Tag Archives: cake

{gluten-free} Pistachio Layer Cake – Milk Bar Mondays!

Milk Bar Mondays are back, folks!

Well… sort of. A long, long time ago, now, I joined with a group of lady bakers and bloggers to bake our way through Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook, headed up by Audra at The Baker Chick. But then, as often happens, our lives eventually got in the way of the sometimes lengthy, complicated recipes in the book; we changed schools, jobs and cities, some of us had babies (!), and our recipe priorities shifted. I’m sure we all value our blogs still for the many aspects of joy they bring to our lives, but I can’t say I’m surprised at our slow fizzle.

I wish, though, that I could have shared this cake with the other MBM ladies. Because it’s weird. Good weird, but weird. I made it for my dad’s 64th birthday, as the man adores pistachios and for many years bags of them have been stocking stuffers, random tokens of love and birthday gift toppers. So, despite the questionable potential of the cake’s general likeability, the copious amount of not-cheap pistachio nuts and pastes that went into it, and the somewhat lengthy procedure (that doesn’t feel that long, now, if I admit it to myself), this cake would be made.

And, damn, is it good. Weird good, but good.

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Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread

Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread

Years ago I inherited a gingerbread recipe that sent my taste-buds flying.  It was a dear friend’s mom’s, and I remember the first time I made it for a group of friends.  Back then, I was relatively unfamiliar with basic cake techniques, and the idea of “starting and ending with dry” seemed practically scientific.

The cake got raves.  But after that first time, I couldn’t eat it.  My milk allergies had gotten worse.

Fast forward ten years later and I made the recipe my own.  I think actual ginger-bread is too often overlooked in favor of its cookie-d cousins.  Which, trust me, I enjoy thoroughly.  But there’s something so homey and warm and New England holiday about it that I particularly love.

Substitution ingredients are below, but this blend of ingredients produced a moist, perfectly sweet, highly-spiced cake that I ate way too much of as soon as it was cool enough to slice.

Notes: I used butter, but not milk, substituting with unsweetened almond milk.  To make completely dairy-free, substitute the melted butter with melted butter-flavored Earth Balance.  You can use regular all-purpose flour (2 cups) if you don’t have gluten problems, or substitute with a gluten-free mix of your own.  I use less xanthan gum in this recipe than you might expect – if you want to omit completely, just add 1 Tbsp of flax meal. 

Another time I made this recipe I used 1 cup white rice, 1/2 cup tapioca, 1/2 cup sorghum and 1/4 cup millet and it worked well too!

Top with unsweetened coconut milk whipped cream for a special holiday treat!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch / flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (or melted Earth Balance to make dairy-free)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar and enough unsweetened almond, soy or cow’s milk to make 1/2 cup of liquid total
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (preferably something thick like a Pyrex dish), set aside.
  • In a measuring cup, heat the milk and vinegar so that it’s slightly warm.
  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), add flours, tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum and spices.  Stir/mix/whisk quickly to combine.
  • Make a well in the center and pour in this order: molasses, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, and milk/vinegar mixture.
  • Stir/mix together until combined.
  • Add hot water and beat until combined.
  • Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until slightly browned on top and slightly springy when you press it with your finger.
  • Cool for 15 minutes, then loosen from the pan with a knife and invert onto cooling rack.
  • Cool completely before slicing.

Decorate with sifted powdered sugar and whipped cream (either cow cream or coconut milk are delish!)

Carrot Cake Pops and A Buddy Birthday Blog

Happy Birthday to Ruark!

By the time this post goes live, I will be in the middle of no where in Vermont, most likely freezing and huddled over a campfire, stirring something warm and sweet.  My phone and computer will literally be held captive by my father in Connecticut.  And most likely I will have spent the weekend breathing deeply, doing yoga on boulders, racing ATVs through the trails, and watching my city pup scamper amongst the trees.

Meanwhile, back in New York City, my dear friend Ruark will be turning 31 years old.

I’ve known Ruark for 12 years now: for over 8 of those years we were an item.  In a stroke of divine blessing, we have remained incredibly close since breaking up 2 years ago when I chose to move to Cincinnati for a year to work, a split we both desired.  Because of the distance, we were able to comfort each other through the breakup, through my living in a new city, through our apartment being a tad emptier without me.  He visited me once out there, and every time I flew home (8 times I believe), I saw him.  His father lives in Cincinnati, and it was comforting to have this friend and father-figure so close by.

Ruark's 30th bday, 2010

We were tight with each other’s families:  I learned how to make scones from his father, pie crust from his Auntie, and his mother’s gingerbread is one of the best things I have ever tasted.  They gave me my Kitchenaid and countless beautiful platters and pie plates and tablecloths and things our 20-something selves couldn’t afford.  Ruark is an incredible cook, spotless in his technique, and between the two of us we ate very well and threw some incredible parties.  He makes one of the best meat sauces I have ever tasted.  We both still marvel at how much we love duck.

On top of that, Ruark and I have seen each other through so many ups and downs, one taking care of the other as needed.  To the point now that we still support each other in new relationships, in new work endeavors, and will drop any doubt or judgment when one of us says to the other “I just really need you to be my friend on this right now”.

Talk about lucky.

Whenever I come to Ruark with a revelation – in this case how I don’t really know how to relax anymore – he’ll usually point out, “Jax, you’ve always been this way.  Remember when…”.

When I first set eyes on him, my first few days in college, I knew our relationship would be something special.  But I never thought that over a decade later I could know someone so well, or love a friend so much.

Happy Birthday, Ruark.  You’re something beyond special.

- “Jabadine”

Carrot Cake Balls

This recipe is adapted from Best of the Best from New England Cookbook.  Eaters were a huge fan of the flavor, but the cake completely crumbled when I eased it from the pans.  Hence why one half was salvaged and given to my Poppa for his birthday and the other smushed into cake balls for Ruark’s.  Because of the crumbliness it worked well, but the high amount of oil wasn’t a huge yay factor for me.  I had thought white chocolate would be a better match (I can’t eat it so I don’t really know), but my roommate and Ruark both confirmed that dark would be the best way to go, grounding the sweetness in the cake itself.  I’m putting the recipe up as I think it’s a great one for experienced bakers to look at and adapt.  I hope if you make it you’ll come back with tips for me!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white, beaten well
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 recipe cream cheese frosting
  • dark and white chocolate for dipping, decorations as desired

Method:

Preheat oven to 325° and grease 2 9-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, mix vegetable oil and sugar and beat well on high, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and beat to combine.

Sift all dry ingredients, and add to the wet mixture.

Fold in the raisins and carrots.

Pour into pans and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool completely, then mix with 1 cup vegan cream cheese frosting.  Leave in fridge overnight to chill.

When ready to assemble, roll into 1-inch balls and place on wax paper lined baking sheets.  Freeze for one hour to firm.

Melt chocolate slowly over a double boiler and quickly roll all cake balls in chocolate, setting back on sheets to firm.

Maple Ginger Cakes with Brown Butter Caramel – A Vintage Recipe Swap!

Maple Ginger Cakes - a Burwell General Store Recipe Swap!

This is a very special post for this little Dusty Baker.

One year ago, I started this blog.  I had been blogging on another site, which housed a wider range of aspects of the holistic health industry as I pulled out of another bout of Lyme Disease.  I wanted to focus on recipes, and writing, and how baking could connect me to other aspects of my art and to the art itself that is baking.  

Also one year ago, on the other side of the country, Christianna of Burwell General Store and Lindsay of Rosemarried started a recipe swap, comparing their takes on vintage recipes.  That group grew into an incredible community of food bloggers who monthly change at least 3 aspects of a recipe that Christianna sends to us, and then we all post at the same time and exchange blogging love.  I don’t quite remember if I found out about the swap from Lindsay or Toni over at Boulder Locavore – I found and fell in love with their blogs around the same time, in April of last year.  All I know is that I feel very fortunate to be a part of this little group.

These bloggers have become teachers, inspiring me by their personal focus in the food world, their varying levels of culinary expertise and their love for what they do, both in and out of the kitchen.  Through them I get to feel the seasons change all over the world (we have several overseas swappers!), and how that effects what we’re all making and how we’re nourishing our bodies.  I get little glimpses into the lives of passionate, creative and sometimes exhausted people.  All because of our shared love for food.

Burwell Swappers, you rock my world.  Happy Birthday to Christianna, Lindsay, Toni, Chef Dennis, Sabrina, Lora, Mari, Shari, Monique, Pola, Linda, Alli, Barb, Priya, Lana, Shumalia, Claire, Jamie, Jaclyn and Alex (did I miss anyone?!!?).  And welcome to the new swappers Eda, Julia and JoAnn who are contributing this month! Please click on the link at the bottom of this post to check out their contributions, read more about their blogs at the Burwell General Store and, if you’re the tweeting sort, follow our Burwell Swappers list on Twitter.

When sending us the recipe for this month, Christianna asked us to ponder where our lives have traveled this past year, what we’re thankful for and what we want to celebrate with this post.

It’s been an interesting year: at points I’ve had less money than I’ve had in my entire life and questioned my decision to not have a “boss” and to work only freelance.  I took on the responsibility of managing my family business, and continue to learn just what it means to be a boss.  Through this blog I’ve met some incredible people,  been asked to participate in live food events, and developed the voice that brought me to writing for the NYC food blog Bromography and now doing research and writing for Easy Eats, an incredible gluten-free digital magazine that as an eater I am very excited about and am particularly thrilled to be contributing to. I did a few shows, meeting insanely talented, big-hearted people.  I fell in love, then had my heart broken for the first time.  I got a dog!  Projects that I’ve dreamed of creating have come into reality.  I’ve met teachers who are so far above me in the food world, and seem to see some glimmer of potential in what I have to contribute.  I am still relatively healthy after my third bout of Lyme, and my family are all close by and well.  It’s been a weird, hard year, but I have so much to be thankful for.

So in celebrating the anniversary of my blog and the birthday of the Burwell General Store swap, I’m doing a Thanks-GiveAway!  For the month of November, I’ll be hosting discussions, comments, sharing the recipes of others and asking readers to follow the lovely bloggers who are the filling to my macarons.  And in thanks I’ll send a few readers each two copies of some of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks, one to keep for themselves and one to give as a holiday gift to a baker they love.  Along with a few of my favorite things.

For information on the giveaway, CLICK HERE.

Now, this month we were given a Maple Syrup Cake to swap, which overjoyed me as I love baking with maple syrup and go through jugs of the stuff far too often.  After last month’s Millet Coconut Breakfast Pudding  I decided I didn’t want to change too much of this recipe, I just wanted to make a really delicious gluten-free take on these cakes.

My first go-around I adapted the recipe by cutting the white sugar completely, substituting with my gluten-free flour blend and adding some chopped ginger.  I used 3 teaspoons of soda as gluten-free flour sometimes need the extra lift.  And I added some chopped candied ginger along with increased the amount of spices in the cake.  The cakes were so-so.  A bit to baking soda-y and not sweet enough, even for me.  And a little dry.

So the second go around I added back in a bit of the sugar (palm), even more ginger, and some pumpkin, to give a little extra moisture. I also made a quick caramel sauce to serve on top.

The result? Um, yum!! These are incredibly moist little cakes.  The pumpkin isn’t a feature as much as the ginger and spice, but it provides great body.  The texture of the candied ginger suits the soft cake perfectly.  These would be divine as a special breakfast treat, or made in regular cupcake tins and topped with pumpkin or cream cheese frosting.

Going on my list as one of my favorite cakes.  Thanks, again, Burwell Swappers.

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Burwell Swappers!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/3 cup palm sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup maple syrup (I used one from Vermont, which I love.  Always try to keep it as close to home as possible, and luckily that’s not a problem in New England)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour with xanthan gum (if using a mix without xanthan gum, add 1 1/4 Tbsp to the flour)
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour cake pan of choice.

In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients up to ginger.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk atatchment (or in bowl with hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until smooth.  Add pumpkin and continue to beat until combined.  Add maple syrup, and beat until smooth.

Alternate the flour and hot water, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing on low, until all are incorporated, occassionally wiping down the sides of bowl.

Stir in the candied ginger.

Pour equally into prepared pans.  My cakes took 24 minutes to bake, a larger cake will take about 35.

For the brown butter caramel:

Brown 2 Tbsp unsalted butter on medium heat until golden.  Whisk in 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 Tbsp light brown sugar, and whisk until smooth.  Immediately pour over cakes and serve.



Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding – Gluten, Dairy and White-Sugar Free!

 

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding

Life is delicious.  As a gluten-freer, I sometimes miss bread-heavy meals and spongy caked desserts.  I equally miss Belgian waffle breakfasts and stuffed French toast.

So last night when I got home from listening to some stellar bluegrass (high-fives to the Six Deadly Venoms) I decided to make myself the best of both for breakfast: bread pudding.  Gluten-free.  Dairy-free.  Easy to throw together.  With no white sugar (I rarely consume it). And celebrating end-of-the-summer fruits.  A toss between cobbler, baked pancakes (I’m obsessed) and bread pudding.

Success, people, success.

This recipe is an insane journey of color, texture and flavor.  I used ripe blueberries and summer peaches along with dried apricots to give the fruit some va-va-voom.  The gluten-free bread base was soaked overnight in eggs, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon extract, hazelnut extract and just enough honey and maple syrup to sweeten the load slightly. And topped with slivered almonds, the texture was smooth with a tiny crunch.

The next day I quickly boiled some fruit, threw it together and baked it for 45 minutes.

You  can alter the recipe by doing what I did – playing with what you have in your pantry and adjusting to your allergy needs.  Omit the nuts completely if you want!  Add some fresh lemon zest (though I highly recommend having lemon oil on hand for recipes like this – it’s the Italian and Portuguese baker in me).  Play with extracts and spices to your heart’s content.  As long as you have the same basic proportions, you’ve got this delectable fruity, bready piece of heaven in the bag.

If you’ve got problems with sugar, though, I will confess that I’m a bit shaky as I’m typing this, having eaten my serving.  But I also just drank an entire pot of green tea.  So it’s anyone’s guess.

As a hearty breakfast this recipe will serve four.  But top it with your choice of ice cream after a long meal and it’ll satiate six.

If you’re going to put it into wine glasses like I did, make sure it’s cool, people.  Live and learn, right?

Chock full o fruity, bready, nutty goodness.

Ingredients:

  • Six slices of gluten-free bread at room temperature.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk.
  • Honey, maple syrup or both to make 1/4 cup.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract.
  • 1/4 tsp hazelnut extract (or almond).
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds).
  • 3 small peaches or plums.
  • 1 pint blueberries.
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (I used apricots).
  • 1 tsp fresh, chopped mint.

Directions:

  • Place bread in a square Pyrex pan, 8″ or 9″, overlapping bread as best as possible.
  • In a small bowl, beat all the ingredients from the eggs to the extracts, in that order, whisking continually.
  • Pour over the bread and flip bread so that all is soaked in egg mixture.
  • Leave overnight to absorb.
  • When ready to assemble and bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Rinse, peel, pit and dice the fruit.  Place in a small pot over medium heat and heat until the blueberries burst and the fruits soften.
  • Stir in the dried fruit and mint, and pour over bread mixture.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until the bread rises and the fruit starts to bubble.

Warm and bubbly and gorgeous.

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