Maple Blessing Cake with Pear, Cardamom & Anise (gluten & grain free, with sugar & dairy free options)

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Last Fall, my dear friend had a beautiful ceremony to celebrate her special pregnancy time, savored moments for nurturing and honoring the woman and mother in her as she prepared for the birth of her second child. In Navajo tradition this ceremony is known as a Blessingway. It was a lovely time with dear women friends gathered together to nurture and pamper the new mother-of-two-to be. We each created and
brought an image or artwork or piece of writing to share with her and set them together on her altar. We washed her feet in a bowl of warm flower-scented water with essential oils and fresh flower petals scattered over the surface, and we massaged her legs and arms. We hennaed her beautiful belly with spontaneous and meaningful designs as we spoke words of blessing and love to share with her.

And there were good things to eat… One of my gifts was a Blessing Cake, created just for her and to share with the women who came to honor and celebrate the occasion. It came out quite delicious, perhaps mostly because of the good feelings put into making it! Here it is, to share with all of you. (Only a year later…)

Maple Blessing Cake with Pear, Cardamom & Anise

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks) or coconut oil

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream, creme fraise, cultured coconut cream (see my recipe) or Greek style yogurt

1/2 cup maple syrup (for sugar-free version, use 3/4 cups birch xylitol or stevia to taste, plus 2 tsps natural maple flavoring)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract (optional)

1 1/2 tsps cardamom

1 tsp ground anise seeds (can substitute fennel)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder (optional)
*(if not using, add in 2 tsps raw apple cider vinegar)

I ripe pear, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Cream the softened butter or coconut oil with maple syrup or other sweetener in a mixing bowl. Next, add in vanilla and eggs one at a time and blend until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients except pear and mix thoroughly. Gently fold in the pear pieces so they stay intact (don’t over mix!).

Alternately, put all the ingredients except pear into a food processor and blend until smooth. Gently fold in the pear pieces by hand at the end.

Pour into an oiled bundt pan set on a cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit for about 45-50 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Top with fresh maple whipped cream (add a dash of maple syrup–or natural maple flavoring plus stevia or birch xylitol to taste–to whipping cream, then whip!) or maple glaze, recipe to follow.

Coconut Maple Glaze

Ingredients:

1 can organic coconut milk, chilled in fridge for at least several hours

Pure maple syrup, 1-2 Tbsps
OR
Natural maple flavoring plus stevia or birch xylitol to taste

Instructions:

Use only the solid cream from the can of chilled coconut milk, saving the liquid for another use*.

Blend the cream with a dash of maple syrup to your liking (or maple flavoring plus other sweetener) in a stand mixer, food processor, with a hand-mixer or by hand.

Gently pour or scoop out over cooled blessing cake and decorate with edible flowers if you have them!

*Note: if you desire a thinner glaze, simply add in some of the coconut liquid left over from the can of coconut milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.

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