Is Paleo for You?

What do you picture when you hear the word Paleo?  Half clad hairy ape-like people where the men carry big clubs (not for golf) chasing down wild beasts as the women huddle around a fire, while skinning the wild beasts that the men have clubbed to death.  Or do you picture healthy, shiny-faced lean people munching on a plate of veggies with a side of meat.  If the first image is what you see, then you are definitely behind the times and need to catch up.

The word Paleo is gaining popularity like “yoga” once did.  There’s the Paleo lifestyle, Paleo diet, and Paleo workout.  I’ve been hearing of the Paleo diet for a couple of years now, and especially the testaments of weight loss and improved health.  One would think that meat would be a large component of the Paleo diet.  But meat actually comprises only a small percentage of the diet, and the balance is made up of fruits and vegetables.  That’s about all I know about this trend, so when {Kale} recently met a follower of the Paleo lifestyle we wanted to find out more and organized an interview with her for our blog.

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Natalie Cishecki calls herself ‘The Peaceful Paleo’ and I wanted to know why she chose that name.  It started off as an acronym taught by a high school teacher. According to Natalie: “P.E.A.C.E — People Educating Accepting and Celebrating Everyone. This is what I wanted my website to be: A place for people to come together, share their experiences, and build a community of support. Thus, The Peaceful Paleo was born.”

I was curious to know how she adopted the Paleo diet.  “Originally, I had adopted a Gluten-Free diet as a result of some digestive issues I was having, however, the symptoms seemed to persist, and in some cases, worsen. From there, I cut out dairy and refined sugars (gradually) and started to feel a bit better, but still not 100%. After being diagnosed with MS a friend of mine recommended a book called ‘The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal your Body’ by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. I began reading and decided that this diet made sense, not just because of being autoimmune but because it is based in science and history, not just the latest fad.”

Though her health has improved drastically since she has been on the Paleo diet, Natalie is still finding out which foods work better for her and which not, so it’s never really cut and dried.  As Natalie says, ” I am working on making the switch to Autoimmune Protocol or AIP (‘Paleo Approach’) which is a little stricter than a conventional Paleo diet, and I am taking it one step and one day at a time.”

Since our focus at kake2kale is on superfoods I asked how she incorporates them. The focus of the Paleo diet is on eating nutrient-rich foods that are not pro-inflammatory. Consequently, the diet is focused on eating unrefined, whole foods. As a result, there are many superfoods that fit into a Paleo diet, especially fruits, vegetables, proteins (minus Eggs for AIP), herbs & spices, nuts and Seeds; however in very limited quantities (except for AIP which avoids these foods). The main difference is that Paleo eliminates all grains and starches because they have similar scientific effects on the body as gluten does, being highly pro-inflammatory and contributing to leaky gutThis is all explained very thoroughly and comprehensively in the book, The Paleo Approach.”

I also asked Natalie about her favourite superfoods and how she likes to prepare them.  “My top 3 superfoods would have to be avocado, coconut (in all its wonderful forms) and beets. The main reason for this is that they are incredibly diverse! I bake a lot and definitely have a sweet tooth (partially because I am still an infant in the broad spectrum of those living the Paleo lifestyle), so being able to incorporate these delicious superfoods into my baking is not just delicious but also nutritious! Additionally, I cannot eat bananas so avocados are my main potassium source and a great source for fats to sustain me through the day. I eat avocado with everything. It is my favourite burger topping, I eat it plain sometimes, or use it as an egg substitute BUT my favourite thing to do with it is to add it to a salad. I often eat it for breakfast like this: 1/2 avocado cubed; 1 apple cubed; 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped, and some sort of fruity vinaigrette + whatever protein I am eating for breakfast. As for coconut, I use coconut flour mainly in all of my baking, and if I am having a protein shake, I mix it with coconut water. I love shredded coconut, especially in my Chewy Paleo granola bars.  I add beets to my Red Velvet Cake or I love to cut them thin, BBQ them and add them to my lettuce-wrapped burger as beet chips — delicious!

Natalie’s favourite dish is soup and bacon, which she sometimes has for breakfast.Last night’s leftovers are completely suitable at 6am the next morning, and if I want protein-pancakes for breakfast with bacon, then I do it!”  I love that there are no ‘should have’ in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner, because earlier this week I had leftover pasta topped off with a fried egg for breakfast.” 

One of the main goals for eating Paleo is that it eliminates pro-inflammatory foods and yet red meat is known to be inflammatory, so I asked Natalie about this and she said grass fed beef actually does not promote inflammation and suggested I do some research into this.  You can read more about this topic here.  Thanks Natalie for opening my eyes and my stomach!

I wondered what her challenges are when eating at restaurants.   “Variety.  There are not many places I can go to eat ‘safely’ (meaning Paleo-friendly) that also have a decent selection for me to choose from (more than 2-3 options).  However, I have focused on finding restaurants that are willing to adapt.  Anywhere that is not a chain, or some of the higher end chains (like the Keg) tend to be very understanding and accommodating in my experience.  When in doubt, I just order a steak and veggies.

For my kake2kale recipes, I asked Natalie which are Paleo-friendly?  Her reply was that Kale Pesto with Potato and Egg would be acceptable if only sweet potatoes were used.  For the Cauliflower Steak, it would be Paleo if nutritional yeast and sherry were left out.  And, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups would be Paleo if almond butter replaced peanut butter.  Lastly, the 5-minute Chocolate Mousse is Paleo as is.

Finally, I asked what is the top advice she has for someone interested in adopting the Paleo diet. “I can only speak for myself and from my own experience, but I definitely needed to do things gradually, otherwise I would have been very overwhelmed.  I started with (cutting out) gluten, then dairy and sugar, grains and starches, and then legume.”

Will I become Paleo?  Well I don’t adhere to any one particular way of eating, but if I were to have health challenges, I would definitely give Paleo a good go, especially after meeting Natalie and hearing her story.

We asked Natalie to share a Paleo-superfood recipe.  Below is her Maple Smoked Sesame Crusted Salmon with Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Kale Slaw which serves 5-6 people.   It is superfood-friendly, scrumptious, and is definitely worth making!

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Pumpkin-Spice Candied Pumpkin Seeds


  • 1 ½ – 2 Cups Pumpkin Seeds
  • ½ TSP each Cinnamon, Ginger, & Cayenne
  • ¼ TSP Nutmeg
  • 1/8 TSP Cloves & All Spice
  • 2 TBSP Maple Syrup or Honey
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  •     Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  •     Mix together Maple Syrup or Honey with the spices.
  •     Add in Pumpkin Seeds and stir until seeds are evenly coated.
  •     Spread Pumpkin Seeds in a single layer on the parchment paper.
  •     Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  •     Remove from oven, stir, and let cool entirely.

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Paleo Pumpkin-Spiced Kale-Slaw


  • 1 Bundle Green Kale
  • 2 Medium Beets, Peeled & Shredded
  • 2-3 Large Carrots, Peeled & Shredded
  • 1 – ½ C Medjool Dates
  • 1 batch Pumpkin-Spice Candied Pumpkin Seeds *see above*
  • 1 batch Sesame & Apple Cider Vinaigrette *see below*


  • Wash and dry Kale thoroughly.
  • Cut Kale across the leaf in ½ inch-thick strips. Stop when the base of the leaf meets the stalk and discard the remaining stalk or save it for soup broth.
  • Place in a bowl.
  • Peel and shred beets and carrots and add to the bowl of Kale. Toss until all ingredients are thoroughly coated with the Sesame & Apple Cider Vinaigrette (below) and allow to sit in the fridge for a minimum 1 hour or up to overnight. The acid from the Apple Cider Vinegar will break down the starches of the beets making them softer to bite into.
  • Cut the dates lengthwise and remove the pit. The date will fold open like a butterfly. Cut down the middle, so the date is split into two, lengthwise halves. Then cut these halves lengthwise once more. You will have four strips. Cut these strips horizontally so that each yields 3-4 pieces. Do this with all the dates. (Of course you can chop the dates however you want, this is just how I do them to yield the size shown in the photograph).
  • When ready to serve, add the dates and the Pumpkin-Spice Candied Pumpkin Seeds to the slaw, toss, and plate. I initially served this slaw as a side for wings at a movie night I hosted, and the next time, I paired it with my Maple-Smoked Sesame-Coated Salmon – Delicious!

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Sesame & Apple Cider Vinaigrette


  • ½ C EVOO
  • ¼ C + 1 ½ TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP each Sesame Oil & Coconut Aminos
  • Salt to taste


  •  Mix together EVOO & Apple Cider Vinegar by pouring one into the other slowly and whisking continuously.
  •  Add in Sesame Oil, Coconut Aminos, and Salt to taste. Mix thoroughly.

The dressing is under-seasoned because the spices from the Pumpkin-Spice Candied Pumpkin Seeds will integrate throughout the dish, bringing lots of flavour.

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Paleo Maple-Smoked Sesame-Coated Salmon


  • 5 – 4oz Salmon Fillets
  • ¼ C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ C + 2 TBSP Maple Syrup
  • Liquid Smoke
  • ½ C + 2 TBSP Water
  • 1 C toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Grapeseed Oil


  • For the marinade, mix together Apple Cider Vinegar, ¼ C Maple Syrup, ½ C Water & 3-4 splashes Liquid Smoke. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  •  Place Salmon Fillets skin-side down in a glass pyrex baking dish or equivalent large enough that they are not overlapping. Pour marinade over Salmon. Cover and place Salmon in the fridge, setting a timer for 30 minutes. Fish is very delicate and will begin to cook if marinated for more than 30 minutes. Additionally, this is as long as it takes for fish to absorb flavour, so any marinating in addition to this is unnecessary.
  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • While Salmon is marinating, mix together 2 TBSP Maple Syrup, a few splashes of Liquid Smoke, and 2 TBSP water in a shallow plate.
  • Cover another place entirely with toasted sesame seeds. If you want to add additional Salt or Pepper, add it to the seeds.
  • Prepare 5 square sheets of aluminum foil by placing them shiny-side up, and putting a small dot of Grapeseed Oil in the centre of each one (~ 1 TBSP).
  • When the fish is done marinating, remove each piece one at a time from the liquid. Dip it flesh-side into the Maple Syrup mixture, and then into the sesame seeds, and lay it in the centre of the foil, skin-side down. Fold the foil to create a small house shape around the fish so that the foil is not touching the sesame seeds. Repeat for all fillets and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the oven to broil and open up the houses. Let the salmon cook an additional 2-5 minutes at this temperature or until the seeds are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy with a generous helping of Paleo Pumpkin-Spiced Kale Slaw.

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Thank you Natalie for sharing your inspiring story, insights about the Paleo diet, and recipe with us!!  You can find her blog at

Eat healthy, live like you mean it! {Kake}

Kale Pesto with Roasted Potatoes and Egg

We’ve been growing kale in our garden for a few years now.  For those of you who have never planted anything for fear of killing it, then kale is for you.  We usually just buy the seedlings in the spring, plant them and water them somewhat regularly and they supply us with their prodigious leaves from summer into late fall.  Growing kale is definitely 20% effort for 80% results.

Kale used to be one of those mysterious things that adorned plates at restaurants.  Mom and I had lunch many years ago when my sandwich platter came with a scoop of coleslaw that was nestled in a green frilly leaf.  Mom saw this leaf and in an awed voice said, “I think that’s kale; it’s very nutritious.”  It was like she had seen a unicorn!  I took a little bite of this strange leaf with high expectations, but was completely disappointed by the tough chewy texture and bitterish taste.  Mom finished off the rest of my discarded leaf.  Little did I know then that she was further fortifying her anti-aging genes; my Mom has always looked young for her age.  But at that time, I had as little use for kale as those plastic green cut-outs that come with your sushi.

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How far we’ve come! Kale has now shot out of the shadows and straight into our gardens, our salads, chips, smoothies.   It’s the Susan Boyle of the vegetable world, living a life of obscurity until a spotlight was shone on it and it burst forth in all of its green glory.  It has definitely had more than its share of 15 minutes of fame, and still going strong, though other veggies are trying to vie for its prominence in our fridges and plates.  Besides the conventional curly and heavy textured leafy kind, there is the non-curly and not as chewy kind called locinato, or dinosaur kale, as well as black kale, which really looks purplish.

My favourite way to eat kale is to make them into chips by dehydrating them, which makes them really crispy so they taste just like the kind you can spend oodles of money on in the grocery store.  It’s worth the trouble.  My neighbor has a dehydrator that she generously let me use, but she just moved and I might have to get one for myself.  Here is my go to recipe for dehydrated kale chips.

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With the abundance of kale in my garden, I thought I’d make pesto with it.  One night I had a craving for comfort food, and what’s more comforting than breakfast for dinner.  So I roasted some sweet potatoes and potatoes, added the kale pesto and a fried egg, read my Vanity Fair magazine and settled in for the night…heaven.

Superfoods in this recipe:
Kale – High amount of calcium and vitamin K. In the Brassica oleracea family which is known to have a protective effect against cancer, because they contain Indole-3-carbinal (IC3) , which promotes a healthy balance of good estrogen to toxic cancer causing form of estrogen, it also has an anti-tumour effect.
Garlic – The major player in the allium family ( includes, leeks, onions, shallots, chives, green onion) contains sulphuric compounds that may help with lowering blood pressure, destroy cancer cells.  Allicin, one of these compounds in garlic is not only anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, but research has shown that as allicin helps your body to neutralize dangerous free radicals.
Pine nuts – This seed has the highest amount of protein found in any nut.  They are the only source of pinoleic acid, an appetite suppressant.  They contain a high concentration of oleic acid which is good for heart health. Pine nuts are also rich in iron and packed with antioxidants.
Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive taste and is high numerous antioxidants which are anti-flammatory and may protect the heart.
Sweet potatoes – Contains vitamin C, B complex, calcium and beta carotene. This is a complex carbohydrate, which means the carbs get released slowly in our body, so we don’t experience a dip in our energy levels, so our blood sugar remains stable.   B vitamins support our nervous system, which help us to feel calm and improves sleep.
Eggs –Nature’s near perfect food. Contains a wide range of vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, choline, B12, as well as protein, lutein and zea-xanthin. Try to purchase Omega 3 eggs, to make it even more of a superfood.
Breakfast for Dinner serves 2


  • 1 potato
  • 1 sweet potato
  • ½ T. olive oil
  • ¼ t. salt
  • Kale pesto (recipe below)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Cut both potatoes into wedges then drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Place on baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, turning once.
  • Just before the potatoes are done, fry the eggs and set aside.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, divide them between two plates, put about 1-2 Tablespoons of pesto onto each plate and top with fried egg and parmesan cheese if desired.

Kale Pesto makes about 1 cup


  • 2 cups kale (chopped)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Puree kale, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor, or blender.
  • Then stream olive oil into the mixture with machine on low.
  • Then add cheese and salt and pepper at the end.

To store leftover pesto, pour olive oil over the top to create a seal, so the pesto does not oxidize.  It can be refrigerated for a week, or frozen for 3 months.  But if freezing, do not put the cheese into the pesto, but add when serving.

Eat healthy, live  great! {Kake}

Kale Pesto 3 Kake2kale

Quinoa Kale Burger with Goji Berry Ketchup

Going to Macdonald’s as a child was really not a huge draw, although my parents somehow always chose to take my brother and I to Macdonald’s whenever they had bad news to tell us.  The burgers were unmemorable, but the shakes, oh boy!!  Just the mention of Shamrock shakes today will put a stupid smile on my face.  Burgers were considered food that only people who camped, hunted, listened to rock and roll, drove trucks and had mullet hairstyles ate.  Not that we felt above those people, we were just into other things, like not eating with our hands, unless it was a barbecue pork bun at dim sum and then you had no choice.  To this day even eating crab I only allow one hand to handle the crab while the other hand uses chopsticks.

One night I was looking through my cupboard trying to decide what to make for dinner and saw cans of beans.  I keep buying them because I know they are good for me, but they just sit there.  So I took a can down, opened the fridge and once I saw the leftover cooked kale inspiration hit me for these burgers.

Mulling over what condiment to go with the burger it occurred to me that goji berries blended with ketchup might work well.  By the way here is a little tidbit about the provenance of the word “ketchup”.  We were having ketchup on something and I was saying the word in my mind.  I suddenly made the connection with the Cantonese words for ketchup.  I looked it up in the dictionary, and indeed, its origins are Chinese, because “ke” means tomato and “chup” is sauce.  The goji berry ketchup’s sweet and tart flavour is the perfect foil to the burger.  You can add your own twist by adding chilli powder, or sriracha.

Quinoa Burger 2 Kale2Kale

Superfoods in my burger and condiment recipes:

Cannellini beans:  These are also called navy beans because they were a staple for the U.S. Navy in the early 1900’s.  Packed full of protein, fiber and also vitamin B1, as well as lots of minerals.
Quinoa:  Contains antixoidants, as well as all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein, perfect for vegetarians.
Kale:  High amount of calcium and vitamin K. Kale is in the Brassica oleracea family which is known to have a protective effect against cancer, because they contain Indole-3-carbinal (IC3) , which promotes a healthy balance of good estrogen to toxic cancer causing form of estrogen, it also has an anti-tumour effect.
Onion:  High amount of quercetin (which is an anti-histamine, helps your body combat allergies). Onions are also antibacterial, antiseptic, detox properties, lowers cholesterol, protects the heart.
Goji Berries:   These are also known as Wolfberries. They contain the highest concentration of protein of any fruit, high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, and 21 trace minerals. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.

 Quinoa Burgers makes 8 burgers

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 can or 398 ml Cannellini (navy)beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups kale (stem removed and chopped)
  • ¼ cup onion (minced)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 T. plus 2 t. olive oil
  • 2 t. mustard
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • ½ t. chilli powder
  • 1 cupgluten free breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)


  • Place the quinoa in 1 cup of water, cover and bring to a boil.  Keep uncovered and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains have opened up.
  • While quinoa is cooking, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat add the onion, cook for 5 minutes, then add the kale and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes until kale is wilted.
  • Then in a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa, kale and then rest of the ingredients mix well.  Form into 8 patties and using a tablespoon of oil at a time cook the patties in a frying pan.


Goji Ketchup makes 1/2 cup

  • 1 T. goji berries
  • 1 T. filtered water
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (whichever one you have in your fridge)


  • Rehydrate goji berries  in filtered water for 15 minutes
  • Do not drain the berries, but add goji berries along with water to ketchup.  (There will be nutrients from the goji berries in the water that it has been rehydrating in.)  Puree with a hand blender until smooth.  That is it!

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

Quinoa Burger Kake2Kale


The Iron Dinner Party

Most people probably decide on a dinner party menu by selecting dishes that they’re comfortable making or would be crowd-pleasingly practical.  It is less likely that social dinners are designed solely around one health benefit; however, that is what we did. When several family members developed significant iron deficiencies, we thought it would be helpful and fun to focus on iron-rich foods at family gatherings.  In the most recent dinner party, we kicked into iron chef mode with our best feast yet. Our iron-powerhouse meal included:

Baked Kale Chips – Kale has loads of calcium and vitamin K.
Liverwurst with rice crackers – Pork liver is a good source of vitamin A, D, B and C but also zinc.
Panko-Crusted Fried Oysters – Oysters are high in zinc, good for immunity, protein and Omega 3’s.
Steamed Mussels with gluten-free beer – Mussels are high in minerals.
Marinated Octopus – High in selenium, an antioxidant and vitamin B12 good for energy.
Grilled Asparagus with Spinach salad – Asparagus is high in B vitamins, good for nervous system. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K and Omega 3.
Baked Yam Fries – High in antioxidants like beta carotene, great for eyes.
Chocolate and Raspberry Trifle – Beets and spelt flour adds iron to this dessert.

All deliciously healthy but easy and fun to make! We’ve included Kake’s dessert recipe and Kale’s directions for preparing the oysters and octopus.  Enjoy! {Kake} & {Kale}

iron dinner 1

Panko Crusted Oysters serves 4-6 as an appetizer


  • Rinse raw oysters (18-20 medium size) and drain on paper towel.
  • Coat each oyster with flour then dip in egg mixture (1-2 beaten) followed by a dip in panko (Japanese style bread crumbs). Make sure the oyster is fully covered.
  • Pan fry the oysters in hot oil until they are golden brown and cooked through.  Lay on paper towel to drain oil.

Marinated Octopus serves 4-6 as an appetizer


  • Simmer fresh Octopus (2 lbs) in hot water for about 40 minutes until tender (pinch with fork).
  • Let cool a bit and lay tentacles over an upside down bowl or hang them over the ridge of a bowl.
  • Place in fridge for 2 hours.
  • Cut octopus into slices.  Make a marinade by mixing pressed garlic with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon (approximate amounts by taste).
  • Toss octopus in marinade and add cut parsley. Place in fridge for another 30 minutes prior to serving.

iron dinner 2

Grilled Asparagus with Spinach Salad & Baked Yam Fries

iron dinner 4

Kale Chips & Steamed Mussels

iron dinner 3

Chocolate and Raspberry Trifle Serves 10

  • 1 1/4 cups light spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 398 ml can beets drained
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  •  2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 T. Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 2 T. Chocolate syrup
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Puree the beets.
  • With an electric mixer beat the sugar with the oil in a medium sized bowl for 2 minutes, then add the egg and vanilla.  Then add the beets.
  • Gradually beat in 1/3 dry ingredients, till just blended. (Don’t over do it, or cake will be tough)  Then 1/2 of buttermilk, keep alternating and end with dry ingredients.
  • Pour batter into pan till 3/4 full, if you have more batter, make cupcakes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Test with a toothpick inserted in the center, if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs it is ready.
  • While cake is cooling whip the cream until it is partly whipped, then add the Bailey’s and chocolate syrup. Continue to beat until cream is fully whipped. (Coconut cream may be substituted, just make sure the beaters and the coconut cream is chilled prior to whipping.  Buttermilk has very low lactose so if coconut cream is used, this dessert is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.)
  • Once cake is completely cooled, cut into squares and place half of the cake chunks in a serving bowl (a glass one is pretty) dollop half of the cream over top, and repeat, then sprinkle the raspberries over the top.  Chill for a couple of hours, then serve to oohs and ahhs!!

You don’t even have to let on that this dessert is nutritious, I even had some for breakfast the next day and did not feel the slightest guilt, now that’s having your cake and eating it too!  {Kake}