my blueberry birthday

blueberry birthday cake with a light cream cheese filling

This is my birthday cake.

I am absolutely, 100%, not ashamed to say that I baked my very own cake.

Mel’s been making fun of me since last week. He keeps telling me that a person absolutely should not be making their own cake. He might be right.

I on the other hand absolutely insist that it’s not a birthday unless there is cake. Which presents me with a problem. There are no gluten-free bakeries on the island, & other peoples ovens make me nervous. I want a reaction-free cake. Then there’s the problem that Mel’s no baker. Which leaves me with my one & only options of….. You guessed it… ME!

I had wanted a cherry & amaretto cake since I’m absolutely addicted to the combination at the moment…. but I’m a moron & forgot that cherries were out of season. Didn’t want chocolate. I feel like all I ever do it use chocolate. Carrot cake I’ve made countless times. So, what else? Banana? No, Eirini doesn’t like banana. Vanilla? Too boring. Fruity. But not peach.

Lucky for me, I love the colour purple & always have blueberries in my freezer. Problem solved. Blueberry cake for Lauren.

Don’t make fun. I put my age on it too. Yeah, I’m a bit of a strange one. Enjoy the recipe!!!

As for me, I special ordered the harvest moon tonight & it should be arriving here in an hour. How’s that for a birthday present!

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new & improved carrot cake

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-free

I used to have a carrot cake recipe that I would use to woo people with. It was delicious & perfect, and completely stolen from Ottolenghi…. Yes, I confessed to this a few years ago in this post.

If it had been up to me, I would have gone on for another decade using the same tried & tested recipe. Not everything in this life is within my control, however.

You know how they say that good things come from bad situations? I’d like to think my new recipe is one of those good things.

I had a failed attempt where I’d simply tried to convert the old Ottolenghi recipe to gluten-free… my cake literally fell apart. Pieces. There were pieces of cake just sliding off & landing in a pile of crumbs. Disaster doesn’t even begin to cut it. Once I scrapped the conversion of his recipe & decided to start afresh with my own, things started to come together nicely.

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-freePleased doesn’t even begin to explain just how thrilled I am with the results. So that’s the moral of this little story… a change in circumstance led me to write my very own carrot cake recipe & branch away from the theft of someone else’s. I guess I became a better person for it.

Make it. Love it. Thank me later.

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heavenly cinnamon rolls

gluten-free cinnamon rolls

The last cinnamon roll I can remember having was from a tin. You know, one of those cardboard tubes where you peel off a layer of paper, press along the seem & the whole thing pops open. Icing included.

I do enjoy a nice, warm, gooey, freshly baked cinnamon roll straight out of the oven though. I had kind of written them off all together once the gluten was cut from my diet. Except for the odd occasion where I found myself lovingly looking through the glass display cases at CinnaBon trying to remember the extent of how good they could be.

Still, the only time that would ever happen was when I was on my way to the movies (since the store was conveniently located at the mall, and I never frequent the mall unless it’s for viewing pleasure), & by the time I was at the movies, the only thing on my mind was popcorn & beer. Well, not beer any more.

Back to the case in point. The only reason I’m even thinking about cinnamon rolls now is because my boss at work has asked that I come up with a homemade croissant for the hotel… being as I can’t work with wheat flour, I’m going to have to achieve something that I thought to be impossible…

One thing lead to another in my train of thought & all of a sudden I was making a list of all the bread-like items that I’d written off permanently as a fond memory. There you have it. My list comprises of gluten-free: bagels, cinnamon rolls, croissant, doughnuts, french toast & more.

I’m doing the cinnamon rolls first since now they are stuck in my head. I’ll save the croissants for when the hotel gets the ingredients in.

As for these gluten-free cinnamon rolls, they are heavenly. They have this moist, warm, chewy texture. Traits that I think are excellent since from what I remember, the majority of cinnamon rolls out there always got dry & more like cardboard. They are just delicious!

I’ve popped a few of them in the freezer before they had a chance to rise or bake. I want to see how they defrost & bake up so I know if they can be stored. Will let you know how that works out…

P.s. the photo is on suspension, the weather is like crap & I can’t get the lighting right to reflect the sheer awesome power of them.

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cinnamon & raisin bread

cinnamon & raisin bread - gluten free

Cinnamon & raisin bread will forever remind me of my grandmother, May.

Now there was a woman who gave in to my every food craving… more often than not I craved crap like those fake chocolate croissants that come in plastic, foil packaging. Or cookies. Or fast-food from a Greek chain called Goodies. (my mum didn’t let me eat any junk at all, so my summers with May I really went overboard)

Actually, thinking about it, the woman couldn’t cook worth a damn. And for the most part, she fed me a lot of junk food… or force fed me the gross concoctions she called meals. Man, I really appreciated my great grandmother Nania & my great aunt Lila back then. They lived in the apartment above May & they used to bring me down home cooked food. Soutzoukakia & pastitsio were my favorite.

cinnamon & raisin bread - gluten free

In fact, one summer May sent me home so fat, my mum called her up & threatened that if I ever returned home that porky again, she’d never be allowed to see me unsupervised.

Still, not all my memories of food with her are bad.

Case in point, raisin bread.

On the weekends, May would take me on a long drive through the mountains so that we could go to the amazing beaches in Sounio. Every time we took that journey, we’d stop at the same bakery along the way where she would buy us a loaf of freshly baked raisin bread… and by the time we’d made it to the beach, the whole loaf had been polished off.

I loved & hated going to the beach with May. The woman used to make me wear floaties until I was at least 6, even though I’d clearly been a water baby since the day I was born. I was mortified every time.

It’s funny the things we remember.

She was a peculiar woman, but I loved her very much, and I know she loved me, that much I never doubted.

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sour chocolate ganache on banana cake cupcakes

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I have this thing where I think that if I make cupcakes instead of a full sized cake… I’ll control the quantities I consume. Theoretically, it should work. Practically, it rarely does.

Surprise, surprise though, this time I’ve managed it. Possibly because I found some very willing taste testers to give the excess to.

See, theoretically, my idea is genius. It’s so much easier to give cupcakes away than to show up to someone’s house with a cake that has chunks missing & dig marks from your fork left all over it.

Still…. can’t say I wanted to share these. The creamy sour chocolate ganache & rich banana cake was just so delicious. The quinoa flour used was also an excellent compliment in both taste & texture.

Folks, we have a winner. xxx

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