Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

If you’ve never had pavlova, your life summer dessert game might be about to change. This naturally gluten-free meringue cake has a crisp, glossy exterior and marshmallow-soft interior, and is a vehicle for all sorts of good things, including but not limited to whipped cream, lemon curd and fresh summer berries. It’s a perfect rustic-but-classy dessert to have in your warm weather recipe arsenal. I don’t have a roof deck or a backyard, but one day when I do, I’m going to have friends over for mocktails and pavlova all summer long, just because I can. In fact, my maternal grandparents’ backyard is the first place I ever remember eating pavlova.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

You might be wondering “Is pavlova popular in North Texas?” The answer is a hard “no.” To tell you the truth, I don’t know how my grandma learned about it, aside from the part where she just *knew* how to throw together simple dinner party foods. If she ever told me, I’ve forgotten…probably because I was trying to get a whole bunch of fruit, whipped cream and meringue in my face as efficiently as possible. My best guess is our friends-who-are-family from Australia taught her about it during one of their visits.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

So how did I go from eating pavlova exactly once during my Texan childhood to making it thirty-odd years later? Well, the answer is simple. I had leftover egg whites, a fresh jar of Lazy Lemon Curd, got a little over-ambitious with my berry purchasing, and I always have heavy cream. When life gives you those things, make Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries.

Like most things that rely whipped egg whites and sugar for structure, pavlova is incredibly simple to make. The most important step in the whole process is ensuring that your mixing bowl and mixer attachment are super clean and dry so that you end up with airy results and not sad egg white soup.

The actual work of making meringue is just gradually combining egg whites, salt, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar while your mixer works overtime to create stiff peaks. After that, form your meringue into a cake on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake it very low and slow before letting it cool completely in the oven.

Now, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that baked, cooled pavlova meringue can be made up to three days before you serve it. The bad news is that once you start piling toppings on it, your pavlova isn’t long for this world. Glossy, crisp, marshmallowy meringue is fleeting, so don’t assemble your pavlova until right before you want to serve it. But then, do it up!

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Obviously, I went the lemon curd/whipped cream/fresh berries route here, but feel free to go wild with your pavlova toppings. Change the fruit to mango, pineapple, cherries or peaches! Grate on chocolate! Scatter toasted coconut over the top! Use key lime curd in place of lemon and sprinkle crushed graham crackers on there. Key Lime Pie-vlova, anyone?!

But back to the point, which is, as always, to take my recipe and make it yours. Like I said, your life summer dessert game might be about to change.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
makes one pavlova, about 8 servings

Pavlova:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

For Assembly:
1 cup Lazy Lemon Curd or other lemon curd
2-3 cups fresh berries of choice (I used strawberries, raspberries & blueberries)

Preheat oven to 250F. Draw an 8-inch circle on a sheet of parchment big enough for a rimmed sheet pan. Turn the parchment over (so the drawn circle side is facing down) and place on the pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a separate very small bowl, combine vanilla and vinegar. Set aside.

Add egg whites and salt to a very clean, dry mixing bowl. Starting at the lowest setting and gradually ramping up to medium-high, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until foamy (about 2-3 minutes). With the mixer running, add sugar-cornstarch mixture a tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Then add the vanilla-vinegar mixture. Turn the speed up to high and whip until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).

Turn the mixture (now a meringue) out onto the prepared baking sheet, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to gently spread it to the edges of the circle. Make it taller at the edges than the center so you have a logical place for the toppings.

Place pavlova in the oven and bake for 75 minutes (1:15) until puffed, glossy, and slightly cream-colored. Turn off the oven and wedge a wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar. Let the pavlova cool completely in the oven (a couple of hours or overnight).

If not using immediately, carefully remove the pavlova from the parchment and double wrap with plastic wrap. Keep at room temperature for up to three days.

Assemble the pavlova immediately before serving. If wrapped, gently remove and discard plastic wrap. Place pavlova on a serving plate.

Make whipped cream topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Spread the top of the pavlova with lemon curd. Spoon/spread whipped cream over the top. Finish with berries of choice. Serve immediately.
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries
Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I posted my Oscar Night Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese on Wednesday, but that’s only one part of my tradition. The other? Red velvet. Cake, cookies, cookie cake, cheesecake bars, you name it. It just has to be red, like the red carpet.

This year’s Oscar weekend offering? A vegan, gluten-free Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Yep, you read that right. This vibrant red velvet cake with swoopy cream cheese frosting is as delicious as any traditional version I’ve had, but completely devoid of animal products and flour, so you can share with all your vegan, gluten-free friends. You know I love an inclusive bake. Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The cake itself is another spin on my go-to vegan, gluten-free cake base. It’s made primarily of almond flour and potato starch, but also contains classic red velvet ingredients like cocoa powder, vanilla and red food coloring. The batter comes together without a mixer and bakes like a dream, producing a thin sheet of cake, perfect for slicing and sharing.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s talk frosting—you simply can’t have red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting. I’m pretty sure it’s the law, even if the cake is vegan. Here, the cream cheese in the frosting is the dairy-free stuff that comes in a tub. You’ll notice that this recipe uses a tiny amount of cream cheese compared to dairy versions, but I promise you that the signature tang is there in those swoops. I don’t mess around with cream cheese frosting, y’all.

A quick word on temperature and storage. While 90% of the cakes I make do well at room temperature, this one does not. Thanks to its water content, vegan cream cheese is softer in texture than its dairy counterpart, so if this frosting gets too warm it will begin to droop a bit. It won’t liquefy and it will taste fine, but it won’t be pretty. I don’t know about you, but I kind of need my Oscar Night red velvet cake to be pretty.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Vegan, gluten-free Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is so good, y’all. So. Good. It’s soft and tender with all the chocolate-tinged vanilla flavor you love, and those swirls of vegan cream cheese frosting are the perfect counterpart. It’s traditional with a twist, like so many of the best things are.

Happy Oscar weekend, dear readers! May your ballots be winners. May the telecast be worth watching. May your grilled cheeses be gooey. May your desserts be red velvet.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes a single layer 9×13-inch sheet cake

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or pure pumpkin purée)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2-3 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (according to preference)
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
red velvet cake crumbs (optional)

This recipe may be halved and baked in an 8- or 9- inch square pan. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in applesauce and vanilla, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined. If you’d like a more brightly-colored cake, add more food coloring by the 1/2 teaspoon (up to 1 1/2 teaspoons).

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). If you want to top the cake with red velvet crumbs, trim off very thin pieces from the 9-inch edges. Crumble with your fingers or by gently pushing through a wire mesh sieve.

Frost as desired with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle with reserved red velvet crumbs, if desired.

Frosted cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, slightly softened (I like Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter, shortening, and vegan cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla.

Use to frost the top of sheet cake. Frosting and frosted cake should be stored in the refrigerator; they will get very soft at room temperature.

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Everyday Cakes are probably my favorite desserts to make and eat. I’m sure I’ve said that about at least one other category of dessert, but I promise it’s true.

Like their name implies, these are cakes that can be made any ol’ day with limited fuss. Theyre single layer, have short ingredient lists and can almost always be adapted to work with whatever you have on hand. They’re the sort of thing you can bake on the fly when you need to let out some stress after work, or want to make a cake on a Saturday afternoon but don’t want to deal with frosting and layering. Even better, they’re the kind of super-classy-but-still-low-maintenance dinner party dessert that will make you look like Ina Garten (hydrangeas optional, but recommended). Their versatility simply cannot be matched.

It will come as no surprise that I have tons of Everyday Cakes in my archives—too many for one post—so this is my spring Everyday Cake round-up. Five cakes that are far more than the sum of their parts. Try out one or two before summer’s here and it’s too hot to bake!Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

My friend, David, introduced me to this Dutch dessert a few years ago and it’s quickly become one of my favorite cakes of all time. With plenty of butter, bits of ginger strewn throughout and a signature golden lid, it might just become your favorite too!

Ginger not your thing? Feel free to leave it out, or make my almond variation.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Flourless Almond Cake

The nectarines in this picture won’t be in season for a few more months, but don’t let that stop you from making this dreamy Flourless Almond Cake! It’s perfect for eating with your fingers as a mid-afternoon snack, but it can also be dressed up with berries or chocolate or whatever for post-vaccine get-togethers.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Blueberry Torte

A torte is just a low maintenance cake by another name. This one is super easy to make, tender and buttery and chockablock with fresh blueberries.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Mango Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple is the reigning queen of upside-down cakes, but I’d like to make a petition for this mango number to be a princess or a duchess or something. The combination of brown sugar cake and fresh mango baked in caramel is absolutely divine.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Winning Hearts & Minds Cake

Everyone needs a good flourless chocolate cake recipe in their back pocket. This one is the slightest take on Molly Wizenberg-Choi’s gem of a recipe. I’ve made it approximately a thousand times—I’ve got the recipe memorized—and am still not over the crackly top and dense chocolaty middle. Consider my heart and mind won.

Have you made these or any of my other everyday cakes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints If these Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints look familiar, it’s because they are—these are basically just miniature versions of my Chocolate Macaroon Tart, one of my most-made and most-loved recipes ever. The golden coconut exteriors and dark chocolate interiors are a combination that simply can’t be beat (Lemon Meringue obviously excepted).Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints are made with my trusty gluten- and egg-free Coconut Macaroon base, so they’re soft & light on the inside and toasty on the outside. I made one little tweak to the original recipe and added some cornstarch for a bit more structure, but rest assured that these are just as delicate and chewy as any coconut macaroon you’ve ever had.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints After the coconut base is rolled into balls, little indentations are pressed into each one to create the titular thumbprint. You could use your thumb, of course, but a spoon gives a more consistent shape and size and is way less messy. These initial thumbprints will become shallow during baking, so make sure to give them a second indentation when you pull them from the oven. Bigger thumbprint = more room for chocolate!Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Ohhh yes, these thumbprints are filled to the brim with dark chocolate ganache! It’s no secret that coconut & dark chocolate are perfect together, but the creamy-chewy texture situation here is positively glorious. I can say this with confidence because…well, I’ve eaten a lot of these lately. A. Lot.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints are a perfect addition to your Easter menu! Follow my lead and leave them plain for a simple & stunning finish, or top the pools of ganache with Easter egg candies for something a little more festive.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints
makes about 1.5 dozen

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce bag (5 cups) sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt.

Place coconut in a medium mixing bowl. Toss with cornstarch. Pour in sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Wet your hand and give the mixture a couple of kneads to ensure it’s very well-combined.

Scoop coconut mixture in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and form into balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. Bake 16-17 minutes, until light golden and puffed. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Make ganache filling. Place chopped chocolate in a large measuring cup or heatproof mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edge.

Pour warm cream over chopped chocolate. Do not stir. Cover bowl with a lid or aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Remove lid/foil. Use a fork to stir until chocolate and cream are combined and smooth.

Spoon a teaspoon of ganache into the well of each thumbprint. Ganache will begin to set pretty soon at room temperature, setting completely after a couple of hours.

Coconut Macaroons will keep covered at room temperature for a few days.

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartI put a lemon meringue pie on here a few years back, and while it was good, it wasn’t great. I didn’t add enough sugar to the meringue, so it browned in a weird way, and I had a bit too much liquid in the filling. The good news is that baking is a journey, not a destination. I’ve gained experience and used it to make a truly killer lemon meringue pie filling. I’ve already updated the old pie recipe and will take new photos soon, but until then, let’s discuss this Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartYou read that right: Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart. Like tangy lemon filling and airy meringue layered into a giant coconut macaroon crust. Oh y’all, this is something special.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLet me get this out of the way: we are talking about macaroons (coconut) not macarons (delicate French almond cookies). Both are delicious, but today is all about this magical three-ingredient coconut crust.It’s made only of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and salt, and resembles a coconut macaroon in both flavor and texture. It’s naturally grain-free and incredibly easy to make—just stir the ingredients together, press the mix into a heavily-buttered pan and bake until golden. Unlike traditional pie crusts (and very much like a macaroon) it will stay a bit soft, but will hold up with just about any filling you like. You know, like chocolate ganache…or lemon meringue.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartI know lemon meringue filling can be intimidating if you haven’t made it before, but I promise it’s not scary. I think it’s the color blocking that sends people running for the nearest bakery, but lemon meringue is just a marriage of two really simple recipes. The lemon portion is very similar to the grapefruit filling from the pie I posted last week. As with that recipe, if you can make pudding on the stovetop, you can make this. Heck, if you can use a whisk, you can make this. The most important thing to remember is to have all your ingredients prepared and within arm’s reach before you turn on the stove. This process goes quickly, but isn’t stressful at all if you have your ingredients ready. Just whisk, whisk, whisk and in mere moments, you’ll have made gorgeous, golden lemon filling.

As for meringue, it’s a snap to make. The key to success with meringue (and all whipped egg white things) is making sure your bowls and mixer attachments are very clean and dry before you begin; any errant drop of yolk, water or oil will keep your meringue from fluffing up properly. Just like with the lemon portion of this operation, preparation is everything. I go so far as to wipe my kitchen tools down with vinegar before whipping egg whites. Though that might seem like overkill, it’s worth it when you get billowy meringue every time!Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartRegarding assembly, you’ll need to have your crust baked and cooled and the meringue whipped before you make the lemon filling. The reason for this is that the filling needs to be piping hot when it meets the meringue. By doing this, we are allowing the egg whites in the meringue to bake directly onto the entire surface of the filling, helping them to fuse together so they don’t slide apart during slicing. Once filled, the tart will need to bake for about 25 minutes, just until the meringue is beginning to turn golden.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartSome people like their lemon meringue desserts at room temperature, but I prefer mine cold. Also, I think it makes for more aesthetically pleasing slices. That color blocking though 😍 Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartOne persnickety thing about lemon meringue desserts? They need to be served the day they’re made. Meringue is a beautiful thing, but it is fleeting. If not served within hours of baking, it will begin to weep. Ew. Rest assured that even if you don’t have the time to bake and serve on the same day you can still get your lemon macaroon tart fix. The solution? Skip the meringue layer. You can cool the tart just after adding the lemon filling, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart
makes one 9- or 10-inch tart

Macaroon Crust:
1 14 ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Meringue:
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites, room temperature

Filling:
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9- or 10- inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again.

Make the crust. Combine sweetened flaked coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold together until combined. It will be thick.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Lightly grease your hands before pressing mixture onto the bottom and up the sides. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges are browned and center is turning pale golden. Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Make the meringue. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine cream of tartar and sugar. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, use a fork to whisk together cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Microwave in 10 second increments, whisking with a fork in between, until mixture gels (about 30-35 seconds total).

Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat them on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, until frothy. Add sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time, beating until completely incorporated. Add cornstarch mixture one tablespoon at a time, until combined. Continue beating on medium speed until egg whites form stiff peaks. Set aside.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat egg yolks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, use your fingers to rub lemon zest into sugar. Whisk together lemon sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches a simmer and thickens. Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 of the mixture into the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, add egg yolk mixture to the pan, followed by lemon juice. Whisk continue to whisk until mixture comes to a simmer for 1 additional minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter. Push filling through a sieve to remove lumps.

Pour hot filling into prepared crust. Drop spoonfuls of meringue over the top of the filling, making sure all edges are covered. Use the back of the spoon to spread it out. Bake 25-30 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Let pie cool completely on a rack. Chill uncovered for a couple of hours.

Before serving, carefully run a thin flexible knife between the crust and the pan a couple of times. Release the springform. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve immediately.

Lemon Meringue Macaroon Tart is best served the day it’s made. Meringue will weep over time.Lemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon TartLemon Meringue Macaroon Tart