5
April
2009

My daughter Kaisa had her 6th birthday.  As usual she told me what she wanted for her cake.  Since she had declared what this was not long after her 5th birthday I was curious to see if her request had changed now that a year had passed.  It had.  In many ways I was relieved since this request was less elaborate than the previous one.  She wanted a “white cake in one layer with lime icing and strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries on it and a 6 candle.”

To complement the lime icing I added coconut to the cake.  I only had two types of flour (I prefer to use a blend of three), so the coconut helped with the texture of the cake and livened it up a bit.  Here she is cutting up over the cake before we cut it.

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The berries went well with the cake.  If you wanted to continue the citrus theme you could put slices of lime, lemon, or orange instead.  Kiwis and/or pineapple would go well with that combination.  Or you could use only one type of fruit instead.

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The recipe is from the Joy of Cooking.  It is based on the Coconut Milk Cake Cockaigne and the icing is a simple buttercream with lime juice and zest added.  I added extra coconut and substitited it for part of the flour.  If you don’t care for lime, you could replace it with vanilla extract instead.  If I made this cake again I would use a three flour blend instead of the two.

The original recipe calls for making the cake in three 23 cm (9 inch) layers, so if you’d rather do that the cake makes enough batter to do so.  The layer of icing is thin but it makes up for that in taste.  If you prefer more icing, then double the recipe.  If you make the cake in three layers, you will have to double or triple the icing depending on how thick you like it.

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Coconut Cake with Lime Icing

200g (2 cups) shredded coconut

220g (2 cups ) gluten-free flour blend (I used arrowroot starch and tapioca flour)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

170g (3/4 cup) butter

225g (1 cup) caster sugar

3 eggs

175 ml (3/4 cup) coconut milk or milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to180C (350F).  Grease or line a 23 cm (9 inch) by 33cm (13 inch) tin.  Sift the dry ingredients together.  Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the sifted dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar alternately in three parts with the coconut milk or milk (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry).

Add the coconut and mix until well blended.  Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewere inserted comes out clean.  Let cool on a cooling rack.

Lime Icing

115g (1/2 cup) butter

110g (1 cup) icing sugar

juice and zest of two limes or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream butter until smooth.  Add icing sugar, sifted if you like, and cream until smooth.  Add lime juice and zest and blend until smooth.  (If you use an electric mixer, it will take out any lumps easy).

Garnish

cherries, blueberries, and raspberries (about 17 each for the large cake)

Assembly

Ice the cooled cake with the lime icing.  Arrange the cherries, blueberries, and raspberries around the edge of the cake, one each alternating in a pattern.  Add candles and enjoy with a big grin!

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9
January
2009

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It’s about time this post got, well, posted. The youngest son had his 2nd birthday (more than a month ago). I had the idea to make a cake for him with chocolate 7-minute icing, since I’ve never tried that before and he loves chocolate and the marshmallowy texture of 7-minute icing. I decided on a white cake out of the Joy of Cooking cookbook, with raspberry jam in between the layers and chocolate 7-minute icing. If you don’t care for or can’t have chocolate, then I’m sure it would be just as delicious with plain 7-minute icing. I thought I would do something I had never done with the other kids for their birthdays. I would make him a mini cake, made out of three mini layers cut out of one big layer of cake. It turned out very well, and since the cake recipe I chose makes three layers, he was able to eat off his little cake and the rest of us had the bigger 2-layer cake.

Well, if you’ve never made chocolate 7-minute icing, as I hadn’t before I made this cake, you may not know how tempermental it is to overmixing. After I had started over on the third batch of icing, having botched two batches, I looked up the icing on the Internet and only one of the five recipes I read warned that you should fold the melted chocolate into the icing instead of whipping it in or what will happen is what happened to me: it loses it’s form and puffiness and goes all liquidy and soupy. It tastes good, but isn’t much good for sticking to a cake. So, be sure to fold the melted chocolate into the finished icing instead of beating in. Oh, and melting the chocolate into the sugar syrup and beating it in doesn’t work either. If you try that, then the icing just plain won’t set up to begin with. I’m not sure why it doesn’t work, probably something to do with the specific gravity or density of the fat in chocolate that disturbs the air bubbles in the meringue.

This cake was not as flashy as his brother and sister’s cakes were. I’m sure in time he will come to request his cake, but it was nice to try something I thought he would like. Success! The cake was a hit. The pic down at the bottom is the cake after he had finished with it, mostly to show something of what it looked like on the inside with the raspberry jam. Perhaps it’s not as neat as other pictures could be. I guess it shows how much he enjoyed it. In that light, enjoy!

White Cake with Chocolate 7-Minute Icing

390g (3 1/2 cups) gluten-free flour blend (I used white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

225g (1 cup) butter or trans-fat free shortening

450g (2 cups) caster sugar, sifted (I didn’t sift my sugar and the cake was fine)

250 ml (1 cup) milk or coconut milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

7 0r 8 egg whites (you can save the yolks for another recipe)

raspberry jam (for between layers, use however much you want)

Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Grease three 23 cm (9-inch) round cake tins. Combine gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, and salt together. Sift, if desired. Cream butter in a separate bowl, or in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Add sugar a small amount at a time and cream (or beat) until very light. Alternate adding the flour blend mixture with the milk in three parts, beginning and ending with the flour blend (flour blend, milk, flour blend, milk, flour blend.) Mix until smooth. Beat in vanilla and almond extract, if using. Whip egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the whites into the batter. Pour batter equally into prepared cake tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. I like to start peeking at the cake when there is about 15 minutes left, just to be sure, then every five minutes after until it is done, giving it extra time if needed. Let cake layers cool before assembling.

Casein-Free Option: Use trans-fat free shortening instead of butter and coconut milk instead of milk.

Boiled Chocolate Icing (Chocolate 7-Minute Icing)

450g (2 cups) caster sugar

250 ml (1 cup) water

2 egg whites

1/8th teaspoon (one pinch) salt

1/8th teaspoon (one pinch) cream of tartar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

60g (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate

Melt unsweetened chocolate in a small bowl, cool. Combine sugar and water in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, stirring the whole while. Continue to cook the icing until it forms a soft cohesive pea-sized ball when dropped in cold water. Beat egg whites with salt until very frothy. Pour the syrup into the beaten egg whites, continuing to beat until icing forms stiff billowy peaks. Beat in cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in melted cooled chocolate.

Assembly: For one small cake and one large one, use two layers to make standard layer cake. Put one layer down, spread raspberry jam on it, put second layer on top, then spread icing over the whole cake. Cut the remaining layer into three rounds roughly the same size. There will be scraps left over. Put one layer down, spread raspberry jam on it, place second layer on top, spread raspberry jam on it, place third layer on top. Spread icing over the whole cake, top with birthday candles.

For one large three-layer cake, place one layer down, spread raspberry jam on it, put second layer on top of the first, spread raspberry jam on it, put third layer on top of second, then spread icing over the whole cake. Enjoy!

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19
September
2008

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This recipe I came up with on the fly, out of the blue, in order to have something quick and easy for dessert. I looked around at other recipes but I can’t find anything really that it is like. As you may have noticed I really love baking cakes and that’s what I mostly do when I want to bake. The problem with cakes is how long most of them can take to make. These brownies were easy to make and quite good. They have more of a cakey texture and the peanut butter is a wonderful combination. The honey adds extra sweetness and a moist texture. I usually prefer fudgy brownies but these turned out well.

The grocery store has been out of arrowroot starch for a few weeks now. Either they won’t restock it or they have moved its location and I can’t find it. I didn’t want to go back to using cornflour (corn starch) or potato starch, so I decided to see if coconut flour could replace it. It seems to work just fine. Because it absorbs so much moisture it acts in many ways similar to a starch. If you can’t get or would rather not use coconut flour, then arrowroot starch, cornflour (cornstarch), or potato starch would work instead. In case you were wondering, it did not impart the taste of coconut. If you used something in place of the coconut flour, then the flours are easy to find.

Peanut Butter Honey Brownies

80 ml (1/3 cup) oil

225g (1 cup) caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

60g (1/2 cup) cocoa

110g (1 cup) gluten-free flour blend (I used white rice flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour)

80 ml (1/3 cup) water

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons honey, golden syrup, maple syrup, or agave syrup

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 23 cm (9 inch) square tin. In a bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add salt, cocoa, gluten-free flour blend, and water. Mix until smooth. Pour half the batter into prepared tin. Put dollops of peanut butter on the batter. Drizzle the honey or preferred syrup over the batter. Pour the other half of the batter over the top and spread gently to cover the peanut butter layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack. Makes 9-16 brownies, depending on how small you cut them. Enjoy!


11
August
2008

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Woohoo! A cake made with beer! I’m not a big fan of beer, but Brian is. I’m the chocolate cake fan. This cake looked quite toothsome and I really wanted to see if the beer gave it a unique taste. I came across it on The Village Green. Thanks Celia for sharing this recipe. This is the third of Nigella’s recipe I have tried and I have been happy with 2/3 of them. Not bad at all.

There aren’t many gluten-free beers currently available, especially darker ones, as Guiness is. Redbridge is all I’ve ever been able to find. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that makes darker gluten-free beers or you feel like ordering some, then I’d use that over Redbridge, which is a lighter beer. Thusly, the finished cake will not likely have the same quality as the Guiness cake, but it is fun to make a different sort of chocolate cake. If you’d rather not use any beer or alcohol, you could certainly substitute water, coffee, or even root beer.

This cake is extremely dark and moist, as the original is claimed to be, which is good. I love the dark contrast of the cake with the icing. The resemblance of the finished cake to a foaming pint is lovely. This is the crumbliest cake I’ve made in a while, so if crumbs bother you you could add some xanthan gum, 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. It’s really nice that you can make the whole thing in one pot, well except the icing, but who needs that, right ;) ? There is a sort of taste of grains in this cake, coming from the beer, that is different from other chocolate cakes. Mostly it reminds me of a devil’s food cake. It is rich and chocolatey and definitely does not taste of beer, if you’re worried about that. All the alcohol will cook out of the cake when it is baked. Enjoy!

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Redbridge Chocolate Cake

250 ml (1 cup) Redbridge beer (this is not a whole bottle, so swig the rest or hand off to someone to do so ;) )

250g butter (1 cup)

75g (rounded 1/2 cup) cocoa

400g (2 cups) caster sugar

140 ml (about 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) sour cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

275g (2 1/4 cups) gluten-free flour blend (I used white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and arrowroot starch)

2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Icing

300g (10 oz) cream cheese (you could even use 2/3rds of this and be fine)

150g (1 cup) icing sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) cream (you could cut this in half if you wanted)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line a 23 cm (9 inch) springform tin or two 23 cm (9 inch) round cake tins.

Add Redbridge to a large saucepan. Slice up the butter and add to the beer. Slicing it up will allow it to melt much more quickly. After the butter is melted, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cocoa and sugar, beat until well combined. Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla, and beat well together. Last, beat in the gluten-free flour blend, bicarbonate of soda, and xanthan gum if you choose to use any. Cake batter will be extremely thin and runny.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin or tins. Bake for 25-35 minutes for two tins or 45 minutes to an hour for one or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from the tin(s). If you have two cakes, it’s your choice, put one on top of the other or serve each separately with half the icing.

Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together. Add cream and beat until smooth and spreadable. Plop the icing on top of the cooled cake and spread it around until it looks like the frothy top of a pint of beer. Enjoy!


5
August
2008

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Another winner from Cookie Madness. I had some bananas I wanted to use so I decided this would be an interesting recipe to try. They are very fruity and have a soft texture that is not crumbly from all the fruit in them. I used dried reconstituted cherries to use up some dried cherries I had instead of maraschino cherries.

The taste is slightly reminiscent of banana tea bread. Thanks Anna for sharing this recipe. Easy to adapt to vegan, just replace the egg with applesauce, apple butter, prune puree, or flax seeds and water. I usually use the flax seeds if I want to use an egg substitute, since that’s what I have around. Use whatever you prefer. If you use applesauce, apple butter, or prune puree it will add to the fruitiness. For the cream cheese icing, you could use a vegan cream cheese spread.

I left the nuts out of the bars and they still tasted good. The icing was fine without the milk added to it. The dried cherries were good and definitely had cherry flavour, but probably wouldn’t have the sweetness like the maraschinos, which would definitely be more like a banana split. Still, these bars were good. They have solid banana flavour. Put some ice cream on top and there you have it: banana split ;) . Enjoy!

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Banana Split Bars

220g (2 cups) gluten-free flour blend (I used white sorghum flour, white rice flour, and tapioca flour)

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 overripe bananas, mashed

225g (1 cup) caster sugar

2 eggs or 13g (2 tablespoons) ground flax seed and 90 ml (6 tablespoons) water

120 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

50g (1/4 cup, 2 oz) dried cherries, reconstituted in equivalent volume of liquid

Icing:

55g (4 tablespoons) butter or trans-fat free shortening

85g (3 oz) cream cheese or vegan cream cheese spread

110g (1 cup) icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Line a 23 x 33 cm (9×13 in) tin with parchment paper. Blend flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and cinnamon together. In a separate bowl, add bananas, sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla and mix until well combined. Mix in reserved dry ingredients. Add pineapple and cherries and stir it all together. Pour batter into the tin and spread evenly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool. Prepare icing by beating butter and cream cheese or shortening and vegan cream cheese spread together. Add icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Spread the completed icing on the cooled bars and garnish with extra cherries.

Casein-Free Option:

The bars are casein-free. For the icing, you could leave it off; the bars have plenty of flavour and texture without. In that case you could still garnish them with extra cherries. Or you can substitute trans-fat free shortening for the butter and a vegan cream cheese spread for the cream cheese.