Brownies (sugar free, dairy free, grain free)


1 1/4 cup chickpea flour

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup honey or rice syrup ( I use rice syrup)

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use oil)

1 egg

Add dry ingredients together. Whisk the egg & add the honey or rice syrup and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Spoon into an 8×8 pan & cook for about 20 minutes. Mine took about 25 minutes, but keep checking. You will know it is done when the top looks dry like brownies should look.  TIP: Add a little more oil if you like your brownies gooey –  cooking time may take a little longer.

These brownies take the edge off of  PMS cravings for me. They only take about 40 minutes to make & they satisfy a craving for a dense hit of sweet chocolate.


I prefer using rice syrup for cooking with chocolate since I find honey is a distinct flavour which comes through baking, so I save it for fruit loaves or cakes, and  pies.

Chickpea flour is dense and may take getting used to for some people. You can substitute regular flour or another flour mix but use a little less oil (try 1 TBSP) as chickpea flour needs a little extra oil which is accounted for in the recipe.

Melted (cooled) butter can be used in place of cooking oil.

Weekend Brunch for Kooks

My life has transformed from wild nights out to cosy evenings in over the past decade. Children. They came into my life and let me be wholesome. I may no longer bike around town with scotch in my knapsack (now it’s juice and nappies) but I do still have some cheek. 

My family enjoyed this sweet prank last weekend. It doesn’t have to April Fool’s Day to have some fun. Peach halves with Greek yogurt ‘eggs’ and apple slice ‘fries’ on the side. My oldest told me she’s glad I’m a kooky mom. Then she asked me for real eggs. This time with bacon. 


We are still taking Etsy shop holiday orders through December 19th in Ontario. Those outside Ontario needing rush shipping can always message me to see what we can work out. Solstice Botanicals at


We are offering % 15 OFF to our Solstice Botanicals Etsy shop clients November 28 & 29 (today & tomorrow). Code: THANKYOU14

Thank you all so much for supporting quality hand-crafted goods made with knowledge & love from a family working hard to make the world a better place. 


Happy Beltane (or May Day) everyone. Beltane was traditionally celebrated as the first day of Summer by pre-Christian Celtic folk. This was a special time of ritual and celebration of life, fertility and summer. It was a busy today but my wee girls & I took time to get outside and enjoy the sun, new growth, and beauty of the season.

Please check in soon. It was a lo-o-o-ng winter for us here in the homestead.  Spring has brought much renewal and change –  We are so very happy about it!

Exciting things are happening for Solstice Botanicals & for my bodywork practice – Solstice Bodyworks!mayflowers


photo (4)

If you are like my family, your home may be full of folks  & fun on New Year’s Day.  I love to host but try to keep the hard work to a minimum so I can enjoy the company (and not succumb to holiday burnout). This cake is easy to prepare, delicious,  and a safe bet for those among us with food intolerances (like me).

1-1/2 cups  flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill biscuit & baking mix)
1/3 cup  cocoa powder (I used Camino)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cold water or coffee
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch round baking pan with butter or oil and dust with flour.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.

Mix oil, water or coffee and vanilla, then pour into flour mixture.  Whisk until smooth. Stir in vinegar or lemon juice until evenly distributed.

Bake in preheated 375 F oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in centre. Cool thoroughly in pan on wire rack.

Dust the top with cocoa or icing sugar if you like. Or make icing. I like to stew or reduce fruit to serve alongside, or just use berries.


Sangha / Legs up the Wall

legsupthewall My intent for the month of October was to get into the local yoga studio at least a few times & take some personal time for myself. I’m a busy mother & work from home. My husband is away most of the time. Things get hectic. I cope very well. Yet – I was feeling a lack of sangha (for me, that is connecting to Buddhists through yoga & sharing the spirit of Buddhist teachings).

November came quickly finding me cloistered with family & work, squeezing yoga in wherever I could, usually after ten pm. Last week brought chaos as well as terrible news about an old flame. It drained me. I was very sad. Life goes that way sometimes. I think we need to experience dark moments authentically and walk ourselves through them as best we can. Bravely, so we can proud when we come back into the light.

This week things went back to the usual hectic-happy awesome life, but I see how I need community more than ever. So, here’s to the hard lessons – As in: I need to make sure my needs are met, even though it feels great to put everyone else first. I organized a weekly meet-up to connect some of the awesome women I know here & I’m arranging getting myself to the yoga studio at least once a week. Making time for myself outside work & family life may feel funny for awhile. But I think I will get used to it.

That rough week brought a lot to the surface. I am glad for all the reminders. Hold your folks tight. Make peace with all you can – if you can. Respect where others have brought you though the ride may have been bumpy. Be grateful. Be a part of the lives around you. Don’t forget to feed yourself with the fire of what inspires you. When you share your energy, it grows. Viparita Karani “Legs up the Wall” pose is more powerful that it looks.

Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

beet bundt ii

This September I flopped my dessert at a family gathering for the first time. It was truly sad. Yet, one should not go blaring into a situation with a new recipe, let alone a vegan carrot cake recipe. When people tell you something is THE BEST, do not believe them until you have clear evidence. Lesson learned. Again.

When my family gathered a few weeks after this gooey gaffe for Canadian Thanksgiving (a time of gratitude, not a tribute toward our genocidal forebearers), I was hoping to clear my shame & satisfy my own (gluten & dairy free) sweet tooth with a great dessert. This was it. I am ashamed to say I forgot my brother is not a beet lover (is in fact, a beet despiser) until he was shoveling this cake into his mouth. I haven’t told him he ate & loved beet cake. Ah, siblings.

So, here it is. A delicious bundt. A fairly simple slice delivering great taste with little fuss or guilt. Serve with whipped cream or serve it plainly, as it is fine on its own.

Gluten & Dairy Free (but you can use either or both in the recipe if you like)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes


3/4 cup cooking oil (I use light olive oil) or 1 cup butter, softened divided
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
4 oz semisweet chocolate
2 cups beet puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, or regular gluten-y flour
2 tsps baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar for sprinkling, optional

Clean beets & cut into 2 inch pieces. Cover well with water & boil 15-20 minutes or until a fork can easily slide inside. Allow beets to cool. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place beets in food processor and puree. Set aside. Combine 1/2 cups of oil or 3/4 cups of the softened butter and brown sugar, mix well with electric mixer. Add eggs and mix well. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup oil or 1/4 butter with chocolate and add to the wet ingredient mixture. Combine flour, baking soda and salt then add them to the mixture, blend well. The mixture should seem like it may be too wet to bake properly. Believe me, it will. You can add a little more oil or butter if you need help reaching this consistency. Pour the lot into a greased floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Allow cake to cool before removing from pan. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top and serve.

beet bundt

White Willow – Salix Alba



Salix Alba – White Willow.

Today I am making white willow herbal water in my home still to create a topical healing lotion (& will use the leftover water as a toner for my face as well as a rash salve for my youngest child).

Hippocrates, the Greek physician wrote about a bitter powder extracted from willow bark that could ease pain and reduce fevers.  Use of white willow has been traced to China in 500 BC and ancient Egypt.

White Willow (Salix Alba) is anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, and astringent. It is used mostly to cool fever & relieve pain. Willow contains high levels of salicin / acetylsalicylic acid, which inspired the creation of aspirin in the late 1800’s.

White willow’s analgesic effects are slower acting than aspirin, but have longer lasting results. Willow leaves can also be chewed raw if immediate pain relief is needed.

Willow bark & leaves are excellent remedy for fevers, chills, arthritis, rheumatism, digestive problems, colic, acne, dandruff, infection, inflammation, and bursitis.

White willow combines well with other herbs and often acts to boost their effectiveness as some herbal combinations create a synergy that becomes more potent than any herb taken alone.

Due to a high level of tannins, willow may help some gastrointestinal conditions. It is sometimes used as a mild digestive stimulant in the treatment of stomach problems.

* Willow should be used with precautions. It is best to consult an herbalist or health practitioner before using plant medicine. Always use common sense & start with small doses, observing their effects. Always consult with a physician before using any herbal remedy.


Empanadas: Easier Than you Think (Like so Many Things in Life)

It began, like many good stories of mine, with me & a house full of lesbians. I had moved to the big city with my friend Krista, into a house with many interesting room mates. They were all cool. They were all older. None of them sounded like Wayne from Wayne’s World when they spoke. Being from the North, I kind of did.

I did not know how to cook. I could barely make coffee. I’m not sure I had ever cooked an egg. I was embarrassed. Now & then I’d sneak into the kitchen when no one else was around (rare, there were five of us living together) and ‘make’ something. Fried egg sandwich, grilled cheese, toast. That’s it. Wait – countless bowls of cereal. Let’s not forget those.

Krista & I got jobs at a restaurant where the servers build meals for diners (who work their way down a plexiglass display case full of fun foods). I learned about “weird” foods like hummus, honey mustard, roasted breaded eggplant (looked like shoe leather) & antipasto. I learned how to make espresso. It was awesome – Mostly because we got fed there, but also because we learned about new foods, people, attitudes. Oh, the Big City. It was exciting to be anonymous.

Sometime during my first year away from home, an astute room mate noticed my lack of confidence in & distinct absence from the kitchen.  Kindly, when no one else was around, she spoke with me about it.  That day she taught me how to make stir fry – The 1990’s first year vegetarian staple. That started my love affair with cooking. I’ll never forget that long narrow kitchen & how much coffee making  (& life growth) happened there.

The first cookbooks I remember were Mollie Katzen’s & the Moosewood cookbooks. A friend of the house, Cathy the Dancer  from Winnipeg, used to come over to bake. She introduced me to making piroshki & calzone making (a la Ms. Katzen). From there I learned to love savoury pies & other comforting main courses involving dough of some kind. I also learned how much fun you can have in the kitchen & how your journey learning there never really ends.

I think my love of empanadas started with emulating Mollie Katzen’s piroshki  in a tiny kitchen on Dewson Street in Toronto. So, here’s to her, and to houses full of kind lesbians.

Saucepan of goodness

 Corn, Black Beans & Zucchini EMPANADAS (24 small ones)

* I’m (sadly, but healthily) gluten & dairy free so I’m including my adjustments to a regular recipe.

DOUGH (make it now as you’re going to have to refrigerate it for an hour so it doesn’t crumble)

2 1/4 cups of flour (I use 1.5 cups Bob’s Red Mill Biscuit & Baking & 3/4 cup brown rice flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, diced (I use olive oil, starting with 1/3 cup & adding more if needed to get the right consistency)
1 large egg
1/3 cup of ice water
1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar

Sift flour(s) & salt into a large bowl. Work the butter in until the mixture is the texture of wee peas with some crumbs. In a separate small bowl, beat egg, water & vinegar, then stir it into the dry mixture until just incorporated. Flour your hands then gently shape the dough into a ball & knead it a few times on a lightly floured surface. Knead into a flat ball & wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

You can go wild here. Honestly. I love spicy beef & greens, black olives, egg & chicken, there are so many possibilities. Sweet empanadas also rule. Really, apple with cheddar, hello? This time of year though, I like to get the most I can of the last of my local CSA farm share veggies. This is a ‘Three Sisters” version of the empanada with Corn, Black Beans & Zucchini (any squash will do). Plus, we’re laying off the meat these days.

-1 1/2 cups of shallots/leeks/onion in whatever combination you like (or skip this & add raw green onion later. I like to saute the allium family members up to add depth to my filling).
-1 1/2 or 2 cups roasted squash or  zucchini ( turn the oven to 400 so you can roast that stuff up now).
*OR  use grated zucchini instead of roasting to save time. Grate it & add to the saucepan after the leeks/onions/shallots are soft.
-1 1/2 cups corn-1 1/2 cups black beans
–  olive oil
-Salt & pepper
-3/4 cup shredded cheese (I omit for my own portion & include for the cheese-eaters in the house)
-zest of 1 lime
– 1/2 cup thinly-sliced green onions
– 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
– 2 tablespoons diced green chiles (or whatever spicy you like)
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
* Sour cream & Salsa for serving, optional

-1 egg, gently beaten with a fork (for the egg wash)

Cut squash it into little cubes & cover it with a good dose of olive oil.  Roast for about 25 or 30 minutes, until soft.

Saute leeks/onions/shallots in olive oil on low-medium heat until soft. Add the raw corn kernels & raise the heat so they get a little golden & start to carmelize with your onions. Add the zucchini (if you are adding shredded zucchini) & let it cook down, about 5 min. Transfer to a bowl. Fold in black beans, roasted squash, cheese, green onions, cilantro, chiles, cumin, lime juice & zest and chile powder.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into small pieces. You should get about 24 small rounds. You can also roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick, then cut out  4 inch rounds (or whatever size you like). Cover any dough you are not working with so it doesn’t dry out. Once you have all rounds made, place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each,  fold the circle into a half moon. Pinch and fold the edges to seal them, then place the formed empanada onto a prepared baking sheet. Ta da! You have made  empanadas!

Continue to do this with the remaining dough and filling. Fill to the size you like & enjoy your learning curve. Have fun. Once you are finished forming all your moons, brush them with the egg wash. This is my 5 yeard old’s fave job.

Bake empanadas for approximately 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with sour cream & salsa, or if you are me, extra veggies! I am relentless with the veggies.

You can freeze formed uncooked or cooked empanadas. This rocks.

Please excuse the poor quality iPhone photos. I single parent most of the time. Things get busy. I often forget to photo document while sauteing my healthy meal, keeping the one year old alive & my five year old from making us all crazy. It’s a good life, but we’re busy.





I found this recipe in the New York Times and decided to make it. I did not have some of the ingredients on hand, so I made due with what I had. The NYT recipe calls for tomato & pomegranate syrup, I used cider & apricots. Once you are confident with the basics of cooking, you can gracefully re-fit a recipe to your needs & wants.

I have a sentimental attachment to baked beans. Growing up, my brother would beg my mother to make her French Canadian baked beans. We gobbled them up with glee. I’ve never made my Mom’s recipe for my family, preferring to keep those memories in that little house on Cartier Street in Sault Ste. Marie –  just between my brother, mother & I for a while longer. I forgot I could bake beans on other ways. Oh, yes indeed, there is more than one way to bake a bean.

This recipe is delicious. My husband is a devout meat-eater & admitted he could have loved this dish more with roast lamb or chicken on top. He did love it on its own though, maybe for lunch not dinner. I was perfectly satisfied with this as a main course. Adding nuts & cheese makes it lovely stew of a main meal. I did not use nuts of cheese for this one.

1 pound white beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight in 2 quarts of water, and drained

1 bay leaf

6 cups water (more as needed)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions, preferably sweet red onions, finely chopped

1 – 2 cups apple cider

1 cups dried apricots

A few fresh rosemary sprigs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, stemmed, leaves washed and chopped

1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Feta, goat or other tangy cheese – optional

Combine the drained beans, bay leaf & water (enough to cover by an inch) in a large, ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven & bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until beans are tender tender. Check from time to time to make sure the beans are submerged, add water if necessary. Remove the bay leaf. I add dried seaweed to my beans for added minerals, you don’t have to.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons or so of the olive oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium heat & add onions & rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly caramelized, (about 10 minutes). Remove rosemary before the leaves start to fall off. Turn the heat to low, add a generous pinch of salt, cover and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the onions are dark brown and have melted down to half their original volume, another 15 to 20 minutes (or more, depending on you & your stove – take your time, enjoy the process).

In the meantime, reduce that apple cider to 1/3 of a cup by letting it gently simmer down and work on stewing your apricots. Chop apricots into 3 or 4 pieces & cook in 4 cups of water until they are fluffy & gorgeous. Let the simmer down in volume as well. I used about three cups worth of apricots & the apricot water in the bean mix. Don’t worry if you end up with less, the flavour will just be more compact. You can always add more water to the casserole as it is going in the oven.

When the onions are finished, stir them into the beans, along with the stewed apricots, reduced cider and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven and bake, covered, for 1 hour. The beans should be very tender. Check from time to time to make sure the beans are submerged; add water as necessary or just press down on the beans to cover them with liquid. (They shouldn’t be swimming, though.) You really do not want dry beans, but you also do not want them swimming in water, use your best judgement. I thought mine would turn out more water-logged by placing the beans in the oven submerged, but I was wrong (yay).

Uncover the beans, taste and adjust salt, and stir in the Swiss chard or kale. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top, as well as the feta or goat cheese and drizzle on the final tablespoon of oil. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: 8 servings

No Fail Super Yummy Basic Muffin Recipe

Muffins – so easy & so sweet. They pack the satisfaction of being cakey, even if you are like me & tend to err on the side of healthy with your diet. I eat gluten & dairy free (it’s not as bad as you think) so I am often out of luck whenever I randomly crave naughty carbs. This recipe is my fast & dependable go to recipe when I need cheap tasty carbs. We add tasty twists with whatever additional ingredients are at hand. Apple & cardamon are a recent favourite. A big hit around here are banana chocolate chip muffins,  pictured above.  We added a 1/2 cup mashed banana & a 1/3 cup (or more) of chocolate chips to the basic recipe.

2 cups flour
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp salt

2 large eggs
1 cup milk or cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

* I make these gluten & dairy free by using a gluten free flour mix, subbing oil for the butter & rice milk for cow milk.

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a muffin tin or line with cupcake papers. Mix flour, baking powder & salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl mix the rest of the ingredients with a whisk. Add the wet mixture to the dry with a few stirs. Do not over mix. Your batter should be a little lumpy. Bake at 400 for 15 – 18 minutes, depending on your oven. This mix makes 12 muffins.

Additions are easy. Add extra ingredients like: apples, chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries & blueberries. Do not add more than 1/2 a cup of each at a time to ensure your muffins still rise. Add the extra ingredients at the very end of mixing, before you put the cupcakes in their baking pans.

* A bonus about the recipe is it’s simplicity. I can make these with my five year-old without it being a long, arduous  production (unless we want it to be).


DRAMA: Tips on how to cope with & avoid it in the future

Drama has taught me hard life lessons. Admitting to having and creating drama was probably the biggest lesson. In my present life, drama usually serves as amusement or annoyance. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that my life is so relatively drama-free that when actual drama happens I get a little freaked out trying to protect my zen.

Here are some of my tips on dealing with & minimizing the drama.

Feeling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? Remember that every time you are in the middle of a dramatic situation you have an opportunity to learn how to better deal with challenges and avoid reccuring nonsense.

Is it me? If there’s drama all around you then you are the constant. Think about why you may need drama & address those issues head-on.
Look at things differently: A lot of the drama takes place in our own heads, and it’s usually because we’re so deeply immersed in things that we don’t see the ‘forest for the trees.’

Don’t feed the beast: Be calm, listen to your friends, but try not to make the situation into a pity party (unless you can do it in fun, which can go a long way to diffuse dramatic feelings).

It’s important to have supportive friends that we can ‘unload’ our stuff on. There is a line between supporting & enabling. You are being a better friend when you can let someone know when their drama is throwing up roadblocks to happiness. Offering help in finding constructive options on how to move forward in a situation should be enough of a hint to anyone that it is time to move beyond the drama and get into solution mode.

* Remember that some drama is normal & needed sometimes to sort our feelings out. I find releasing thoughts (no matter how crazy) to a trusted person helps us decipher what is going on so we can smite the drama before it does too much damage.

Reconsider unhealthy relationships: To live drama free, get as many drama creators out of your life as possible.

Think about which people in your life leave you feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not. Do you really need that? If you don’t want to or can not completely remove a toxic relationship, try to spend less time with that person. Work on recognizing and avoiding drama triggers with those individuals.

Heresay, Theirsay: When you listen to heresay, you are asking for a few stories about one situation. Drama increases exponentially & whatever you end up hearing may not be what really happened. This has the potential for explosion.

Be a straight shooter: The vast majority of drama (and sorrow) is caused by poor communication and the confusion it creates. Say what you mean, mean what you say. It takes some bravery sometimes, but it will save you much heartache in the end. Being honest & open should inform others that you expect the same of them. Allow it. Maybe people will think they have free reign on ripping you a new one, but those people aren’t really friends.

Watch your labels & assumptions: I used to name anything I didn’t want to deal with as drama. That was me being dramatic.

I’ve found that the less time I spend trying to label things, the more time & energy I have for creating solutions & being awesome. What you observe someone doing is fact – no assumption there. If the fact creates a problem for you, deal with it. When you make assumptions about motives you leave reality behind & can work yourself into fairy tale territory. If you want to be drama free don’t make assumptions, but deal with observable behaviour.

Be upfront: If you have a problem with someone, talk to them. If you believe that someone has a problem with you, talk to them about it. Passive aggressive behavior and indirect communication destroy trust and end friendships. Period.

Sometimes honesty will blow up in your face. This happened to me not too long ago. Someone was gossiping maliciously about a friend. I was worried & warned her to be careful. This friend made it clear she’d rather be friends with the people laughing at her than me, the person being honest with her. I had to step back and decide not to take that one personally. I also had to realize that person isn’t really my friend.

Choose your friends wisely, choose your battles wisely and practice detachment when you need to.

REMEMBER: If you truly want to live drama free, then you need to be willing to be the bigger person and let things go.

Welcoming Clara (with the Perfect Chocolate Cake)

The Perfect Chocolate Cake

Though this cake is one of the most delicious & decadent I have ever encountered, I make it only on the most special occasions & only when I can take the time to make it with love. It’s true, I’m  that way.  When dear friends welcomed their new child to the world last week, it was time to dust the recipe off, buy the best ingredients around & get my 4 year-old sous chef to lay off the (apple)sauce & assist me on this cake.

We had a lot of fun with this one. My daughter is four &  rather good with measuring & mixing for her age. Sure it takes longer to bake with my child beside me, but  it is worth the odd mishap to experience creating with her.  She feels empowered when helping &  takes a lot of pride in her work  – this makes us both happy.

I’ve had the New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant cookbook since I left home & moved to the big city. This cake recipe is originally from that cookbook (which I still have – it is covered in batter, sauce & water smatterings from so many years of loyal service) . I’ve modified the version of the recipe slightly over the years, especially now that I have some dietary limitations.

* I am gluten & dairy free. Please see the amendments below the recipe post to convert the recipe to gluten & dairy free as well. Welcoming Clara with Perfect Chocolate Cake

1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350. Grease & flour 3 x 9 inch round cake pans.

This recipe is makes a 9 inch round, 3 layer cake.

Combine cocoa with boiling water, stir until smooth & let cool to room temperature. Sift together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, eggs, milk & vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the wet, alternately with the cocoa. Do NOT over mix. Blend just enough to moisten dry ingredients.

Pour batter into pans. Bake 25 – 30 minutes. Cool in pans for ten minutes, remove cake from pans to cool completely.

While cake cools, make frosting. Melt chocolate & butter in a saucepan. Stir in cream until smooth. Remove pan from heat & place in a large bowl of ice. Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat in the powdered sugar until frosting holds a stiff shape. Chill.

Whip the filling ingredients together until stiff. Chill.

When all parts are cool, put the cake together. spread the filling between the layers &  frost the outside of the cake.

Serve quickly, or keep refrigerated until serving.

To make this cake dairy & gluten free: I use Bob’s Red Mill Cake & Biscuit (gluten free) mix for cakes. It is expensive, but worth it to me since I know I can rely on this blend. I use Camino cocoa & baking chocolate as they contain no dairy. Instead of butter for the cake batter, I use 3/4 cup oil (canola, or even light olive) . You can also use a buttery spread like Earth Balance. I skip the filling since it is essentially whipped cream (you really can’t sub that in my books)  & use the frosting in its place. The frosting I make with Earth Balance buttery spread & rice milk.  I add 1/2 cup of rice milk to the mix & add more or less icing sugar as I blend it out. You’ll know when you have the right consistency. If your icing gets too thick, just add more rice milk or whatever dairy substitute you use. If your icing is too thin, add more icing sugar. Remember chilling it will also thicken the mix.


Solstice Joan

My family & I left the big city a few years ago to enjoy small town life on Lake Erie. As much as we love Toronto, life in the country has done magical things for us.

I work from home while caring for my kids. I’m not sure how anyone gets work done with this method. I tend to work late into the night. My days often need a lot of coffee.

I’m at a place in my life where I am grateful & choose to dwell on the good.

I’ll happily tell tales regarding my own struggles and triumphs in order to help other people. I think we are here to connect to one another.

I experiment with ways to be healthful.

I think you are what you eat.

I’m a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Aromatherapist, Reflexology Health Practitioner & aspiring Herbalist.

I have an Etsy shop ( where I vend botanical aromatherapy skincare products, and I have a home health practice.

My family makes me happier than I thought possible. A husband & two little girls, five years apart in age. We laugh a lot & like to explore.

I used to be hip & cool & sarcastic, usually while wearing big black boots.

I’m crafty. I read a lot. I like being outdoors. I do yoga. I try to do make the world a better place.

Please contact me if you have extra comments or questions.