Bring on the New Year... and the cakes!

Happy New Year! A little late, I know, but I've already "seen" most of you and exchanged New Year's greetings. There are so many ambitious New Year's resolutions floating around blogland. Two of my favorite resolutions are Brooke's "to be happy" and Katie's "to enjoy life". So simple, yet so hard to do. So with you all as my witnesses I hereby join Brook and Katie in their resolutions to be happy and enjoy life. Please, feel free to slap me and remind me of this day if I start whining about some ridiculous, inconsequential nonsense in the future.

Here's something else I want to do this year: at least once a month I want to try a new ingredient, or ingredients, that would normally send me into a panic just by thinking about them. Case in point: Brussels sprouts. Everybody is always posting such mouth-watering pictures of their roasted Brussels sprouts but I've been too scared to try them. Then I saw Alice in Veganland tried them and liked them (even after being terrorized by a story about worm-filled sprouts!), and then I saw Denny's lovely sprouts and that did it. I went to the store and bought five of them. That's it. Five little Brussels sprouts. They sat in the refrigerator for a few days before I could summon the courage to roast them, and when I did, they actually tasted good! Shocking!

I ate Brussels sprouts!
Doesn't that soggy asparagus look appetizing?

Speaking of things that taste good, Bianca is writing a rockin' cookbook and I get to be a recipe tester! The first recipe we got to test was Cinnamon Pecan Waffles. I made these as soon as Bianca posted the recipe but I didn't have any pecans, so walnuts were the stand-in nut. The cinnamony steam that was coming out of the waffle maker as they cooked made me want to lick the still-raw batter straight off the hot iron. Glad I didn't. I waited (im)patiently the whole 5 minutes that it took our little Black and Decker to cook them thoroughly. The result? Crunchy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside, nutty, cinnamony little squares of heaven!

Bianca's Cinnamon Pecan Waffles

And now it's time for a random cake recipe that I baked a couple of days ago...

Coconut-apple cake

Coconut-Apple Cake (I do realize I have a coconut addiction)

2 red apples (peeled and shredded)
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat)
3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
2- In a medium bowl combine the apples, coconut, brown sugar and maple syrup. I used a fork to mix everything together.
3- In another medium bowl whisk together the flour, turbinado sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
4- In a small bowl whisk together the applesauce, coconut milk, soy milk and vanilla.
5- Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mix and stir until smooth.
6- Pour the cake batter into the baking dish.
7- Sprinkle the coconut-apple mix evenly over the cake batter and gently press it down with your hand.
8- Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack
9- Transfer the cake to the top rack and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. I like transferring it to the top rack so the topping gets toasty.

This is the second time I make this cake, I wanted to be sure all the ingredients were accurate before I shared it with you. You will definitely need to eat this cake on a plate and use a fork because the coconut-apple topping is very crumbly.


  1. Wow, that cake looks amazingly delicious. My boyfriend loves coconut too, so this looks like a winner!

  2. I can only think of one addiction that'd be better than a coconut addiction (can you guess? I'll give you a hint: It starts with "c" and ends in "ocolate"!)

  3. Great looking brussels! I have yet to roast them...although I saute them all the time a la 101 Cookbooks. And coconut addictions are a'ok!

  4. You know, I'm never going to lose any weight if you keep tempting me with cakey delights! Cruel, River. Just cruel! ;) Are those your mini no-meat loaves with the brussel sprouts? That entire plate looks delicious!

  5. Coconut and Apple? Never thought of that combo but it sounds spectacular!!!

    YUM! Cinnamon waffles get my vote anyday.

    And I can't forget about the greens, brussels are the best!!

  6. that's great you liked the brussel sprouts, those cinnamon waffles look awsome and that is so cool you get to be a tester for a cookbook!


    Best of luck with the health endeavors!!

  8. coconut is a fantastic way to get in the calories.

    Even though I know I like brussels sprouts for some strange reason I get a little anxiety every time I cook them. Like they are going to be so gross but they are always good. Weird

  9. You have wonderful resolutions! The brussels sprouts look yummy, and that cook is just divine. Good luck with your last pound!

  10. Great resolutions, River! I haven't set any but they sound like two ones everyone should try to do!

    I love the coconut cake, I am going to put that on my list to try, asap!

  11. That cake looks so delicious! I love apple cinnamon with a vengence - throw coconut into that mix and could it be heaven?...

  12. Happy New Year!
    I couldn't believe Brussel sprouts were good either...until I tried to roast them too.
    Congrats on being a tester, I am sure you will have lots of fun!
    Hang in there, you can gain that pound!

  13. Happy New Year! Well done for braving sprouts! So many people that really like veggies hate brussels, and the only green veggie I like is brockers ~ so I don't really fancy my chances with sprouts. Maybe I should suck it up and try them.......
    I'm just about to make your meatloaves again for our Sunday Lunch! Nom, nom, nom! Very much looking forwards to it!
    And ~ Mmmmm.Cake.
    Good luck with that stubborn pound! "Hmmmm,Do it you can. Gain it you will!" (as Yoda would say!) >:o)

  14. Happy New Year Sweet River! You made me some pancakes,right? Or did you just make me some of that cake? I do love brussels sprouts, but only roasted - boiled is bleck!

  15. Glad you finally tried the 5 brussel sprouts!

    Even my husband likes roasted brussel sprouts and he rarely eats a vegetable.

    Coconut apple cake looks wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Congrats on trying out the sprouts and your goal to try new foods! I actually love brussels sprouts--and they are sooo good for you. I'll admit, though, that the cake looks a wee bit more appealing ;)! YUM.

  17. happy new year river! i wish you wonderful things in 2009 - be happy and keep baking/cooking amazing vegan eats and treats!!!

    i love brussel sprouts! im so glad you enjoyed them :) your waffles and cake both look delicious! keep up the calorie intake, you are doing so well! (and i also am loving the coconut goodies!)

  18. I have a similar goal with brussel sprouts. Too funny.
    I was successful last year with radishes, so I'm hopeful!

  19. Mmmmm... those waffles and the cake (you know I love coconut too!).... delish! And my fav brussels sprouts are made with hot orange sauce! Happy New Year :)

  20. Coconut and apple - what an inspired combo! (Much better than even the best brussels sprouts)

  21. i am so proud of you i could just squeeze you! *pops

    rivvy i want that coconut cake...PLEASE!!!

    What are you doing to me.....izzzz dyinnnnng!!!


  22. Yep, your Brussels look dandy and wonderful! I am glad you liked them! I always try to spread the Brussels sprout gospel because they seriously are so good, but people tend to turn their noses up. I even roasted some for my din-din tonight. :)

    That coconut cake is incredible! So pretty. It's funny, most people are trying to lose weight this time of year, but you are pulling out the cake and treats!

    Those waffles look great, and I think all of us can take those resolutions to heart. Yay for 2009!

  23. Ahh! I LOVE coconut too! It's the best:D And those waffles look AMAZING

  24. bring on the cakes, indeed! mmmmmmmmm! i hope it gets you another pound more! i loooooooove coconut, too! your coconut-apple cake looks divine!

    happy new year to you, River! :)

    i need to give Bianca's waffles a whirl, too - we're testing recipes for her new cookbook as well. i'm so excitedface! that's awesome you're a tester, too! hooray! the waffles look perfect! we don't have a waffle maker - so we're gonna try them in pancake form next weekend - i can't wait!

    i love your resolutions - staying positive & enjoying life is the best! and that's great that you're gonna be trying new yummies, too! brussel sprouts are my favorite - i'm glad you liked them!

  25. I love your idea of a new ingredient each month!! And Happy New Year to you and Mr. Wing-It!

  26. Happy New Year! May you reach your goals to be happy and enjoy life. :) Congratulations on trying and liking Brussels sprouts. I like them very much and bought a bag today after craving them for a couple weeks. Ooh, another congratulations for being chosen as a Bianca tester! I'm sure you'll continue having a great time with her recipes.

  27. Best wishes for a joyous 2009! I think those are great resolutions. The best resolution I've heard was a long time ago and it was simply, to be a better person. So all encompasing. It's been my resolution every year since. Some years are better than others. ;-)

    Glad you finally tried brussel sprouts. I think they are so delicious.

  28. Yay for brussels sprout success. I love the little beauties! OMG! coconut is Heavens gift!

  29. Happy New Year! That cake looks so amazing. I have to give it a try. Good luck with the weight gain, that cake looks like a divine way to keep at it. :)

    Love the waffles too - Isn't Bianca totally amazing?

  30. I love coconut in cakes! It really does enhance the flavour and texture quite a lot. I made coconut and raspberry muffins the other day and they were so much better than plain raspberry! Yum!

    And I think I've got to try roasted sprouts now!

  31. Thank you for all the warm wishes, you guys! <3

    Aimee, those are indeed my mini meatless loaves!

    Becks, good luck with the sprouts if you decide to try them. I must warn you, even though I liked them, Mr. Wing-it detested them!

    Shelly, I'll make you whatever you want. Just name it! :)

    Denise, you squeezed me too hard and my head just popped off! Oh well, it was just sitting there for ornamental reasons anyway.

    RRV, I'm all backwards, I know!

  32. river, i am so jealous of your brownie-cake-waffle-eating self!!! haha weight gain has never looked so tasty.

    especially this cake. my gosh. coconut and me have been best friends for a while, too. i can't get enough of the stuff. i love coconut date rolls. i honestly eat at least 8 when i tell myself i'll have 1.

    keep up the good work, girlie!!

  33. Way to go with the Sprouts! They're my favorite veggie of all time.
    Happy New Year and thanks for blogging. You inspire me!

  34. EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING you made here looks sooo amazing! You always impress with your fabulous photos and meals. I ADORE coconut as well, good and good for you! Can't get much better then that, right?? HAPPY NEW YEAR BABE!

  35. Your coconut cake looks incredible! Coconut addiction is a good thing. And I'm thrilled you tried Brussels sprouts and liked them. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the test recipes.

  36. It's so exciting to see my waffles on your blog! And even more exciting that they turned out!

    Oh and those brussel sprouts look divine!!! And coconut makes me swoon. Seriously.

  37. Happy New Year! I love Brussels Sprouts SO much! If you would have told me I'd be a lover of them a few years back, I would have laughed in your face. Now? L-O-V-E!

  38. I didn't like brussels till I tried them roasted either, they are good!

    Your cake sounds soooo good. I love coconut as well.

  39. That cake looks delicious. I love coconut and apples, mmmm.

    Glad you liked the brussels sprouts. They are the best roasted. Your resolution to try new foods this year is a really good one, good luck!

  40. My husband would love this cake. He absolutely loves coconut.

  41. Brussel sprouts are on my to-cook list. Those waffles sound great. I picked up a belgian waffle maker at a thrift shop but I haven't yet figured out the correct batter to maker ratio. I should pick up one like yours because the huge round waffles don't fit in the toaster! Your coconut-apple cake looks YUMMY! And moist! My mom should try it! :)

  42. hehe you have a pretty head and i shouldn't have squeezed so hard but you're hard to resist;)

    still craving for the cake. i should camp outside your home and sing bob marley until you let me in!

  43. Both great new years resolutions... those should be mine too!

    So glad you tried roasted brussels! I remember being scared too, but now I can't get enough of 'em!

    Mmmmm.... cake....

  44. Happy New Year dear River.
    Here's wishing you love and laughter in 2009.

  45. welcome to the land of brussels sprouts. I love them steamed with salt & pepper.

    congrats on the recipe testing. the waffles look really good.

    mmmm.... coconut. I love it too. the cake looks so yummy.

  46. Thank you for all your lovely comments! You guys are the bestest! :)

  47. That cake sounds like HEAVEN. But I am a coconut lover too, so maybe I am partial. ;-)

  48. I love coconut! That cake looks really tasty! I'm trying to gain weight too and I totally understand how hard it is. I feel like all I do is eat and I'm still struggling to gain any weight. I'll have to try making this cake :)

  49. Gauri Radha गौरी राधाJanuary 15, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    The cake and the waffles both look delectable :-)

  50. OMG just found your blog and I am loving the recipes...I'm also newly I need all the help I can get

  51. Hi Shannon! I hope you can find some useful recipes and info around here. Good luck with your new vegan life! :) (sorry about the delay!)


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