RED VELVET BUTTERMILK CUPCAKES

2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons red Food coloring

 


 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add the flour mixture. Mix the buttermilk with the vanilla and food coloring and add to the mixer. Continue beating until all is well combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cups.

Bake for about 23 minutes. Cool completely before decorating with frosting of choice.
 
Makes 12
 
Adapted from Demolition Desserts and Joy the Baker.

BUCKWHEAT CHOCOLATE CAKE

5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

2/3 cup canola oil

8 oz unsweetened apple sauce

3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

 


 

Place the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate with canola oil in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl whisk together the applesauce, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. Whisk into the melted chocolate mixture. Sift in the rest of the ingredients. Whisk well to obtain a smooth batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer comes out clean, 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
 
Serves 8

ISPAHAN CAKE ROLL

This is my simpler, lighter take on Pierre Herme’s signature rose, raspberry and lychee yule log known as bûche Ispahan.
 
For the génoise (cake)
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling
8 ounces mascarpone
5 ounces fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon rose water
1 (15-ounce) can lychees in light syrup (or pears in syrup)

For the syrup

Syrup from the can of lychees (or pears)
1 teaspoon rose water
 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8×10 pan with parchment paper.

Beat the sugar with the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl until frothy. Gently whisk in the flour. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold them into the egg yolk, sugar and flour mixture. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the mascarpone, raspberries, sugar, and rose water in the bowl of a food processor and reduce to a purée. Set aside.

When the cake is cooked, unmold it onto a damp towel, remove the parchment paper and roll the cake immediately with the towel. Let it cool that way, about 20 minutes. Place the lychees (or pears) on a cutting board and dice them. Pour the syrup into a small saucepan, add the rose water and heat it over low heat for about 5 minutes. Unroll the cake and remove the towel. Brush the cake lightly with the syrup, spread half of the raspberry mascarpone inside the cake and top with diced lychees (or pears). Gently roll the cake, cover it with raspberry ricotta and cut off the ends. Garnish with raspberries and refrigerate for an hour before serving.
 
Serves 6 to 8

CARROT PUDDING CAKE

For the cake
2/3 cup vegetable oil
15 ounces carrot puree *
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup grated carrots
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting
1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese
1/4 sick butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 9-inch round pan.

Place the oil and carrot puree in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat to combine. Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add to the carrot mixture and mix until well combined. Fold in the grated carrots, raisins and walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool before turning onto a plate.

Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract together using an electric mixer. Spread the frosting on top of the cake or serve desired amount on individual cake slices.
 
Serves 8 to 10
 
*Baby carrot puree works great for this cake.

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CAKE

¾ cup canola oil
½ cup organic cocoa powder
¾ cup agave syrup (or 3/4 cup sugar)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup mini chocolate chips

 


 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a cake or bundt pan.

In an electric mixer, beat the oil and cocoa powder. Add the agave or sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt and beat again. Combine the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cool the cake completely before unmolding.
 

Serves 8

COCONUT PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

This is a lighter, healthier pineapple upside down cake. The pineapple is not caramelized but simply baked on the bottom of the cake.

 
4 eggs
7 tablespoons butter, softened
6 tablespoons coconut milk (1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup coconut flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
7 to 8 pineapple slices, canned or fresh
Maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

Using an electric mixer, mix the eggs, butter, milk, vanilla and sugar until well combined. Combine the coconut flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and mix again.

Arrange the pineapple slices on the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the batter over it. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean, 35 minutes. Let the cake cool and turn it over onto a plate. Garnish with Maraschino cherries.
 
Serves 6 to 8

QUINOA FLAKE PANCAKES

2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup millet flour (originally 1/4 cup millet flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour,
1/2 cup sorghum flour)
1 cup quinoa flakes
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

 


 

Mix together egg yolks, applesauce and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Add milk.

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until moist.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until peaks form.

Fold 1/2 of the egg whites into the batter. Fold in the other half.

Preheat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Spray it with cooking spray. Ladle the batter onto the pan and brown on both sides. To make waffles, simply cook batter on waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve with a lots of maple syrup!
Makes 8
Adapted from Celiac Teen.

SAUTEED ZUCCHINI RIBBONS WITH FETA DRESSING

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini, ribboned
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Dressing
3 ounces feta cheese
1 garlic clove
4 mint leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice

 


 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Saute the zucchini ribbons until tender and golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Prepare the sauce by processing all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor. If the mixture is too thick add water, one tablespoon at a time, and process again until creamy.

Place the zucchini ribbons in a bowl. Add the feta dressing and toss well. Serve at room temperature with your favorite entree.

Serves 4

 

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COUSCOUS WITH CARAMELIZED FRUIT

This is a delicious sweet couscous that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or even as dessert.
For the cooked fruit
1 small yellow onion, cut into thin strips
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ras el hanout (I used this one–you can make or buy it)

For the couscous
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ras el hanout
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2/3 cup instant whole grain couscous

 


 

Fill the pot of a steamer about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the onion, apples and pineapple in the steamer basket over the boiling water. Cover and steam until soft but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and honey to a sizzle until they’re a beautiful golden caramel color. Stir in ras el hanout. Add the steamed onion, apples and pineapple. Toss to coat with the glaze and cook for 2 minutes until lightly caramelized.

Bring water, oil, honey, salt, ras el hanout, cinnamon and garlic powder to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Plate the couscous onto four dessert/appetizer plates. Top with the glazed onion and fruit. Disperse pomegranate arils on top.

Enjoy it warm.

Serves 4

 

CHILLED RHUBARB-PEAR SOUP

¾ pound rhubarb, chopped (about 4 cups chopped rhubarb)
4 cups water
4 sprigs fresh mint
¼ cup turbinado sugar
2 pears, cored, peeled and chopped

 


 
Place the rhubarb, water, mint, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid. Cook until the rhubarb is very soft, 8 minutes. Add the pears and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the mint.
 
Transfer to a blender and process into a soup. Let cool then refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Serve cold.
 
Serves 4