Sweet Potato Pound Cake [Gluten-free]

sweet potato pound cake

The first version of this recipe I tried was in the form of a pumpkin pound cake (rather than sweet potato). It was part of a group potluck, and I loved it so much I took the leftovers home to Loren to share it with him. I’ve since made my own version using my homemade roasted sweet potato puree, and it was every bit as delicious as the original pumpkin one. Both versions are absolutely fabulous, so interchange the ingredients as you wish. I brought what was left of our sweet potato loaf home to Texas a few weeks back, and my mom loved it so much she asked me to make another one before I left. She even made sure to copy down the recipe before the trip was over (and she’s not generally a baker).

What makes this recipe shine is that it’s so SIMPLE. With only a handful of whole-food ingredients, none of which requires any special baking chemistry, it’s almost impossible to get this one wrong. And the final product is nothing short of decadent.


Delicious AND Nutritious

Not only would you never know that this pound cake is gluten-free, you’d never know that it’s actively good for you, filled with nutrient-dense ingredients that will nourish your body and make your taste buds sing. I’ll just give you a quick nutrition rundown so you can feel awesome about eating this pound cake for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert — add a dollop of coconut whipped cream to this creation and you have yourself a guilt-free, paleo dessert.

  1. It uses only whole food ingredients
  2. It is entirely gluten-, grain-, and dairy-free
  3. It uses only healthy fats from coconut oil, pastured eggs, and almonds – CLICK HERE for your free 15 oz jar of coconut oil
  4. It’s rich in beta carotene and other healthy phytonutrients (this is true whether you use sweet potatoes or pumpkin)
  5. It’s high in fiber and low in glycemic load (even lower GL with pumpkin but true for both)
  6. It includes warming spices, including cinnamon (which helps regulate blood sugar) and ginger (which aids in digestion)
  7. It uses a small amount of natural, unrefined maple syrup (1/4 cup for 8-10 servings), a natural sweetener rich in minerals and minimally processed

sweet potato pound cake

I have to give credit to my friend and colleague, holistic Chef Christine Cully for sharing her amazing recipe with me and allowing me to post it on CWB for you all to enjoy. Lucky for me (and for you as you’ll soon find out once you try this), Christine’s generous attitude is to share the wealth of her great recipes and get people eating better — just get the information out there, no credit requested! Well I’m giving her credit anyway. So here it is, my amazing sweet potato pound cake, adapted from a recipe by Chef Christine Cully. 

Sweet Potato Pound Cake
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  1. 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato puree (recipe linked at the top of the post)
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 cup almond flour
  6. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  7. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Melt coconut oil
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until smooth
  6. Bake in a greased loaf pan for 35-40 minutes
  1. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan or cutting to serve.
  2. This recipe works great for muffins as well, and yields about 10 muffins
Adapted from Holistic Chef Christine Cully
Adapted from Holistic Chef Christine Cully
Cultivated Wellbeing http://www.tonisicola.com/

Dairy-Free Persimmon Pudding [Recipe]

-Editor’s note added 1/18/15

This simple persimmon pudding recipe is the result of a desire not to waste one totally overripe persimmon a friend gave me from her tree. I’m not a huge fan of persimmons, but Loren loves them, so I took a few home for him. He ate a couple and then left one lonely fruit sitting on the counter until the skin became dark orange and translucent and the fruit was soft to the touch.

(As a side note, this could be fodder for some other blog post one day: How to get your husband or housemate to stop leaving small amounts of food in the fridge to be forgotten forever. I think I’ve successfully shamed Loren out of leaving 3 green beans in the bag and cooking the rest, but we both have a problem with eating fruit before it goes. It can sometimes make for interesting science experiments in the fridge …)

ANYWAY, there was this one persimmon. I had used a mushy persimmon before in a couple of other sweet syrupy recipes, but they weren’t good enough to share with you. This time however, I think I might have outdone myself. This is by far my very favorite way to consume a persimmon, and my persimmon-loving husband agreed — he said he liked it even better than the pumpkin custard recipe in my latest eBook.

Both recipes use coconut milk instead of regular cow’s milk, which some might think would pose a thickening problem. It doesn’t. It thickens right up; you just need a little time and patience (barely even any patience in the case of this small batch!). And at the end of the day, you have a dessert that doesn’t bother a lactose-intolerant belly and is full of the healthy fats from the coconut milk and the pastured egg yolks. What more could you ask of a dessert that already includes a bright orange fruit full of carotenoids? 

The “Single Guy Recipe”

I considered sharing a larger version of this recipe — perhaps one that serves 4 to 6 people — but after listening to an old episode of Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast where he laments the absence of “single guy” recipes in cookbooks after making 24 cupcakes and only wanting to eat 1, I decided to leave this recipe exactly as it was on my first try. This recipe serves two, and honestly, with just the two of us at home, it’s nice to be able to make a dessert that doesn’t linger in the fridge calling my name every night until it’s devoured.

Two is good.

As with other pudding/custard recipes, the more you make, the longer it takes to thicken, so anticipate some time adjustments if you decide to make a double or triple batch* of this scrumptious silky persimmon pudding.

*Editor’s note: I’ve since made a larger batch of this and didn’t simply double everything — which would have possibly yielded more but taken FOREVER. To make six 4-ounce servings like the ones pictured below, I used 4 persimmons, 6 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, and 3 cups coconut milk. The directions remain the same.

dairy-free persimmon pudding

Dairy-free Persimmon Pudding
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  1. 1 overly ripe, pulpy fuyu persimmon, skin removed (scrape the pulp off with a spoon if necessary)
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  4. 1 cup coconut milk
  1. In a double boiler, heat coconut milk and maple syrup until you achieve a low simmer
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and persimmon pulp
  3. Very slowly pour the warm coconut mixture to the persimmon and egg yolks, whisking thoroughly until completely incorporated
  4. Pour everything back into the double boiler and simmer until it thickens, about 15 minutes
  5. Whisk throughout to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or clump up
  6. Pour into 2 ramekins and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving
  1. See editor's note above in this post for how to triple this recipe.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://www.tonisicola.com/

The Guilt-Free Adult Brownie [RECIPE]

adult brownie

For the past month or so, I’ve been on a mission to build the best black bean brownie on earth. My goal has been simple: create a gluten-free, dairy-free, flour-free dessert rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants that anyone โ€” even those just looking for a decadent treat โ€” can genuinely enjoy without an asterisk. As in, “it’s really good.*”

*for a healthy dessert

I just want it to be good, period.

Great even.


After all, the tagline of this blog is “sowing the seeds of a sweet, rich life.” What better way to do that than with a delicious, fudgy brownie you can feel good about eating?

adult brownie

Before I share this brownie recipe with you, I need to illustrate my standard of comparison for greatness. This is important.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s a small chain of grocery stores called Andronico’s, and inside those grocery stores there lives the best brownie on earth.

It’s called The Adult Brownie.

If you were to google “Andronico’s Adult Brownie,” you’d see things like “Best Brownie in SF” and multiple recipe bloggers attempting to recreate this masterpiece using every strategy short of selling their souls to the devil.

adult brownie

pulled this picture from a Yelp review

Context is Everything

A few years back, my roommate Nicole discovered this gem through a coworker, and we went hunting for it. Nicole and I are in lock-step when it comes to our reverence for the role chocolate plays in our emotional wellbeing. We started our hunt at the bakery case, not quite knowing what we were looking for. When it wasn’t there, we split up, figuring we’d cover more ground that way.

Minutes later we reconvened empty-handed in front of the open refrigerated troughs that carry specialty foods like olives and spreads, and Nicole’s usually cheerful face was fraught with panic. What if we couldn’t find it? She looked down trying to keep her composure and glanced inside that open trough. “THAT’S IT!” she pointed and screamed. The woman pushing a shopping cart next to her must have jumped a good six inches into the air, scurrying away, terrified of the brownie-crazed women who nearly knocked her over to get to the goods. We bought two and rushed home.

This remains the funniest story involving brownies I’ve ever been a part of.

Replicating the Adult Brownie

Sadly, the Adult Brownie isn’t gluten-free, so I haven’t enjoyed its mind-altering, pleasure-center short-circuiting glory for quite a few years now โ€” and I miss it. I’ve been working on a replacement recipe on and off for about a year with varying levels of success, and last night I NAILED it.

Full disclosure: when my husband tasted the final product I asked him if it was as good as the Adult Brownie, and he said “no.” But only after a long pause, which was followed up by, “But it’s a damn good brownie and a very close second. It’s good for a brownie, not just good for a ‘healthy’ brownie.”

He’s not one to fluff up my ego on such things, so I’ll take it! A very close second to a famous brownie that features white sugar, white flour, and possibly the soul of some poor baker’s first-born child? Yeah, I’ll take that.

adult brownie


The Guilt-Free Adult Brownie
Yields 9
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained
  2. 2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (CWB Favorite Pick), separated (1 cup, 1 cup, 1/2 cup)
  3. 1/4 cup coconut milk (CWB Favorite Pick)
  4. 2 tbs organic coconut oil (CWB Favorite Pick)
  5. 2 pasture eggs
  6. 1 tbs vanilla
  7. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  8. 2 tbs unsweetened organic cocoa powder
  9. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  10. 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  11. 2 to 3 tbs shredded coconut or coconut flakes (CWB Favorite Pick)
  12. 1 tbs coconut sugar (CWB Favorite Pick)
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a food processor, process the black beans and 1 cup chocolate chips until integrated
  3. Add in the next seven ingredients (up to and including the salt), and keep processing until a smooth batter forms
  4. Stir in the second cup of chocolate chips
  5. Line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper leaving enough paper to stick out the sides
  6. Spoon batter into the pan
  7. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and pecans, then add the shredded coconut and coconut sugar (the sugar and shredded bits will create a nice little crunch once it bakes)
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes (a fork pushed through the center of the pan should come out without any batter on it)
  9. Let sit for about 10 minutes before lifting the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper
  10. Let cool to room temperature on the counter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing/serving (otherwise it could break apart) ***
  11. Prepare for greatness
  1. *** If you prefer a warm brownie, that's great. Still allow those first 10 minutes, then use a warm knife to cut the part you want to eat and leave the rest in tact. Don't cut the whole pan hot unless you're serving all of it. If you are, wipe off the knife between slices.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://www.tonisicola.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links (CWB Favorite Picks), which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only link to products that I USE and LOVE. All opinions are my own.

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