I made this pumpkin cheesecake for my brother’s birthday. It turned out beautifully. It is delightfully smooth and rich. Topping it with whipped cream and caramel sauce is actually unnecessary, but does make it look more festive. To make it gluten free, I used gluten-free graham crackers for this crust.
This recipe makes a pretty large cake and, for science, I have tested it and found it is a good breakfast cheesecake. I am looking forward to enjoying it over the next few days.
Yesterday, I was reading a blog post that offered advice on how to improve your life. The first step involved a little bit of introspection. One of the things you were supposed to determine was what single biggest thing would bring you joy, professionally or personally. I imagine that the author intended the reader to consider a longer timeframe than I did, but when I read that, I decided that the single biggest thing that would bring me joy at that moment was to make a cake, right then and there. So I made this.
And bring joy it did. It combines two of my favourite things–cardamom and cake.
This is a lovely, simple cake. It calls for a whole tablespoon of ground cardamom and melted butter. I baked mine in an 8-inch pan to help give it more height, so it took a little longer to bake. I chose not to put any sugar on top at all, leaving it naked. If you too are a cardamom fan, you should give it a try. This is an excellent breakfast cake (and an excellent end of the day cake, too).
Look at the colours in this cake! Red and white, perfect for Canada Day.
This cake is Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry Brita Cake. It is a lemon-flavoured cake, made with only egg yolks, and topped with a meringue made from the egg whites. The lasagne-pan sized cake is cut lengthwise, and slathered in whipped cream and cut-up fresh strawberries.
My sister and niece made it for me recently, using a gluten-free flour blend. It was lovely and light. The strawberry flavour came through beautifully and the lemon in the cake was fantastic. I highly recommend it. Five out of five. Would eat again!
Of course, I was forced to take the leftovers home (tant pis pour moi…) and so I managed to have it for breakfast for a few days after. Living the dream.
I have mentioned before that I believe in eating Christmas treats out of season. One benefit of this, when it is a dessert that you like but is not popular with others, is that you don’t have to share it with people who are unworthy of it. Another is that you don’t have it in a season when most of us really don’t need more dessert options. You can eat it when you are able to truly appreciate it.
Recently, I decided to make this favourite of mine, fruit stollen. This recipe is a quick bread, rather than a yeast bread, which means it is fast to put together. The dough includes cream cheese, which makes it easy to work with. It comes from Anna Thomas’s lovely cookbook The Vegetarian Epicure.
I mostly follow the original recipe. I use orange juice, not brandy, to soak the dried fruit, and I double it. I also double the cardamom, using 1 teaspoon. I follow the original recipe for the fruit ingredients. It uses sultanas, currants and candied peel (1/2 cup, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup for one loaf). The dough gets some of its richness from ground almonds. And I use a gluten-free flour blend.
The dough requires a bit of patience, but eventually the flour gets absorbed, and you are left with a pliable dough. You can then pat this out by hand, on parchment paper, to the size of your choice. The original recipe calls for an oval 8 x 10 inches, which you then fold over just off centre. This time, I made my oval slightly bigger. If you adjust the size, keep this in mind when baking it, as making it thinner or thicker will affect the baking time.
One other change I make is to add about a cup of marzipan to the centre. This bread is lovely as is and the marzipan is not needed, but it is does make it quite special. When it is finished, you dust the whole thing generously with icing sugar after it has cooled a little.
The flavours improve over time, making it better a day or two after baking. I enjoyed the piece above at my desk the day after it was made. The rest I have portioned out and frozen, ready for me to enjoy later this summer.
I have been rereading Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher novels. I recently started Murder in the Dark, which is set in the Christmas season, and got to a chapter which starts with an epigraph about figgy pudding from “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The obsessive part of my brain kicked in, and I started researching figgy pudding recipes.
I like desserts with dark flavours. I love all things featuring mincemeat, love dark fruitcake, and am passionate about sticky toffee pudding (note to self: blog about STP sometime soon…). So, as I read the recipes, I felt that figgy pudding was right up my street. The recipes featured dates, raisins and figs. As I read on I realized that I actually had copious amounts of all of these dried fruits in my pantry. I also had a large amount of orange juice that needed to be used up, and I had been looking for a way to use it in baking.
This happy confluence led to me trying this recipe. Well, using it as a starting point. I love how she bakes it in individual ramekins. My batter ended up being quite large, so I baked it in a loaf pan. Other changes I made: I added more raisins, so some were in the pureed date and fig mixture and some were left whole; I used orange juice instead of water; I soaked the dried fruits in the orange juice for half an hour before I started cooking (and soaked the raisins that remained whole in more orange juice); I used white sugar instead of honey; and when I took it out of the oven, I spooned more orange juice over the warm cake.
It is delicious and fruity. There is a subtle cinnamon flavour that comes through as well. I had some heavy cream that needed using too, so I just poured some of that over the warm pudding.
The texture is lovely. It is tender and moist. It is a fantastic use of coconut flour, which is such a good binder.
I would happily serve this as a dessert. It is very comforting and perfect for when the weather is frigid. I plan to freeze some portions so I can enjoy it later. Maybe for breakfast. Maybe with custard. Or maybe with whipped cream… So I have lots to look forward to.
Guess what I did today! I made these baked chocolate chip donuts. I had originally been looking at baked donut recipes so that I could use my brother’s donut pan, but in the end, I made mine into donut sticks by baking them in my mini loaf pans.
I decided to make a double batch so I that I would end up with six. The batter came together beautifully. I greased my mini loaf pans with oil, as well as lining each one with a strip of parchment paper. I subbed in a gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour (my blend was a 4:1:1 mix of rice flour, sweet rice flour and potato starch) and baked my loaves/donut sticks for 20 minutes. I glazed them with a sugar glaze, in keeping with my memories of stick donuts.
The end result was very tasty and certainly satisfied my donut craving. And now I have breakfast for tomorrow. (I clearly need to do more baked donut experiments.)
As much as I love eating leftover dessert cake for breakfast, I sometimes want something a little simpler. When I first stopped eating gluten, banana bread was one of the little things I missed, so I started looking for a reliable gluten-free alternative.
The first time I tried to make a gluten-free banana bread was also the first time I baked with coconut flour. I had no idea how different coconut flour is from other flours. The result was dense, leaden and dried-out mini loaves of banana bread that tasted good but fell far from my ideal.
I am currently developing a recipe for breakfast cheesecake. I know that you can eat any cheesecake for breakfast, but this one is a simple, no-fuss, no-crust cheesecake that’s baked in a bain-marie and scooped into a bowl like custard or pudding. A girl has to eat something for breakfast, right?
I had a craving for carrot cake recently. One of my sisters created a delicious carrot cake recipe years ago. Her version uses soured milk along with vegetable oil, which gets rid of the oiliness that some carrot cakes suffer from. Her recipe also features raisins and orange rind and is topped with cream cheese icing. It is by far my favourite carrot cake.
But this post is not about that recipe, exactly. This post is about what happens when you bake when you are tired…