Kahlua Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I have a bad habit of baking cakes then neglecting to photograph them until the cake is half eaten. I try to pull this off as an artistic choice, but the truth is I’m a poor planner with no discipline when it comes to baked goods. This weekend we had family over, and I did it again.

Oops (not).

Enjoy these pictures of half-eaten cake. Bake one if you’d like. In a not-so-subtle serving suggestion, I highly recommend it with vanilla ice cream and Kahlua caramel sauce (see below) or this chocolate sauce.

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Kahlua Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
2 1/2 cups whole grain gf flours (I used 1 cup almond flour, 1 cup millet flour, and 1/2 cup brown rice flour)
1 cup sweet rice flour
scant 3/4 cup potato starch (not flour) or tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup full-fat sour cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Kahlua
4 eggs
12 oz (2 cups) chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 and generously butter and flour a bundt cake pan.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in one large bowl and stir to incorporate.
3. Combine all wet ingredients in one bowl and whisk together.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.
5. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake at 325 for 55-65 mins or until top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Kahlua Caramel Sauce (also excellent for dipping apple slices)

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup or simple syrup (I used this)
1 tsp Kahlua

1. In medium sauce pan stir together the whipping cream, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue to boil gently for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally.
2. Remove from heat and stir in Kahlua. Let cool for fifteen minutes to thicken.

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Classic Yellow Cake

Classic Yellow Cake, Gluten-Free from Flours and Chocolates

For Jarron’s birthday last week, I made a classic yellow butter cake with chocolate fudge frosting. I’ve made many gluten-free cakes over the years, but believe it or not this was his first time tasting this quintessential birthday cake combination.

Classic Yellow Cake, Gluten-Free by Flours and Chocolates

And I’m proud to say that after many years of trial and error with cakes, this is one of my best yet, and definitely my go-to vanilla cake recipe from now on. Supermoist, with a beautiful golden color from the eggs and the millet and almond flours, a generous crumb, great body, and rich vanilla flavor. It was so good that, I’m not ashamed to say, other than sharing a few slices with family, we ate the rest ourselves.

Classic Yellow Cake, Gluten-Free from Flours and Chocolates

This fudge frosting was perfect, but this is a great versatile cake base that would go with pretty much any frosting or filling: a solid homegrown vanilla cake.  Jarron said he wants to try it next time with a lemon cream cheese frosting. Go nuts.

Classic Yellow Cake, Gluten-Free by Flours and Chocolates

Note on soaking flours: I chose to the soak the flours beforehand because I heard with gluten-free flours it could contribute to a more tender crumb. A lot of gluten-free bakers recommend exclusively baking with superfine flours for this reason, but superfine flours are (in my opinion) prohibitively expensive to buy and impossible to recreate at home for those who grind their own flour. Though it requires some advanced preparation (a day ahead) soaking the flours beforehand seemed like a reasonable compromise to me (especially since I’m not making celebration cakes off the cuff), and I definitely noticed a difference.

I’ve written the recipe to include this step, but if you feel that it is unnecessary or you don’t have the time, simply combine and whisk all your dry ingredients together and after you have added the eggs, add the flour mixture in three installments, alternating with the buttermilk/kefir.

Classic Yellow Butter Cake, Gluten-Free
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup almond flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp potato starch (not potato flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk or kefir (I used kefir)

The day before: Combine almond, sweet rice, millet, and brown rice flours in a large glass bowl and whisk to incorporate. Add kefir/buttermilk, cover with a dishtowel, and allow to soak for 12-24 hours in a warm place, out of the sun.

The day-of: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round aluminum cake pans, insert circles of parchment, and butter the parchment. Flour the pans with tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, or potato starch.

Combine baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, and whisk briefly to incorporate.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric or stand mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping with a spatula after each addition.

Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt mixture to egg/butter/sugar mixture, and mix until combined. Then working in three additions and at low speed, beat in buttermilk/flour mixture until just combined. Add potato starch and mix until just combined. It’s okay if the mixture is curdled-looking.

Divide the batter evenly between cake pans, spreading with a spatula to smooth. Drop the pans on the counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake until the cakes are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Invert cakes onto rack and discard parchment, allowing to cool completely, about 1 hour. Frost and serve or freeze in plastic wrap until ready to use.

Milk

Raspberry Almond Tart

Raspberry Almond Tart

Way back in March, I made a raspberry almond tart for Easter, topped with bunny pastry  cutouts.

I loved how pretty the cutouts made the tart and also how easy they were to do. Obviously, I used bunnies, but you can use whatever shape your heart desires (stars, leaves, hearts, etc.).

Raspberry Almond Tart

And this tart is every bit as tasty as it is pretty. The filling is a creamy almond custard with the flavor of sweet cake batter, contrasted with sweet (or tart), juicy red raspberries. And baked in a flaky, buttery crust.

There’s touches of almond in almost every layer of this tart: almond flour and extract in the crust and topping, and fresh, homemade almond paste in the creamy filling.

Raspberry Almond Tart

Though I may have jumped the gun a bit with fresh raspberries in March (spring fever hit me so hard I can’t be held responsible for my actions), this is a perfect dessert for those first sweet batches of spring raspberries.

*To make non-gf: Substitute the 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flours in the crust and the 3 tbsp sweet rice flour in the filling with equal amounts of all-purpose flour.

Raspberry Almond Tart

Raspberry Almond Tart 

Ingredients

Crust
1 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flours (I used 1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup sweet rice, 1/4 cup potato starch, and 1/4 cup corn flour)
scant 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick plus 5.5 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup ice cold water, plus 1-2 tbsp

Almond Paste
heaping 1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups blanched, slivered almonds (see how to blanch your own almonds here)
1/2 tsp almond extract
scant 2 tbsp butter (optional)

Filling
6 oz almond paste
3 eggs (room temp)
3 tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp almond extract
10 oz fresh raspberries (about 3 cups)
2-4 tbsp sugar (to taste)

Equipment
10-inch tart pan
decorative cooke cutters
food processor

Make the Almond Paste

You can substitute store-bought for this recipe, but I think the flavor of homemade is much better and much fresher (also, it’s easy to make). You can make the almond paste as early as six weeks beforehand (so the flavor develops) or as soon as you need it.

You can use this simple recipe for almond paste, which requires only almonds, powdered sugar, an egg white, and optional almond extract. This is an excellent quick and simple recipe, but the recipe below (adapted from Jacques Torres) is my favorite: it has an unbeatable consistency and flavor. In place of some of the simple syrup or the almond extract, you can add kirsch, amarretto, lemon juice and lemon zest, orange juice and orange zest, or honey.

heaping 1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups blanched, slivered almonds (see how to blanch your own almonds here)
1/2 tsp almond extract
scant 2 tbsp butter (optional)

Combine the sugar, honey, and water in a saucepan and bring to a strong boil, stirring until sugar and honey dissolve. Place the almonds in the food processor and grind until coarse crumbs form (if you blend the almonds too much on their own, they will start to release their oils and turn into almond butter). Remove the simple syrup from the heat, setting aside about a scant 1/4 cup of liquid, and pour the rest over the almond meal. Add the almond extract if using and process the paste on high until smooth. When the food processor begins to strain, add a little of the extra liquid with the machine running until the blade moves freely again; repeat as necessary until almond paste is smooth and the desired consistency is reached.

Wrap the almond paste in plastic wrap and allow it to cool. When you are ready to use it, knead in the 2 tbsp butter. The butter makes it smooth and not so sticky, though some people have found the butter unnecessary.

This makes about a pound of almond paste. Whatever you don’t use for the recipe will store well in the fridge or freezer, well-wrapped, for a later date (rainbow cookies? :) Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before you use it.

Make the Crust

1 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flours (I used 1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup sweet rice, 1/4 cup potato starch, and 1/4 cup corn flour)
scant 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick plus 5.5 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup ice cold water, plus 1-2 tbsp more.
optional: 1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine the flours, salt, and sugar in the food processor, and whir until combined and cohesive.

Take the butter out of the fridge and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the pieces of butter in the food processor and blend with the flours until coarse crumbs form. Add 1/4 cup ice cold water and the almond extract if using and process until dough comes together. If dough is too dry and is not coming together, add ice cold water a little at a time with the machine running until the dough comes together (I added an additional tablespoon of water).

Remove dough from the food processor. Dough should be very easy to handle and should hold together well. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Generously butter your tart pan, making sure to get into all the crannies. Arrange two overlapping sheets of plastic wrap on the counter and sprinkle with potato starch flour. After the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, remove it from the fridge, unwrap it, and place it on the plastic wrap. Cover with two more overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and roll out to a circle about 1/4 inch thick and about a 14-inch diameter.

The dough is very easy to work with and handle and should be easy to transfer into your tart pan. I took off the top layer of plastic and rolled my dough circle around my rolling pin and transferred it that way, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing that or feel the dough is too delicate you can transfer the dough with both sides of plastic wrap and all into the tart pan. Fold over one side and peel one side of the plastic from underneath, then replace dough and repeat with other side. Remove the top layer of plastic last (keeping the top layer of plastic while removing the under layer prevents the top of the dough from sticking to itself during this process).

Press the dough into the tart pan, removing the excess and using it to patch any holes. You should still have plenty of dough left over; roll it back up and return it to the fridge for now.

Once the dough is pressed and shaped into the pan evenly and you’ve patched any holes, prick the base of the crust all over with a fork. Bake the crust in the oven for 11-13 minutes. Be careful not to over bake the crust, since it will bake again with the filling; the crust should still be blonde when you remove it from the oven. Do not bake longer than 13 minutes.

Allow the crust to cool on a rack for 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Make the Filling

6 oz almond paste, room temperature
7 tbsp butter, room temperature
3 eggs (room temp)
3 tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp almond extract
10 oz fresh raspberries (about 3 cups)
2-4 tbsp sugar

If you haven’t already set the eggs out to come to room temperature, remove them from the fridge now and place whole eggs in a bowl of warm water.

If you followed the above recipe for almond paste and have not yet kneaded in the 2 tbsp butter (but would like to) do that now. Your almond paste should be at room temperature.

Measure out 6 oz of almond paste and cut into thin slices and place in the food processor with the sweet rice flour, honey, and almond extract. Cut the 7 tbsp of butter into 1/2 inch slices and add to the food processor as well.

Whisk the eggs together and set aside 1 oz (2 tbsp) of the whisked eggs for the egg wash. Pour the rest into the food processor.

Process the mixture on high until smooth. making sure there are no chunks of butter or almond paste.

This is one of my favorite parts. Test the mixture for sweetness (mmm). It should taste like sweet cake batter and have a smooth consistency. It is at this point that you can add additional honey or simply sugar. Consider your options: you could make the filling extra sweet and skimp on the sweetness of the berries so the tartness contrasts with the sweetness. Or simply sweeten to taste, adding sugar or honey 1 tbsp at a time until desired flavor is reached.

Once the filling is smooth and sweetened to your taste, pour it into the tart shell and spread evenly with a spatula.

Toss your fresh raspberries with 2 to 4 tbsp of sugar, to reach desired sweetness. Gently press the raspberries into the filling.

Top and Bake 

Remove the extra crust dough from the fridge, and roll it out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters (hearts, stars, leaves . . . bunnies) and place in a random pattern over the raspberries and filling.

Mix the remaining whisked egg with 1 1/2 tsp whipping cream and brush generously over cutouts and the edges of the tart crust. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until filling is slightly puffed and pastry cutouts are golden at the edges. Check tart at the halfway point to make sure the crust is not overbrowning. If it is, cover with tin foil or pie crust guards. Filling should still be slightly wobbly when you remove the tart from the oven.

After removing the tart from the oven, allow to cool for about 50 minutes, and chill in the fridge for at least 50 minutes before serving.

Raspberry Almond Tart

This tart is perfect with some high-quality vanilla ice cream. And it only gets better with age. In the days after Easter, I swore the tart tasted better with every passing day.

Raspberry Almond Tart

Easy PB & C Cookies

Easy PB & C Cookies

When I saw these cookies featured on Cup of Jo, my first thought was, “I have to make those gluten-free!”

Then I clicked on the link, scrolled down the page, salivated at the scrumptious-looking pictures, and started reading over the recipe.

It took me a minute to figure it out (somehow I missed the “gluten-free” right after the title), but these cookies are flourless! (read: naturally gluten-free). Thank you Averie for making my life so easy.

I think this is a great recipe for people who do not usually bake gluten-free or who are new to it, or someone who wants a quick gluten-free dessert with ingredients they already have in their kitchen. And people who like peanut butter.

Easy PB & C Cookies

Averie, from Averie Cooks, who developed the recipe, is a serious peanut butter lover. Just scroll through the selection of peanut-buttery desserts on her blog (seriously: do); it’s rumored she has a rotating number of roughly twenty jars of all different kinds of peanut butter in her pantry at all times. And though she has a wonderful tutorial on making your own homemade peanut butter, Averie suggests using store-bought for this recipe (her favorite is Peter Pan Honey Roasted).

My favorite commercial peanut butter, and the one I used for this go-round, is Skippy Natural Creamy. It only has a few ingredients and no hydrogenated oils. And it’s incredibly tasty (like eat out of the jar with a spoon tasty).

If the dough is not coming together, Averie says to add more peanut butter one tablespoon at a time. Since I live in a drier climate, I had to follow this step, and the cookies came out perfectly.

Easy PB & C Cookies

Recipe here. Enjoy these with a tall glass of milk.

Really Good Oatmeal Cookies

Really Good Oatmeal Cookies

I never thought I could like a cookie this much that didn’t contain any chocolate. But wow, these cookies are good! These are oatmeal cookies for people who don’t like oatmeal cookies.

When Jarron first requested oatmeal cookies (he’s never had them before), I thought: chocolate chip. 

“No, not chocolate chip,” he said. “Raisin.”

Now raisins have always been my idea of a good way to ruin a perfectly good oatmeal cookie. But upon that point—of raisins—he was insistent.

Grumbling, I set out to develop an oatmeal raisin cookie based on my original chocolate chip cookie recipe (I do almost always get my way around here; you’d never be able to tell from the array of desserts we eat, but Jarron is not himself all that crazy about chocolate).

Since the recipe would have raisins in it, and therefore I would be eating almost none of the cookies (except to sample the texture), I felt pretty confident about making a small experimental batch. After all, I had been turning my nose up at oatmeal raisin cookies my whole life.

I made a half batch of dough and decided to bake up just six cookies to test the baking time and temperature. Jarron had a blood test to take the next day and needed to fast for twenty-four hours, so he wouldn’t be able to taste any of the fresh out-of-the-oven cookies; but he did want to take several with him to work the next day.

I baked up the six cookies and let them cool on a rack before I sampled my first one. The smell was heavenly, and I was surprised to find myself looking forward to tasting this cookie.

“Oh, wow! These cookies are good!” I said, as I ate first one cookie and then another.

“Okay,” Jarron said, hearing my moans of pleasure from the other room, “Don’t forget to save some for me!”

I ate a third cookie.

“How many do you want to take to work with you tomorrow?” I asked, eyeing the three remaining cookies on the sheet. I reached for the smallest of the three. “How about two?”

“I was thinking three,” Jarron said.

I had half of the third cookie in my mouth. I finished chewing and set the rest of it down. “How about two and a half?”

“Why would I want to take half a cookie?”

“Because that’s all that’s left.”

Really Good Oatmeal Cookies

A note on oats: For this recipe, make sure you use 100% certified gluten-free oats. As a grain, oats are naturally gluten free, but most commercial brands of oats have been contaminated by gluten in the processing facility. Bob’s Red Mill sells certified gluten-free oats, and I used those.

Add-ins: As much as I enjoyed this version with raisins, I don’t think I’m going to be able to stop myself from experimenting with these—namely, adding chocolate to the next batch.

Maybe even raisins and chocolate chips. And nuts. I think white chocolate chips and craisins would be great, too. I will let you know what I try, and I would love it if you would do the same. This is an excellent cookie base for playing around with.

To make the cookies non-gf: Substitute 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour for the buckwheat, millet, sorghum, brown rice, potato starch, sweet rice, and tapioca flour, and use whatever brand of oatmeal you have on hand.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp each of buckwheat, millet, sorghum, and brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
2 tbsp sweet rice flour
1 tbsp tapioca flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
large pinch of nutmeg
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins

  1. If you haven’t already, take your eggs out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature.
  2. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk, aerating and blending until cohesive. Add the oats and stir to combine.
  3. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut into about eight pieces per stick, roughly the size of a tablespoon. Immediately place butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine on low speed, then cream on medium speed until the mixture comes together and is fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla; scrape down the bowl.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three installments on low speed, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  6. Once the flour is thoroughly incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer and add the raisins, mixing by hand until incorporated.
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and use a tablespoon measure to scoop six balls of dough, spaced in two rows of three.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.
  11. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and bang on the counter top to flatten the cookies.
  12. Immediately remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  13. Cool five minutes before eating or completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes four dozen chewy oatmeal cookies.

Really Good Oatmeal Cookies