The Can-Do Candida Diet: June 2013
Can-Do Candida © Isabelle Burden 2013 All rights reserved

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Candida Diet Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Sweet and spicy, spongy and delicious: this carrot cake was a smash hit. 

I developed this recipe as a father’s day present for my Dad.  When I think of my dad, I think of many things – going whale watching off the coast of Maine, building snowmen decorated with twinkle lights – and carrot cake is always one of them.

Carrot cake has always been his favorite. I have vivid memories of my mother buying one every year for his birthday.  At five years old, it was so puzzling to me that anyone would voluntarily eat carrots, and for dessert, when to me they were just a vegetable I was forced to finish before I got the after-dinner treat I desired.

I’ve always thought I wasn’t a fan of carrot cake, but this time around I realized that was only because I had never tried it.  I was operating on an unfair and outdated opinion of this dessert.

So this father’s day was about doing something for my dad, but also about finding something for both of us to do together. Since my father has always been quite the kitchen whiz, I thought baking would be the perfect way to spend some time together during our visit.

My dad doesn’t follow the candida diet.  Quite the opposite, he’s a big fan of sugar, bread, and everything else I love but don’t eat anymore. The goal was to bake a cake that hit every flavor point, but left out the flour and sugar.

The end result was a resounding success. The stevia-sweetened cream cheese icing was a spot-on match for tangy, sweet flavor, and while the cake was deemed “slightly less sweet” than sugary carrot cake, no one missed the additional sugar (and you can add more stevia if you like it sweeter). 

Candida Alert: Carrots have a relatively high sugar content that lends itself well to baking, but means that in general they should not be consumed in large quantities on the candida diet.  That said, this recipe is one way you can-do carrots without stress, but if you’re still concerned, just keep portions small and pace yourself (trust me, with a cake this tasty it’s not easy). 

When introduced to heat the carrots become soft, and incorporate well into the cake’s texture.  A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice keeps every bite interesting, and just a touch of Greek yogurt helps this dessert bake up silky smooth and soft.


For the cake batter you will need:

1 ½ cups almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
12 packets of stevia in the raw, or stevia brand of equivalent sweetness
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
4 eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup 2% milk
3 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
2 cups shredded carrot, patted dry
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda, stevia, and ground spices. Stir the dry ingredients until they are evenly blended.

In a separate bowl, beat your four eggs. To the beaten eggs, add the melted butter slowly, whisking continuously. Add vanilla, milk, and Greek yogurt, and stir to thoroughly combine. Make sure you get the yogurt blended in so that there are no lumps. Add the shredded carrot to the wet mixture.

Next, add your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir until they come together completely in a sticky, wet batter. Lastly, add chopped pecans if you wish.

Pour the batter into a square cake pan, about 2 ½ inches deep. Bake for 50 minutes, turning and checking for doneness throughout. If you use a smaller pan or a pan of a different shape, be aware your bake time could be different. Bake times for this cake will tend to be high, however, because of the high moisture content of the carrots themselves.

While the cake cools, make the icing.

For the icing you will need:

1 8oz package of organic cream cheese
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 ½ tsp vanilla
7 packets stevia in the raw, or equivalent stevia sweetener
1 tbsp Greek yogurt

In a large bowl, mash the cream cheese until it is soft and easy to stir. Add in the softened butter and cream together with the cheese. Add the vanilla, stevia, and yogurt, and stir vigorously until all ingredients come together cohesively.

The cream cheese icing is one of my favorite parts of this recipe.  It really brings the iconic flavor of carrot cake and makes the whole dessert come alive. This icing has a rich consistency and a sweet tang from the yogurt and cream cheese that contrasts perfectly with the natural sweetness of the carrot and the spices of the cake.

Before the cake was even finished my family was already asking me to make this recipe again. So whether you’re sharing with friends or just have a hankering for something sweet and nostalgic, this recipe is one to remember.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Can’t Believe it’s not Caramel: Sugar-free Brownies are Nutritious and Delicious

Sea salt, caramel, brownies: three little words that charm me like a magic spell. 

If you’re in the mood for a super decadent, chocolaty treat, this is the recipe for you.  Though these brownies may look junky at first glance, the key to their springy softness is purée of black bean, making them full of protein and nutritious, candida-safe starches.  And since they are sweetened only with stevia, they are a sugar-free dessert that will deliver the glee of indulgence with none of the guilt. 

This Can-Do dessert is the answer to every dieter’s late night chocolate craving, and for an added bonus, this recipe is a snap to make.     

When it comes to brownies, people usually divide into two camps: fudgy or cakey. 
With a fudgy texture and a deliciously delicate cake taste, these black bean brownies have something for everyone.  Worried they will taste savory?  Don’t! 
Trust me, it’s pretty hard to find a fault in these brownies.  Even my sugar-eating friends couldn’t tell the difference.   

If you like to entertain, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled, and is a cinch to make en-masse for parties.  Now no candida diet can stop you from being the hostess with the mostess! 

Note: I used a food processor for this recipe.  If you do not have this tool, a blender or hand blender will suffice to purée the black beans.  After this step, simply follow the directions for mixing the batter, but do so in a large mixing bowl instead of in the bowl of your food processor.


For the brownies:

1 15 oz. can blackbeans
4 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup espresso
1 tsp. liquid stevia
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. almond flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Open the can of black beans and rinse them of excess starch.  To do so, pour the contents into a colander, and rinse until the water runs translucent. 

Pour the rinsed beans into the food processor (at this stage, you can also purée the beans using a blender or hand blender.  If you use one of these tools, simply transfer the bean purée to a separate bowl to finish mixing the batter).

Purée the beans in the food processor until they reach a thick, soupy texture (more like cake batter than chicken broth).  Once the beans are pureed, pour in your beaten eggs, melted butter, and espresso.  Pulse these ingredients together to mix.  Next add the stevia, vanilla, salt, almond flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder into the food processor.  Let the food processor run until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  The color and texture should resemble chocolate cake mix: a rich, nutty brown with a light cocoa smell.  

I added the ingredients in this order, but there is no need to stick to it.  Don’t panic if you have to throw something in at the last minute because it slipped your mind; as long as everything is well blended, this brownie recipe is fool proof.   

Grease a baking dish, either metal or glass, and pour the batter in.  Place the brownies into the 350-degree oven.  My brownies were spread about ½ inch thick, so I baked them for a total of ten minutes, rotating the pan at the five-minute mark to ensure even baking.  If you would like thicker brownies, adjust your baking time accordingly, and test for doneness with a knife. 

Allow brownies to cool for at least ten minutes before slicing. 

For the stevia caramel sauce:

½ cup stevia granules (I used Truvia brand)
2 tbsp. water
4 tbsp. butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup heavy cream

I based my recipe off of a video that can be found here. 

This process requires rapid response and careful attention, so make sure you have all ingredients measured out and within reach when you begin. 

Pour the stevia and water into a medium sized saucepan.  Place the pan on medium heat, stirring the water and stevia together.  While stirring constantly to avoid burning, let this mixture cook for a few minutes.  Small bubbles should appear and the mixture should brown slightly. 

When this stevia solution appears slightly sepia toned, remove it from the heat and carefully pour in your melted butter (it may spit).  Stir in the butter, then add the vanilla, and lastly the heavy cream, continue stirring. 

The sauce will appear very thin in texture.  Pour it into a heat-safe container, and allow it to set up and thicken in a cool, room temperature setting. 

Once your caramel sauce has reached the desired texture, drizzle it over your black bean brownies.  You can do this individually, or you can apply the caramel to the whole sheet of brownies before cutting into it.
Lastly, top the brownies with a light sprinkling of finely ground sea salt.

These heavenly bites were rich in flavor, and the espresso really came through, packing a bold, mocha punch.  If you are not a fan of coffee, you can use a diminished amount of espresso in your batter.  That said, I would recommend leaving some in as it boosts the presence of the chocolate.  

All-in-all, I would say this recipe is extremely successful, and the perfect thing to offer your candida-skeptical friend.  You know, that one that always makes a face when you have to pass on the twizzlers at the movie theatre or the Girl Scout Cookies at the street corner?  Now is your chance to show them that you don’t say no to everything, that these tasty brownies are a total Can-Do. 

So go ahead, and dare them not to like it.