FOOD | HEALTH | SPIRITUALITY

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Welcome to Sacred & Delicious! I’d like to reward your interest with two valuable gifts:

The Sacred & Delicious Food List
and
A Complimentary Webinar with Vaidya Smita Naram

The Sacred & Delicious Food List is an addendum to the cookbook, Sacred & Delicious. Author Lisa Mitchell decided to distribute this comprehensive list of the foods through her website so that she would be able to update it more easily. These are foods found in most modern kitchens. The list organizes the foods into categories to reflect how they fit in your diet from an Ayurvedic perspective.

The free webinar with Vaidya Smita Naram that Lisa Mitchell is hosting will be held in the spring of 2019. Dr. Naram is one of India’s leading Ayurvedic pulse masters, herbal pharmacologists, and clinicians, and she has helped thousands of patients overcome serious health problems with the time-tested tools of Ayurveda. Lisa will conduct an interview with Dr. Naram about how to embrace an Ayurvedic diet and other health care approaches that have the potential to transform your health or to sustain optimal wellness. Here are some topics that will be covered:

  • Stories of people who have overcome serious health problems through modern Ayurveda— without taking pharmaceuticals
  • An in-depth discussion about how diseases take take root and evolve in the body from the perspective of Ayurveda.
  • A safe weight-loss plan that never leaves you hungry
  • Dietary recommendations to support chronic health conditions, including acid reflux, acne, headaches, back pain, perimenopause/menopause and more

While you wait for the book, enjoy reading the monthly updates on our blog,
Don’t miss out on monthly updates from the Sacred & Delicious Blog: Food • Health • Spirituality


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All Things Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Today, dear friends and fellow chocolate enthusiasts, I offer you an incredibly delicious gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake with which to tempt your sweetheart on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. When Sacred & Delicious was first published in October 2018, Biblio Reviews wrote this: “The vegan Dark Chocolate Layer Cake was the best vegan cake I have ever made!”

I’ve adapted the book’s large sheet cake recipe to create a smaller cake you can bake in a heart-shaped pan or as a traditional 9-inch layer cake. Yes! A gluten-free and vegan cake that is moist, not overly sweet, and still delicious enough to make having seconds hard to resist. Just ask my husband!

Let’s not die for this. I always cringe when people say it’s “to die for,” because even the most decadent chocolate cake, eaten in moderation for special occasions, will not be the death of us. I do believe that loyal Ayurvedic followers deserve an occasional indulgence that’s outside the norm of traditional Ayurveda. Yay for the “special occasions rule a term I employed for my personal indulgences many years ago, long before Michael Pollan wrote Food Rules. And, as he puts it, “There is nothing wrong with special occasion foods, as long as every day is not a special occasion.” So, with this caveat, I offer you permission to embrace Valentine’s Day as a special occasion, an excuse to indulge in a decadent chocolate treat—of modest proportion, of course!

One note: I avoid white sugar at all cost, so I use unrefined sugars in the cake. I grind coconut sugar and maple sugar in a Vitamix to make a powdered sugar that is also unrefined. This takes about 10 extra minutes, and it also costs much more than standard confectioner’s sugar. I offer this option for purists, but I won’t quibble if you choose to use the less expensive, ready-made confectioner’s option for your special occasion treat.

If you’re looking for even simpler chocolate excesses to bake at the last minute, you’ll also love these fudgy brownies, and you can never go wrong with OMG Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

But for the baker who loves baking a cake from scratch, this Vegan Chocolate Cake is easy enough.  Happy Valentine’s Day, dear ones!

 

BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

Preparation Time: 4 hours (45 minutes active, including cooling time and frosting)
Serves 8 to 12

1½ cups sifted fine almond flour
1 ½ cups King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, plus 1 tablespoon more to dust the pan
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Fine Ground Celtic Sea Salt
5¼ teaspoons whole psyllium husk (whole flakes)
¾ cup sunflower or almond oil, plus some to grease the pan
1½ cups coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons plain unsweetened almond milk

BAKER’S TIP:  Bake the heart-shaped cake in a 9-inch springform pan for 53 to 55 minutes, or you can pour the batter into two 9-inch round pans and bake them for 32 to 35 minutes.

 

1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease one or two cake pans (see Baker’s Tip) with a little oil, and cover the bottom of the pan(s) with parchment paper and grease the top of the paper. Lightly flour the pan(s) and invert the pan(s) to tap out excess flour.

 

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk the flours with the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and psyllium husk.

 

3. In a separate mixing bowl, large, combine the coconut sugar with the oil, and beat it for a minute with an electric mixer on medium speed to add some air. Add the vanilla and mix briefly. Slowly add flour mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the almond milk, and mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined and the batter is smooth. If the batter seems a little thick, add up to 2 more tablespoons of almond milk.

 

4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan(s) and bake according to the directions in the Baker’s Tip, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or has a few crumbs. You don’t want to overbake, as that would make the cake dry. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and place on a wire rack, allowing the cake to remain in the pan(s) until completely cool, at least 90 minutes. Once the cake has cooled, run a knife along the pan’s edge to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto a plate, and remove the parchment.

 

5. Finish the cake with Dark Chocolate Vegan Frosting (recipes below). You can cover the cake with plastic and frost the next day, but do not refrigerate. It will keep at room temperature for three days.

 

DARK CHOCOLATE VEGAN FROSTING

Preparation Time: About 15 minutes
Makes enough for a 9-inch double- or triple-layer cake or a 9 x 13 sheet cake

If you wish, use standard confectioner’s sugar. For those who prefer unrefined sugars, I suggest powdering them with a Vitamix.

 

3 tablespoons coconut oil
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1½ cups coconut sugar*
1½ cups maple sugar*
⅛ teaspoon of Fine Ground Celtic Sea Salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk, or coconut cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

* Substitute 2½ cups standard confectioner’s sugar for the coconut and maple sugar, if preferred.

COOK’S TIP: Three cups of these unrefined sugars will become about 2½ cups once powdered. Most store-bought cakes have frosting that is far too sweet for my taste, but if you like that model of sweetness, you will want to increase the amount of sugar called for in my recipe: start with 3 cups standard confectioner’s sugar or a total of 3½ cups of unrefined sugars before processing them.

 

1. Slowly heat the coconut oil and chocolate in an uncovered double boiler on medium heat, or use a small saucepan on low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts completely. Then remove the insert pan from the double boiler or remove the saucepan from the heat source.

 

2. While the chocolate mixture cools, briefly process the coconut sugar and maple sugar in the Vitamix.

 

3. Place the sugars in a mixing bowl. Add the salt, almond milk or coconut cream, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Pour the chocolate mixture over the almond milk mixture and beat well until creamy and spreadable. Add 2 tablespoons additional almond milk, and more if necessary.

 

 

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