Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

       It’s finally that time of year...we can officially break out the flannel shirts, boots, and most importantly, autumn flavors!  What is more autumn than pumpkin?  I whipped up this recipe a few weeks ago to give it a try and since that time, I have had several custom orders for the whole cake!  I’d like to thank everyone for their awesome support and feedback.  I hope you enjoy this wonderfully moist cake! 

What you’ll need…

2 ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

1 ½ tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp clove

¼ tsp salt


1  15oz can of pumpkin

¾ cup buttermilk

3 tsp vanilla extract


¾ cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 eggs
       Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt cake pan.

       In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.  Set aside.
       In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla then mix together until combined.
       In a third bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time, whipping in after each addition.  Once the eggs are mixed in, slowly add in the dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture, alternating adding them into the creamed butter, mixing well throughout the process.  After all of the ingredients are combined,
 pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean.
       Once the cake has baked, allow to cool in the pan for about three minutes, then flip the pan onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before icing (My tip: place the cooling rack and cake directly into the fridge.)

Cinnamon Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

heavy whipping cream

       In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Stir together until everything is mixed.  Next, add in two tablespoons of whipping cream then stir until the mixture turns into a thick paste.  Slowly stir in more whipping cream until you have a thick glaze consistency.  I have tried to measure the exact amount but each time it varies slightly, so my educated guess is that it takes about a  ¼ cup of whipping cream total.
       Once you have a nice thick glaze, place the cooling rack over a cookie sheet, then spoon the glaze overtop the cake.  Continue until the cake is completely covered.  Place directly into the fridge so that the glaze will harden. Then serve and enjoy the taste of autumn!  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Emily’s Famous Chocolaty Brownies

Emily’s Famous Chocolaty Brownies!
(With Mocha Cream Topping)
       Just so you know, I am risking my life today to bring you this top secret recipe.  My sister, Emily, is internationally famous for her fudgy brownies and up until this time, the recipe has been carefully guarded.  (Well, okay, so international might be a bit of a stretch but in certain circles she was quite well-known.)  She would get requests all the time for her brownies because they always turned out perfectly.  
       When she moved out-of-state a few years ago, I may or may not have surreptitiously made a copy of her recipe to save for myself.  (Spoiler: yes, I in fact, did.)  So now I bring to you my sister's famous chocolate brownies, which I put my own twist on by topping with a mocha cream.  We had better start making these quickly, before she realizes I've posted her recipe...
       Here’s what you'll need…

1 cup Butter, softened

2 2/3 cups Sugar

4 Eggs

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

2 cups Flour

1 cup Cocoa

1 tsp Salt 

       Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease a glass 13x9 pan and set aside.
        In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Then add in eggs and vanilla.
       In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, and salt.  Slowly add the flour mixture into the creamed ingredients, mixing well until fully combined.

       Spread into the prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely topping with the mocha cream.

Mocha Cream

1 cup + 1 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream, divided

3 tbsp powdered sugar

3 tbsp cocoa

2 tsp instant coffee granules
        In a medium bowl, whip one cup of heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa, then whip on high speed until light and fluffy.  In a small cup, stir the instant coffee into one tablespoon of whipping cream until fully dissolved.  Then add the coffee to the whipped cream and mix well.

       Once the brownies have fully cooled, top them with the mocha cream, then cut and serve.  I hope you enjoy my sister's brownies as much as I always have!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Classic Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins!

       So, I’m all about trying new things and coming up with new creations, but just need to go back to the basics.  When you think of a muffin, one of the first classics you might think of is a Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin!  That tried-and-true standby was the inspiration for today's post.  I hope you enjoy!
You'll need…

1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 1/3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp poppy seeds

Zest of two lemons

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla

        Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease either a standard 12-cup muffin tin or a jumbo 6-cup muffin tin and set aside.

        In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolks and continue to mix until fully combined.
        In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.

        Start to slowly add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk*.
·       Tip and trick time: Don’t have buttermilk?  No problem!  Simply add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar to each 1/2 cup of regular milk, let it sit for a few minutes, and voila!  There you have it, a quick and easy homemade alternative to buttermilk.

 In a small bowl using an electric mixer, whip
the egg whites until they become stiff and foamy.  Gently fold them into the batter and then scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin. 

       Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of muffins you chose to make.  Keep checking them after the first 20 minutes.  Let them continue to bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
        After the muffins have finished baking, transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool before serving.  Then serve and enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chocolate Oreo Cookie Cake

It's finally the weekend, so let's round out our Oreo week with a decadent treat!  This chocolate cake is so moist and fudgy, with a nice texture contrast added by the cookie crumble base.  Then we top it with an Oreo butter cream frosting...what's not to love?   

(*Editor's note:  Brian made this as a special request for my cousin's birthday party, so let me just say, it's uh-mazing!  If you like Oreos this may just be your new favorite recipe!)
You'll need:
2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 tsp baking powder

3 tsp baking soda

2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cup of hot water

1 family-size package of double-stuffed Oreos

       Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare two round 9” pans by greasing well and lightly sprinkling with flour.

       First, scrape the cream from all but  of the cookies into a small bowl.  Set aside for now. 
        Next, we need to grind the cookies into crumbs and there are few ways to do this.  You can either crush the cookies by hand in a small bowl, pulse a few times in a food processor, or put them in a nut grinder, which is the method I used.  I broke the cookies in half then ground them on the 'fine' setting of my nut grinder.  Grind enough cookies to equal two cups worth of crumbles, then pour one cup evenly across the bottom of each of the prepared pans.  
       In a medium bowl, combine sugars, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

       In a separate bowl, whip together the coconut oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Once the liquid ingredients are mixed, slowly add them to the dry ingredients while mixing.  Continue stirring until both mixtures are fully combined.
        Next, add the hot water to the batter and mix until the batter has a thin consistency.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 Once the cakes have finished baking, place the pans on a wire rack and allow to fully cool before removing and assembling. 

Oreo Butter cream


1 ½ cups butter 

4 - 5 cups powdered sugar 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1 tsp salt 

Oreo cream filling 

       In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well between each addition until you have nice, thick butter cream texture.  Then whip in vanilla, salt, and the Oreo cream until smooth and creamy.  

To begin, remove a cake from one of the pans.  We want to make sure the cookie crusted side is on the bottom of the tray, so the easiest way to do that is to loosen it from the pan, then place a plate overtop the pan and flip it onto the plate.  Then repeat the process to invert it from the plate onto the serving tray you plan to use.  (This is why it's so important to make sure the cake has completely cooled!  Many a warm chocolate cake has met its end during this process.)  Spread a generous amount of frosting on the top of the cake, then sprinkle some of the leftover Oreo crumbs onto the layer, reserving some for the final decoration.

        Next, remove the second cake from the pan and this time we want the cookie crumble to face up.  Finish icing the top and sides of the cake, then garnish with the remaining Oreo crumbles.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten-Free Oreo Cheesecake

       I came up with this recipe because a good friend of mine begged me to make her a gluten-free cheesecake for her birthday.  I decided if I was going to make a special cheesecake it wasn’t going to be just a traditional graham cracker crust but I would take it to the next level with an Oreo crust!
       To do this, I needed gluten-free chocolate cookies and luckily for me I was able to find a few brands that make a gluten-free Oreo-type cookie that was actually delicious. There are several companies who make them but I found that the two brands that taste the best are Tree Of Life and glutino.

You’ll need...
1 package of glutino or Tree of Life Gluten-Free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
2 tbsp Sugar
5 tbsp Butter, softened  

       To begin, separate the cookies and then scrape the cream from the cookies into a small bowl.  Set that aside, we'll be needing it later. 
        Next, we need to grind the cookies into crumbs and there are few ways to do this.  You can either crush the cookies by hand in a small bowl, pulse a few times in a food processor, or put them in a nut grinder, which is the method I used.  I broke the cookies in half then ground them on the 'fine' setting of my nut grinder.  Whichever method you choose, you will need to use all of the cookies from the package.
       In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs, sugar, and softened butter.  Stir until the mixture starts to hold together.  Press into the bottom of a greased 9 inch spring form pan and aside until needed.  

4 8oz Packages of Cream Cheese, softened

1 1/3 Cups Sugar

¼ tsp Salt

2 tsp Vanilla

4 Eggs

2/3 Cup Sour Cream

2/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream 

       Preheat oven to 325°F.
       Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the cream cheese together, one block at a time until smooth, soft, and creamy.
       Beat in sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Mix well to be sure all the ingredients are completely incorporated.  Next, whip in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. 

       After the eggs are mixed in, beat in both the sour cream and heavy cream until everything is smooth.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula then whip the ingredients again to make sure everything is blended and there are no more chunks of cream cheese. 

       Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form pan and sit the pan on a round cookie sheet (just in case you have any spillage!).  Place into the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Once the cheesecake has finished baking, allow to sit in the oven for another hour with the oven door shut.   

       After that, take it out of the oven and place it on a hot pad.  Put it in the fridge so it can finish cooling.
       While you’re waiting for the cheesecake to cool, you can make the topping.  It’s super easy to make and only takes two ingredients! 

'Oreo' Cream Whipped Topping

 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Cream Filling from Sandwich Cookies

       In a chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Then add the sandwich cookie cream and continue whipping on high.

       Once fully combined, place a cover over the bowl and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to top the completely cooled cheesecake.
       As a final touch to make this dessert extra special, you can garnish the top with additional chocolate cookies.  It's a nice touch and a fast and easy way to showcase the fact that this is an Oreo style cheesecake!  Now it’s time to cut, serve, dig in, and ENJOY!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Spiced Apple Streusel Muffins

     Okay, so it may not be autumn quite yet but that doesn't stop me from craving some of the classic fall flavors.  Besides, since I live in Florida, I know it won’t start to feel like autumn until at least December (and it never ever looks like autumn so I just had to get over that).  
  So let's forget about whatever the weather might be and just enjoy the fall flavors!  Today I bring you one of my favorite combinations:  apples and spices!  The warm, comforting spices complement the apple beautifully then to top it off, we have a cinnamon-infused brown sugar streusel topping! I hope you enjoy… 

Here’s what you’ll need… 

2 Cups Flour 

1 tsp Baking Powder 

½ tsp Baking Soda 

½ tsp Salt 

1 tsp Cinnamon 

½  tsp Clove 

½  tsp Nutmeg

½ Cup Butter, softened  

1 Cup Sugar 

2 Eggs 

½ tsp Almond Extract 

1 ½ Cups Chopped Green Apple 

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a regular muffin tin or a 6-cup jumbo muffin tray.  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Mix all the ingredients until fully combined then set aside until needed.

   In a separate medium bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs.  After creaming, add in the extracts.

    Chop up the apples until they measure 1 ½ cups. For me, this took one large granny smith apple.  Gently fold the apple dices into the creamed mixture.

   Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the creamed apple mixture.  Once it's completely mixed, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Don't put it in the oven just yet!  Next we'll make the streusel topping before baking the muffins. 

Cinnamon Sugar Streusel Topping

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar 

1 tbsp Flour
½  tsp Cinnamon 

1 tbsp Butter, softened
   In a small bowl, combine all of the streusel ingredients and stir together until slightly crumbly and little balls of sugar start to form. 
   Using a spoon or your fingers, scoop the streusel topping onto the muffins, distributing evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

   Once they are finished baking, transfer muffins from the tin onto a cooling rack and allow to finish cooling before serving.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sugar-Free Chocolate Banana Muffins!

    Here we go…yet another banana muffin recipe!  I know, I know, there is more to baking than just banana muffins. But they're a classic! So before I retired the banana muffin trend, I wanted to bake a recipe that even my momma would eat.  Not because the other banana muffin recipes were unpalatable but because she’s one of those fun no-sugar people!  (I mean no sugar.  Ever.)  So I'm sharing this recipe for all of you who are seeking a DELICIOUS, chocolaty, sugar-free treat.  I hope you enjoy!
You'll need...
1 1/2 cups flour

¼ cup cacao powder

¼ cup cacao nibs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 large bananas, very ripe

1  cup xylitol

1 eggs

1/3 cup melted coconut oil


Makes 12 Muffins 

       Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a muffin tin by greasing each cup (or you can use cupcake liners).

       In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cacao powder, cacao nibs, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside until needed.
     Peel and mash the bananas.  Keep mashing them until they are mushy and no longer solid.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, xylitol, egg, and coconut oil.  Mix thoroughly.

     Stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture.  Fold Lily’s Chocolate Chips into batter, then spoon the batter into the muffin tins until they are about ¾ full.  
       Place in the oven to bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  *Tip, if your oven tends to bake food unevenly, put a cookie sheet under the muffin tins to help distribute the heat and keep the bottoms from getting too brown.
       Once the muffins have finished baking, take them out of the oven and let them cool in the tins for about three minutes before transferring the muffins to a cooling rack. Allow them to finish cooling then enjoy!