Versatile Gluten-Free Almond Cake

Almond Cake with Raspberries

Almond Cake with Raspberries

This Gluten Free Almond Cake is easy to make and can take on many flavors. Depending upon what gluten-free flour you choose, the cake can be quite different each time you make it.

You can add fruit, nuts or chocolate chips for greater variety. Glaze recipes are at the end.

You will need:

      • 2 eggs
      • ½ cup milk
      • ½ cup honey
      • 2 ounces melted butter  (1/2 stick)
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups almond meal* (see note below)

    1-1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
    1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Spray a 7″ tubular or bundt cake pan with pan spray set aside until ready to use.

Combine the almond meal with the salt and baking powder, mix well, set aside.

Combine the vanilla, eggs, honey, melted butter and milk in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir to combine. The consistency is cake batter. If what you have is too thin, add more almond meal.

Pour into prepared cake pan; bake for 30 minutes or longer. Insert a toothpick, if it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.

Glaze with honey or fondant glaze

Chestnut Cake with Almonds and Blueberries; Honey Glazed

Chestnut Cake with Almonds and Blueberries; Honey Glazed

Honey Glaze:

Melt 2 ounces of honey with 2 ounces of butter, drizzle over cooled cake

Fondant Glaze:

  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 drops vanilla

 Chocolate Fondant Glaze:

Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Drizzle

Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Drizzle

Add 1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder to the fondant glaze recipe above. Mix the cocoa powder with the confectioners sugar for an even blend.

Special Note:

By changing the gluten-free flour used from almond to pistachio, or chestnut, you can produce some really nice and different cakes.

You can also use Splenda in exchange for the honey. Additionally, you can use agave syrup as well.

Enjoy!

Pistachio cake with chocolate fondant and toasted chopped pistachios

Pistachio cake with chocolate fondant and toasted chopped pistachios

Chestnut cake with honey glaze

Chestnut cake with honey glaze

Almond Cake with raspberries, fondant drizzle and toasted almonds

Almond Cake with raspberries, fondant drizzle and toasted almonds

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Blueberry and Lemon Tart

Lemon Blueberry Tarts

A delicious blueberry and lemon tart for Fathers Day!

The tart uses a pie dough made with vodka, a filling with lemon curd and cream cheese crowned with a pile of fresh blueberries.

What could be better?

Pie dough first:

Using vodka in pie dough creates a very flaky crust. The alcohol prevents gluten from forming in the flour as the dough is processed. Gluten is what would make the dough tough. Wonderful for bread, but not so nice in a pie crust.

This dough rolls out beautifully. One secret is to chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Use a food processor for speedy results. If you don’t have a processor, use the two knife technique or a pastry cutter to blend the fat and flour, then again to add the vodka and water.

Pie dough ready to roll

Pie Dough with Vodka

English: A dough blender; also called a pastry...

English: A dough blender; also called a pastry blender. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 2 -1/2 cups AP Flour or King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour
    • Measure it separately: 1 1/2 cups and then another 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (Optional)
  • 1- 1/2 sticks of butter cut into 1/4″ slices to ease combining
  • 1/2 cup Crisco or shortening (Or use all butter)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

Add 1-1/2 cups flour to the bowl of a food processor. Add the salt, sugar (if using), butter and shortening to the bowl. Put the lid on and pulse until the mixture is about the size of peas.

Add the vodka and water, pulse to combine. Do not overwork which will make the dough tough.

Remove the dough from the bowl, separate into two pieces, flatten into discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill either overnight or for at least 2 hours.

Roll the dough, line the pastry dish (pie tin, tart molds) with the pastry.

Dock the crusts before baking

Dock the surface of the dough; cover each tin or mold with parchment, fill with rice or beans and bake at 375°F until the crust is golden brown.

Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake

Cool the shells before filling.

Cool shells before filling

You can always buy pie crust if you don’t want to make it. You can even pie totally pre-made and cooked shells if you prefer.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese

Homemade lemon curd

Homemade lemon curd (Photo credit: Wikipedia) You can also buy it already made.

4 ounces lemon curd

1/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar; 10x sugar)

2 ounces heavy cream

2 sheets or 1/4 ounce gelatin powder (Bloomed in the heavy cream)

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Bloom the gelatin. Heat the cream and the gelatin in a double boiler to prevent scorching.  Set aside and keep warm.

Warm the cream cheese slightly in the microwave, it combines better with other ingredients when it isn’t cold. In the bowl of a mixer, add the cream cheese and lemon curd and confectioners sugar.

Mix cream cheese, lemon curd and sugar

Combine until smooth.

Add the warm cream and gelatin, zest and lemon juice to the mixture, mix until smooth.

Fill each of the baked pastry shells with lemon cream cheese mixture, Chill until firm.

To serve, top with fresh blueberries.

Fresh Blueberries

Garnish with a dusting of confectioners sugar and cinnamon.

Use a 5-hole zester to get long thin strips; sprinkle with granulated sugar

Top it all off with a curl of lemon zest and fresh mint leaves.

Dust the berries with confectioners sugar with a small bit of cinnamon over the berries just before serving.

Lemon Blueberry Tarts

Strawberry “Cheesecake”, Rhubarb Compote, Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

A bowl of Strawberries. Français : Un bol de f...

Strawberries enhance the tartness of rhubarb. Classically they go together like hand in glove. But they don’t have to.

I like strawberries and I like rhubarb, both separate and together.

The local grocery had a sampling table set up promoting hemp seeds for their nutritional value. I picked up a bag intending to use them in a multi-grain bread, but used them instead of nuts in the oatmeal crisp.

So you are really getting three desserts today; you can eat each separate and then together.

Let’s talk briefly about the hemp seeds.

Gillian McKeith's organic shelled hemp seeds i...

Gillian McKeith’s organic shelled hemp seeds in a small bowl with teaspoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These seeds are not the variety of hemp used to “get high” anymore than you can “get high” from pistachios.

They are delicious, have great nutritional value and I thought it may push the envelope a bit to use them.

You can toast them but the texture is fine so it would be best to use them in something rather than a snack food.

If you desire, substitute finely ground pistachios or almonds instead of hemp seeds.

This entire dish consists of three recipes. Each quite simple.

The beauty is you can eat the strawberry “cheesecake” without the rhubarb compote and the compote without the cheesecake.

The cheesecake in this case is not baked, does not contain as much fat as traditional cheesecake; hence the quotation marks.

Make this with cream, or half and half (even the fat-free kind), Greek yogurt, cream cheese (can also be low-fat) and low-fat sour cream if desired.

Depending upon your choices of regular, low or non fat versions, you can have a pretty nifty dessert.

Recipe 1:

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

Strawberry “Cheesecake”

1 cup of whole strawberries, stemmed and washed

1/2 cup heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

1 8 – ounce package Cream Cheese

1/4 cup confectioners (10x) sugar

4 gelatin leaves or 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Puree the strawberries until smooth. Set aside.

Warm the cream cheese slightly in a microwave or wrap in a warm towel for 10 minutes to soften. The cream cheese whips better when soft.

Place the cream cheese in the mixer along with the sugar. Whip until smooth, add the strawberry puree.

Important notes about using gelatin:

If using gelatin leaves, soften the gelatin leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. When soft, squeeze out excess moisture. Add to warm liquid to melt, in this case the warm cream.

If using powdered gelatin, measure out the cold cream into a  heat proof bowl. (Stainless bowls work great) Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the surface of the cream. Allow the gelatin to “bloom” for 10-15 minutes. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water (double boiler) to warm the cream and melt the gelatin.

Careful in both cases, gelatin burns and scorches easily. Be careful and pay attention.

If using powdered gelatin follow these directions:

Heat cream and bloomed gelatin until warm and melted in a double boiler.

( A stainless bowl over pot of boiling water works nicely)

Add yogurt, be careful not to scorch, stir until warm and gelatin is totally melted.

If using gelatin sheets or leaves follow these directions:

Add the softened gelatin to warm cream and yogurt.

Stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Continue:

Add the gelatin mixture to the whipped cream cheese and strawberries.

Add the vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into desired containers: pretty stemmed glasses, ramekins, small bowls, fancy tea cups or a large dish.

I used stemmed “Marie Antoinette” champagne classes for this.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight for the gelatin to set.

Recipe 2:

Rhubarb Compote with Oatmeal Hemp Seed Crisp

(Or Oatmeal Pistachio/Almond Crisp)

Wash and dry rhubarb

3 stalks of fresh rhubarb, washed and sliced into pieces finger width wide. Be consistent.

1/2 cup sugar or 1/3 cup honey or agave syrup

2 tablespoons instant tapioca

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Slice the rhubarb

Allow rhubarb, sugar and tapioca to sit 15-30 minutes
( this is called “to macerate” in cooking terminology)

Spray baking dish with pan spray or
butter the dish

Fill the baking dish with macerated rhubarb

Wash and slice the rhubarb. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, sugar and tapioca and vanilla.

Allow the mixture to rest for 15 – 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the crisp part.

Recipe #3

Oatmeal, Hemp Seed Crisp

(Or Oatmeal Pistachio/Almond Crisp)

Combine oats, brown sugar, butter and ground nuts or seeds with a pastry cutter

Combine until the mixture looks like this; spread over top of the rhubarb; bake

Bake until golden and bubbly

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup whole butter, soft not melted!

1/4 cup hemp seeds or finely ground almond or pistachio nuts

1 teaspoon salt

Combine the oats, sugar and seeds and salt, cut in the butter until the mixture is like coarse cornmeal.

Place the macerated rhubarb mixture into a baking dish, top with the oatmeal hemp seed streusel mixture. Bake for 1 hour in an over set at 350°F or until the mixture bubbles.

Be sure to place a pan under the dish to catch all of the drippings for easy clean up.

To serve, top each chilled strawberry cream cheese dish with a generous dollop of warm rhubarb compote. Make sure you get some of the crisp part for the top. Add sliced or fresh diced strawberries if you like.

Garnish with mint leaf and serve with a smile!

Rhubarb Hemp Seed Crisp on top of Strawberry “Cheesecake”

Chocolate Pate and the Premio Cake Blog di Qualità

My dear friend Barbara at My Italian Smorgasbord, surprised me with this lovely award:

Premio Cake Blog di Qualità

Thank you So much!

I have been in a quandary as to what to post for this award. I have taken far too long to celebrate the honor. For that, I apologize.

Just as I figured out what to make, we went out-of-town to visit friends for a weekend get away.

Lucky them, they got to eat the vast amount of Chocolate Pate I made for this post.

Barbara at My Italian Smorgasbord has a lovely blog full of warm delightful recipes. I encourage all of you to go read her blog and make one of her recipes. You will be back for more!

The “rules” of the game is to share a sweet recipe, tell 7 things where sweet has influenced your life and then pass it along to 3 other fellow bloggers.

I thought long and hard about what to make for this award. Barbara’s Swedish buns were amazing.

What could I make that would be deserving of this award?

Not being much of a cake baker, I looked at other desserts I was known for at my restaurant. It was a toss-up between Chilled Key Lime Souffle and Chocolate Pate with Raspberry Coulis.

Chocolate won. I’ll make the souffle another time.

Chocolate Pate

  • 12 ounces  dark chocolate: get the best you can buy, chunks or chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup raspberry coulis (recipe follows)
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • pinch salt

NOTES:

    •  Do not get any water into the chocolate. Even one drop will seize it up and makes it very hard to get a smooth melt. Make sure your bowl is dry!
    • To make a double boiler, simply place a heat proof bowl (Stainless steel bowl is best) over a pot with boiling water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the top of the water.
    • Check and make sure the flame from a gas stove is not reaching around the bottom of the pot and touching the sides of the bowl. This will burn the chocolate. Use a towel or pot holder to hold the edge of the bowl. It will get hot during the process.
Method:

Melt until smooth

In a double boiler, add the chocolate. If the chocolate is in bar form, break it up into bits for easier melting.

Bring the cream to a boil, add to chocolate. Stir to melt smooth.

Add the raspberry coulis, vanilla, salt, and butter. Stir to  incorporate and ensure everything has melted smooth.

Line your chosen molds with cellophane wrap. Give the wrap a light spray with a pan release spray. This allows the chocolate to be removed from the pan easily once it has chilled.

Line the molds with cellophane wrap

Pour the lined molds with chocolate to the top. Fold the cellophane wrap edges over the chocolate and chill at least 12 hours.

Fill and cover with cellophane. Chill

The chocolate pate will become firm but not hard. Remove from the mold, unwrap, and slice to serve.

You can serve it with Creme Anglaise (Vanilla Sauce) and Raspberry Coulis accented with fresh berries and mint (or basil!) for garnish.

Crème anglaise made from milk, eggs, sugar and...

Creme anglaise made from milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla (in beans) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

raspberry coulis

raspberry coulis (Photo credit: thepinkpeppercorn)

Raspberry Coulis

Use fresh or frozen berries

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar or simple syrup

Place 1 cup of raspberries into a blender or food processor.

Add the sugar or syrup and blend until liquified – 1-2 minutes.

Adjust the sugar content to your taste. You may want more, others less.

Using a fine wire mesh strainer, strain the mixture through, rubbing the seeds with the back of a spoon to extract as much pulp as possible.

The bright pink seedless result is coulis. You can use almost any fruit to make a coulis.

Coulis  is simply pureed fruit or vegetables, strained so it is smooth and full flavored.

Imagine savory coulis . . . with roasted vegetables . . . the possibilities!
Plate set up:

Plated Pate

Spoon a small amount of Creme Anglaise onto a plate; spoon Raspberry Coulis beside the Anglaise. If desired, draw a toothpick, skewer or knife tip through the anglaise and coulis to create a swirled design.

Add fresh berries and a mint leaf to the plate and serve.

Please excuse the quality of the photos; I didn’t have the lighting equipment with me.

7 Sweet Things That Influenced My Life

1) Dulche de Leche – the first time I ever tasted it in Little Havana in Miami, I knew it would be in my life forever. It is one of the reasons I love Miami.

2) Fireball Jawbreakers – As a kid these were my ‘go to’ candy. My molars suffered and have had required dental treatment. My advice is to stay away from jawbreakers and dentist chairs. They go hand in hand.

3) As I love Miami, I love France for their Fleur de sel caramel. ’nuff said. I learned to make them which is a dangerous skill. It means I can have them available ALL the time. oops 😉

4) Short breads are another weakness, especially freshly made ones, with lemon glaze, and a cup of tea. This makes me a very happy girl!

5) Anything with puff pastry or pie dough. I like making them both, making things with them, eating things made with them. There is never a scrap thrown away.

6) Ice cream and sorbet especially home-made ones. Fun thing to do with gatherings of people. I love having just a small “amuse bouche” between hot courses of a meal.

7) This isn’t a like, but really a dislike: cake. I hate cake; making them, frosting them, the way they look, smell, even the sound of the word. Cake, ew. If I had to use a word, ‘gateau’ would work much nicer that ‘cake’.
The last cake I made I punched it down to the ground. Then kicked it. Cake murder. I vowed then never to make another cake. So far, I haven’t had to. YAY!

(Hum, will they take the award away now? The award name has ‘cake’ in it!)

This is where I pass it along!

The Premio Cake Blog di Qualità Now Goes to:

Choco chip Uru

This young lady’s blog is full of fun and delicious creations. She shares what works and what doesn’t with a great sense of humor. Check her out!

Mandy at The Complete Cookbook

Mandy presents interesting foods and beautiful photography. Her new cookbook is also available, ask her about it. Her posts are delightful.

Frugal Feeding

Everything Frugal does is mouth-watering. From his breads, to his desserts and he also estimates how much the dish cost to put on your table. Drop in and see what is on his table today.

Thank you again Barbara, I am flattered.