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Earth Cafe Raspberry cheesecake

This cheesecake intrigued me.

Making a cheesecake gluten free is easy, just use gluten free cookie or cracker crumbs, or nuts for the crust. 

And I have made many successful dairy free desserts (and more) with silken tofu.

But a vegan and raw cheesecake? No eggs, no baking? How do they do that?

Very well!

Vegetarian Times magazine Foodie Awards 2010 named it a winner in the Best Raw Goodies category.

The “cheese” part is made with soaked nuts, agave, flavorings of lemon, vanilla, and cinnamon. And fresh fruit for the fruit flavors. Ground nuts make an excellent crust. I’ve never met a nut I didn’t like.

The filling was creamy and firm. The crust was crunchy. Our taste buds were happy, so was my tummy. And this is super important to me.

Specifics, please.

We tried five flavors. All came individually packaged in recyclable clamshells.

Nutrition info on the back of the package states there are two servings per package. So we cut each piece in two. And it was a nice ending to a meal. Cheesecake is high calorie whether it is “regular” or vegan or raw. A little piece is just right. Each serving is just shy of 200 calories, around 15 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams fat.

Earth Café uses organic ingredients whenever possible.

Which did we like best?

Frist up was Who’s Your Daddy Carob Mousse Pie. This was my husband’s favorite and a top seller according to the company. It was light brown, very smooth, and sweet. My husband said it tasted like maple. I found it too sweet, but most people like things sweeter than I do.

Rockin’ Raspberry was my favorite. You can see how beautiful it is in the picture with the layer of whole berries in the middle. Fresh fruit is the first ingredient.  You could smell it and taste it. It wasn’t to sweet for me, and was sweet enough for my husband. A winner.

Find Your Thrill on Blueberry Hill flavor grabs you first with its beautiful color. Fresh Blueberries (first ingredient again) are pureed into the filling. It had blueberry scent and flavor. A hit with both of us again.

Cali Style Lemon had a bit of coconut aroma and tart lemon flavor. I don’t know what Cali style is, but I love lemon. Cashews were the first ingredient here and the filling was beige. Perhaps adding a bit of turmeric could make it a more appealing pale yellow.

Though we would not turn a slice down, Strawberry Fields Forever flavor was our least favorite. Strawberries were the first ingredient again, but we couldn’t taste or smell the berries. They were pureed into the filling, making it a lavender pink color.

You can visit Earth Café for five more flavors. They ship frozen whole cheesecakes in the U.S. for $34.99 plus shipping. Individual clamshells are available at select stores, with suggested retail of $5.29-5.99.

Giveaway

Leave a comment below by March 11 for a chance to win a free cheesecake. Two lucky winners will be randomly selected March 12, 2011.

Tell us which flavor you’d like to try. Will it be raspberry or Life is Sweet Potato Pie? Banana Cream or Cherry Dream?

Disclaimer

My review policy is to only post about products I like, whether I purchase them or they are free. If I don’t like the product, I simply don’t write about it. Earth Café cheesecakes were sent to us free of charge.

Update 3/16/11. The giveaway is now closed. The lucky winners are Nina and Pat. Enjoy!

Almond and Lemon Cake

lemoncake (4)

Almond and Lemon Cake photo by vsimon

Easy, tasty, lemony, beautiful. The texture is a perfect moist cake crumb. It is gluten free and dairy free. This is a good recipe to have in your back pocket.

It is Jacqueline Mallorca’s recipe, reprinted here with permission. Yes, the Jacqueline Mallorca who writes wonderful gluten free cookbooks. Notably the The Wheat-Free Cook  Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone and Gluten-Free Italian  Over 150 Irresistible Recipes Without Wheat- from Crostini to Tiramisu.

She also has a website, Gluten Free Expert and blog with more helpful info.

While searching for other things, I found this recipe at the end of an article from the San Francisco Chronicle printed in 2005. It deserves to be brought to light again.

I made this just as written, though I used the zest of the whole lemon. I love fresh lemon.

Supposedly, the glaze is optional. You can simply dust the cake with powdered sugar if you prefer. With the zest of a whole lemon, the cake is only mildly lemon flavored without the glaze. The glaze packs a tangy lemon punch, even without the lemon oil. The glaze isn’t optional to me, and it is so pretty.

This cake could also be made with orange or lime instead of lemon. To my taste buds, orange zest is easy to over do though. I would measure this and use at only a teaspoon, or a tablespoon max. I wouldn’t use the zest of the whole orange. Lime? I love that too, and would add that zest with abandon.

The instructions were very easy to follow. But I never got to the “ribbon stage” beating the eggs. Using a hand held mixer, I beat the eggs by themselves for about 5 minutes. They thickened, increased in volume, and got pale. Then I added the sugar and beat about another 8 minutes. They thickened some more, got paler, and increased in volume again, to at least four times the original size of the whole eggs. But not thick enough to produce ribbons of fluffy egg mixture dripping from the beaters.

Still, it was enough. The recipe worked, and we enjoyed this cake immensely. I shared it with a non gluten-free friend, who shared it with another non gluten-free friend. It is that good.

lemoncake (18)

Almond & Lemon Cake (Torta di Noce) by Jacqueline Mallorca

INGREDIENTS:

The Cake

2 cups almond meal

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

The Glaze (optional)

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 drops pure lemon oil (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the base with a circle of baking parchment.

In a bowl, combine the almond meal, rice flour and baking powder and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they thicken. Slowly add the sugar and beat about 5 minutes until the egg mixture reaches the thick-ribbon stage. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top.

Fold one-third of the almond mixture into the eggs at a time; transfer the batter to the pan.

Bake until the cake is golden and shrinks away slightly from the edge of the pan, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife blade around the edge of the cake to loosen it, turn it out onto a wire rack, and peel off the baking parchment. Let cool with the smooth underside facing up.

To make the optional glaze: Place the cake on a sheet of foil. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and lemon oil, and beat until smooth. Pour over the cake and smooth into a very thin layer with a long knife blade, letting excess drip over the sides. Smooth the glaze on the sides. Let the cake stand until the glaze has set; then transfer to a serving plate.

Serves 10

PER SERVING (WITHOUT GLAZE): 215 calories, 7 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (1 g saturated), 85 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

*************

Please let us know if you make this with other citrus flavors. I am curious about the possibility of a lime and coconut flour combo too.

The Numbers (updated)

131 148 half pint jars

35 41 pint jars

30 pint and a half jars

40 quart jars

256 279 total jars

It was a lot of work to fill 256 279 jars, but I spread it out over the whole summer.  I started in April when the rhubarb is fresh and juicy, making “Old Recipe” Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Chutney.

Old Recipe Rhubarb Jam

Old Recipe Rhubarb Jam          photo by vsimon

Today I put the last of my fermented dill pickles into jars from the crock.

In between I have put up 91 jars of jams and jellies, 107 130 jars of pickles, 9 jars of relish, 40 jars of salsa/sauce, and even 9 jars of ketchup.  

We have packed away everything our garden could produce, from fresh rhubarb, red beets, green beans, red currents, lots of ground cherries, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and cucumbers.  

Three types of cucumbers that were new to me this year.   The best being the “Pearl” cucumbers.   Just so, so where the “Lemon” cucumbers (taste like regular cucumbers), and not to be planted again where the extremely small “Mexican Gherkins”.  More on the cucumbers later.

gherkins

Mexican Gherkins                         photo by vsimon

And there where new things to try this year.  For the first time I made salsa.  Not the crisp, freshly chopped refrigerated type, but the cooked and then canned type.   Also new this year was a shot at making ketchup.  Ketchup without all the sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in store bought ketchup.

After much searching I was able to locate (from my sister Betty) the recipe my mother used to make the most wonderful, sweet pickle relish.  I have a niece who used to request this yearly as a Christmas gift from my mother.  

The biggest “new” thing I tried this year was to pickle green beans.  We now have a total of 18 pints of pickled green beans.   Three or four varieties of green beans where used along with a variety of different spices trying to find the best combination. 

Here is a partial list of the spices used: dill,  fennel,  caraway,  garlic,  black pepper corns,  coriander,  turmeric,  and red pepper flakes.  

Until we sample all the varieties, I will not know which of these spice combinations worked best.  Some will be repeated next year and some most likely will not.

.Preserve Shelves

Our winter stockpile                            photo by vsimon

So here are the shelving units in our basement stocked with all the great foods to be enjoyed through coming months.  (Notice the water bath canner and the dehydrator on the lower right hand shelf.)

So, if after reading this you start to question Linda’s writing style, please note that this post is penned by me, Vincent. 

And it hasn’t quite ended yet as I still have a grocery bag full of sweet and hot peppers to put up.   Any suggestions?   Have a great pickled peppers recipe?  Or maybe an “all peppers” salsa?   Let me know.

Update 10-8-2010 Today I pickled my peppers. Three different recipes, 23 jars. Short Brine Peppers, Pickled Sweet Peppers, and Marinated Sweet Peppers. All from “The Joy Of Pickling“. We now have many gifts for the holidays. Hope everyone loves pickles, jams, and salsas.

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