chocolaty cake for the sports lovers

basketball & soccerball cake with the NIKE logo & "JUST  DO IT" slogan.... with a chocolate cake in side & a mascarpone filling... gluten-free

I think the thing I like most about making cakes, is the reactions of the people receiving them!

This girl who ordered this, wanted to give the cake as a gift to two of her friends who had their nameday on Monday. One friend was heavily into basketball, the other was a lover of all things NIKE. You can’t see it in this picture, but the side of the cake had a football (soccerball for you Americans) pattern on it!

Eleni, the girl who ordered it loved it so much, she ran up to me & hugged me!

That’s the kind of reaction that always makes me endlessly happy.

Any way, there’s a rich chocolaty cake in the middle of all that decoration, & a mascarpone filling to it….. It’s a little sweeter than my usual cake, but that’s also because I was making it for teenagers… and you can never have enough sugar when you’re a teenager!

gluten-free designed cake

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divine italian tiramisu, all dressed up

a lovely italian tiramisu, with the added little bonus of having complately gluten-free chocolate lady fingersI have several confessions to make….

I procrastinate. Like, big time.

Do you want to know when I first started fantasizing about making a tiramisu?

….. SIX years ago!

That’s right, six years ago I was sitting at Pasta Brioni having dinner with my sister Amyra, & when it came time for dessert, I turned into a melted puddle of desire over the tiramisu. I swear, every mouthful was followed by an “mmmmmmmm”, & “ooooh, that’s so gooooooood”.

I’ve always loved food, what can I say.

I scoured the internet & obsessed over recipes, & proceeded to do that for nearly six years.

Every time I make a list of dishes/desserts I want to make for the site, tiramisu makes the list every single time. And every single time, I don’t make it.

In fact, the only reason I made it now was because we had a catering event last night for a romantic dinner, & since I wanted to do something classic, I opted to do this.

See? Now do you understand me when I say I procrastinate?

Want to hear something even worse?

… when Mel & I went to Italy two years ago, we drove all over Florence in search of the perfect restaurants with amazing views. Do you know that not once, in the entire week that we were there, did I ever eat tiramisu.

I was in Italy! The very same country where the dessert originated. A dessert that I adore, & I didn’t even try it!

It’s shameful. A little embarrassing too. I can’t turn back the clock & undo what I did though, I’m going to have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. Shame shame shame.

At least now I can finally cross tiramisu off of my list. It may have taken 6 years, but it was an utter & total success. Not to mention I added my own little twist by making gluten-free chocolate lady fingers for it. I can officially say that the whole thing was made from scratch, & that, my friends, is something to be proud of.

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champagne & strawberry cupcakes

I’m ashamed so say someone asked me to put up a recipe for strawberry & champagne cupcakes months ago….. and I’ve been procrastinating.

It would seem every time I got even close to making them, I had a craving for something else. Something different.

Then, by chance, I found a whole bunch of frozen strawberries at my local grocers & finally I found the inspiration. It first took the form of a strawberry puree, you know, the one I went on & on & on about a week ago. I don’t know why but that alone made me happy. After that, well, let’s just say I made more cupcakes than we could eat.

Let’s see, the first batch didn’t rise correctly because someone (me) forgot to put in the rising agent.

The second batch, I found mauled & decapitated by a stray cat that we’ve affectionately named Ninja… she’s decided that we belong to her on a part time basis & now insists on teasing Loki, our 2 month old German Shepherd. Yea, can’t say I was pleased when I found her on the kitchen counter with pink cake stuck to her fur & claws.

…..and then finally we made it to the third batch. The rose, I managed to save them from Ninja, and Mel didn’t manage to eat them all before I could snap a shot. Not bad huh?

They were so moist. So deliciously moist. & flavorful. I think I may need to make a cake variation. Not now though.

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creamy lemon & thyme pasta bake

Ahhh… back to our favorite combination, cheese & a starch. Before we went gluten free, I had a favorite italian pasta place I used to eat at where I always ordered the same ravioli dish time & again. It had an amazing cheese & lemon filling, with thyme & a creamy sauce. However the place fell victim of the curse that seems to be plaguing me… the very same curse that is causing all my favorite places to close down. I need to stop picking favorites it would seem.

…I don’t want to get into making homemade ravioli with gluten free flours just yet, I’m lazy & it’s going to take a lot of experimenting. So I’ve taken a different approach to get a similar result & this is what I came up with.

– Mel

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coconut & lemongrass cake

Something is well & truly wrong with me.

At the time I made the cake, it was the only thing I could do to appease the god of cravings. The urge to consume coconut in the form of a dense, moist cake with a light island like flavor was just overwhelming.

Now?

Now that I have to recount the story of the cake, the only thing I can think of is my small kitchen, my little Sushi who liked to sleep between my feet whilst I worked away, and Mel, my monster of a man who undoubtedly would devour every crumb that was left in his path. I miss that. I miss them.

I wonder if making the cake again now would bring my boys here to me, or maybe even transport me back to them.

Oh I’m such a sap sometimes.

Seriously though, when I say I had cravings, I mean my taste-buds had full on pledged war against me until I gave them what they wanted. I wasn’t allowed to enjoy anything else until I broke down & wrote this recipe.

It was worth it. It was totally worth it.

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