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!

Continue reading

cherry & amaretto pavlovas

mini cherry & amaretto pavlovas

I tossed & turned last night, somewhere half way between sleep & wake. Obsessing & dreaming about how I was going to enlighten you with my pavlovas & convey their magic through the use of the written word. I was brilliant, well spoken, & had a delicious vocabulary to impress you with. You would have been impressed with my ability to articulate their beauty in a seamless fashion.

Now?

I can’t remember a damn word.

It would appear as if I’m only competent when I sleep. & then it becomes a question of “am I actually competent, or does my subconscious just think I am?”

I suppose we will never know.

It’s a pavlova. By all rights, it really shouldn’t be all that interesting. I mean, it’s meringue. I never understood what the fuss was with meringues. They’re basically just crunchy, chewy sugar. & yet…. in pastry shops they always look so exquisite. Big, cloud like formations that come in gorgeous colours. I wonder whoever thought them up.

I’ve also come to understand that pavlovas were originally made for a Russian ballerina by the name of Anna Pavlova. Would you buy it if I said that my little pavlovas look like the frilly skirts that ballerinas wear? ¬†Maybe that’s trying to stretch it a bit too far.

I did try to do the dessert justice though… A delicate balance between black cherries & a sweet amaretto cream.

They are what they are & I like them as is. Try ’em & let me know what you think. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

almond & strawberry roulade

gluten-free almond & strawberry roulade

During our trials the other day, Eirini & I also tested out a recipe for a cake that the Bride & Groom (for one of the three events) had requested.

I’m not going to lie… it was completely disastrous, & nothing like what they had specified.

What they had told us they wanted was something that wasn’t actually a cake. At least not in the traditional sense. They didn’t want chocolate. In fact, they wanted it light, fruity with strawberry, not too sweet, and a layer of almond nougat somewhere in the middle.

What we ended up was this very dense layer of vanilla-caramel custard which was quite sweet, a layer of almond meringue which didn’t really stand up against the other flavors, and a very sticky layer of strawberry. It was miles off.

I assure you, we were not discouraged.

We decided to divide & conquer! Eirini undertook the task of pulling apart & reassembling the recipe to achieve exactly what they asked for. I on the other hand decided that maybe they didn’t actually know what they wanted (sometimes we have an idea, but don’t know how to visualize it). With that in mind, I decided to take the specifications & flavors that they ¬† had outlined for us & give them a new edge.

In my mind, the roulade was the perfect way to go. Technically it’s a cake, but the majority of it is whipped egg whites & yolks which gives it this wonderfully spongy & light texture. I also did half the dry ingredients with almond flour & added a touch of bitter almond to really bring out the flavor. Not overly sweet, not too cakey, kind of perfect. Then there’s the chantilly cream filling, light, fluffy, very little sugar, perfect to add a hint of vanilla too. & lets not forget the light layer of strawberry to add some intensity to those more subtly flavors & textures.

It took me three attempts to get it exactly the way I wanted it, but overall I think I hit the nail on the head. Eirini & I will be presenting both options to them on Wednesday at the tasting along with the rest of the menu. Wish us luck!

Continue reading