I realize that this is a health blog first and foremost, but I am a firm believer that part of leading a healthy lifestyle is allowing yourself to indulge every once in a while. It may sound corny, but balance really is the key! I created this cake for my mom’s birthday a couple of months ago, inspired by our recent trip to California, and am proud to say that it was a huge hit with the family! The smooth buttery crunch of the crust, paired with the sweet creaminess of the cheesecake are so delightful that, really, it would be unfair of me not to share it with you guys. I used this recipe as a starting point, but didn’t really like the idea of a Jell-O cake, so started to innovate about halfway through.
I also designed this recipe as being gluten-free, since I have no choice (see my note on gluten at the bottom), however, you can certainly substitute a regular flour in for the crust if you so please! Here it goes:
- 2 sticks of butter
- 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour (I used Robin Hood’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend – it has a nutty flavour that pairs really nicely with the pecans!)
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 16 oz. cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup raw pistachios
- small carton of Cool Whip (optional)
- green food colouring (optional)
Making the Crust:
- blend the two sticks of butter, 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour, and 3/4 cup of chopped pecans together
- spread on the bottom of your dish (I used a 12” wide metal cheesecake pan), and bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on which size dish you use) at 350 degrees until light golden brown
- let the crust cool completely
Making the Cheesecake:
- mix the 16 oz. of cream cheese and two cups of powdered sugar together in a blender
- pour in 3/4 cups of pistachios and pump until there are no more chunks
- if you want the cheesecake to be green you can also add some green food colouring at this point. You only need a few drops to achieve the desired effect..otherwise it might start to look otherworldly!
- spread this mixture on top of the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- when you are ready to serve it you can put a dollop of Cool Whip in the middle of the cake if you’d like (or serve it on the side), and I also like to garnish the cake with the raw pistachios because they look oh so pretty. I definitely recommend playing with the proportions in this recipe…make it your own! You can also use this as a jumping off point to mix in whichever flavour you might like. I blended pistachios into my cake, but what about bananas and melted dark chocolate?, puréed strawberries?, the possibilities are endless! Let me know what you come up with.
I’ll leave you with a close-up just in case you weren’t convinced yet that this cake might be the key to euphoria…
[A Note About Gluten]
I was recently diagnosed as having a gluten allergy, also known as celiac disease. I have been highly iron deficient my entire life and what I learned after going through a series of tests is that if you are allergic to gluten, it can damage the villi along your small intestine, resulting in the malabsorption of nutrients. I have been entirely gluten-free for almost four months now, and it really has changed my life for the better. One of the most tangible examples of this is my Iron levels which were at a mere 12 in June (with Iron supplements), and are now up to a happy 46 without supplementation (and still climbing)! I’ve also noticed less quantifiable changes such as increased energy, a better complexion, easier weight maintenance, etc. It is certainly not always easy. I’ve had two instances where I’ve had to run to a grocery store after entering a sushi restaurant with friends to buy gluten-free soy sauce (thanks for being so patient with me guys)! With that being said, it is definitely a worthwhile sacrifice, and if you are experiencing any symptoms that you suspect might be related I would definitely recommend consulting your doctor. You can also free free to ask me any questions if you’re curious. I’ve been putting a lot of research into all of this, so I might be able to help!
I have also been trying to, and recommend, making healthy gluten-free choices as opposed to buying a lot of the crummy substitute products. I will make my best effort to lead by positive example on this blog, so that you don’t wind up feeling deprived in the least!