Ever since my lens stopped working (a nicer way of saying I think I might have broken it when my camera fell of the couch), I haven’t made much food. Occasionally I’ll whip up a batch of cookies, but without a way to document what I make, baking is somehow less rewarding.
Picture is something I do instinctively, how I record and remember my life. Unlike memories which fade and contort over time, pictures are constants. I can try to remember things long past, but human memory is fallible. Pictures are reminders of what has existed, how I revisit the past.
I’m not a very sentimental person despite how sappy I might sound right now, but as my high school graduation rapidly approaches and as I anticipate being uprooted, torn away from the people I have spent so many years with, I can’t help but flip (scroll) through old pictures and reminisce. Try as I might, I cannot fathom a life any different than the one I have now.
Food might not have the emotional significance of friends, but cooking has become an integral part of my life and I like to remember what I make. I’ve been using my phone’s camera since my f/1.4 lens broke, and it works fine for casual pictures (I like how candid phone pictures look), but my iPhone doesn’t do justice to food.
My fingers itching to practice food photography once more, I ordered a f/1.8 lens from Amazon last week, and though it’s was a hundred dollars, finally I have the ability to take DSLR pictures. My other lens is at the store being evaluated at the moment, but for now this lens will do.
This chocolate cake is probably my favorite ever. I know I’ve called this the “ultimate” chocolate cake, and I even have another gluten free chocolate cake recipe here, but this cake, this cake exceeds them all.
I use my friends as Guinea pigs for my gluten free foods especially (aren’t I a sweetheart?), and this one cake was received very, very well. One friend who claims to have discerning tastebuds scoffed when I announced the cake was gluten free, said it was good but kind of “empty,” then proceeded to finish her slice. The next day she ate another slice, and the day after had another. (Moral of the story: I think she’s just doesn’t like the idea of gluten free foods.)
My mom said she couldn’t even tell the cake was gluten free, and I agree with that assessment. The cake is moist, tender, and chocolatey - and has made up two out of my three meals today…oops. (I was almost going to see whether I could go an entire day on only chocolate cake, but I relented.)
A bit of advice, though: blend the quinoa mixture well. If not the cake will have a sort of corn meal texture, but it’s not a bad thing (I like it!), just different.
Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake
- 2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and parchment paper two 9 (or 8) inch cake pans.
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water. (I forgot to do this and didn’t encounter any problems, but the quinoa can impart the cake with a bitterness if not done in some cases.)
- Add the water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a blender combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add the quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour in the liquid ingredients and fold together until smooth.
- Divide the batter among the two pans. Bake for around 25 minutes (35 minutes for 8 inch pans) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool then frost.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- Melt the butter.
- Stir in the cocoa, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
- Beat in enough milk to get desired consistency. I didn’t add much and ending up with a soft, fudge-like product.
A while ago I posted a recipe for gluten free pancakes promising a recipe for gluten free chocolate pancakes in the future. Well, today’s that day! These pancakes are super simple to make (provided you have a blender) and they taste amazing! Chocolate lovers (aka me), these are for you!
Gluten Free Chocolate Pancakes
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tiny pinch salt
- 1/4 cup oats
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Fry on a nonstick surface! (very very important that the pan is nonstick. My other pans couldn’t handle this batter)
- Serve with a healthy drizzle (dousing) of chocolate ganache (1 tbs of chocolate chips melted in 2 tbs heavy whipping cream)!
On a side note, my camera is still broken :( Luckily I have this picture from before it broke.
First, let me apologize for the quality of the picture. My camera lens isn’t working so I have to make do with my iPhone camera for that time being.
However, I’m not going to let that get in the way of this gluten free oatmeal blueberry banana bread. This bread is anything but traditional, but it’s ridiculously delicious nevertheless.
It’s a crumbly, slightly sweet bread, reminiscent of cornbread. Kind of like this oatmeal pumpkin bread, just banana-y (no kidding).
At first I considered adding chocolate chips but I wanted to use up the carton of blueberries in my fridge and plus, without chocolate chips, I dare call this bread…healthy? (Well, before I drizzled it with a cream cheese yogurt glaze). Let’s go with that.
Oatmeal Blueberry Banana Bread
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp vanilla
- 100 grams almonds*
- 200 grams old fashioned dried oatmeal*
- 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 cup blueberries
*OR use 1/2 cup almond meal and 2 1/2 cups oatmeal flour
- Stir together the mashed bananas, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- In a food processor pulse the almonds and dried oatmeal until a fine powder.
- Add to a bowl and stir in the baking powder, salt, and spices.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir 30 seconds more.
- Fold in the blueberries.
- Bake in a 9 inch round cake pan at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Let cool, then serve plain or frosted.
Cream Cheese Yogurt Glaze
To be honest, I eyeballed this glaze. Here are the basic measurements I used for two servings: 1 tbs cream cheese, 2 tbs plain yogurt, 2 tbs powdered sugar, 1 tsp milk
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: macarons are finicky little beasts.
Out of the various times (read: 5 or more) I’ve tried to make them, all batches have failed to some degree.
Sorry to say, the batch pictured was somewhat of a failure too. I admit I’m sort of deceiving you with these pictures.
This batch wasn’t a disaster by any means and the macarons tasted delicious, formed adorable ‘feet’ and had a perfectly soft/chewy texture combo, but the other 3/4 of the batch had cracks.
I’m pretty sure it’s because I didn’t let the macarons rest long enough before baking them, given the last ones in the oven had the fewest cracks. Lesson learned.
From my many attempts at macaron making, I can give the following tips with confidence:
- Let the macarons rest!
- Weigh the ingredients. For a while I didn’t have a scale and thought measuring in cups would work just as well. It doesn’t.
- Let the macarons cool before filling. The last thing you want is to ruin a perfectly good beautiful batch of macarons with runny filling — I know from personal experience.
- If the macarons stick, wipe a damp cloth on the bottom side of the parchment. (Works best if they are still warm.)
- Don’t over or under fold the batter. Over folding can cause excessive spreading, and under folding can lead to bumpy macarons. (I wasn’t lying when I said macarons are finicky.)
- If you succeed on your first try, gold star for you (and please, send some of your skills to me!). If you don’t, try again.
- 150 grams powdered sugar
- 110 grams almond meal
- 10 grams dutch processed cocoa powder (~2 tbs)
- 100 grams egg whites
- 50 grams sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Sift together the powdered sugar, almond meal, and cocoa.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually adding the sugar. Stir in the vanilla,
- Fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites until no streaks remain.
- Pipe or scoop the batter onto 3 parchment paper lined baking trays. Allow to rest for at least an hour and a half.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 16 minutes. If the macarons stick to the parchment, wipe the bottom side of the parchment (below the macarons) with a damp cloth. This should loosen them and make them easier to remove.
- Fill with ganache.
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- In a saucepan, heat the chocolate and heavy whipping cream until a smooth chocolate mixture forms.
- Cool until spreadable.
On a side note, I’m interested in posting more dinner recipes! For some reason, I’m feeling quite sugared out. Lately I’ve been cooking my own meals (or having my mom order takeout), so there’s a bunch I can potentially share!
Originally, my family’s Christmas eve plans included lasagna. My mom commissioned me to make it, and per my request went grocery shopping, buying noodles, tomatoes, and tubs of ricotta cheese among other ingredients.
The problem was, no one really wanted lasagna, and I didn’t especially want to make it either. I made a sample batch, and with homemade tomato sauce, it took me nearly three hours. I couldn’t really imagine repeating that process, especially in the midst of our Christmas dinner chaos.
So, instead we had fish tacos, shrimp, beans, rice, turkey, and mashed potatoes…a strange (but delicious) combination. Seeing this left me with two and a half tubs of ricotta cheese, I decided to make ricotta cake for dessert. I’m not a fan of cheese in dessert (though I’m learning to appreciate cream cheese frosting — cheesecake is still a nope), but the ricotta simply made this cake deliciously tender and moist.
Everyone loved it, so much so that I’ve made two batches to use up all the ricotta. I brought it to a gathering with friends, and every last crumb was devoured. My friends and family all loved it, so hopefully you’ll try it and love it just as much.
Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cake with Berries
NOTE: The first time I made the recipe, I used a loaf pan. The second time (pictured) I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 13x18 in jelly roll pan.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cups oil
- 1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- lemon zest from 1 lemon (save the juice for a glaze - recipe below)
- 1 carton (~1 1/2 cups) blackberries/raspberries
- ~1/2 cup sliced almonds (i used the extra crushed almonds from a batch a macarons i made)
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk together the oil, ricotta, and sugar in large bowl for several minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the extracts and lemon zest.
- Add the dry ingredients, and stir until most of the flour is incorporated.
- Fold in the berries, continuing to stir until no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour in a 9 inch loaf pan, sprinkle with almonds, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool on rack completely.
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how much lemon juice))
- There are two ways to use the lemon: for a glaze or for an ‘infuser’.
- To make a lemon glaze topping, combine the juice from the lemon and enough powdered sugar to form a thin glaze. Pour or spread over cooled cake.
- To make a lemon ‘infuser,’ add enough powdered sugar to temper the sourness of the lemon juice. Poke the cake with a fork when still warm, then pour the sweetened lemon juice over it. The sauce will add additional moistness and flavor.
- I can vouch that both work well for this cake! It’s a great way to use up the part of the lemon the cake doesn’t use.