Paleo Chocolate Cake with Whipped Honey and Berries


The husbuddy (Paul) has been encouraging me for quite some time to do some food blogging. Paul insists that people would be interested in what I'm cooking up. The idea seems silly to me because I don't create recipes. I find recipes and I recreate. Sometimes I recreate to a T and sometimes I add my own flair. I love to cook and I find it to be a creative outlet for me, but the thought of creating recipes and then testing them stresses me out. When I posted this picture on my Facebook, I received a lot of great feedback including requests for the recipe. In this case, I had added some flair, so I couldn't just simply send along a link to a recipe that I had followed. 

In a one-week span this has been both a birthday cake and then served again at Easter, very versatile. The original recipe calls for a chocolate whipped cream in the center and a chocolate ganache on top. And believe you me, the original recipe looks absolutely divine and one day I will follow that recipe to a T. But spring is in the air and for some reason to me that screams berries and whipped cream, and that is how I came to modify the original recipe.

A quick word about the whipped topping. This is not whipped cream, and it isn't whipped coconut. It is whipped honey! Paul and I were introduced to whipped honey about a year ago. We were enjoying a delicious dinner at a friend's house when our friend started whipping up a berry cobbler. We saw him start topping the cobbler with the whipped topping and Paul quickly spoke up. Paul hates whipped cream! I have tried every which way to get him to like it. I assumed when we started dating that he meant he didn't like cool whip or whipped cream out of a can. A few years later I can attest that Paul does not like whipped cream. I guess we all have faults.

Our friend turned to Paul that evening and asked, "How do you feel about whipped honey?" Paul was taken aback. What is whipped honey? This coming from the guy who I will find in the kitchen tipping back the jar of honey just because. So we tentatively took a spoonful of the topping and that was the end of it. I now had a whipped topping that Paul not only likes, but loves. It was an exciting moment for both of us.

Okay, enough about all of that. Let's get onto the cake.

The cake recipe can be found here: 

I followed the cake recipe to a T. I didn't have 6-inch cake pans so I used my standard 9-inch and shortened the cooking time to 20 minutes. Be prepared for your house to smell heavenly when you pull this out of the oven. I couldn't wait for Paul to get home just to enjoy the scent. Since going Paleo in June of 2012, chocolate cake has not been a part of our life.

The cake filling consisted of cooked down strawberries and the honey topping. To make the fruit filling I chopped up a pound of strawberries (reserving 3-4 strawberries for the top) and put them in a small saucepan over medium heat. After about 10 minutes on the stove they were breaking down. To thicken the sauce up I put in two teaspoons of arrowroot flour. Allow time for cooling.

Now, for the whipped honey. For one cake I used clover honey which  was exceptionally sweet. For Easter I used blackberry honey which was divine. Experiment with different types of honey.

It is unclear where the Whipped Honey recipe originates. When my friend first told me about it, after doing some research online, it appeared that it may have come from an issue of the American Bee Journal. However I was able to find it on another website:

Whipped Honey
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup Honey

In a small saucepan heat honey to boiling. In a bowl combine egg whites, salt, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until egg whites are stiff but not dry. Slowly pour in hot honey; beat for 5-7 minutes until frosting holds shape. Frosts two 8 or 9 inch layer cakes.

The directions are not kidding when they say slowly pour the hot honey. If you pour it too quickly, the egg whites will be chunky. I followed this recipe a handful of times using my hand blender and the results were good but not perfect and my arms grew tired from all of that mixing. Then around Christmas time I realized 1) I own a Kitchen Aid mixer and 2) How could I have forgotten I own a Kitchen Aid mixer?? Now my arm never gets tired making the honey topping and I can control the texture. If I am frosting a cake I only mix for about 7 minutes at medium speed. If I want a texture like thick whipped cream I will do closer to 10-12 minutes.

To Assemble the cake, put one layer on a plate. Spread the strawberry mixture over the cake. On the second layer, decide which side will be your top and bottom. On the bottom, spread a layer of whipped honey. On my first attempt making this cake, I put a lot of whipped honey in between and it overpowered the cake. The topping is sweet. A thin layer is perfect. Place the top layer over the bottom. Put a layer of whipped honey on top. For a nice touch, slice the reserved strawberries in half and place around the top of the cake.

Enjoy! Happy Easter from P+C!

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Bitter & Sweet, Multiplied


The other day I found some old poetry I had written while in high school and through college.  The poetry was somber and full of angst, but It was my way of putting to words the heartache I felt during those years. Reading through the poems, I was reminded that writing has always been cathartic for me. I thought that writing about this experience would be helpful for processing and healing.

In the past 13 months I have experienced not one, but two miscarriages. I have decided to share this experience because I think it is valuable. I want to put it out there that this happens, it hurts, it sucks, and that it is survivable. I want to be a resource and if at all possible an encouragement to those who experience this heartache. 

It has been a hard season for Team O, but with the bitter there is also the sweet.

In November 2011, after prayerful consideration Paul and I decided to start trying for a family. We knew I had funny biology working against us and assumed it would take some time to get pregnant. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. The idea that this could become a reality was so exciting.

January 2012. Positive pregnancy test? I knew it was positive before I took the test and yet was so shocked. I lost it. I was so excited and overwhelmed and... excited. I called Paul and basically just distracted him for the rest of the day. How can you focus with news like this? We went out to dinner to celebrate and started planning for the future. It felt like a miracle to have gotten pregnant so quickly.

A week after the pregnancy test we were in for our first ultrasound. It was eerily quiet during the ultrasound. I kept waiting for something to appear on the screen that resembled a baby. That didn't happen. The technician left the room and sent in the doctor. Blighted Ovum. It is very deceiving. Your body is pumping out hormones as if pregnant. A sac is growing in your body as if you're pregnant. But there is no baby growing. I didn't even know this was a possibility.

This was heartbreaking. I couldn't even pretend to hold it together as we left the office. I was a mess. I cried so hard I struggled to breathe. We drove straight home and Paul just held me for hours while I cried my heart out. I didn't know what to think. Just as quickly as we knew we were going to be parents. It was gone. Joy turned to sorrow so quickly it was hard to fully understand.

February 2012. After talking through my options for having a miscarriage with my midwife, I decided to let things happen naturally. Exactly one month after that heartbreaking ultrasound, the miscarriage began to start. I was told this would be similar to a heavy period. It was not. It was the most excruciatingly painful experience. I had hours of painful contractions. The whole time I kept thinking this must be like giving birth, except when I'm done I will have nothing to show for this struggle. The blood loss was scary. The pain was overwhelming. Paul held my hand all night and I would just squeeze it throughout the night.

I thought once I had the miscarriage I would be ready to move forward and heal. But soon came the depression. I didn't realize at the time that my hormones were out of whack. I just thought I was grieving this loss (and without antidepressants). February through June I suffered complications that kept me from moving on in my healing in so many ways. 

The depression was debilitating. I could get myself out of bed in the morning and through 8 hours of work. But often that was all I could do. I felt no joy. I felt unsure of how to relate to God. I felt loss of connection to my husband. I felt so alone, so disconnected from friends and community. People said kind words that felt empty and hollow to me. I turned to food as a comfort and before I knew it had gained 20 pounds. I felt like a failure. I desired two things my whole life: to be a wife and mother. I felt like I failed at being a mother. Would I fail again? I felt like I was letting Paul down in so many ways.

June 2012. I sought medical attention. It seems silly in retrospect. I thought everyday that was the day that everything would be better. How four months passed I am not sure. So in June the Dr. prescribed an "estrogen reboot". Basically my body was flooded with estrogen and then we tapered it down. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt normal again. I didn't realize how out of balance my hormones were and how it affected every aspect of my life. Shortly after seeing a doctor I began to see a counselor. It was breaking my heart all over again to know that Paul felt that I had checked out. I didn't want to be that person. I wanted to be me again.

Summer 2012.  In order to work on reconnecting, Paul and I decided to make 2012 the Summer of Fun. This was the summer to reclaim our marriage. The highlight of our Summer of Fun was a camping trip at Lake Wenatchee. It was a few days to unplug, talk, share meals, take long walks, and enjoying one another. We also started reading through a marriage book together that we were going to use for a small group. Each chapter had questions that were challenging to go through together but fruitful. 

We had so much fun together during our Summer of Fun (mission accomplished). Enjoying each other's company. Growing together and strengthening our marriage. We grew in a way that you can only grow in suffering. That is the sweet of this bittersweet experience.

During this time we also learned that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This basically means what we already suspected was true - getting pregnant will be difficult for us. The hunch was that I got pregnant so quickly the first time because I had just gotten off birth control. During the fall I began to work with a naturopath to help alleviate the PCOS and help us get pregnant.

January 2013. Another positive pregnancy test. Reserved excitement. We were cautiously optimistic. Things progressed into February and all seemed well. At 8 weeks we went in for our first ultrasound. We wanted to wait as long as possible (but not too long) so we could ensure seeing a heartbeat. Seeing the heartbeat was a beautiful thing. Knowing that there was a life growing inside was comforting. I didn't think to ask any questions. I was just happy. The ultrasound doctor was concerned because the baby was measuring two weeks behind where it should be. When I talked to the midwife my hope came crashing down. Yes there was a heartbeat, but it wasn't measuring where it should be. A week later and a follow up ultrasound confirmed that the baby had not grown and there was no longer a heartbeat.

March 2013. So here we are. At a loss, literally. Again Paul and I talked through the options. We have an international trip planned in April and felt that we could not let my body wait to catch up like we did last year. We decided to do the next closest thing to a natural miscarriage. This involved having medication (Misoprostol) given to me to help "induce" the miscarriage. After the experience last year, I was feeling terrified to do this again, but not terrified enough to have the D&C procedure done. Thankfully this experience has gone much smoother and without complications. The pain was more bearable. The healing has been speedy.

In a 13-month period I have now experienced the joy of being pregnant twice and the heartache of two miscarriages. Medically, I am still statistically average. That was odd to learn but reassuring in the sense that this is not my fault. There is nothing I could have done differently to sustain either pregnancy. This does not make me any less of a person. Or any less of a woman.

And though the physical piece has passed, there is still the emotional (and hormonal) piece to deal with. There is hope to be found again. I do know that I will not drown like I did last year. I will not lose faith. I will not be disconnected from my husband. I will grieve but I will not let the grief overwhelm me.

These days I try to focus on the sweet. I have an incredible husband. He pursues me and loves me so well. I have wonderful friends who support me and pray for me. I have a great medical team from doctors to counselors. I am thankful to have the opportunity to go travel with my husband and to enjoy a break. 

I wanted to share this because it is too easy to want to hide this experience. To pretend it didn't happen. To not talk about it. I have to remind myself that three strong women in my life did share with me their experiences of loss. If those three women were not in my life, I am not sure I would have known what to expect from the physical pain to the emotional pain. I would have been blindsided. Instead I had a support system who I could ask questions and ask for advice. If I can share my experience and be a help at all, then there is further value to be found in this heart breaking experience.