Sep 14

The Cheesecake Factory’s Sweet Tamale Corn Cakes

healthy sweet tamale corn cakes

One of the best vegetarian dishes at The Cheesecake Factory are their Sweet Tamale Corn Cakes. They are technically under their appetizer selection, but I always order them for my meal. They are that delicious! Sweet, soft corn cakes are piled with sour cream, fresh avocado and tomatoes and are then drizzled with an amazing spicy sweet sauce. Divine! I know I am not the only one who loves these cakes. Everyone adores them, right?

cheesecake factory corn cakes

I won’t pretend that the corn cakes at The Cheesecake Factory are the healthiest dish out there… truth be told, the real cakes probably have at least a cup of sugar in them. They also have butter, white flour and probably more sodium than I care to know about. Yet, we all still love the taste. So I’m sure everyone will appreciate a healthier version of these cakes! This recipe is simplified from the true corn cakes recipe but still tastes just as yummy.

healthy corn cakes

Sweet Tamale Corn Cakes are possible to remake without the unhealthy ingredients. These cakes are sugar-free, gluten-free, can be made dairy-free and have a pretty simple ingredient list! Some people are against corn, but organic non-GMO corn eaten on occasion actually has some great health benefits. What you might love the most about these cakes is how versatile they are. They are easy enough for a week night dinner but pretty enough for a party. They can be eaten as an appetizer, lunch, dinner or a late night snack. Serve on a healthy bed of greens, layer on the southwestern sauce and enjoy this healthy remake!

Healthy Sweet Tamale Corn Cakes (gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free option)
Print Recipe

Corn Cakes:
2 cups Organic Frozen Corn, slightly thawed but still damp
1 cup Organic Corn Meal
1 cup Brown Rice Flour
2 Large Organic Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Stevia
1/3 cup Grape Seed Oil or Melted Butter
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt (or 1/4 teaspoon Pink Salt and 1/16 teaspoon Garlic Powder)
2 Tablespoons Grape Seed Oil or Olive Oil, for cooking

In a food processor or blender, process the corn meal until a rough flour. Some brands of organic corn meal are super grainy and crunchy, so you want to process the meal until more fine so the texture of the cakes are not super crunchy.  If the brand you buy isn’t grainy, you can omit this step.

In a small bowl, combine the corn, corn meal/flour and rice flour. Add the rest of the ingredients except cooking oil. The mixture will be moist. If the cakes are not able to mash together well, add a bit of water. Divide into 10 equal cake disks about 3/4 inch thick. Pour 2 tablespoons oil on cooking pan or non-stick griddle and heat to 350 degrees. Cook for 1 minute, then flip cakes to cook the other side. Reduce heat to 325 degrees, cover cakes and cook for another 2-4 minutes, until the cakes are completely hot.

Sweet Southwestern Sauce
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise (can use dairy-free or vegan versions)
1 teaspoon Water
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Xylitol or Eyrthritol
1 teaspoon Liquid Stevia
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/16 teaspoon Lemon Pepper

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over corn cakes and top with the following toppings:

1 Large Ripe Avocado, chopped
2 Medium Tomatos, chopped
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 cup Sour Cream (can use vegan sour cream)

Makes 10 small corn cakes or serves 4-5

Adapted from

Sep 14

Non-Alcoholic Freshly Juiced Sangria

healthy sangria

Welcome back from a nice long weekend! If you didn’t max out your Labor Day holiday as much as you’d have liked, things are now looking up.

When Williams-Sonoma contacted us about sharing a sangria recipe, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Williams-Sonoma is taking on a juicing challenge – they want to spread the word about the amazing health benefits of juicing and they are doing it with healthy sangria recipes! They’ve requested fun and fruity drinks from all over the blogsphere to inspire more juicing. We’ve shared our love of fresh juices before so we couldn’t wait to be involved. Drinks like sangrias utilize the health benefits of fresh juice in a super delicious way. With the heat of summer cooling, it’s the season for fall entertaining – let’s start with freshly juiced sangrias!

sugarfree sangria drink recipe

Williams-Sonoma asked us to create a homemade sangria recipe with our own twist but also keeping the fresh juice requirement. Sangrias are sweet juice wines that happen to be one of the most popular adult beverages of all time.  Sangrias originated from Spain but recipes come in all forms. You can find any flavored sangria recipe under the sun so anything goes!


Of course the first thing on our list was to make this sangria sugar-free! Real fresh fruit makes this drink just as sweet as the sugar-filled cocktails but much healthier for you. Besides just making a sugar-free sangria recipe, we decided to make it available to everyone by omitting the alcohol. Young kids to the elderly, expecting mothers to single ladies, Sunday brunches to evening parties can all enjoy this sangria!


Williams-Sonoma wanted recipes that use fresh ingredients (mainly fresh juices and fruit) for maximum health benefits and fresh flavor! Mocktails are easy to make with fresh, pure produce. If you are on the lookout for great juicers, Williams-Sonoma has lots of options. But no worries if you are without a juicer because this drink recipe uses fresh juice… but there is no need for a juicer!  Freshly squeezed orange juice creates the base for this sweet drink for ease. Splashes of fresh coconut water and lime finish it off with a taste of the tropics. If you want a punch of flavor but don’t need the alcohol, turn to this beverage. The slightly sour notes from the lemon and club soda balance out the sweetness perfectly for all of your late summer entertaining.  Enjoy!

Healthy Non-Alcoholic Freshly Juiced Sangria (vegan, sugar-free. gluten-free)
Print Recipe

1 1/2 cups Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1 cup Fresh Coconut Water (about 1-2 Young Coconuts)
Juice 1 Large Lemon
1 1/2 cups large chopped Pineapple (about 3/4″ cubes)
3 Kiwis, peeled and chopped
5 Large Strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 cups Club Soda (or Sparkling Water for a sweeter drink)
1/4 cup Xylitol for coated glass rim, optional

Juice the oranges, cut into the coconut, drain the coconut water and juice the lemon. Pour liquids into a large pitcher. Add the chopped pineapple, chopped kiwi and sliced strawberries. Pour 1 cup soda over the mixture. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and add an additional 1/2 cup club soda for fresh carbonation. Pour xylitol in a shallow dish. Take a slice of orange and wet the rims of all glasses. Dip the wet glass edge in the xylitol to coat. Pour juice into glasses over ice. Enjoy!

Serves 4


Aug 14

Healthy Brazil Nut Coconut Cake

healthy brazil nut cake In her most recent email, Chelsea was glowing about the cakes available in Brazil. Apparently we are missing out big time. She has promised to send exact recipes for these “simply divine” cakes! We haven’t seen any recipes yet, but hearing all about these traditional Brazilian cakes, we learned that popular flavors include coconut and dulce de leche. Chelsea has been in Brazil almost 9 months and with her birthday coming up tomorrow, we got creative and came up with this one!

sugar-free brazil nut cake This cake contains many different aspects of “Brazilian” cakes. We don’t know if it can be termed traditional by any means but based on flavors praised in Chelsea’s emails, we figured we weren’t too far off. This cake is really just fun for it’s name! All we know is that it tastes ridiculously delicious with the honey-sweetened meringue frosting, caramel-like filling and loads of coconut.

From Chelsea’s advice, we brushed the cake with coconut milk to make it extra flavorful and creamy. This practice is very common in Brazil. It’s a brilliant step and frankly, is one that Americans need to adapt more often! It offsets the nutty, firmer texture to make a wonderfully soft cake. This cake is also naturally gluten-free!! A base of ground Brazil nuts, rice flour and eggs may be simple for a cake, but yields terrific flavor. We love that it’s not too sweet and is so healthy, you won’t have to resist the urge for seconds and thirds!

healthy brazilian coconut cake

Happy Birthday, Chelsea! Sending lots of love your way!

Healthy Brazil Nut Coconut Cake (gluten-free and dairy-free)
Print Recipe

Nut Cake:
3/4 cup Brazil Nuts
11/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
5 Large Eggs
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8″ cake pans. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and honey on high speed until light and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. In a food processor, process the brazil nuts, rice flour and baking powder until a nutty flour. Add the flour to the eggs and gently fold into the mixture until combined. Pour into 2 greased pans and bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Custard Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup Coconut Sugar
1/3 cup Water
3 Large Egg Yokes
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 teaspoon Corn Starch

In a sauce pan, combine the coconut sugar and water on medium heat with a candy thermometer. Bring the mixture to 200 degrees. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine the egg yokes, coconut milk and corn starch until combined. Pour this into the coconut sugar mixture. Cook on medium heat, stirring, for a couple minutes until it begins to thicken. The coconut sugar will make this filling darker in color so be careful not to burn. Remove from heat once it begin to thicken.

Meringue Frosting:
1/2 cup Egg Whites (about 4 egg whites)
2/3 cup Honey
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Vanilla Stevia

In a sauce pan, bring the honey to a boil on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Honey will darken in color and begin to foam. Meanwhile, in a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium high speed until they begin to froth and lighten in color. Turn speed up to high and begin whipping until soft peaks form. Continue beating for another 30 seconds and add the cream of tartar. When honey has darkened in color and has begin to bubble, begin adding honey slowly to the egg mixture, while mixing at high speed, over the course of a minute or so. When the honey has all been added, the meringue should be slightly shiny and have a firm peak. Add the stevia extract and beat until incorporated.


1/2-2/3 cup unsweetened Coconut Shreds
4 Tablespoons Coconut Milk

Place one cake on a cake stand or platter. Brush the cake with 2 tablespoons coconut milk, including the sides of the cake. Spread the caramel filling all over the cake, about 1/2 inch thick. Place the second cake on top. Brush with coconut milk. Cover the cake with meringue frosting. Top with coconut shreds and serve. Store cake covered in the refrigerator.

Adapted from this and this

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