Caramel Spice Cake

Sweetness gets a pretty bad rap these days; still, it plays an important role.
There are many many sources, each with their own characteristics. This cake pulls together maple, agave, and date sugar.

Years ago Mandarava hosted a traveling monk. Geshe Lobsang Ahbay Rinpoche, the living incarnation of hermit Lama Lobsang Tenzin, was known to be a great protector and friend to animals. Ahbay gave us meaningful teachings in his beloved Dharma and genuinely asked how he could help with any trouble in our lives. One afternoon, a guest asked Rinpoche, how can we approach someone who is angry with us. What to do when a couple, for instance, can’t seem to stop fighting. He said, when fighting happens take a little time apart to cool down. Then, come together again and sit down with tea and cake.

May this cake create an atmosphere of sweetness where it’s needed most.

Spice Cake

2 C almond flour
2 C fava & garbanzo flour
3 C maple sugar or turbinado
1 C sunflower oil
1 C sunflower seeds
1 1/2 C water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t cloves
1 t salt

Preheat oven to 325.
Blend the sunflower seeds and water until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar and oil together. Add sunflower creme, baking powder, vinegar and spices. Whisk again. Add almond flour and stir to combine. Add fava flour and stir again paying attention this time. You’ll want to be sure there aren’t any lumps of fava flour hiding in the mixture.
Line two eight inch cake pans with parchment circles in the bottom. Divide the batter between the pans as evenly as you can by eye. Use a spatula to gently spread it toward the edges for an even bake. Position the cake pans on the middle rack and leave to cook undisturbed for thirty minutes. Check for doneness in two ways. One, the cake should pull away from the sides. Two, the center should be raised and spring back to the touch.

When your cakes are baked, bring them out to cool in the pans for ten minutes before flipping them out. Depending on your pans, you may need to slide a thin butter knife around the outside to free the edges. There’s no trick besides paying attention, moving slowly and using a dull rounded blade. You don’t want to scrape up the pan or carve into the cake. It should be a deft, nudging process. Cool completely.

Caramel Filling

8oz macadamia nut butter
6 medjool dates, pitted
1 T vanilla
pinch of salt

In a food processor, pulse ingredients together until smooth. It should be thick but spreadable. Add a touch of water if you need to loosen it.

Caramel Sauce

8oz macadamia nut butter
1/2 C agave
1 T vanilla
pinch of salt

In a food processor, pulse sauce ingredients together until creamy. The sauce should be pourable but tacky.

Almond Topping

1 C sliced almonds
1/4 C agave
1 T sunflower oil
1 t ground cloves
pinch of salt

In a small bowl, toss everything together and then spread it all out on a parchment lined baking tray. Pop in the oven while the cake is cooling; check after ten minutes. The edges of the nuts should go slightly golden brown. Cool on the sheet.

On one cake, spread the caramel filling. Don’t worry about it being perfectly even, but get some goodness all over. Lay the second cake on top and press gently to steady the layers in place.
Drizzle the sauce around and over the edges. Let it set for five minutes and then decorate with candied almonds.

In this cake, sunflower creme is taking the place of beaten eggs. They bind, fluff, enrich and even bring protein. Sunflowers, in my view, are the supreme superfood. They don’t market well as such, they are too ordinary. But that’s how good life on earth actually is. The truly extraordinary stuff is here in great supply.
Raw organic sun seeds blended with filtered water, ice, a spoonful of sugar and handful of cranberries is my new favorite meal.

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

William Blake

Biographical texts on the life of William Blake leave much to be desired. His very presence seems to have defied a common conclusion.
Born in London in 1757, he left formal education soon after learning to read and write.

‘He was a book illustrator and engraver by profession. He claimed to have seen visions, beginning in his childhood, and he called many of his poems either visions or prophecies. Blake has received much praise for such pictures as his illustrations for the Book of Job, but he was most interested in his “illuminated printing.” This was a process of engraving poems and related pictures on metal plates and then hand coloring the prints made from them. Except for Poetical Sketches (1783), most of Blake’s published poetry appeared in this unique form.’
-From “William Blake – Biography and Works,” by K.N. Sharma

photo credit: Clarissa Cavalheiro