Is it wedding season or what!? This summer alone five couples I personally know (as in not my great-aunt’s friend’s son-in-law’s nephew) are getting married! It really is stunning here in Vancouver at this moment though. The days are long, and tender foliage shimmers under the late afternoon sun, casting my studio in its bosky glow.
And of course, with this buzzing symphony of summer weddings, you can’t help but get a little bit bubbly about all the new beginnings. I mean, if you live in Canada it’s hard to consider spring as the season of new life and energy, but summer is a whole different story (even here in the laid-back West). For me, summer’s when I’m most inspired, and when I have the luxury to dream. I do find myself doing more things outside the box (euphemism for my narrow comfort zone), so maybe that’s pushing me to find out more about myself, and the God who I trust – what He has given me, what He wants me to give.
I’m clear on this fact: God has given me full-on freedom to explore, grow, and lead in Him. As for the rest of life’s worries, He says, He will shoulder. All I have to give is, ironically, my all. But hey, I think that’s a pretty good investment if it’s the Creator rooting for me.
So for now, I’ll take the carrot – to cultivate, to nourish, and to share. Because I can’t yet see the beauty in a karat.
In the meantime, congratulations to all the gorgeous brides out there! You are not just beautiful, but strong and courageous. All the best and be very blessed.
I want you to be free
The unmarried man is anxious
about the things of the Lord,
how to please the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:32
Ingredients for the Tropical Carrot Cake, makes two 9-inch layers:
3 c oat flour (grind oats in your coffee/spice grinder)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 c brown sugar
1 large orange, zest only
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla paste (use pure vanilla extract if you don’t have this)
1 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 medium, ripe banana
2 c coarsely grated carrot
1 c finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 c sultana raisins
1 c chopped walnuts, toasted
To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with the rack placed in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
Whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Whiz the brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla, olive oil, and banana in a blender or food processor until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture becomes a thick caramel consistency.
Pour the brown sugar mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Fold in the carrot, pineapple, raisins, and walnuts until well combined.
Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pans and smooth out the top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The cakes should have crisp and very golden brown tops, and the sides should be pulling slightly away from the pan. Cool completely, cover, and chill overnight.
Ingredients for the Coconut Vanilla Bean Mousse, makes enough for 2 layers:
400 g traditional or silken firm tofu
1 can coconut cream, chilled, solid fat only
1 generous tsp vanilla paste
2-3 tbsp agave nectar, to taste
To prepare the tofu, tip out any liquid in the container. Rinse the tofu under cold running water, and put it back in the container. Fill the container to the top with filtered water, and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Repeat this step.
Drain the tofu and pat dry with some kitchen towel. Fold a new sheet of kitchen towel in half and place it on a clean working surface. Cut the tofu into 2-cm thick slices and arrange them, cut side down, on the kitchen towel. Cover with another folded sheet of kitchen towel. Put a heavy wooden cutting board on top to give it some pressure. Let sit for 10 minutes. Change the kitchen towel, then let it sit for another 10 minutes to fully extract the moisture.
Puree the tofu in a blender or food processor and puree until extremely smooth. Add the coconut cream, vanilla, and agave and blend until creamy. Cover and chill completely.
For the cake assembly you’ll need:
1/2 c pineapple compote (home made of course, or yuzu preserves, even sauteed apples will work)
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
To assemble the cake, run a knife along the sides of the pans to loosen the cakes. Invert one cake layer onto your cake stand and peel off the parchment. Cover the top with the pineapple compote, and invert the remaining cake layer onto the cake. Cover the entire cake (top and sides) with the mousse frosting and smooth it out.
Garnish with the toasted coconut and edible flowers (not necessary, but it’s pretty!)
Store in the refrigerator and, as always, enjoy (with a nice cup of earl grey or black coffee)!