Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer's Here!

Saturday it was sooooooo hot here we decided to try going west to escape the heat. It was not a very successful attempt. In Oceanside it was 98 degrees! Ugh. Still we took a nice drive down PCH and decided to stop in at our favorite fruit stand.

Favorite Fruit stand

It is off La Costa Ave at Saxony Rd. Why drive so far? Well first we were trying to get cool. Second:

Fresh fruit

Yes, we could buy all the same stuff at our local grocer but since we were already down there we thought why not stop off and pick up some fruit. We really wanted to get our hands on some locally grown tomatoes but had no luck finding any at all.

However, at the end of La Costa Ave to the west we found this:


Now that was worth the drive!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gluten free, Dairy free, Soy free, wedding cake top tier

Finally, the day has arrived. I am delivering the cake this afternoon. The bride is SDA so they wedding is a Sunday wedding. I will take a pic of the stacked cake when I get there and add it to this post. The frosting was interesting. It is sweet and tastes pretty much like commercial frostings, yet it is difficult to get it to take color. It still has a streak of white throughout. Very frustrating. I will not do a cake again with a request for a dark color. Pastels will do fine, but not deep color rich colors.

The frosting is simple to make. Make a good paste of water/powdered sugar. I used about four cups of sugar to a 1/4 cup of hot hot hot water. It is about the same consistency as a drizzle glaze. Not too runny (you cannot see thought it) if yours gets too runny add in more sugar. It should ribbon in your bowl. Then I added about a pound and a half of the Spectrum shortening. Spectrum was the shortening of choice because it had to be dairy and soy free. I added the Spectrum to the sugar mix and beat it on med hi for about 15 minutes. It became fluffy and easy to spread on the cake.

Gluten free, Dairy free, Soy free wedding cake bottom tier

At delivery:

The cake, stacked

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gluten free loaf ala Bananas and Lemon

After scouring the net for gluten free, soy free, dairy free I found this recipe. It reads as a loaf, I turned it into a cake and it was well received. It also does not look anything like the photo on the link page. I could have sworn this was the one with the almond flour, but I made so many, they all kind of got jumble din my brain. So no, this on eis no tan almond flour cake! Recipe as listed:

Gluten free banana lemon loaf

1 cup rice flour
1 cup buckwheat flour (I usually just use 2 cups rice flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp margarine or butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
23 oz bananas (I use 3 average sized ones)
4 large eggs
4 tbsp icing sugar (I just use regular sugar)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350F

Sift flours with baking powder and salt.

Beat the butter, sugar and bananas together until smooth and then briefly stir in the eggs.
Stir this into the flour mixture until blended.
Pour into a large loaf pan and bake for about 1 - 1 1/4 hours or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is just firm.

Cool for 10 minutes and then mix the sugar with the lemon juice and drizzle over the top. (I like it lemony so I use more lemon juice)

Changes I made: I used brown rice flour. I used Spectrum Shortening instead of butter or margarine. And I only used 3 bananas. Measuring out 23 ounces of bananas made the cake very gooey and next time I will use fewer. I did use the buckwheat flour. The rice flour is just too grainy for me to use on its own.

Update: Um, I forgot to mention that the margarine is not allowed in the wedding cake. I used spectrum shortening in place of the shortening, but I reduced it to 3/4 cups and added a bit of canola oil mixed with a couple tablespoons of lemon oil.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008


That is how I would describe the search for the perfect wedding cake for my little bride who cannot partake of gluten, soy or dairy. Yep. All three. I don't even want to think of having to transition to this lifestyle permanently. I give huge high fives to all of you that do this on a daily basis. I have tried a dozen recipes, a dozen different anti-gluten flour combos and searched for the holy grail of shortening. It does exist, yet is difficult for suburbanites to find.

I gave the bride three choices.

One was a mix by Arrowhead Mills. We tried it ourselves and the husband and I decided it was way too grainy. The rice flour was not pulverized and had little grains of rice still in it. (I thought why not use cooked rice?) Each cake was filled with seedless raspberry jam. The bride said I did good. It was how all of her cakes were. I mentioned that this was a cake that maybe she would eat, but she also had to keep in mind her guests. She said, yes she knew her brother wouldn't eat any at all of this one. This one had a marshmallow fondant, not unlike other fondants that get to tasting like sweet modeling clay.

Second was the highly recommended "Banana Lemon Loaf Cake". It was the favorite of the many cakes we tried. It tasted like banana bread. Nothing more, nothing less. Very moist too. It is made with almond flour (ground almonds) and bananas and egss. Oh and lots of sugar and a hint of lemons. The bride and her fiancee we pleased with it, but still not convinced that this would be their choice. It did taste lemony, yet banana-y too. It had a "buttercream" frosting made with Spectrum shortening. A simple mixture of confectioners sugar, water vanilla and shortening.

Third was my choice. I chose to make a Pavlova. It is a basic meringue, sandwiched together with lemon curd (minus the butter - didn't miss it) and fresh raspberries. We like Pavlovas here at home and thought this classic Australian wedding cake would be a good alternative, especially for a June wedding. The bride liked it a lot. The groom, possibly not as much. I explained that most of their guests would love it, and eat it. That hardly anyone had a problem with a Pavlova, they and their guests would be more than happy.

Which did they choose? The fondant covered anti-gluten cake? The banana lemon loaf/cake with "buttercream" frosting or the fabulous Pavlova (you can see where I was leaning)? Well, they chose the banana/lemony buttercream frosted cake. It will be frosted with white and then add dark red swirls and red pearl edging. And the raspberry filling. I'll post the recipe of both when I get a chance.

Like they say, as long as the bride is happy. And she was, evidently she went on a forum that she frequents and raved about the cake choice. (someone who I know goes there too, not me) I am the cake version of William Wallace at this point possibly.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

What is better than food?

Only one thing. The celebration that comes when welcoming a new member of family to the world. We have been lucky enough to get to know Richard Blais through this season's TopChef competition. He has decided to allow their photographers to put up the photos taken at the birth of their child on their blog. Here's the link! Now is that not just as good as creme brulee?

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Oh my. This should be interesting.

I got a call from the first daughter the other day. Did I know how to make a gluten/dairy/soy free cake? I asked her did she need a recipe? Oh no, I don't need a recipe. But you will. Huh?

It seems she has a friend who is getting married in June. Her baker backed out at the last minute. Now she needs a wedding cake. But, it has to be gluten free, soy free and dairy free. Could I help her? Well, possibly. I think I could. Let me talk to her. Then I read the emails back and forth and see the 1st daughter has told her how wonderful I am and that i could probably do her cake. How could I turn the poor bride down?

It's not all that bad. I need to find a good recipe for a lemon cake. I think I have one, but if you have one that meets the above requirements, let me know! It will be two tiers, with swirls. Yep I get to practice swirls! In red no less. Interesting. This week should be fun, practicing and all for her appointment next Monday for a tasting.

Hmmm. New opportunities abound! Any suggestions for soy free would be appreciated! I've got gluten free down, and dairy free I think.

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