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Bake off: Lemon Cake vs. Lemon Muffins

First, quick note. I will be speaking at my office in Brookhaven this Thursday at 7:00pm on how to lower levels of inflammation. It’s a free class but please be sure to email Carol to sign up. Hope to see you there!

So this past Sunday Alice and I decided to have a lemon cake/muffin bake off! The challenge: who can make the tastiest treat and take the prettiest photographs. Alice has been watching a lot of Master Chef Jr., so she was ready to take me down. I on the other hand wanted to make paleo lemon muffins without nuts or coconut to see if it could be done and still taste good. I see a number of clients with intolerances to nuts/coconuts, and it is hard to bake paleo treats without those substitute flours. 

I also wanted to make a treat that was low in oxalates, so I used pumpkin seeds (which I made into flour), since almond flour has very high oxalate content. You may be wondering what is she talking about…Oxalates?  It sounds like a made up word that couldn’t possible effect you, right? I’d heard about oxalates for years but never personally paid much attention until, recently, I went to my doctor with lower back pain. After some testing testing, it turns out I have oxalate crystals in my urine. So what does that mean? The first thought was kidney stones. But then I learned that oxalate crystals can cause so many more issues. I was fascinated and excited and bummed all at the same time, since I had been pretty tired and a little achy the past couple of months and couldn’t figure out why. It turns out, I think my body just reached my maximum oxalate load. 

If you also tend to eat a lot of these foods, your levels can be elevated. 

  • spinach
  • cacao
  • chocolate
  • almonds
  • chia seeds
  • sweet potatoes

Pretty depressing list, right? Go to the yahoo low oxalate group to get the most up to date list.

High oxalate crystals in your system can cause many symptoms. Fortunately, I was just having symptoms of the first two listed below:

  • painful or inflamed joints, similar to fibromyalgia or arthritis 
  • fatigue 
  • burning urine flow
  • interstitial cystitis
  • vulvodynia 
  • depression
  • leaky gut or all sorts of other gut problems
  • kidney stones i.e. oxalates combine with calcium to form these
  • developmental disorders in children, including autism
  • hives 

If this sounds like you, get a oxalate crystals urine test or an OATS (organic acids test) test or begin to slowly follow a low oxalate diet to see if you notice any improvements. There are also some deficiencies that people with high oxalate levels so it is good to test if you can. 

OK, Back to the treats. Here were the outcomes. I honestly LOVED my muffins. And I think the pumpkin seed flour turned out really well. But with that said, Alice’s lemon cake won hands down.  They were amazing! I think the texture of mine was a little dense (be sure to grind your pumpkin seeds better than I did!), but I loved both!

This is what I used to make my pumpkin seed flour. Just add to your food processor and blend until it’s a fine ground flour. 


 Do I get extra points for her mess??_DSC4457

I love her hand in this picture. We might need to start with two hands on the camera to help with focus. Gotta start somewhere though! She is definitely creative.


Okay, including her feet (accidentally of course) in this picture totally makes me giggle….And she needs to do her nails! Those poor toes!!


She may have had a little help with this picture of her cake…looks good, doesn’t it? She did an amazing job!


And here are my muffins. Pretty but apparently not as tasty as the cake above but don’t let that stop you from making my muffins. I swear they were so good! I’m making them again this weekend! 


I hope y’all like these. If you make both, you’ll have to let us know what you preferred!

Here are the two recipes…

Alice’s recipe

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix wet ingredients together in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another. Combine the wet with dry. Grease a 5×9 bread dish. Pour in batter and cook for 40-45 minutes or you stick a butter knife in the bread and it comes out clean.

My recipe

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix wet ingredients together in a bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine the wet with dry. Grease muffin tins or use cup holders. Pour in batter to fill cups about 2/3 of the way full and cook for 20-22 minutes or until done. 

ICING optional for both (I preferred without but Alice LOVED the icing and preferred it)

1/3 cup coconut butter (we used Coconut Manna), melted

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together and pour on the cake or muffins once they have cooled for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy!


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