I love new cookbooks. I read them cover to cover. I flip through the pages scanning ingredient lists and baking instructions until my eyes start to cross. There is always something new to learn. My newest reading material? The Babycakes cookbook. Didn’t I just write a post about Babycakes’ vegan, gluten-free brownies and say that I didn’t own the cookbook but wished I did? Yes! But then I saw it when I was out shopping. Happy holidays to me!
In 2004, Erin McKenna was diagnosed with wheat and dairy allergies. She looked at the available desserts and decided it was a “wasteland of uninspired products.” So, she created her own recipes and opened Babycakes in New York City (now also with locations in Los Angeles and Orlando). Happily, for those of us who don’t live in city that has a Babycakes, she has shared her recipes in a cookbook!
Things I love about the Babycakes Cookbook:
(1) There is a photo of each recipe.
(2) McKenna includes a “Tools, Ingredients, and Tips” section to orient those new to baking or vegan ingredients.
(3) McKenna introduces each recipe with a short vignette.
(4) Celebrities (think Natalie Portman and Pamela Anderson!) have shared which Babycakes baked good they can’t live without!
I decided to make raspberry muffins (you can substitute other berries if you prefer!). I love experimenting in the kitchen, and I was excited to use some new ingredients. Like spelt flour.
Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated grains — it can be traced back more than 6,000 years to Mesopotamia. Spelt is a distant cousin of wheat. Although spelt (like wheat) contains gluten, it is easier to digest (and in fact some individuals with gluten sensitivities are able to digest spelt without issue). Why is spelt easier to digest than wheat? (1) Spelt’s gluten is water soluble and breaks down more easily than wheat’s gluten. (2) Spelt, an ancient grain, has retained its hard outer hull for pest protection. Modern wheat no longer has an outer hull and protects itself from pests with enzyme inhibitors (and enzymes are what we use to digest food!).
To read more about spelt and wheat check out:
The best part of the ingredient list? What was missing. There was no refined sugar on the list. Amazing.
First, all of the dry ingredients went into a bowl.
Next, it was time to add the wet ingredients. I dutifully added the lemon extract even as I was wondering if I had just bought an unnecessary bottle that would further clutter up my already bursting kitchen.
I mixed everything together…
And added the raspberries.
I then evenly divided the batter into a lined muffin tray,
These muffins were not just good. They were great. The biggest test came when it was time for my fiancé to try one. He doesn’t really like muffins (which I absolutely do NOT understand!). In the past, this has left me with eating or gifting any muffins that I have baked. This time was different. He declared that they were “really special,” and polished off two.
Was it the lemon extract that I so grudgingly added that made these muffins magic? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will happily make space in my kitchen for the lemon extract, so I can make these muffins again. Often.
- 2.25 cups whole spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ⅔ cup agave nectar
- ⅔ cup rice milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- ⅔ cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries!)
- Preheat oven to 325
- Put muffin liners in tin.
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
- Mix in the coconut oil, agave nectar, rice, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract.
- Gently mix in the berries.
- Pour batter into lined muffin pans.
- Bake muffins for 22 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate muffin pan 180 degrees so muffins bake evenly.
- Check muffins with toothpick. Muffins are finished, when the toothpick comes out clean.
- Enjoy immediately or allow to cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature.