Gluten-Free Decadent Chocolate Cake

I’ve missed baking since starting my Paleo diet. By baking, I mean baking from scratch. I’ve tried several different gluten-free mixes that I’ve bought at the store, and while some of them have been pretty good, they all seem to be a bit sweet for my taste buds. I’ve doctored them by adding in things like coconut oil, but I figured I’d better start finding some scratch-made recipes in order to appease my sweet tooth.




My goal is to eventually convert my favorite family recipes into gluten-free and Paleo-friendly versions, but while I was looking at recipes on Pinterest, I came across a gluten-free recipe that I couldn’t wait to try. It’s from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, and the recipe is super simple. If you omit the glaze in the recipe, which has whipping cream, it’s even Paleo, but I wanted to try the recipe as it was written – then the next time I make it I’ll put my own spin on it. I will say that I’ll probably increase the amount of cinnamon next time, just because I really couldn’t taste it. It was there, just not enough for my taste. The recipe also gives you an option for the liquid you use: brewed coffee, dry red wine, or water. I went with the coffee because I still had some in the coffee pot, and besides, I love the flavors of coffee and chocolate together, but I bet the wine would be killer too.

This cake has no eggs and no butter (in the cake anyway), and it was absolutely moist as could be. Sometimes I notice an off-texture in the store-bought gluten-free cake mixes, and I didn’t notice that with this cake. The boys said I had to make this again – and soon!

 

Decadent Chocolate Cake – Gluten-Free

3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1-1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your flour already has it)

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I’m going to increase this to 1 teaspoon the next time I make this)

12 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons good vanilla extract

2 cups of either brewed coffee, dry red wine, or lukewarm water

For the Glaze:

6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons brewed coffee, dry red wine, or lukewarm water

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard 12-cup Bundt pan, dust it lightly with cocoa powder, and set aside.

In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine well.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, place the melted coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla, and coffee (or wine/water). Whisk to combine well.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and whisk until just combined. The batter will be soft. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, and smooth into an even layer. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 45 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Place the chopped chocolate and the butter in a small heat-safe bowl, and microwave in 30-second bursts (or melt over a double boiler), stirring until melted and smooth. Add the whipping cream and your choice of the coffee, wine, or water, mixing well to combine. Allow the glaze to sit until no longer hot to the touch. Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled Bundt cake.

 

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Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

Last summer I bought a bunch of fresh blueberries from an outlet in Michigan that were so good that this fall I put in an order for some frozen blueberries to have in the freezer this winter. I like to have them on hand for smoothies and muffins, and if there are any left later this winter when I have the time, I want to make some blueberry jam.




The other night my oldest son asked me to make a cake, so I went through my recipes on Pinterest and came across one on Who Needs a Cape’s blog for a lemon blueberry buttermilk cake. I had all the ingredients on hand, so I thought I’d give it a try.

As soon as the cake was cool enough to cut, the kids (and hubby) were into it. They didn’t even wait for me to make the glaze for the cake because it smelled so delicious. The cake lasted all of 10 minutes before there was nothing but crumbs on the plate! I guess that means it was a hit, but next time I’m making them wait until I get the glaze on the cake. Take a peek on her website—you’ll find lots of yummy recipes there.

Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup butter, at room temperature

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon good vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups blueberries (I used frozen)

Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon softened butter

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

Combine 2-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and the lemon zest. Add the butter, and cream mixture on medium speed for about 3 to 5 minutes until thoroughly combined.

Reduce speed to low, and add in the eggs one at a time, mixing for a minute between adding each egg. Scrape down sides of the bowl, and add the vanilla.

Add in some of the flour followed by some of the buttermilk, and mix until combined. Repeat until all flour and buttermilk have been added.

In a separate bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of flour and the blueberries. Toss to coat berries. Gently fold the blueberries into the cake batter.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan, and smooth out the top of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes (mine took about 65 in my oven), or until it tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then turn out onto a serving plate. Let cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and butter. Glaze should be thick, but you can add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time to make it thinner.

Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature—if yours lasts that long!

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Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Rum Frosting

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything, mostly because work has finally picked up again, and I haven’t had much time for testing out new recipes or doing any baking. While my waistline may appreciate it, my boys haven’t, so I decided to take a break yesterday and make them a cake. I actually had a few ripe bananas sitting on my counter, which itself is an amazing accomplishment because every time I buy bananas intending to use them in a recipe, the boys devour them immediately. That’s all fine and dandy because they’re good for them – it’s just I rarely get to make a recipe that calls for bananas 🙂




This is a basic cake recipe, and while it’s perfectly delicious as is, you could add some chopped pecans or walnuts for a yummy addition. For the frosting, I used my grandmother’s basic buttercream frosting recipe and added about 4 ounces of cream cheese that I had leftover from another recipe. It turned out great, and I didn’t have extra cheese sitting around that would be tossed out later. Win win 🙂

banana cake in pan

 

banana cake 2

 

banana cake

Banana Cake with Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 2)

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/2 butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon good vanilla

2 eggs

Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or two 9-inch round cake pans) with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the mashed bananas, buttermilk, softened butter and vanilla. Mix on low speed until well combined.

Add eggs one at a time, and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake tests done with a toothpick inserted into the middle. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans (if using round cake pans), and allow to completely cool on wire racks. Frost cake when completely cooled.

Frosting

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 egg white

2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon good vanilla

1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring (or good rum)

In a mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until nice and fluffy. Add the egg white, and mix until completely incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, and mix on low to incorporate. When combined, increase the speed to medium high, and beat mixture for about 1 minute. Add in the flavorings, and mix until completely combined. Depending how thick or thin you like your frosting, you can add more powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, add 1-2 teaspoons of milk to thin it. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

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Mexican Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake

Of course when I get a craving for chocolate, I immediately think about cake. While I have my favorites that I go to frequently, like my Old-Fashioned Hot Water Chocolate Cake, I had buttermilk in the fridge, and I wanted to try a cinnamon chocolate cake. I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course!) on the Yesterfood blog. It’s super easy to make, and you can top it with some freshly made whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla or even cinnamon ice cream. Enjoy!

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mexican chocolate cake 2

 

mexican chocolate cake slice 2

Mexican Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake

8 ounces semisweet chocolate baking squares

1 cup butter, softened at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1/2 cup chocolate syrup

2 teaspoons good vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

 

Microwave the chocolate baking squares in a small bowl, stirring every 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 1 minute or so.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate, the chocolate syrup and the vanilla, and beat until smooth.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk (begin and end with the flour). Beat on low speed until just combined. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan.

Bake cake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour 10 minutes, checking the cake at 1 hour, until the cake tests done when a toothpick is inserted into the middle. Do not overbake. Cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.




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Fresh Strawberry Cake and Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

It’s a little cooler today here in Iowa, but I’ve still got spring fever. I stopped at the grocery store, and they had a special on fresh strawberries. Now, I can’t get local strawberries until June, and I usually don’t buy strawberries out of season simply because they just can’t match the taste of the local ones I get in early summer. However – these looked really good, and as I said spring fever was taking over, so I picked up a box.




I’d come across a recipe for a fresh strawberry yogurt cake on A Spicy Perspective. and I knew I’d found the perfect way to use these out-of-season strawberries. The recipe calls for either plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. While I usually make my own yogurt, I did pick up a carton of vanilla Greek yogurt. This way I can get a little vanilla flavor in the cake. I usually add a teaspoon of good vanilla to my baked goods, and since this recipe doesn’t call for any, the vanilla yogurt takes care of that for me.

This does make a thick batter, so don’t be off-put by that. I also used a full box of strawberries (16 ounces), and the recipe called for only 12 ounces. I doubt this really hurts it one way or the other, and I don’t like having tiny bits of fruit just sitting around, so I used them all. This recipe is really easy to pull together, and soon you can have that fresh taste of spring on your dinner table. This cake is going to be so awesome when I make it this summer with local, flavorful strawberries. 🙂

 

fresh strawberry yogurt cake side view

fresh strawberry yogurt cake

 

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided

Zest of 1 lemon

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces plain or vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt

12 ounces fresh strawberries, washed, trimmed and diced

1 cup powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (10- to 15-cup size).

Sift together 2 1/4 cups of the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and incorporate completely. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing until just combined.

Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, and gently fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Place in the oven, and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes in the pan, and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.


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I made a bacon and mustard chicken dish the other night for dinner, and I had some leftover chicken breasts from that. I hate leftovers, because no one in my house really eats them, so I decided to “repurpose” the chicken and make some chicken salad. I already had a bacon and Dijon mustard base going for the chicken salad, as the chicken breast was cooked with both, so I built upon those flavors in this salad recipe. Now I used Miracle Whip salad dressing in this, but you can always use mayonnaise if that’s what you prefer. I’m a Miracle Whip girl – I like that extra “tang” in my salads. I do use mayonnaise occasionally, especially if I’m making dips or appetizers, but most often you’ll only see the Miracle Whip in my fridge.

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This recipe is a shoot-from-the-hip type. I used the leftovers I had on hand, and I added ingredients that complemented bacon and Dijon mustard. I’ve listed the ingredients as if I didn’t start with the Dijon sauce from the night before, and it doesn’t list any bacon in the recipe (because this was in the previous night’s recipe). If you want bacon in your chicken salad, simply cook a couple of slices, chop it up, and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients. Plus I threw in some grapes and Granny Smith apples – I think you have to have balance with sweet, sour and salty tastes. I even made a homemade loaf of potato bread to put this chicken salad on. Okay, well, my bread machine made it, and I used Bob’s Red Mill Potato Bread mix. I have to have shortcuts now and then 🙂

potato bread 2

 

honey mustard chicken salad

 

chicken salad sandwich 2

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

3 cooked chicken breasts, diced or shredded as you prefer

1/2 cup Miracle Whip (or mayo if you prefer)

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup grapes, sliced in halves

1/2 a Granny Smith apple, finely diced

1/4 cup chopped pecans

 

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl until completely mixed. Chill for a few hours to let the flavors meld together. Serve with your favorite sandwich bread or roll.

 

Old-Fashioned Hot Water Chocolate Cake

This was my Great-Aunt Lib’s chocolate cake recipe, and for every birthday, my mom would make this delicious cake – unless I asked her to make a red velvet. It’s always been a toss-up between these two types recipes for me – I love them both equally. But sometimes you just want good, old-fashioned chocolate flavor, and this recipe fits the bill.

I’ve made this cake so many times over the years that my poor recipe card is stained and extremely faded, so I decided it was time to bring this recipe into the digital age so that I could have a copy that I could actually read 🙂 It’s a good thing I know this recipe by heart, because if I didn’t, there’s no way I could read this well-used recipe card.


I always frost this cake with my grandmother’s butter frosting. Again, I have an old recipe card that has seen better days. Now I’ve got an online copy to refer to whenever I need it, and you can enjoy these favorite family recipes.

 

hot water chocolate cake

 

Aunt Lib’s Hot Water Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter (not margarine), softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup boiling water

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup good cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon good vanilla

 

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Add the milk. Mix just until the mixture looks curdled.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, blending slowly and thoroughly. Add the boiling water and the vanilla, and mix until smooth; no more.

Pour cake batter into a buttered baking pan (9 x 13-inch square or 2 round cake pans). Run a spatula through the batter to help eliminate any air bubbles.

Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool before frosting.

 




People usually fall into three categories when it comes to frosting: none at all, middle of the road and give me the bowl of frosting and skip the cake. My brother-in-law is the last type – the more frosting you can pile on top of a cake, the better he likes it. Me, I’m a middle of the road person. I like just enough where I can taste it, but I still want to taste the cake.

My grandmother made a butter frosting, and this is the only frosting recipe I like to use on my hot water chocolate cake. They just go together because that’s how my family has always done it. I’ve tried different frosting recipes with this cake, but I always come back to this one. Grandma knew best.

 

Grandma Decker’s Creamy Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter (not margarine), softened

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 egg white, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons good vanilla

In a mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and the salt. Gradually mix in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Add the egg white and vanilla, and beat mixture until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, adding by 1/2 cup at a time, beating until smooth and creamy. If frosting becomes to thick, you can add 1/2 teaspoon water until it becomes creamy.

Chocolate Variation: Using the above frosting recipe, reduce the powdered sugar to 2 cups, and add in 1/2 cup good cocoa powder when you add the sugar to the recipe.

 

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Bacardi Rum Cake

There are lots of boozy cake recipes on the Internet, and this particular one may be out there too. I got this recipe over 30 years ago from a family friend, and it’s been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. This cake is super easy to make, especially since it starts with a cake mix. Be sure to make the glaze for the cake – it makes all the difference in the world.

rum cake 2

rum cake slice

Bacardi Rum Cake

For the Cake:
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 package yellow cake mix (without pudding)
1 3 3/4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark Bacardi rum

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons dark rum

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or 12-cup Bundt pan. Add 1 cup of chopped pecans to the bottom of the Bundt pan, making sure they’re evenly distributed.

Mix all the cake ingredients together. Pour batter into the Bundt pan, covering the nuts. Bake for 1 hour, or until the cake tests done.

After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool in the pan.

While the cake cools, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the water and the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Stir in the rum.

Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Prick the top of the cake with a toothpick. Liberally spoon the glaze over the top of the cake so that it soaks into the cake.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Kirschenmichel – German Cherry Cake

Dessert for our Oktoberfest feast was a traditional German cherry cake. While I remember my maternal grandmother making many different German treats, I don’t recall her making this. I found this recipe for kirschenmichel on Pinterest at My Kitchen in the Rockies blog, and I thought it would be a tasty ending to our German-style meal. I was right – it’s delicious! If you’re looking for a traditional sweet-style cake, this isn’t it, as it more resembles cornbread with just a hint of sweetness from the cherries.

 

 

Kirschenmichel – German Cherry Cake

1 1/2 pounds fresh sweet dark cherries, pitted
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cup cornmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10-inch round springform pan; set aside.

Sift the flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and mix well.

When the mixer on low speed, slowly alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the cherries by hand with a spatula.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cake tests clean in the center.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Fresh Apple Cake

Our little apple orchard really produced this year. We have four remaining apple trees left after a big wind storm a few years back: Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Jonared and Gala. I primarily like to make apple pie filling with them, and Kevin likes to dehydrate a bunch – good for snacking.

Today I decided to make a fresh apple cake. Mom used to make one that had a rum-flavored sauce, but I’ve long ago lost the recipe for the sauce. This cake is good as is or with a caramel sauce (either homemade or store bought), whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Fresh Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter (not margarine), at room temperature
2 eggs
6 apples, cored, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until well blended. Add the eggs, and mix well. Stir in the grated apple.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients, and mix just until combined.

Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Serve warm with caramel sauce, whipped cream or ice cream.

Quick Caramel Sauce

6 tablespoons butter (not margarine)
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the evaporated milk, and stir constantly until the sauce is the desired consistency.

Chocolate Pound Cake

I was in the mood for cake, and after searching through my recipes on Pinterest, I decided on pound cake. Thanks to making bread earlier, I had a few extra egg yolks, and I didn’t have enough unsweetened chocolate in the house, so I made a few modifications to the recipe I found to use what I had on hand.

I adore anything with chocolate, and I love pound cake, so this recipe was made for me 🙂

 

 

Chocolate Pound Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter, softened
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Ghirardelli)
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
1-2 teaspoons good vanilla extract

Great and lightly flour a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add milk, butter and cooled chocolate. Carefully mix on low to medium speed until combined. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat 2 minutes more.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove cake from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

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