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As it is with baking in the kitchen here at home I am always trying new ideas. This gluten free chocolate cake was a big hit back in September. So I changed things up a bit and worked in some fresh pears and pistachios. The cake again was really nice, but I didn’t want to revisit my failed attempt at making a Swiss buttercream just yet, to frost and decorate. The next best thing…trifles!

 

There are times I leave out the frosting and go for glazes or creams. With a few easy ingredients and some cute glasses, these trifles assemble quickly, sadly they disappear too fast.  I now realize I should have spooned some chocolate glaze on them. With extra cake always around, there will definitely be some next time.

 

Soft whipped cream, tender chocolate cake and ripe pears… yum.

This chocolate cake recipe can be used for whole cakes, cupcakes, mini chocolate loaves, etc. It is very versatile, moist, and has beautiful texture. I think you will just love this recipe.

Have a great start to your week!

 

Chocolate Pear Cake Recipe [makes one 8 inch round]

 

¾ cup g/f baking mix*

1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

¼ cup pistachio flour [-or- use more g/f mix]

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

½ cup dark brown sugar

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

 

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

2 large firm pears, peeled, cored and grated

 

Preheat oven to 350°F

Butter and line an eight inch cake pan.

 

1. Whisk together g/f baking mix, cocoa powder, pistachio flour, spices, baking soda and sea salt. Set Aside.

2. Cream together butter and sugar together until light, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.

4. Alternately mix in dry mixture and wet mixture into the creamed butter until fully incorporated.

5. Fold in grated pears and spread into prepared pan.

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan and invert onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

7. Cut or break cake into bite sized pieces.

*note: If your pears are ripe and very juicy, drain or squeeze out the moisture. This will help the cake from becoming soggy.

 

 

Spiced Pear Recipe

 

4 firm ripe pears

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 Tablespoons cane sugar -or- honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

1. Peel, core and chop pears.

2. Melt butter on medium-low heat and add remaining ingredients.

3. Gently sauté until pear are just tender. Cool.

 

to complete trifles:

 

2 cups cream

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

¼ – ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped

 

1. Whip cream with sugar until just soft peaks.

2. Layer ingredients: sautéed pears, whipped cream, pistachios, cake.

3. Repeat step 2 until the serving vessel is full then top with whipped cream and pistachios.

Serves 8 portions.

Playing on the coconut theme a lot of my dairy-free recipes have been over the past few months, I made a delicious tapioca pudding. I have to confess I made six full batches this past weekend of pudding and found this to be the best spin on the age old classic.

 

Sometimes making desserts does not mean spending laborious amounts of time making tarts, jelly rolls or mousse cakes. It’s all about variety, comfort and spending time with others, not to mention they would be happy to help with over abundant dessert making!

Using coconut has been a great way for me to enjoy dairy rich recipes without using dairy at all. I am not saying no to dairy, but I think experimenting and variety to be what keeps cooking and baking exciting here at home.

Another recipe today is a cardamom spiced pecan cookies that was paired with this dessert just for fun and a nice balance from the creamy pudding.

 

Enjoy!

Coconut Tapioca Pudding Recipe

½ cup tapioca pearls [not instant]

2 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk [drinking beverage]

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoons cornstarch*

2 teaspoons cold water

1/3 cup granular sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

1. Soak tapioca pearls in coconut milk [drinking beverage] overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Once soaked, place in a medium saucepan with the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.

3. Reduce heat if necessary to keep coconut milk at a gentle simmer and cook for 8 minutes.

4. Add the cornstarch mixed with water to the pan. Stir until mixture comes back to a boil and has thickened.

5. Add sugar and vanilla extract and remove from heat.

6. Chill pudding in a shallow bowl and covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface.

Served room temp or chilled, makes 6-8 servings.

*note: If in the event you boil the pudding to hard you may not need the starch to give a more pleasant body.

Cardamom-Spiced Pecan Cookie Recipe

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

½ cup finely ground toasted pecans

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 cup gluten-free baking mix

2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

1. In a food processor cream the butter and then mix in confectioner’s sugar until smooth.

2. Add egg and vanilla; process for a minute until well incorporated.

3. Add pecans, cardamom and sea salt and mix in.

4. With the processor off place the full amount of flour mixture and process just until dough forms.

5. Chill dough for 2 hours in a flattened disk or one inch logs.

6. Cut eight inch slices and arrange on a parchment lined sheet pan and sprinkle on pecans.

7. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.

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