Strawberry Rhubarb Buckwheat Cake

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Cakes, Desserts, Food + Drink | No Comments

Strawberry Rhubarb Cake 2
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.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cake 1

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.

Strawberry Rhurbarb Cake 3

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.

Mini Chocolate Yogurt Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Cheese Icing

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Cakes, Desserts, Food + Drink | No Comments

Mini Cupcakes 1
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.

Mini Cupcake 2

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.

Cupcakes 3

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

Chocolate Cake

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.

Rustic Raspberry Rhubarb Galettes

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Desserts, Food + Drink, Pastries | 2 Comments

Rhubarb Galettes 2 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.
Raspberry Rhubarb Galettes 1 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!
Rhubarb Galettes 3I 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.

To Assemble

  • 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!