I am so excited to share my blog today with guest blogger and cookbook author Laurie Sadowski. Laurie is the author of the fabulous Allergy-Free Cook series. Her last book, The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread is one of my favorites, and this new book is no different. It’s filled with incredible recipes for all kinds of delicious GF and allergen-free cakes, cookies, bars and more. Lucky for us that Laurie is also working on a pie and tart book, which I am so excited about! Oh, and Laurie and her very generous publisher are offering a cookbook giveaway for my readers. Leave a comment below, along with your name and a way to reach you (should you win). The contest is open to US and Canadian residents. Good luck, and don’t forget to go give this cake a try. It’s delicious!
So, Laurie, take it away!
I am super pleased (and honored!) that Julie has asked me to contribute to her blog this week! Obviously you (her readers) know how great she is, but in her blog and her culinary expertise, and I’m pleased to be delivering some tips and a recipe for you on her website.
As an avid baker, I get asked plenty of questions surrounding the topic of baking for others with a special diet. Aside from taking extreme precautions, such as cross contamination for those with celiac disease or food allergies, when you’re baking in a new realm for someone else, you likely want it to work out for you and avoid any sort of baking failures.
When I was writing my books, this was certainly a goal of mine, and it continues to be in all my food writing forward: making it easy. Sure, some recipes are more complex, take longer, or have more steps, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t achieveable by everyone… because they certainly are! Case in point: the Peanut Butter Explosion, a fancier cake in my book well worth the effort for peanut butter-chocolate lovers.
But sometimes, we do want those super simple recipes, one that can be thrown together in a matter of time for last minute entertaining purposes. And with spring in the air, entertaining (especially in the outdoors) becomes relatively inevitable. Weekend afternoon teas with friends on the patio, later night grilling on the deck… it all happens when we migrate outdoors once the weather warms up.
So in addition to a super simple springtime-inspired recipe, I wanted to give you some tips and no-recipe-recipe ideas to make spring entertaining a breeze when accommodating for special diets, whether it is yours or someone elses.
Briefly, I want to mention the importance of cross contamination. As a celiac, it’s very important for me to stress the dedication a person needs to baking and cooking safely, whether it is for themselves or others. Though I won’t be addressing those matters here, I do discuss them in depth in my book, and can also be contacted at any time if you need some guidance regarding specific safe brands to use, how to prevent cross contamination in the kitchen, and other tips and tricks to keep your guests at ease.
But here we’re going to talk food.
Berries are blissful
We’re lucky that at this time of year, we’re given an abundance of berries to showcase with bright flavor and color to boot. For a light dessert that requires minimal effort and can ensure a safe treat for your guests, toss fresh berries with maple syrup and let sit for an hour. Divide into serving dishes. Top with vanilla coconut milk ice cream, and a sprinkle of sweetened cacao nibs.
Go for the grill
Not only is dessert on the grill the epitome of outdoor entertaining, you can allow guests to assemble their own to prevent cross contamination. Get aluminum foil and a pile of ripe bananas. Put a variety of toppings in bowls: allergy-free chocolate chips, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, coconut flakes, sprinkles, candied ginger, nut butters, peanut butter, coconut butter, and anything else you can dream up (that is safe, of course!) Split the banana in half, add toppings. Wrap it in foil, grill until warm, gooey, and melty, and top with the coconut milk-based ice cream or check out page 51 of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies for my favourite gluten, soy, and dairy-free whipped cream recipe.
Process a strawberry pie
If you want to prep in advance and make it super easy on yourself, consider this pie. For the crust, process together equal amounts (in volume) nuts/seeds with dates, along with about 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and a sprinkle of salt in a food processor. Once it starts to stick together and form a “dough”, transfer it into a pie dish and press it in nice and snug. Put about a cup of strawberries in the food processor. Pulse until chunky and juicy. Pour them into a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of chia seeds. Add maple syrup to taste. Let it sit for about 10 minutes – the chia will thicken the mixture, and if it isn’t thick enough (like pie filling), just add some more. When it’s ready, spread it into the pie crust. Top with lots of fresh, sliced strawberries. Refrigerate overnight.
If these aren’t enough and you want to bake from scratch, well, that’s certainly up my alley, too! One of my favourite, most versatile recipes from my book is my Simple Blackberry Buttermilk Cake, an easy cake that is free of all common allergens, super simple to put together, and guaranteed to please everyone. Even better, you can swap the berries for any other fresh fruit!
Now, back to Julie!
Thank you Laurie! And here is a perfect summer recipe that Laurie has shared from her new book The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies.
Simple Blackberry Cake
Yield: 8 Slices
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour or quinoa flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons unrefined cane sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup vegan buttermilk*
Scant 1 cup fresh blackberries, rinsed and dried
Confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the parchment paper.
Put the sorghum flour, millet flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, lemon zest, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a dry whisk until combined.
Put 1/2 cup of the sugar and the coconut oil and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl. Turn the mixer or a hand mixer to medium speed. Beat until combined.
Turn the mixer to low speed. Alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions) and the vegan buttermilk (in two additions), beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Turn off the mixer.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula. Smooth the top with the spatula. Scatter the blackberries over the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake will be golden brown, begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and will spring back when lightly touched.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and put on a cooling rack. Let cool for 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Serve warm.
Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in a sealed container, the cake will keep for 2 days at room temperature or 2 months in the freezer.
Cranberry-Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake: Replace the blackberries with 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in addition to the sugar before baking.
*Vegan Buttermilk: Put 1 tablespoon cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in enough non-dairy milk as needed to equal the total amount of buttermilk called for in the recipe. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes. Use nut milk, seed milk, or soy milk for the best results.
Recipe adapted with permission from THE ALLERGY-FREE COOK BAKES CAKES AND COOKIES, by Laurie Sadowski, 2013, Book Publishing Company.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the book to review and giveaway. All opinions are always my own. I am honestly from excited about this book.