The first week is easy and filled with enthusiasm. Then reality hits you as you realize the old stand-bys of spaghetti or tostadas are no longer available to you. You have to make a whole new list of "go-to" recipes. And that is a daunting task. This is a journey I have just started. I am keeping my food journal here so that when you are in a rut or are starting to panic you can look here for ideas and perhaps even inspiration.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birthday Cake

Obviously the "cake" has inherent problems when it comes to eating Paleo. But, this week was my birthday and while I didn't really care about having a cake - my kids did! So, being a good man, my husband set out on a quest to find something that we wouldn't feel too guilty eating. He landed on cheesecake. Perfect! Once you substitute out nuts for crust all that is left is the sugar. And, since we haven't eaten anything sugary in a long time it is also easy to cut way back on that too. If you want to you could use coconut sugar in place of the granulated sugar - but as far as your body is concerned sugar is sugar, so why bother? Plus, if 80% is the goal, then I think a little sugar on your birthday is an ok splurge.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds or walnuts
1/3 cup melted butter
2-3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Press into the bottom of a 12-inch spring form pan that has been tightly wrapped around the base with aluminum foil.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding filling.

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar (less if you can handle it - I only put in 1/2 cup)
5 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 pound ricotta cheese

In a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until well incorporated, smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add lemon zest and continue to mix, remembering to scrape down the sides as necessary. Slowly add the ricotta cheese to the batter and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake in the middle of the oven until it starts to set, about 45 minutes. Lower the oven temperate to 325 and cook for another 20-25 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and it should have risen above the edges of the pan by this point. There should be no "jiggling." Remove from the oven, use a thin sharp knife and run the blade around the inside of the cake to loosen the sides. Loosen the outer ring (but don't remove!) and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving.
Serve with fresh berries or dark chocolate if desired.

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