Tag Archives: dessert

End of Summer (Gluten-Free) Cake (Though Cake Season Never Ends)

4 Sep

I shuddered as I wrote that doomsday-esque title; I know I have no place to announce the ends of seasons, but with the imminent approach of Harvest Gathering I feel like fall is coming, regardless of temperature. It’s getting to that wonderful part of August where the nights are cool and the days still pass the 80 degree mark; football season avoid Ann Arbor at all costs season is beginning; tomatoes are all but falling off the vine en masse. It’s time once again to embrace fresh apple cider, savory baked goods, and socks. Really cozy wool socks. I feel like I’m starting to sound like a Pure Michigan commercial. Maybe it’s the ultra-calming effects of the Blue Lotus tea Brandon just made me. ULTRA CALM. SUPER CALM. MEGA CALM! Nothing gets the blood pumping like a few phrases in all caps. I’m feeling snappy already! Perhaps just snappy enough to tell you about the awesome cake that I’ve already made twice in the last week. In two variations!

I borrowed the recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess for an impromptu going-away-party-cake for Brandon’s sister, Corinna, who just moved to Connecticut to get even more awesome at being awesome. Oh gosh, Karina, Corinna…together for the first time in one sentence! Corinna has a really great band and Karina has a really great blog. Oddly enough, the post that this recipe came from begins with a letter from a “fan” full of backhanded compliments and waaay too much sass. I don’t know if I’m missing something but I can’t tell if it’s parody or not! Anyways, the cake recipe is GREAT. It’s totally a transitional cake–there’s a hint of cinnamon, cornmeal for a little texture, but based around summery strawberries. The first time I baked this with the strawberries, it was great. I opted for a pound of berries instead of the suggested pint, since it didn’t seem like the pint would at all cover the bottom of my cast-iron pan. The second time I tried the cake, it was even more impromptu and I only had peaches on hand, so they became the new base and GUESS WHAT. IT WAS STILL GREAT. SO GREAT. I topped both versions with homemade whipped cream, which was a stellar pairing. Also tasty would be some vanilla bean or cinnamon ice cream…mmm. This is a simple cake. “Rustic” seems like an appropriate adjective as chosen by Karina. I’ll let her do the talking as for the recipe (though I’ll insert my suggestions, too). Keep in mind my suggestion for more fruit! And experiment! What sort of seasonal fruits might you try with this?

iPhone for the win! Coming in handy when my camera is not around.

GLUTEN-FREE RUSTIC STRAWBERRY COBBLER CAKE

(for some reason my technology devices have decided that this section MUST be in a larger font size. I supposed it is the important part…)

The key word in this cake is rustic- due to the grainy cornmeal. I used a combo of hefty flours because I personally like a whole grain kind of feel in a cobbler cake like this.

For the strawberries:

 

1 heaping pint of fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry (I went for a pound of strawberries)

A sprinkle of lemon or lime juice

2 tablespoons organic sugar

 

Dry ingredients:

2/3 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal

1/3 cup GF buckwheat flour, GF millet flour, or brown rice flour

2/3 cup sorghum flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

Pinch of nutmeg- just a hint

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup hemp or rice milk, warm (milk or milk substitute of your choice! and it doesn’t actually NEED to be warm, as it turns out–I learned that due to a lazy moment)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or light tasting rice vinegar

3 tablespoons raw organic agave nectar or honey

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

Egg replacer for 2 eggs- I used Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with warm water (or eggs!)

Organic raw sugar for the top, if desired (it makes a lovely crunchy top)

 

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Warm up a seasoned 10-inch skillet (or use a hefty cake pan or casserole dish). I rubbed mine with a little light olive oil (or butter). Set aside.

Stem the strawberries; cut them in half; toss them into a bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons organic sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine your dry ingredients: cornmeal, buckwheat and white rice flours, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients: light olive oil, hemp milk, vinegar, agave, vanilla, egg replacer (or egg). Whisk till combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly mix by hand until combined- don’t over-beat (it isn’t necessary).

Drain the strawberries and pour them into the warm skillet (reserve several for the top, as I did, if you like).

Spoon the batter onto the strawberries. Place the reserved berries on top, cut side down, pressing in slightly.

Sprinkle the whole top with organic raw sugar crystals.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending upon your altitude and oven (here at 6,700 feet it took 47 minutes). *Mine took between 25 and 35 minutes each, here in flat ol’ Michigan*

Test for doneness by not only touching the top- it should be golden and firm- but by using a cake tester inserted into the center; it should emerge clean.

Place the skillet on a wire cooling rack to cool.

Serve slices warm or at room temperature. Wrap leftover slices in foil; bag and freeze. Thaw to room temperature or warm gently before consuming.

We enjoyed our cake with a little local hard cider!

Here’s the peach version (with blueberries on top) in case you were wondering.

 

 

Enjoy!

Happy Ice Cream Day!

16 Jul

So apparently it is National Ice Cream Day. July is also National Ice Cream Month according to Ronald Reagan, who established these holidays back in the 80s. I suppose there’s a reason why they don’t make greeting cards for National Ice Cream day, and that is because everyone is too busy stuffing their faces full of ice cream to look at any card. Plus, cards do not taste nearly as good as ice cream.

Being the model citizen that I am, I celebrated the holiday by making some REAL TASTY ICE CREAM. A few weeks ago I met Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. She is a totally awesome lady who is now a James Beard winner among other shining accolades. She makes delicious ice cream. I visited one of her retail stores in Nashville while we were on tour in February. Ben, Brandon and I stood in front of the counter sampling literally every flavor. Plus some. Seriously. The kind lady behind the counter asked if we wanted to sample the ice cream sandwiches, some things from the back (that’s when I tasted Influenza Sorbet for the first time…). Anyways, the point is that Jeni’s jazz is to die for. I would probably consider buying a franchise if she’d let me, except I’d probably gain 100 pounds and lose money due to “disappearing inventory.”

So, since I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel or anything, I made one of Jeni’s recipes. It’s her best seller (she told me herself) and it’s pretty easy to see why once you shove just one (or several) spoonfuls in your mouth.

JENI’S SALTY CARAMEL ICE CREAM

2 cups whole milk

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)

1 1/2 oz (3 Tbsp) cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 Tbsp tapioca syrup (or light corn syrup)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the tapioca starch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color.

NOTE!!! This is the “dry-burn” technique. This means it’s just the sugar in the pan. In order to get this right, do NOT give in to the urge to touch the sugar! It could “seize up” and be done for. But do not fret! It’s actually quite easy to successfully caramelize sugar. Simply turn the stove on to medium heat and let the sugar sit. When you see the edges of the sugar beginning to brown, you can begin to swirl the sugar simply by shaking the pan a bit. It’s always safest to not touch the sugar, since you lessen the chance of any impurities making their way into the process. Continue to shake the pan as more of the sugar melts until it’s melted evenly and has an amber color.

When the sugar gets little bubbles popping, remove the pan from the heat and immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture in with the sugar (carefully! it’ll pop and spit). Stir til incorporated, then slowly incorporate the rest of the cream mixture.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the tapioca starch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes (alternately, you can just put the mixture straight into the refrigerator-we were waiting for the ice cream maker to chill entirely, so I just left the mixture in the fridge for a while and it was totally fine).

Pour the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker canister and spin until thick and creamy (usually around 25 minutes or so). Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

So, ice cream is not simple to make by any means, but it sure is worth it. Stay tuned for another flavor!

Enjoy!

Cake Is Beautiful (I Guess)

21 May

Listen: Life Is Beautiful (I Guess)

It seems right to start things off with a cake. Cake is delicious. I don’t care if you don’t have a sweet tooth, I will make you a savory cake. But for now, feast your eyes on this baby:

gluten-free coconut cake

This, my friends, was my Mothers’ Day gift. I called my mom to talk about festivities for the day (read: talk about food), and when we got to dessert she said that my cousin would be bringing a cheesecake and that she had an angel cake so I didn’t need to bring anything. I gently reminded her that I could eat neither of those things and would rather make a dessert that I could eat and that she would enjoy. My mom loves coconut, so this seemed perfect. I definitely got my foodie nature from my mama. She’s always been a wizard at the stove, whipping up gourmet meals fit for a princess. As an only child, I have no siblings to vouch for how awesome it was that my mom cooked a healthy, homemade meal every night for dinner. But trust me, it was great. And I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough at the time; I just kind of thought everyone’s mom was as much of a food genius as mine. As it turns out, I was wrong. I also learned once I got to college that the ability to cook is not entirely hereditary. However, I am constantly learning and am proud to say I can out-bake my mom any day (she’s a whiz at improvising, but is too…free-spirited…to pay attention to the science of baking). Nevertheless, cheers to delicious coconut cake and moms alike!

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I adapted this recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess and have included my notes along with the recipe below:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup organic coconut flour
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 free-range organic eggs, beaten, or egg replacer
1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil (I usually use vegetable oil or another more mild tasting oil when baking, as I tend to notice the more distinct flavor of olive oil in baked goods)
1 14-oz can organic light coconut milk (I made two of these cakes, but when I was at the grocery store I forgot I was doubling the recipe, so I ended up using flax milk in the second cake which I don’t think made a difference-I tasted both)
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper. (I used non-stick cake pans and skipped the parchment paper, everything came out easily and very intact)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and dry ingredients.

Add in the eggs, oil, coconut milk, lime juice and vanilla. Beat until smooth. It should resemble a slightly thick and sticky cake batter.

Scoop the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans and spread evenly. Use wet hands, if necessary, to smooth out the tops.

Bake in the center of the oven, side by side for 33 minutes, or so, until firm and springy. A cake tester inserted into the center should emerge clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

1 cup dairy-free butter flavored organic palm shortening (This is only necessary if you’re making it vegan-I used real butter because butter is delicious)
1 teaspoon pure coconut or vanilla extract (Surprise! I actually chose almond extract for this since I thought it would be more unique than vanilla, and I didn’t have any coconut extract on hand, though I’m sure it’d be tasty)
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk (The kind from a can and not the kind you might drink from a box–it’s thicker and makes a nicer frosting)
Optional: I pureed strawberries with a little bit of powdered sugar and mixed it with frosting to put in between the two layers of the cake. It added a nice burst of flavor and was pretty to boot! I bet this would be good with blackberries too…try whatever tickles your fancy and is in season!


Topping:

Flaked sweetened coconut for topping (I used unsweetened coconut flakes, as the frosting was sweet enough for me)
Optional: I also sliced strawberries and laid them around the edge of the cake. Again, try it with other berries! 

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening (or butter) and extract till combined. Add in the powdered sugar and half the coconut milk, and beat till smooth. Slowly add the remaining coconut milk, as you need it, a little at a time, until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.

To frost the cake:

TIP: To keep things on pretty on your plate, place a few sheets of parchment paper on the plate so they cover its edge before putting the first layer of cake down. This keeps you from frosting your plate and you can simply pull them out from under the cake when you’ve finished instead of trying to wipe frosting off afterwards.

When the cakes are cool, gently remove one from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Trim off the domed top if you like, using a long serrated knife, to keep the cake layer even. Brush off any crumbs.

Center the first layer top side down on a cake plate. Frost the layer with roughly 3/4 cup of icing (this is where I mixed in the pureed strawberries). Remove the second cake layer from the pan and peel off the parchment. Trim the dome top, if you like (brush off any crumbs). Place the layer on top of the frosted layer.

Scoop about a cup of frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it evenly to the edges. Begin adding frosting to the sides of the cake, spreading it evenly over the sides. Clean off the frosting spatula under warm water and dry it off.

Smooth the sides by turning the plate as you hold the spatula firmly in place. Clean off the spatula with warm water again, dry it, and smooth out the top.

Sprinkle with grated, sweetened coconut, if desired (and fruit if you like!)

Allow the frosting to set, or chill briefly, before covering and storing the cake.

Yield: 1 9-inch layer cake

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Let me know what sort of modifications you might make!

Enjoy!

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