This is my favourite cake of all time. It has a complex grown-up flavour with the fresh brightness of lemons, zesty ginger, earthy parsnips and sweet pears. It practically screams autumn. This recipe was adapted from one of my baking heroes, Lily Vanilli, but I’ve replaced the spelt flour she uses with buckwheat flour to make the cake gluten free. I’ve also topped it with a creamy icing, flavoured with goat cheese and honey that compliments it pretty well, if I do say so myself.
If you do decide to go the fancy route, I like to bake the cakes and make the toppings the day before, and then ice and decorate the cakes the next day. I find it easiest to work with icing that’s just been made or at room temperature, and cakes that are just out of the fridge, or even slightly frozen.
Now, go make this cake while everything’s in season – you won’t regret it!
I have been cooking gluten-free for a while now, but have found the experience of cooking pancakes frustrating. I’m talking pancakes that are healthy, without any weird ingredients. All the recipes I find either lack in taste, or don’t come together and fall apart when flipped. I am happy to tell you that I have found THE BEST GLUTEN FREE PANCAKES EVER. So good that yes, THEY WARRANT ALL CAPS YELLING AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!
This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine, and contains just a few whole food ingredients. As with most coconut flour recipes, it contains a lot of eggs. But, don’t be put off by this – the finished pancakes don’t have an eggy taste. And, suprisingly – they don’t taste overly banana-ish either. Their light, fluffy interior is a bit reminiscent of a ricotta pancake – but it’s totally gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and possibly even paleo.
So, here it is, a pancake that almost everyone can enjoy. We like to have them with berries, bananas and maple syrup – but the toppings are only limited by your imagination. Just don’t try to make a huge Uncle Buck style pancake – since there are no grains or flour in the recipe, they can be a little bit fragile – but keep them small and you’re golden. Literally. (more…)
I just realized that pretty much all the recipes I’ve posted on this site thus far have had either strawberries, rhubarb, or some combination of the two. I have to start exploring other fruits. But, when you cook seasonally in this part of the world, sometimes your options are limited. The great thing about this cake though, is that it’s a blank canvas for pretty much any fruit you have on hand. It’s adapted from a Donna Hay recipe included in her “Off the Shelf” book – which is really great, by the way. Her recipe featured raspberries and peaches – which are a delicious combination – but I have also made this cake with blueberries, cherries, nectarines….really, almost anything you can think of will work on this cake.
The cake also transitioned to being gluten-free pretty easily. I just swapped out the white flour for an equal amount of my favourite gluten-free buckwheat flour. It also gives the cake a whole-grain wholesomeness that, in my humble opinion, makes it a delicious breakfast. It’s equally good as an afternoon snack, or after dinner with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream or a little bit of both.
If you make the cake, let me know how it goes! And, if you think of other flavour combinations, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Strawberry Rhubarb Buckwheat Cake
Serves 8 – 10
Adapted from “Off the Shelf” by Donna Hay
- 400g mixed strawberries and rhubarb, washed and chopped into pleasing shapes
- 125g butter, softened
- 150g sugar
- 200g buckwheat flour
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, mix your buckwheat flour, xanthan gum and baking powder, and then fold into the butter mixture. Spoon the batter into your prepared pan and spread evenly. The batter will be very thick, this is normal. Top the batter with your fruit, and sprinkle with the icing sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. I find that sometimes this cake takes a little bit longer, especially if the fruit you are using is juicy. As mentioned above, you can serve this cake warm with cream and or ice cream – but it’s also great eaten on its own the next day.
I am not at all a morning person. I’m talking super cranky, dishevelled hair, squinting at the sun through half-open eyes and cursing the birds for expressing themselves the only way they know how. Part of this is due to my coffee addiction, but I’m told I’ve been like this all my life, so I assume that there is a genetic component at play as well. I get up at the last possible moment and breakfast has to be something quick that I grab on the way out the door along with my beloved latte. These muffins definitely fit the bill in a nutritious way – they are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, and are made with a delicious combination of whole-grain flours.
The subtle sweetness of the maple syrup combined with the tartness of the rhubarb is a lovely combination. The pecans and nut oil add an extra flavour dimension, as does the cinnamon. I made these with fresh rhubarb, but have also made them with frozen rhubarb – both turned out great, but you might just have to drain a bit of liquid from your frozen rhubarb prior to using it.
Rhubarb Oat Muffins
Makes 12 largish muffins
Adapted from Naturally Ella
- 150g rhubarb, washed and chopped
- 40mL maple syrup
Combine rhubarb and maple syrup in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until rhubarb breaks down, about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Rhubarb Compote (see above)
- 200g rhubarb, washed and chopped into smallish chunks
- 115g oats
- 80g buckwheat flour
- 80g gluten-free flour blend (this one works well, but feel free to experiment!)
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 small pinch sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 70g toasted pecans, roughly chopped (or another nut of your choosing)
- 175mL maple syrup
- 75mL walnut oil (olive oil, grapeseed oil, or whatever oil you have on hand will also work!)
- 2 large free-range eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin tin with parchment paper cups. Pulse oats in food processor until a flour forms. It doesn’t have to be very fine – sometimes having a few larger chunks of oats in your muffins is nice. Combine your oats, buckwheat flour, gluten-free flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, sea salt and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Combine maple syrup, walnut oil, rhubarb compote and eggs in another bowl, whisking to blend. Mix wet and dry ingredients until just combined, add rhubarb chunks, then fold through pecans, reserving a few for garnish. Scoop batter evenly into muffin tin. Scatter reserved pecans and whole oat flakes on top of muffins for garnish. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until muffins spring back when pressed, or a cake tester comes out pretty much clean.
Cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
It might sound a bit weird, but strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a classic combination. There is something about the tartness of balsamic vinegar that plays off the sweetness of the strawberries and brings out the best in both.
Roasting the strawberries and balsamic intensifies the deliciousness of this combination even more, and layering them with your favourite granola (ahem…) with rich creamy yogurt will definitely up your breakfast game.
The recipe works well with the delicious local strawberries that are in season right now, but can also elevate horrible, white cored super market specimens to something sublime. Either way, this is a special breakfast treat which would be lovely to serve to guests, or quickly snarf in the privacy of your own company.
Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Granola Parfaits
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
- 1 punnet of strawberries, halved (approximately 450g)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar (you might want to use less if your berries are very sweet and ripe. Other types of sugar – eg. coconut – would also be delicious, but might change the colour of your sauce – if that type of thing matters to you.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss strawberries with balsamic and sugar of your choice. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 8 – 10 minutes. Let cool. Put cooled berries in your food processor, reserving a few to garnish your parfaits, and blend into a sauce.
- Your favourite granola (not naming any names, but I can think of a good one!)
- Your favourite yogurt – plain or vanilla would work best
- Roasted strawberry balsamic sauce
- Reserved strawberries for garnish
- Mason jars, martini glasses, parfait cups – whatever vessel you’d like to serve your parfaits in!
Layer ingredients – I like to start with yogurt, and then sauce, and then granola – and repeat. End with yogurt, and then top with a sprinkle of granola and garnish with reserved strawberries. I’m not giving exact amounts because it can really vary on the size of your serving vessel, and the personal preferences of the parfait maker/eaters. Some people love more yogurt, others enjoy the crunch of a big layer of granola. And, you can never have too much of this sauce! These are best eaten within a few hours of making, but are also fine the next day – the granola just loses a bit of it’s crunch. If you have any sauce left, it can be refrigerated and kept for about a week. It goes really well with ice cream – but I can also imagine a zillion other uses – on top of a piece of plain pound cake with whipped cream, swirled through yogurt, or even added to your favourite libation to make a delicious cocktail.
It all started with a little bottle of Neilsen Massey Coffee Extract. It was just sitting there on the shelf with it’s adorably nostalgic packaging, and I knew it was coming home with me. I built this whole recipe around the contents of that little bottle. What could go together better than moist chocolate cake and creamy coffee? I can’t think of anything. At all.
The moistness of these little cakes comes from the addition of almond flour and whole milk yogurt. Definitely don’t use the low fat stuff – it’s often full of artificial sweeteners and weird stabilizers. For baking – and noshing – I really like the Liberte Mediterranee Plain Yogurt.
And the icing – if you are looking for something quick, tasty and not too sweet – I don’t think you can beat a cream cheese icing. The addition of the coffee extract just makes it that bit more yummy.
Mini Chocolate Yogurt Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
Makes approximately 40 mini cupcakes
Adapted from BBC Good Food website
- 115g gluten-free flour (I find this blend works pretty well. You could also use plain flour if you don’t need your cupcakes to be gluten free)
- 55g almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g unbleached cane sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100ml plain yoghurt
- 40g dutch process cocoa powder
- 60ml milk (just enough to loosen your batter – you may need a bit more if your mixture is very stiff)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your mini muffin tins with parchment paper cups. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but you could also use a hand held mixer.
While that’s happening, sift your dry ingredients together and set aside. Add your eggs, vanilla and yogurt to the creamed butter and sugar and mix to incorporate. Finally, fold in your dry ingredients, making sure not to overmix. Spoon or scoop your batter into your prepared muffin pan, and bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until muffins are puffed and a tester comes out fairly clean. Let cool in pan on a rack before icing.
Coffee Cream Cheese Icing
- 125g butter, very soft
- 200g cream cheese, also very soft
- 150 – 200g icing sugar, to taste
- 2 – 3 tsp coffee extract, to taste
Both your butter and cream cheese should be very soft before beginning, otherwise – you will end up with a lumpy icing. You can speed up the softening process by putting your butter and/or cheese in the microwave for a few seconds, or – if you are from ancient times like me and don’t have a microwave – take out of packaging and place over a bowl of hot water until sufficiently soft. You don’t want it melted, but when you touch it with your finger, it should yield easily. Put your butter in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high for five minutes. The butter should be very pale and fluffy at this point. Add your softened cream cheese in little chunks, and mix until just incorporated with the butter. Over mixing the cream cheese will result in a grainy and goopy icing – trust me, I’ve been there. Add your sifted icing sugar, mixing until well incorporated. Test for sweetness, and add additional sugar if necessary. Finally, add your coffee extract, again tasting and getting the amount that’s right for you.
Pipe or spoon a blob of icing on to each of your cooled cupcakes. I decorated these with just a bit of shaved dark chocolate, but they would also look nice dusted with cocoa, topped with a cacao nib, or – best of all – with a chocolate covered coffee bean from Cocoa and Honey. I am dreaming about these! If you can manage not eating all of these straight away, you can store refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days. Just bring up to room temperature before eating.
Wow – say that three times fast! Well, here it is folks, my first recipe on the blog! This is a great one to start with, because it’s one of my favourites, with the sweet/tart combination of raspberries and rhubarb, and the nutty crunch of the whole grain pastry sprinkled with demerara sugar, you can’t go wrong. It’s also infinitely adaptable to whatever fruit is in season.
Galettes – which are just free-form rustic tarts – are also a great entry into the world of pastry. There is no fiddling with tart cases – you just need to roll your pastry into a roughly circular shape (“rough being the operative word here) -and you’re good to go. And, since this pastry is gluten-free, you really can’t overwork it and cause it to shrink. Bonus!
I should mention here that I like to bake by weight. It’s more accurate, and also easier – no cups to wash – and most scales have a tare function that allows you to zero off, and then measure your next ingredient. You can get a scale for under $20, but I recently upgraded to an OXO Scale, and that’s nice too. And now, without further ado, a recipe for these delicious tarts! Enjoy – and leave a comment to let me know how they turn out!
Rustic Raspberry Rhubarb Galettes
This recipe makes approximately 6 individual galettes, or one large galette.
Pastry recipe adapted from La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life
Amaranth, Quinoa and Millet Pastry
- 50g amaranth flour
- 40g millet flour
- 30g quinoa flakes
- 40g corn starch
- 1.5 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp unbleached cane sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 85g unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 egg
First, cut your butter into cubes and pop back in the fridge so it stays nice and chilled. Combine flours, sugar, salt and xanthan gum in the bowl of a stand mixer, and give them a good mix using the paddle blade. Add the butter cubes, and continue to mix until fine crumbles form. At this point, add your egg and vanilla. The pastry should begin to form a ball quite quickly, but if it doesn’t and seems a bit dry, add cold water by the tablespoon until it comes together. Form your pastry into 6 balls for individual galettes, or one large disk for a single galette and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to three days. This pastry can also be frozen for future use.
Raspberry Rhubarb Filling
- 40g cornstarch
- 400 – 500g rhubarb, sliced into pieces about 4cm thick
- 250 – 300g raspberries
- 130g unbleached cane sugar
- 3tbsp water
Dissolve cornstarch in water and set aside. Combine rhubarb, raspberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. This usually takes about 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. The rhubarb will still look chunky – but that’s what we want. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- 1 egg, beaten
- Demerara (raw) sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If your pastry has been in the fridge overnight, let it rest on the counter for half an hour. Roll your pastry into six rough circles (or one large circle – approximately 30 cm), and brush with beaten egg. Mound approximately 3-4 tablespoons of filling in the centre of each circle and allow to spread slightly. For a large tart, you would use pretty much all of the filling. You should leave yourself a border of about 5 – 6 cm all around. Fold the edges of your dough over the filling, overlapping as needed. Brush crust all over with beaten egg – making sure to seal any cracks where filling might leak – and sprinkle with demerara sugar. At this point, you can pop your galettes in the oven straight away, or allow them to chill, covered lightly with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes. Chilling results in less leakage of your filling – but a bit of leakage is pretty much inevitable. Either way, bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool on baking sheet, then serve. These are great with whipped cream or ice cream, but I’ve eaten more than a few plain for breakfast, and they are delicious that way as well. They are best served on the day they are baked, but they can be stored airtight at room temperature for a few days. The crust won’t be quite as crispy, but whatever, it’s all good!
Lots of folks who came out to the Historic Market yesterday (and thanks again everyone for making it a great first day) – were intrigued by the our Bakewell Tarts. I thought I’d demystify the Bakewell Tart by taking a bite – what I will sacrifice in the service of science! – and labelling all the components that go into these delicious little morsels. But first, a little history…
The Bakewell Tart is a traditional British sweet. According to legend, it was invented in the 1860s at the Whitehorse Inn in the town of Bakewell, just south of Sheffield in Northern England. A fruit tart was ordered, and the cook misunderstood and put the frangipane mixture on top of the fruit, instead of the other way around. It was a busy evening at the Inn and there was no time to correct the mistake, so the tart was served as is, to much acclaim.
Our Bakewells differ a little from the original – we use a pastry made from wholegrain amaranth, millet and quinoa pasty, a filling of seasonal fruit, top it with a classic almond frangipane (a cake-like mixture of eggs, almond flour, butter and sugar with a touch of citrus), finish it all off with a dollop of smooth buttercream and finish it all off with a cute little garnish that hints at the yumminess inside.
Hope that you stop by one of our markets soon to try a Bakewell Tart – you won’t regret it!
A couple of months ago, I began to make the transition to being gluten free. I had been working with a naturopath to resolve some issues with my thyroid, and she made the suggestion that I try going gluten-free to see what would happen. And, it’s working! After only a few weeks of this diet, I’ve noticed an increase in my energy levels, and I just feel, well…better. Although I still miss bread sometimes, the benefits greatly outweigh the losses, and I can see myself following this path for a long time to come.
That said, a gluten-free diet isn’t all about deprivation – I think there is lots of room for indulgence. When I bake something that’s gluten free, I want it to stand on it’s own merits. I don’t want it to be just “good for gluten free” – I want it to be really good. Like the blondies pictured above – made with almond and coconut flours, with pecans, dried cranberries and chunks of organic fair trade chocolate – they are delicious, if I do say so myself. (: