Category Archives: Baking

Gluten, Casein and Soy Free Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake-1

My mom loves Christmas cake. So after I discovered ghee, I have been making a version of my Grannie’s Christmas Cake for her the past few years. I’ve modified it to take out the parts I don’t like and to make it a bit (emphasis on the bit part) healthier than the traditional version. First, I have removed the candied citron peel as ain’t nobody got time for that (aka. it’s gross). Then, I replaced some of the usual candied fruit for unsweetened dried fruit. Third, I douse it in way more brandy than the original recipe called for as it needs to stay moist of course!

This cake is super rich – it’s great when you eat it just because, but it is amazing when you eat it while skiing or while outside in cold weather. I think it’s because the ghee and brandy to help keep you warm!ūüėČ

Gluten, Casein and Soy Free Christmas Cake

4 oz. currants
2 oz. apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
6 oz. sultana raisins
4 oz. dried figs, diced (I cut them in half lengthwise and then slice them into three sections)
4 oz. glace cherries, cut in half
2-3 rings of dried, unsweetened pineapple cut/teared into pieces
2 oz. blanched slivered almonds
1/4 c. starch

4 oz. Ghee (it’s casein free!) (Or 6 oz. butter)
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 egg replacer (I made mine with Almond milk, but feel free to use any dairy free milk)
2 tbsp. brandy
1/2 c. each brown rice flour, sorghum flour and tapioca starch
1/4 c. millet flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Extra brandy

  1. Preheat oven to 250F and place a bowl or pan full of water in the oven.
  2. Take an 8″ springform pan and line with parchment paper and wax paper sticking 2″ above the edge of the pan (parchment paper on the outside – to do this, I cut out a circle of each for the bottom and then a long strip of each that is 2″ wider than the height of the pan. The length is pi*d, and for my pan, it was around 24″. You do want a bit of overlap, so if it’s too long, that’s okay!)
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the dried fruits. Add the starch and toss until the fruit is covered, breaking up any clumps.
  4. In a stand mixer, cream the ghee and sugar.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  6. Add the brandy and mix until combined.
  7. Sift in the flours and beat until a smooth batter forms.
  8. Remove from mixer and stir in the dried fruits until fruit is evenly distrubuted in the batter.
  9. Scrape in lined pan and smooth out.
  10. Bake for 3 hrs or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack. Don’t remove from the pan.
  12. Once cool, take a toothpick or other thin pointy object (I used one of those turkey skewers) and poke holes all over the cake. Take a 2 -3 tbsp. of brandy and pour over cake. Place cake in a ziploc bag.
  13. Repeat a couple times over the next few days. The cake can be stored on the counter for a few days on the counter and longer in the fridge. It freezes very well, just make sure you brandy it at least twice and wrap in two ziploc bags.
  14. Enjoy the rich goodness!

Note: When you thaw it, douse it in brandy. Trust me, it’s worth it.:)

Are you a Christmas Cake lover or hater?

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SRC: Fearless Homemaker’s Chocolate Almond Pear Tart

Fearless Homemake Chocolate Almond Pear Tart-2 For October’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Amy of Fearless Homemaker. Amy lives in Nashville, has a super cute daughter and tons of cute aprons!

Amy has TONS of delicious recipes like Bacon-Wrapped Manchego + Mango Chutney-Stuffed Dates, Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Garlic, Bete Noire (Flourless Chocolate Cake), Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars and Chocolate Avocado Pudding.

I also made her One Pot Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta but didn’t have the opportunity to take photos, so I also made her Chocolate Almond Pear Tart.

Fearless Homemake Chocolate Almond Pear Tart-3

The tart turned out really well and in my not-so humble opinion, is a perfect fall dessert! Mr. Bean kept commenting how good it smelled while I was making it and while it was baking and the end product definitely didn’t disappoint! It was super tasty and had a perfect light texture!

Since it’s naturally gluten free, I only made a few modifications. I used almond flour instead of grinding whole blanched almonds and reduced the amount of sugar to 2/3 c. from 3/4c.

Fearless Homemake Chocolate Almond Pear Tart-4

Gluten Free Chocolate Almond Pear Tart

Scant 1 c. ofAlmond Meal/Flour
2/3 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (or butter) + extra for pan
1 /3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 pears
Lemon Juice
2 tbsp. Apple Jelly

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9in removable bottom tart pan with margarine.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, mix together the almond flour and sugar.
  3. Add eggs, margarine, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  4. Scrape into tart into pan and smooth out.
  5. Peel pears and cut into 12 pieces. Rub with lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
  6. Arrange pear slices on chocolate mixture, so they slightly overlap. Don’t press in.
  7. Place on baking sheet and cook for 45-50 minutes until tart is puffy and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the chocolate mixture comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let cool completely.
  8. Heat jelly in microwave or stove until liquified. Gently brush pears with jelly. Let set for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Remove tart from pan and serve.
  10. Enjoy!

Fearless Homemake Chocolate Almond Pear Tart-1

What is your favourite non-pumpkin fall dessert?

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Gluten Free Peach Pastry

Peach Pastry-2

This is one of the recipes that I can’t believe that I haven’t shared as it’s been a summer staple and favourite in my family growing up. My mom would peel the peaches and assemble the pastry as we all waited in eager anticipation of what was coming. Needless to say that peach pastry never lasted long in our house.

It was only until Mr Bean made a comment that I realized not everyone peeled the skin off the peaches before eating them ever. Now I rarely do so – many for convenience, but it’s definitely worth the extra time for this recipe!

Peach Pastry-4

It’s a fairly simple and forgiving recipe: create a shortbread crust, put halved peaches on it, bake it, pour the sour cream custard around peaches and bake some more.

The original recipe was made with sour cream and butter, but I used goat yoghurt and goat butter to make it more friendly towards me. I know in the past I have used dairy free margarine for the crust and I imagine that unsweetened dairy free greek style yoghurt would work to make it dairy free. I don’t think that the egg can be replaced and have a similar texture.

You could use canned peaches if desired, but bake the crust by itself first. Adjust sugar levels depending on whether peaches are sweetened or not.

Peach Pastry-1

Gluten and Cow Dairy Free Peach Pastry

1 c. Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour)
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 c. goats butter (or regular butter or butter substitute)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar

3/4 c. goat yoghurt (original recipe calls for sour cream)
1 tsp. lemon juice (don’t add if using sour cream)
1 egg, beaten
<1/4 c. sugar

5 peaches, skinned and halved (You’ll only need 4 1/2 peaches)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix flour, xathan gum, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or your hands.
  3. Press into a 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ pan. Arrange 9 peach halves on top of pastry. Sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Bake pastry and peaches in oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, lemon juice, egg and sugar.
  6. Remove pan from oven and pour yoghurt mixture around the peach halves.
  7. Return to oven and bake for 30 min or until the yoghurt mixture is starting to brown and crack slightly.
  8. Cool before serving.
  9. Enjoy!

Peach Pastry-3

Do you peel peaches before eating them?

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SRC: Baking and Creating with Avril’s Zucchini Cornbread

Baking and Creating with Avril Zucchini Cornbread-3For November’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Avril of Baking and Creating with Avril. Avril is a pro-star baker, with tons of delicious recipes like this Hummingbird Bundt Cake, these Apple Crumble Muffins, and even a cake with Cauliflower in it!

With the help of Mr. Bean, I ended up choosing to make her zucchini cornbread as we didn’t want something that was sugar-tastic and it was definitely delicious!

Baking and Creating with Avril Zucchini Cornbread-1

As expected, I did make a few changes: I made it gluten free, dairy free by substituting almond milk for the buttermilk and olive oil & more almond milk for the melted and cooled butter. I also reduced the sugar to 1/4 c. and used salt to help dehydrate the zucchini  instead of sugar.) Even with the modifications, it had an excellent texture, had a good amount of sweetness and was nice and moist.

Baking and Creating with Avril Zucchini Cornbread-5

Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free Zucchini Cornbread

1/3 c. each of brown rice, millet and sorghum flours (or 1 c. of any GF flour – if you can have gluten, use 1 1/2 c. flour and omit the xathan gum)
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
3/4 c. cornmeal1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt + 1 tsp salt
1 medium zucchini
1/3 c. olive oil
2/3 c. almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 eggs

  1. Half an hour before you want to make your cornbread, grate the zucchini, sprinkle it with 1 tsp salt and place in a dish towl lined strainer or seive. After 1/2 hour (or more), squeeze out excess water from zucchini. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 5″ pan. (I used a 6″ cast iron skillet & 4 out of 6 large muffin tins.) If your pan(s) are metal, place in the oven while it’s preheating)
  3. In a measuring cup, mix together the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xathan gum, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and sugar.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk mixture and eggs. Mix in the grated grated zucchini.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated. Add more almond milk if required.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven (careful, it’s hot!) and pour the batter into it.
  8. Return to the oven and bake for ~18 min (for muffins), ~30 – 35 min (for 6″ cast iron skillet) or ~50 minutes (for the loaf pan) or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Baking and Creating with Avril Zucchini Cornbread-2

Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!

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