Tag Archives: cake

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

10 Jun

Here it is. My first-ever gluten-free bakeventure!

We have a friend of the family who is very conscientiously working her way through an elimination diet  in order to alleviate pain that has been with her since early in the year. She invited us to her croquet-themed birthday celebration, and naturally I offered to bake something. I knew when I suggested I bring the dessert that her diet requires her to be wheat-free, so I thought I would make some cute-o macarons, which use almond flour, as a birthday snack for the party-goers. However, after more conversation with the birthday girl, she revealed that not only can she not eat wheat, but she can’t eat almonds, or chocolate, or peanuts, or citrus.

So. The macarons were out and the search began. This seemed to be a very particular challenge because the more I looked the more at gluten-free recipes the more I found that they mostly all were chocolate. And what have I ever made in my life that didn’t have lemon in it? It required a good three days of work, which I mostly neglected any other duties to perform. But it was totally fine because in the end it all paid off: I came across this beaut, ran the recipe by the recipient, and set to work.

I was nervous about the texture and durability of this cake. Gluten makes strands of protein which holds baked goods together–and this recipe calls for two cake rounds to be cut in half. I was sure they would crumble if I even just looked at them. But I had promised this cake and so I had to sally forthThis recipe was very well-received at the party–the cake itself is dense and not very sweet so it’s a nice vehicle for the sweet coconutty frosting.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

Adapted from Gluten Free Canteen

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs, plus 1 egg white

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour Blend)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 coconut, unsweetened and grated

3/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8″ round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment and flour the pans.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add in the dry ingredients and coconut. Stir in the milk and sour cream. Mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 10 minutes, reduce oven to 325° and bake about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely, and transfer to the freezer to make cutting the layers in half more manageable.


3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 tablespoons whole milk

about 2 cups coconut, unsweetened and grated

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add vanilla and almond flavor and mix on high for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Gradually add milk to the mixture until it is the right consistency for spreading. Beat on high again for one minute.

To assemble the cake, cut each layer in half. Place the first layer on a cake stand or platter, and frost with a small amout of frosting, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Repeat with the next three layers. Using the remaining frosting, cover the whole cake. Press the grated coconut into the frosting–it’s yummy and it hides all manner or mistakes!


Lemon Crêpe Cake

7 Apr

There’s really no words for how much work this cake was.

I do not say this to discourage you, but to say that this is a special, special occasion cake. This is a cake you make when you are really feeling like making a cake. It is so worth it though, light and not too sweet–it’s an unexpected surprise for those you make it for–if you can bear to wait until dessert time to keep the secret!

By the way, how glad are we that I didn’t end up with this mess again?


Adapted from Heat Oven to 350

Printable Recipe

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 1/2 cups whole milk

9 eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Heat a 10 inch skillet or crêpe pan over low heat for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk togther the milk and eggs. Add half of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking as you pour to prevent any clumps. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk.

Increase heat to medium and let skillet continue to preheat. Lightly grease the skillet if it is not non-stick.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour batter into the hot skillet, rotating the pan so the batter coats the entire surface. Set pan over heat and allow to cook for about one minute, until the crêpe begins to set. Using a rubber spatula or your fingers (be careful!) flip the crêpe and allow to cook for an additional 20-30 seconds. Set the finished crêpes on a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Curd

Adapted from Nourish Network

zest of 4 lemons

juice of 8 lemons

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 egg yolks

1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

Combine zest and juice in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes. In the meantime, combine sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a large metal bowl or top of a double boiler. Whisk until the mixture is well combined. It should be light yellow and the consistency of mayonnaise. Add juice mixture and whisk until just combined. Put the mixture over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Transfer the curd to a clean bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool.

Candied Lemon Peel

Adapted from Hungry Cravings

lemon peel

about 7 cups water, divided

1 cup sugar

Cut the bitter white pith off the lemon peel. Bring lemon peel and 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Drain. Repeat two more times. Finally, stir together 1 cup of water and sugar and add the peel. Let simmer about 20 minutes, until the peels have turned translucent and slightly curly. Remove from syrup and roll in granulated sugar. Arrange the peels in a single layer on parchment or Silpat to let cool.

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together all three ingredients until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the Cake

On a large plate or cake stand, begin by laying one crêpe down. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the lemon curd on the crêpe, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Put the next crêpe down on top, and repeat the process until all the crêpes are stacked. Make sure while you’re staking to keep the crêpes lined up to keep the cake from tipping. To frost, heap the frosting on the top of the cake and work it down over the sides using a knife or offset spatula. Garnish with candied lemon peels.

Poppy Seed Cake

11 Jan

I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I decided I wanted to make this cake. Its seemed like a great idea when I happened across a photo of it and then it seemed like sort of a great idea when I saw the recipe in Lithuanian. And then breadcrumbs? Soo…I began to doubt.

But I had already committed myself to $7 worth of poppy seeds. I’ll be honest, there were moments of paralyzing baking fear: will this always smell like a bagel? But again, dear friends, I say to you carry on! No, you will not detect any breadcrumbs. No, your cake only looks dry right out of the oven. Yes, it will be sweet enough. Yes, you will be finding errant poppy seeds around your kitchen for at least a month. And no, it will not always smell like a bagel.

Poppy Seed Cake

Adapted from Išbandyti receptai

Printable Recipe

2 cups poppy seeds

2 1/2 cups boiling water

2 1/4 cups sugar, divided

9 eggs, separated

1 cup bread crumbs (I made my own in the food processor, but store bought works just as well.)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

Wash the poppy seeds in a colander lined with cheesecloth with cool water. Transfer the seeds to a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let soak overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 10″-11″ springform pan. Drain the water from the poppy seeds using cheesecloth and transfer the seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Grind the seeds until they are a rough paste.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and 1 3/4 cups sugar until the mixture is very pale. Gently stir in the poppy seed paste, bread crumbs, cinnamon, and salt to the egg yolks. Very carefully add in the egg whites, folding gently without deflating the egg whites until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out dry.

While the cake is cooling, heat the heavy cream and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat until it reaches a boil. Let boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. Once the cream has taken on a golden-ish color, ladle out about two cups worth of the hot mixture and carefully spoon or pour it over the cake. Allow time for it to soak in completely. Repeat until all two cups have been absorbed.

Continue boiling the remaining cream and sugar mixture until it becomes a thick caramel. Be patient, this will take about 20 minutes more on high heat.

Once the cream has reached the right consistency (like condensed milk) and has a caramelly color, pour the caramel over the top of the cake. Cover and refrigerate (ideally) 6 hours or 4 if you just can’t wait any longer.

Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

5 Dec

I was in the mood for some really good cake. And when you’re in such a mood it is a terrible thing to be denied. So I made a warm and comforting treat which is synonymous with the holidays. (It is December anyway–why not enjoy all the holiday flavors while we can?) This gingerbread cake is tender and spicy and the cinnamon whipped cream is a light balance with a surprising spiciness that complements the cake–they’re a great pair!

Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from cafe cherie

Printable Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cups sugar

1 egg

1 cup molasses

1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cream together butter, sugar, and egg. If you are baking on a whim (like me) you can soften your butter quickly by popping it in the microwave on defrost for about 15 seconds. While the mixer is working–combine the molasses and hot water. This will make it easier to get all the molasses into the cake. With the mixer running on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the molasses. Mix until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool while you a) finish your post about it or b) make the whipped cream. Your choice.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

1 cup cold heavy whipping cream

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a chilled bowl, whip all ingredients until the cream stands up in peaks. Top slightly warm cake with whipping cream.