do for free :). I have been trying to organize all of my online ideas and recipes in my google reader for a while. I would "star" something and then forget about it completely. Then Pinterest came along and I thought I would get better organized that way, but every time I got on there I was so overwhelmed that I would somehow find myself, 30 minutes later, looking at a friend of a friend's wedding cake ideas and remember, "oh yeah... I went on here to find a recipe for dinner tonight!".

Now, with Velvet Aroma, I can easily see all of the (many, many) food blogs I read and enjoy. I can also save the recipes into cookbook form all in one place. And when I need some inspiration, I can explore around because they have kind of a search feature for the blogosphere for certain ingredients, diets, meals, and more.

Even though you can use Velvet Aroma as a blog reader and tool around the internet foodie scene for free, I have happily upgraded to their Chef de Cuisine feature and have about 25+ cookbooks saved with over 140 recipes saved from my favorite blogs...and counting! If this makes me sound like a food nerd, I will gladly concede to that label and am proud of it :) (Yes, I realize I sound like a paid advertisement! But know that no one from Velvet Aroma has in any way approached me to say anything about this. I simply enjoy cooking and surfing the internet more with it and thought you should know about it too :)

So, if I have not peaked your interest enough to go and check it out yet, Velvet Aroma is hosting a Valentines Day Giveaway Event for voters and bloggers. And these individual Red Velvet Cakes (with a healthy secret ingredient) are entered in. Hope you enjoy your Valentines Day no matter how you are spending it, but if you want more inspiration for yummy stay-in ideas, visit Velvet Aroma and checkem' out.

And now onto the main feature: a Valentine's Day treat. When I think of the holiday of romance, I think of individual, plated desserts, or mini-things. So I made these personal-pan cakes using ramekins. This was a labor of love from me to you! (and also my husband who will be eating them in 14 days since I will be freezing them until Valentines day for our stay-at-home date :)

They are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free (depending on what chocolate you use), and soy-free. And as an added bonus at no extra charge they are high in fiber and anti-oxidants with a secret ingredient: beets. But don't let this scare you, the cake will not taste like a pickled salad ingredient :) And this little super-nutritious ingredient adds a lovely color to the cake!

Individual Red Velvet Cakes with Cream “Cheese” Frosting and Ganache

Yields: 3 two-layer, 3" mini cakes (vegan, gluten/soy/refined sugar free)Ingredients
For the individual red velvet rounds:
  • 220 grams beets (about 2 beets a little smaller than a tennis ball, washed, peeled, then measured), sliced in thin slices
  • 1 oz water (22 g or 2 Tbsp)
  • 12 grams coconut sugar (1 Tbsp)
  • 120 grams gluten-free oat flour (about 1 cup)** see note
  • 35 grams of cocoa powder (a little under 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 30 grams (2 Tbsp) water (or 35 grams brewed espresso)
  • 90 g grape seed or other light cooking oil (1/3 cup + 2 tsp)
  • 22 grams vanilla (1Tbsp)
  • 100 grams coconut sugar (2/3 cup)

**Note: If you cannot find certified gluten-free oat flour, I grind my gluten-free oats in a Vitamix, but a coffee grinder also works- just grind, sift, and grind some more :)

For the vegan cream "cheese" frosting:
  • 150 grams of cashews (about 1 cup), soaked in purified water for at least 2 hours
  • 60 grams (2 oz or 1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 30 grams (1 oz or 2 Tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 40 grams of coconut sugar (1/4 cup + 1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 160 grams of the fat from 1 can of a thick can of coconut milk, like Thai Kitchen (about 1 cup)
  • 45 grams coconut oil (1.5 Tbsp), melted
  • optional: 1/4-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 100 grams (1 large bar or 3.5 oz) of 70% vegan chocolate
  • 100 grams of coconut milk
  • optional: 1 tsp vanilla or espresso (either will enhance the flavor of the chocolate, you can decide if you want mellowed, sweeter- vanilla, or richer, fragrant- espresso)


For the Red Velvet Rounds:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. And prepare 6- 3" ramekins, (can also use 4- 4" ramekins, or 2- 6" cake rounds) with parchment paper rounds and grease with coconut oil to make them really easy to take out of the pan when cooled.
  • In a small sauce pan, add the beets, water, and coconut sugar to the pot and bring to a boil. Make sure the beets are not thicker than 1/2 " to cut down on cooking time. Then turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes until fork-tender.
  • While the beets are cooking, sift together the dry ingredients (oat flour- sea salt) in a mixing bowl.
  • Then, in a blender, add the remaining cake ingredients (espresso through coconut sugar). And add the beets to this when ready (they can still be hot, that even helps everything blend better).
  • Stir the wet mixture from the blender together into the dry ingredients with a spatula.
  • Spoon enough batter to fill the ramekins you are using 1/2". (If using 3" ramekins, this would be 75 g).
  • Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the Frosting:

  • While the cakes bake, Strain and rinse the cashews with purified water.
  • Then add all ingredients to a high powered blender like a Vitamix (you can also use a food processor for a slightly less smooth frosting :).
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to assemble your cakes. You can also make it the night before.

For the Ganache:

  • Heat the chocolate and coconut milk in a heat-proof bowl over a simmering small pot of water/ or in a double boiler until fully melted and shiny.
  • Or, for a faster way, you can scald the coconut milk and then pour over the chocolate, finely chopped, in a shallow bowl. Let stand for 3-5 minutes and then stir until glossy.

To Assemble, I have posted the pics below....You can put these together any way you like. I just decided to get fancy with it :) Cake layer, Ganache, Frosting, Cake layer, Frosting, more Ganache....


  • Make sure cakes are completely cooled before taking out of the ramekins.
  • It also helps to throw them in the freezer before and in-between icing layers.
  • Also, a layer of ganache in the middle is a must :)
  • You can also pour the ganache over the whole iced cake and make yourself a chocolate-dipped personal cake, which would be nothing short of awesome...hey, I should have tried that!

Vote for me if you like @ Velvet Aroma

This post has also been linked up to:

Allergy Free Wednesdays (a recently launched allergy friendly blog party with a wide variety of allergen-free food ideas- no matter what allergy- great for mom's like me who have several food allergens in the fam)

Wellness Weekend @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

Sugar Free Sundays @ Flip Cookbook

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