zest lemon cake for the win! & another tutorial

This is not a new cake. At least not to me. It’s a cake I’ve made many, MANY times before.

I may have explained this to everyone, but incase you weren’t there, (or need a refresher) I love lemons. On everything. Desert. Salads. Meat. Chicken. BBQ. In tea. I like the smell. I love the colour. It’s pretty simple really. My house is always fully stocked with lemons & I can never get enough.

If left to my own devices… most people would complain I make things too “lemony”. So I hold back & just add more to my own plate (bowl, salad).

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This weeks tutorial is brought to you a little less for the love of lemons… & a little more because I had all the ingredients readily available in my cupboards & didn’t have to take a dreaded trip down to the grocery store. Yes. I am lazy.

Even if you don’t love lemons, you will love this cake. Very few people don’t love lemon cake. It’s true. There’s just something magic about it.

Ingredients, cake: 
– 30g lemon juice
– 90g heavy cream
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– 115g unsalted butter, room temp
– 195g sugar
– 3 lemons, zest
– 3 eggs
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– 140g almond flour
– 70g gluten-free oat flour
– 70g tapioca starch
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
– 1/4 tsp salt

Directions, cake:
1. preheat the oven to 175C. Grease a bunt tin with butter & set aside.
2. combine the lemon juice & cream in a bowl & set aside to let thicken.
3. in the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugar, butter & lemon zest. Beat on high heat until thoroughly creamed together & then add in the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
4. add the dry ingredients & the thickened cream to the batter & beat. Make sure to stop your mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl & make sure everything has been incorporated.
5. transfer your batter into your prepared baking tin & bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out dry.
6. remove your cake form the oven & allow to cool for 20 minutes before transferring to a serving platter of your choice.
Tips:
*** if you would rather use whole almonds because it’s cheaper than almond flour, you can place your almonds in a blender & grind until fine. Then add in the lemon juice, cream & eggs & let the blender work for several minutes. This will ensure a fine paste instead of large chunks of almond. This is what I have done in the video.
*** if your bunt pan has an intricate pattern, you may want to give it 4 or 5 hard raps on a surface before placing it in the oven. This will make sure all the nooks & crannies are filled & ensure a beautiful looking cake.
*** if you have a gluten-free white flour blend that you know & love, then you can replace the 70g oat flour & 70g tapioca starch with 140g of the white flour blend & make your life a little simpler.

Ingredients, syrup: (optional)
– 50g sugar
– 60g lemon juice

Directions, syrup:
1. combine the sugar & lemon juice in a pot & bring to a simmer. Allow to cook together for 10 to 20 minutes. Liquid should remain clear but thicken slightly.
2. once your cake is removed from the oven, poke it full of holes & slowly pour the syrup over the cake.
Tip:
*** this will give your cake an extra *ZING* of lemon flavour. I opted out of this step in the tutorial as I wanted a more mellow cake with my coffee.

Ingredients, glaze:
– 100g icing sugar
– 60g lemon juice
– 20g toasted almond slivers

Directions, glaze:
1. place your icing sugar in a bowl & slowly add the lemon juice a little at a time, whisking between each addition until you have a thick consistency. Slowly pour over your cake in any pattern you like & then sprinkle the finished cake with nuts.

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comfort food is cornbread

Generally, I don’t really think about bread that much. It’s one of those things that I generally kind of wrote-off once I made the switch to gluten-free. That’s not to say that it’s vanished from my mind completely… as a Greek, it’s present at every single dinner table or restaurant outing I attend. For the most part, I just ignore it & hope my cravings go away. Sometimes that even works.

browned butter cornbread - gluten-free

& truthfully, as much as I love bread, it was kind of a pain in the butt to make… so I just didn’t. Simple as that.

Then I went & married a greek. & he likes bread. He likes bread a lot. So much so that he sneaks off to the baker & comes home with all sorts of delicious loafs. I’m happy for him, really I am… I’m not so happy about the crumbs all over my kitchen. Which as you know, are inevitable. If I think there’s even the slightest chance that there’s something on a surface, or on the dish towel… I’m cleaning or throwing it in the wash.

So I gave in. I started baking bread again. It’s gotten me experimenting with recipes such as bagels, buttermilk biscuits, blueberry & oat loaves, & many more. Cornbread was a recent addition. I mean, not recent to my stash of recipe cards that have been building up… but a recent addition to what I bake in this little kitchen I call home.

It’s made an appearance three times now. The first was just for us. The second was for the video… but that vanished before I really had a chance to finish off the recording… so of course, I made it a 3rd time to give you a clear shot. The truth is, only once have I not shown the final product, & it still haunts me. I wasn’t about to make that mistake again. Not to mention… any excuse to remake the cornbread. Oh, & I also seem to be making crepes at least twice a week since I wrote that last recipe. Somethings become favourite quickly in this house.

Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:
– 170g finely ground corn meal
– 40g coarse corn meal
– 170g gluten-free oat flour
– 1 tsp xanthan gum
– 1 tsp satl
– 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
———————
– 125g unsalted butter
– 2 eggs
– 375g buttermilk
– 70g honey

Directions:
1. pre-heat the oven to 176C. Grease & line a 25cm x 25cm baking tin with parchment paper & set aside.
2. combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl & whisk to combine & mix thoroughly.
3. create a well in the centre & add the remaining ingredients & give it a good mix until everything is evenly distributed. Transfer into your prepared baking tin. At this point, you can add canned corn kernels, jalapeños, or any other little tidbits you can think of.
4. place in the centre of the oven & bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven & allow to cool before cutting.

Tips:
*** this recipe works deliciously well if you brown the butter first. You can find instructions on how to do that in this recipe of a previous version of the cornbread.

back on track… with crêpes & a tutorial!

It’s been a few long weeks without my laptop, but I finally gave in & had my power cable repaired. There is no good excuse for my lazy ways or stubborn behaviour, but it took me a while to cave.

That being said, I’m back, & I’m back with a vengeance.

This weeks tutorial is inspired by my husband… we were laying on the couch on Sunday watching a movie & melting in an overly lazy & indulgent way when he decided he had a sweet-tooth. I offered to make brownies… & he said that maybe he’d just go out & get a crêpe. Well, seeing as I wasn’t about to change out of my PJs… & I most certainly wasn’t going to accompany him & watch him devour a dessert I couldn’t at least partake in, I decided the only rational thing to do was write a crepe recipe.

It was so good, I decided to do it all over again & share the knowledge!

Here it is for your enjoyment! Yes, my glutinous ways are the fuel behind my inspiration. I have no shame.

Ingredients: (makes 5)
– 165g buckwheat flower (or oat flour)
– 30g tapioca
– 2 lg eggs + 1 egg white
– 15g unsalted butter, melted (or olive oil)
– 15g sugar (or honey)
– 15g rum
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 300g milk

Directions:
1. combine all the ingredients in a blender & blend until smooth.
2. bring a large non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat. Make sure it’s good & hot before you begin.
3. use a 1/2 cup measurer to ladle the batter into your pan. Pour into the centre of the pan, & then lift the pan up & tilt in a circular motion to distribute the batter evenly. After a minute or two, gently lift the edge of the crêpe, if the colour is a nice light golden, use a spatula to ensure the crepe isn’t stuck to the pan & then flip it & cook for another minute or two.
4. transfer the crepe to a plate & cover with a towel, or fill immediately with anything of you choice & serve.

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Hiatus… 

there’s been a gap of silence. As I type I feel it’s necessary to inform you that this post is being tapped out on my phone. Yes… I’m trying to formulate my thoughts using my thumbs. 

I detest writing long messages with my thumbs. 

My laptop cable has finally but the dust, & I’ve been without my precious computer for four whole days. 

No posts. No video recordings. No new tutorial. This pains me to say. 

I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet & buy a new cable. I was hoping to abstain from such a purchase until my mother arrives next month on her white chariot bringing me her spare…. But the reality is, I can’t go that long. 

So I’m here to say, I’ll be back with a vengeance. Just stay tuned. 

For now, please enjoy the cakes I made this previous week…

   
 

Diary, day fifty-nine

I’m up to my eyeballs in cake again.

Did you see the one I made for Wednesday?

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Granted it’s not my very best work, as always I look at it & all I see are the flaws… but I am still pretty pleased with it.

I’m hoping the receiver liked it too since it was supposed to be a surprise.

All those little red things sticking out are hearts.

I don’t have much to say right now. This basketball themed cake that I’m working on is taking up all my concentration & energy. I just wanted to check in quickly.

Diary, day fifty-eight

Remember the blueberry buckwheat loaf I made for the tutorial the other day? Well, I experimented with freezing it to see how well it could be brought back to life.

Let me just tell you, the results were amazing!

I defrosted it in the fridge, cut it into slices, toasted it & made these sandwiches.

Grabbed a couple cold ciders out of the fridge & wrapped them in ice packs… & headed down to the beach.

Nothing better than a picnic on the beach after a beautiful swim. The weather is gorgeous too… it’s beautiful, sunny & hot without being so hot you want to melt.

& a nap under the trees is perfection. That’s all I have to say.

Diary, day fifty-seven – spinach tortillas & chicken fajitas

Ok, I’m a little disappointed with myself. I usually take great pride in photographing the end result so I have a beautiful image to start off my tutorial with & then I get to show it all off at the end so I can relay the amazing results….

I let my cravings & compulsion get the better of me however & I have nothing to show for it. That’s right, I’m a greedy greedy girl & I ate it all before I ever even had the chance to document it.

That being said, I brazenly used the excuse that it was late at night by the time I’d finished… & there was no light left for such a photograph… & it would be such a shame to let a delicious meal get cold.

Have I managed to justify my actions? Not quite.

Still, the tutorial shows all the prep & for that I am grateful. Am I as pleased with it as my previous two tutorials? Not even close.

Lesson learned… if I have a wicked craving for food, it should not be used for the tutorial because it won’t make it to it’s photoshoot. I only have myself to blame.

I’ll do better next week, promise!

Ingredients:
– 100g frozen spinach, defrosted
– 75g almond flour
– 175g buckwheat flour
– 150g tapioca starch
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 & 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
– 20g olive oil
– 3 large egg whites

Directions:
1. combine the almonds & spinach in your food processor & blend until smooth.
2. add in the rest of the dry ingredients & continue to process until everything is incorporated. Add the wet ingredients & continue blending until a dough is formed.
3. transfer the dough into a bowl, wrap with clingfilm & refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. To make the tortillas, place a large non-stick pan on the stove & heat to medium-high. Lightly grease the pan with oil.
5. take a portion of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball & flatten into a disc, lightly dust with buckwheat flour & roll out to 1mm thick between two sheets of parchment paper. You can trim the edges using a large bowl to get a nice uniform shape. Transfer the disc into the frying pan & move it around so the oil is evenly distributed. Cook for 1 minute on each side or until the bubbles start to get colour.
6. continue on this way until all the tortillas are cooked. Or alternatively, make as many as you like, & freeze the remaining dough for use at a later date.

Recipes for the guacamole & fajitas are here.

Diary, day fifty-five

I may be facing a slight problem… my mac is still refusing to charge & I’m wondering how I’m going to churn out a tutorial this week if I can’t put together a video.

I know this isn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to cause some frustration.

With a little (a lot) fiddling, I can get it to at least hold power instead of continuing to run down the battery.. but the slightest movement disconnects even that. The problem arises of how I record my introduction. I use my mac for that. No one wants my intro from my couch… they might actually see that I have a giant, orange, mural of a sunset on my living room wall. (not my choice).

I’ll figure it out. Beg, borrow or steal!

Diary, day fifty-four… decisions decisions

The thing I love most about creating designed cakes… is the people. Of course, this doesn’t hold true for all of my customers. There are the rare few who order the cakes for all the wrong reasons (e.g. just to show off)… but the majority want something beautiful to express how much they adore the person receiving it.

A good example would be the current cake I’m working on. A man has called or order a cake that looks like a gift box, & inside to have hearts to show how he feels about his wife. The whole thing is a surprise… & he insisted that if there was any way I could make the thing taste like tiramisu (that’s her favourite), that I should.

This is the kind of cake that makes me happy. Ok, the design is nothing special. Gift box cakes have been done a million times before. It’s the sentiment attached to it that warms me to my toes.

& of course… of COURSE, I was absolutely going to make it tiramisu flavoured. Not hard to achieve. I took my beloved chocolate cake recipe & added coffee… & wrote a new recipe for a tiramisu flavoured buttercream. Lots of rum, mascarpone & real vanilla bean. I could eat it as is.

Now, out of habit, I decided to record the process. Turns out I actually have some pretty nice footage. My current contemplation is whether or not I do more of an instructional how-to video for this weeks youtube tutorial (& of course share my tiramisu buttercream recipe), or if I stick with my traditional cooking & show you all how to make spinach tortilla wraps for fajitas. I’m going to be making the fajitas & wraps anyway, I have a wicked craving & now that my husband has finally returned how, I figured I’d cook up a whole mexican themed meal & we’d wander off to the beach for a picnic. The question is more… do you all also want to see the execution of prepping a cake for decoration? Or should I just stick with teaching you how to make more every day food?

Decisions decisions. Maybe I’ll release the fajitas on wednesday & throw the how-to in over the weekend as a little surprise bonus video. Although now that I’ve gone & told you, it’s really not that much of a surprise.

If you have an opinion, feel free to weigh in… I always love feedback. xxx

diary, day fifty-three

Today was just one of those days.

You know the ones… the ones where absolutely everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Suffice to say, other than to fill an order… there was no actual cooking.

You want the run down?

1. woke up because of nightmares at 05:30… & never went back to sleep.
2. upon looking in the mirror, discovered it appeared as if I had been punched in the eye. Apparently, a mosquito thought I looked appetising.
3. tried to have my morning ciggy with my coffee… only crumbs left in my pouch.
4. attempted to clean the house… got half way through & broke the mop in half. Spent the remainder of the time crawling around with the mop-head in hand & scrubbing the floor on my knees.
5. went to make the apple cake for an order… didn’t prepare enough apple slices. Had to stop half way through, cut & cook more & proceed.
6. decided I desperately needed to wash my hair… had a freezing cold shower because the boiler decided it was on strike.
7. gave myself a manicure, my dog destroyed it.
8. put down freshly washed rug… spilled grease all over it.
9. went to charge my phone, caught the cable in the spring of the couch & ripped it in half.
10. laptop cable has finally decided to call it quits & will now refuse to charge my laptop. On 43%… lets see how long that lasts

….it’s a wonder I even convinced myself to leave the house at all… & an even bigger surprise that no more disasters ensued.

On that note, I’m off to bed before I give the day a chance to throw me yet another curve ball.

I really hope tomorrow goes better! On the bright side, at least I could see the humour every step of the way!