Chocolate Pistachio Health Cake

Yesterday was my beloved’s 29th birthday… and being the healthy guy he is I kinda assumed he didn’t want a birthday cake.  He had put up with my cake box experimentation for dad’s birthday and I thought that was enough.  But on a walk the night before his birthday he revealed that there were TWO desserts he had been craving if he could have anything on his birthday… chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and… that Eat n’Park pistachio pudding, er fluff, er whatever it is! He asked me if I could make a healthy version of either of those.

I have nothing against Jello specifically and although I, myself, am not a pistachio fluff type of person, can appreciate that it’s a familiar yum to him. I do not, however, have any idea how to make a healthy version of it that would taste remotely similar.  It’s likely the fake pistachio taste that he loves… which I don’t know how to replicate. So I decided to try a healthy cake version and maybe give it a pistachio spin and try to kill 2 birds… without actually killing any birds, if you catch my drift.

The base of my cake recipe was from my dear friend Meredith who we interviewed last week on Gluten Free-way. Her recipe is actually a Carrot Spice Cake recipe. We had made it before and Nick had raved about how cake like it tasted for having so little flour and so many eggs!


So in order to turn this cake from carrot spice to chocolate, I simply swapped in 3-4 cups of zucchini for the carrots and 3/4 cup cocoa for the spices.  It baked up basically the same and had a nice light feel to it from the eggs.

The special ingredients behind the pistachio creme was mascarpone cheese. The idea for the filling came from the idea of the pistachio fluffy stuff and although it wasn’t as strong flavored… it was in the right direction. It was predominantly mascarpone, stevia and pistachios. Then the ganache is the simplest thing and it’s so good… and it truly brought the whole thing together so he got his chocolate frosted cake with pistachio crumbles on top.

Everyone wanted in on this yummy and mostly healthy masterpiece.  Unlike most heavy desserts I make… there was none left for friends.  We are finishing up the last piece tonight (the very next day). Thank you to Meredith for her creative and healthy recipes that I can play around with! Sorry we didn’t save you a piece…


Stay delicious,



Cake Box Doctor

Last week was my dad’s birthday, but to be honest, I did not have enough time to bake and decorate a cake from scratch.  I also knew that he was going to get one cake from my mom before he celebrated with us, so the pressure was off to create a masterpiece. So I decided to buy… a gluten-free box cake mix.

I don’t always like to admit I use box mixes because I am a baker with really good recipes! But when you barely have enough time to get something in the oven before you run out the door telling your husband to PLEASE LISTEN FOR THE OVEN BUZZER… it’s time for a box mix. I didn’t want to take inventory of what ingredients I needed and measure everything out… I wanted to dump it all into a bowl and let King Arthur do the planning. 0211171426

But as the box mix called for oil, water and eggs, I decided there was still room for some experimentation in the mix to make it a little extra special. I do not use or own vegetable oil, so naturally I swapped it out for coconut oil. This is a personal health decision, and you may notice a stronger coconut flavor, but likely not. I decided to use buttermilk in place of the water and then added 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of white chocolate chips! Actually swapping water out and buttermilk in can make your cake more sense and rich.


I literally did run out the door. I stuck it in the oven minutes before leaving for a baby shower and asked my husband (who was currently in the shower) to listen for the buzzer and try to check and make sure it was done in the middle before taking it out. He’s great to me.  Really.

Quickly, between the baby shower and my parents arriving for dinner, I iced the cake (although I wish I had taken the time to make my own cream cheese frosting) and it was a hit! Thankfully there was enough leftovers for our small group the next morning… nothing like chocolate cake for breakfast!

So next time you don’t have time to bake from scratch… order from Baked True North! Ha ha. But for real, even a box mix can get more exciting with a little creativity.  So have some fun!

AND… have some cake!