Though no part of me can believe it, this past week we celebrated one whole year of our Poe. Of his twinkly eyes and his whole face smiles, of his contagious ‘happy’ and radiating energy. Of our little baby, so wholly alive and bright. Through more intimate gatherings and a perfectly lively late summer pool party, we took the entire week to dote, to lionize, to really let the year sink in.
Following an evening of our very favorite curry– a slightly less spicy version of the very meal that catapulted our babe into the world – Poe (read: I) blew out his first candle with wishes of a lifetime of adventure, of open hearts and open minds. Holding off from ‘sweets’ until that very moment- instead filling Poe’s diet with whole and seasonal produce, local eggs, and pureed versions of our go-to stews– I wanted Poe’s little cake to scream celebration, to embody the magnitude of his entire first year, without the weight of processed ingredients and refined sugar. Instead, a celebration within itself, I baked an almond flour birthday cake, grain free, plant based, and filled to the brim with polenta, pure maple, and coconut. Lackadaisically layered with a summer berry compote and creamy coconut yogurt ‘frosting,’ the cake was light, bright, and naturally sweetened, leaving nothing be be desired except a second slice. A perfect first birthday cake or anytime sweet treat at your next summer gathering, we were all pretty smitten.
Almond Polenta Cake with Summer Berry Compote
5 tablespoons chia seeds, divided
½ cup filtered water
4½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ½ cups +1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups corn meal
3 ¾ cups almond flour
3 tablespoons ground arrowroot
1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
3 tablespoons coconut butter
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons chia with filtered water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until chia forms a thick gel.
In a large bowl, mix gelled chia with coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, almond milk, 1 ½ cups maple, vanilla, corn meal, almond flour, and arrowroot. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread to evenly distribute. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Using a 5-inch circle cookie cutter (or a knife, if you have a steady hand), cut out five circles from the sheet. Set aside.
Berry Compote: In a small pot, heat strawberries, remaining 2 tablespoons of chia, and remaining 1 tablespoon of maple over medium heat until strawberries have completely broken down, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Frosting: In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt with coconut butter and coconut sugar. Keep refrigerated until ready to prepare cake.
To Assemble: place one of the five cake circles down on a flat plate or desired serving tray. Top with ¼ of the berry mixture, then 1/5 of the yogurt frosting, spreading both to evenly distribute. Top with another cake circle and repeat (cake-berries-frosting-cake-berries-frosting-cake-berries-frosting-cake-frosting), being mindful of keeping the cake balanced. Though we weren’t sloppy in this process, I adhered to a wabi-sabi mentality, allowing the compote and frosting to drip down the sides of the cake. Top with fresh berries and coconut flakes if desired!
recipe inspired by Deliciously Ella with Friends, Celebration Cake