I’ve reached the one week post-surgery mark, and I’ll admit I’m a bit disappointed with how uneventful the whole ordeal was. I came out of the office far too coherent for my taste (I was thoroughly excited to be entertained with a video of me post-anesthesia), my face didn’t swell whatsoever, and the pain was and remains very bearable most of the time. Aside from some slurred speech with my freshly numb mouth, I had to be about the most boring wisdom tooth extraction patient possible. Despite my hopes for something memorable, I suppose a mundane surgery and recovery really is the best kind of surgery and recovery to have, so for that I’m thankful. I was also especially grateful for my family and friends this week: from my mom sleeping on the floor next to my bed every day to make sure I slept okay and took my medicine, to my roommate buying me cookie butter ice cream *I KNOW RIGHT*, and my friend coming over a ramen movie night, I was reminded yet again of the amazing people I have surrounding me all the time. They certainly had a lot to do with the painless nature of my week.
I lasted three days without baking, actual operation day included. By the time Thursday came, I was up at 6:45 with my mom itching to get something in my oven. She didn’t resist, though she’d labored at keeping me still for the past few days; baking was a satisfactorily passive activity compared to dance. So I pulled out my ragged notebook that morning and happily began my experimentation. I hoped to create something sugar free; I have both family members and friends who are diabetic, and I’ve wanted for a while to explore the realm of desserts they could enjoy too.
As if the limitations of not using sugar and of still possessing sub-par chewing ability weren’t enough, I chose to attempt a recipe that was centered around something I quite detest: coffee. Go ahead, release your gasps and pitied cries; I understand that my hatred of the drink is unAmerican, unnatural, the anomaly of the century. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it’s the truth. I don’t like and never have liked coffee, coffee beans, coffee flavor, even coffee smell. But considering the fact that almost every living human I know is against me in this, I figured I should be mindful of my “audience” and provide something that would satisfy the masses caffeine addiction.
Having my mom certainly helped, especially in the beginning. I gagged through a few batches of bitter, dense, overwhelmingly coffee-tasting cakes. Luckily for you, I pushed on and after hours of trial and error managed to devise a dessert that even I found myself munching on as I cleaned the kitchen. I’ll admit that I have much to learn and perfect when it comes to working with sugar alternatives, but for a first recipe I hope you’ll agree it didn’t turn out half bad! The cake itself is soft and hinted with coffee flavor, and it’s layered and topped with a nutty, sweet filling. The raspberry gel adds a tart, fruity element that breaks up the potentially suffocating flavor of the coffee–alright that was a teeny bit biased. Those of you who swear by your morning beverage will love the coffee-soaked layer snuck in the middle; and for those in the minority, simply leave it out! I selfishly had to include some sort of modification to make it more enjoyable for me 🙂 Either way, I hope this recipe can be of use for your own pleasure or for expressing your gratitude for someone you love, especially those who so often have to turn down dessert for their own health. I personally believe that everyone deserves a little sweetness in their lives.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves
Sugar-Free Coffee Raspberry Cake (V)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup monk fruit sweetener
- 1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax mixed with 3 TBSP water left to thicken in fridge for at least 5 minutes)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 6 TBSP applesauce
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 oz. raspberries, pureed and strained (should make about 1/3 cup raspberries)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
- 3/4 cup Raw hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee
- 1 TBSP almond milk
- 1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a rectangular 9×13 baking tray. Set aside another empty baking tray.
- Combine flax egg, oil, monk fruit sweetener, vinegar, applesauce, vanilla extract, and coffee in a large bowl.
- Whisk together all dry cake ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients in increments until thoroughly combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 12-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan.
- While cake bakes, whisk together agar agar powder and almond milk in a saucepan and place over medium heat. When mixture is boiling throughout, remove from heat and pour into a second baking tray. Place in fridge until gel sets.
- Place all filling ingredients in bowl of food processor. Pulse until smooth as desired (for a nutty, crunchy texture, pulse for a shorter time).
- Cut cake and gel into squares if desired size. Cut every other cake piece in half through the center to form two layers. Soak one of the thin layers in coffee if desired.
- Assemble the cake: stack cake, filling, gel, filling, soaked cake, cake, and filling. Top with fresh raspberries.