Moist almond, orange coffee cake — a recipe adapted from Louise Blair’s “Great Gluten-free Baking”

Gluten free moist orange almond cake Gluten free moist orange almond cake I just bought a new gluten-free cookbook: “Great gluten-free baking” by Louise Blair.This is an excellent book. Lots of yummy, easy and very tasty baking recipes. Beautiful photographs for many of the recipes, and easy to follow instructions.Here I have made one of Blair’s recipes, modified it a bit as I didn’t actually have enough ground almond to make the cake as written, nor did I have large oranges. I had one medium orange and a bunch of clementines. This recipe contains no added fat — the moisture comes from the oranges, and the only fat is from the almonds, and that is ‘good’ fat (but that doesn’t mean you should eat the entire cake!). Delicious with coffee — actuall just delicious anytime. YUMMY!

Moist Almond Cake
adapted from Louise Blair’s “Great gluten-free baking” — I have written the recipe using the measurements I used, if you want to use the actual measurements, please buy the book (or go to the library).


  • about 1/2 lbs (0.2 kg) orange type fruits (oranges, clementines mandarins), preferably seedless
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (415 mL) ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups (590 mL) brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 6 eggs


  1. Place whole oranges in a pot full of boiling water and simmer for 40 minutes – 1 hour (40 minutes for smaller fruit, 1 hour for large fruit)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C), grease a DEEP 8 inch cake pan or spring-form pan (I used spring-form)
  3. Put the oranges into a food processor or blender and blend until pulpy. Make sure there are no large chunks of peel. Also make sure there are no pips (in case you used seeded oranges, or you ran into a not-so-seedless seedless orange)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40-50 minutes or until just set. I think the cake tasted better a little dry, so I left it in for 50 minutes.v
  6. When finished cool on a wire rack. Don’t try to remove it from the pan until cool — it will fall apart!
  7. ENJOY!

The book suggests serving with whipped cream. I suggest drinking coffee.

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Gluten-free Valentine‚Äôs Day Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Strawberry Papaya Icing

Gluten-free valentines day cupcakesGluten-free valentines day cupcakes Next weekend there is a baby shower for my partner’s new niece. I was conned into volunteered to make all the food for the party. My problem: they wanted cupcakes. Anyway, long story short: I had to test drive a cupcake recipe for next weekend. I found this cupcake recipe on and tweaked it slightly to fit my personal agenda. I topped the cupcakes with my famous strawberry papaya butter cream icing which is dyed bright red with gluten-Free food colouring. The candies you see in the photo may not be gluten-free, I have no idea – but my partner bought himself a big bag and since the cupcakes are really for him and his friends I decided to use them to top 1/2 of the cupcakes. I kept the candy off of the cupcakes I made for myself.But enough of my rambling. You don’t care! On-to the recipe!

GF Vanilla Bean cupcakes with Strawberry Papaya Icing
(makes 1 dozen)


  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) sweet white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp (90 mL) tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) gluten-free baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp (7.5 mL) gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) xanthan gum
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp (155 mL) white sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) gluten-free mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) vanilla flavoured almond milk (cow milk or other milk substitute will also work)
  • 3 vanilla beans (or 2-3 tsp, 10-15mL, pure vanilla extract)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C) and put cupcake/muffin liners into the bowls of a muffin tin. If you want you can grease the sides of the tin and omit the liners, but the liners make cleanup so much easier.
  2. Take the vanilla beans and split them length-wise. Scoop out all of the lovely seeds and pulp. Place these in your mixing bowl. Do not use the empty pods for this recipe. Either discard the pods or place them in an air tight container along with some white sugar. This will result in your sugar becoming ‘vanilla sugar’ in only a few weeks.
  3. Put the milk or milk substitute in the same bowl. Add the rice flour and mix. This step will help to eliminate most of the “grittiness” associated with using rice flour in cakes.
  4. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Yes, that is right, I didn’t mix the dry ingredients together, and so you shouldn’t have to either. If you want to be technical you ARE supposed to make sure all the dry ingredients are blended before adding them to the pre-mixed wet ingredients but today I was lazy. The cupcakes were wonderful, so I’m telling you that you can be lazy and just plop everything in the bowl together.
  5. With a hand-mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one, but it isn’t necessary) mix the ingredients together until the batter is smooth and lump free. If there are lumps keep mixing until there aren’t any! Just scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  6. Fill the muffin cups NO MORE THAN 3/4 way full. I filled two liners right to the top and the cupcakes rose a lot and then sunk in the middle. The muffin cups that I filled 3/4 way full yielded perfect cupcakes.
  7. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.
  8. When finished, allow to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a wire rack.
  9. When 100% cooled, ice the cupcakes with the frosting recipe shown below

Strawberry-Papaya butter cream icing

technically this icing can be made in any flavour. Just substitute the strawberry-papaya jam with a jam flavour of your choosing. During strawberry season (June) I make my own jams, so I pulled out my favourite – strawberry papaya. The icing was exquisite! I’ll put jam recipes up in June. At the moment I’m too lazy.

ALSO be aware that this icing is too thin for piping. If you want, you can add another 1/2 cup of icing (confectioner) sugar which should give you a better consistency for cupcake decorating.


  • 1.25 cups (310 mL) gluten-free icing/confectioner sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) homemade, gluten-free, strawberry-papaya jam
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) table cream


  1. Break butter up into cubes and place into a mixing bowl
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients
  3. Blend with a hand-mixer until smooth – no lumps allowed!
  4. If desired add gluten-free food colouring


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How the chocolate you use affects flourless chocolate cakes

I just had to share this, as I love flour-less chocolate cakes, and I’m sure that many of you do too! The wonderful people at asked Lisa Yockelson, author of the cookbook ‘Chocolate, Chocolate’ to answer the question:

Does cocoa content noticeably affect baking time and results?

In answering this question she makes special references to chocolate used for flour-less chocolate cakes.

Now the flour-less chocoalte cake I’m making for a up-coming baby shower is going to blow everyone’s mind.

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Slow cooker dulce de leche (Cajeta) (gluten-free)

Dulce de leche (“milk candy”) is a milk based caramel type sauce which was popularized in South American countries. This recipe is similar to the Mexican ‘cajeta’ which uses 1/2 goat milk and 1/2 cow’s milk.

You can buy dulce de leche, but why buy canned dulce de leche? Its SO very, very easy to make. Besides, the commercial stuff usually contains crap ingredients and artificial colours.

Now, traditionally dulce de leche is made in clay pots, but I don’t have anything like that in my house. And I am so impatient, I don’t like leaving things on the stove burner that I have to watch and stir for hours, so voila! An overnight recipe using a slow cooker! Beware: close your bedroom door if you make this overnight, if you don’t you’ll be sleep walking into the kitchen drooling. Its just smells so good you’ll want to eat it before its finished! If you want to use your stove, or you don’t have a slow cooker you can still make this recipe! Simply simmer the same recipe for 1-2 hours, or until the sauce is a caramel brown. It will thicken after you remove it from the burner, so don’t worry if it looks runny.

Speaking of caramel, many, many people incorrectly believe that dulce de leche is simply caramel made with milk. This is 100% incorrect. Dulce de leche is not produced through caramelization. It is created through a common chemical a reaction known as a Maillard reaction. This is the same reaction that causes searing on the outside of meat and vegetables when they are grilled. Anyway, my point is that because it is a chemical reaction you can do some very scientific things to this sauce to make the reaction work ‘better’. And by scientific I mean add baking soda or should I say sodium bicarbonate (more scientific sounding). Anyway, if you would like really dark almost chocolate coloured dulce de leche you can simply add 1 tsp baking soda to the recipe. If you do, your sauce will not only be darker but much stronger and richer in flavour. Scientifically speaking, sodium bicarbonate is added to prevent coagulation of milk proteins cased by the decrease in both the pH of the mixture and the decrease of the isoelectric pH of the proteins during heating process.

Whether you add baking soda is 100% up to you! Believe me, you’ll love the final product either way. Pour it over fruit or a slice of pound cake, or stir it into vanilla ice cream. I made a dulce de leche chocolate, vanilla praline pie using mine. I’ll post that recipe another day.


  • 2 cups (250 mL) whole (homogenized) goat’s milk
  • 2 cups (250 mL) whole (homogenized) cow’s milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds separated (add 1tsp vanilla if you don’t have the bean, but I really do like to use the real bean, they are really cheap if you buy them on Ebay)


  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, stir well.
  2. Cook on high for 10 hours.
  3. Stir occasionally the last hour.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean pod
  5. Store refrigerated for up to three weeks, or freeze for future occasions.
  6. Serve at room temperature over fruit, on cakes, or buy itself. Its all good! Enjoy!

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