Category Archives: dessert

Orange Almond Cake

Hello fantastic readers! First of all, I want to apologize for not posting in quite awhile.  The past few months have been quite hectic from moving back to New York to still commuting to New Jersey for work to this.   I am now in New York for good with no more commuting and a new teaching job in Brooklyn! Yay! That gives me a whole lot more time to think about cooking and sharing recipes.

I have been thinking a lot about different recipe ideas for the blog, particularly since it is summer or “summer-spring” as my 5-year-old nephew called it, what with all the rain and cool weather we’ve been having recently.   Things like: Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad, Southwestern Gazpacho, Gigantes and Salt-Kissed Buttermilk Cake…all recipes I will post in the near future.  Since finding out that I am pregnant, I have not been eating 100% gluten free, although I still cook many gluten free meals.  With that in mind, I will be posting some gluten free foods as well as things that may contain gluten.  (I will be sure to post disclaimers for gluten-filled food.)

Onto the recipe!  I have seen this recipe for Orange Almond Cake many times. But never had the gall to try it…whole boiled oranges? Really? But let me tell you, this is one outrageously, moist, delicious, just sweet enough cake that needs no frosting or hoopla.   Brian is a big fan of this cake and so were the lovely ladies at my book club and one of their beautiful toddler-aged daughters.

The orignal recipe can be attributed to Claudia Roden who is a UK-based cookbook writer who was born in Egypt in the 1930s.  There are slight variations of this recipe all over the internet and I made my own slight revisions as well.

The first time I made the cake I baked it in a 9 x 13 inch glass Pyrex dish.  The second time I made the cake I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8-inch round cake pan.  Both times the cake came out great.  With the Pyrex I left it in the pan and cut out squares and with the cake pan I lined the bottom with parchment and unmolded the cake, which worked quite well (see picture).

As a side note-this cake can be made Kosher for Passover if you remove the baking powder.  I have seen some posts where they whip the eggs whites and fold in the yolks to give the cake more volume after removing the baking powder…let me know if you try this method!  I think this cake tastes even better the second day so feel free to make it a day in advance.


Orange Almond Cake


2 medium oranges, seedless if you can get them
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups almond flour, packed


1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Lightly grease and line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with parchment. Or, if you are going to serve it from the pan, save your parchment for another day and just lightly grease the pan.

2. Wash the oranges and place in a large pot.  Cover with water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer the oranges for about 2 hours, making sure not to let the water cook all the way down and burn the bottom of the pan (thanks to Brian and OxiClean for taking care of that little mishap!).

3. Once oranges are cooked, allow them to cool.  Then cut them open, remove any seeds and as much of the pith as possible. Then, skin and all, puree the oranges in a food processor.

4. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of the puree. The rest can be kept in the fridge for the next cake OR it will probably freeze well if another cake is not likely in the near future.

5. Beat the eggs, sugar and baking powder with an electric mixer or whisk until thickened and pale in color.

6. Add in the almond flour and mix in well.

7. Fold in the orange puree until combined.

8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes.  The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean.

9. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out or cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.



Filed under dessert, gluten free, grain free, vegetarian

Black and White Cookies

Brian and I just moved back to New York! Yahoo!  Which is why I haven’t posted in a bit AND why this post is about Black and White Cookies.  Black and white cookies are the quintessential New York dessert.  In my quest to come up with a gluten free black and white I started to do a little investigative work into how the original black and white cookies were created.  From one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, I discovered that black and whites were originally made by adding extra flour to leftover cake batter at bakeries.

I decided that this would be my plan of action.  I found a great cake recipe using coconut flour at The Spunky Coconut and made just a few changes to it.  I added less egg and a little more coconut flour as well as subbing agave for honey and grapeseed oil for coconut oil for a more buttery flavor.

While the bottom cake-part of these cookies are fairly healthy, gluten free and lower carb, the tops are pure sugar!  I took recipes from The Joy of Baking and Smitten Kitchen and combined them a bit to create what I believe is vanilla sugary goodness and chocolate sugary goodness on top of the cookie.

These cookies were heartily approved by gluten eaters in my house and at my school!  Enjoy!


In the food processor place:

2 cups cooked white beans
5 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1/3 cup agave

Puree well.

Add to food processor:

1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Puree well.

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a ¼ cup measure, place batter 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 18-23 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Place on a wire rack to cool before frosting.  Makes 14 cookies.


4 cups confectioners sugar
1/3-1/2 cup hot water
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate disks or chips
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Place the confectioners sugar in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the hot water, corn syrup, and vanilla extract, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, smooth, and of spreading consistency. Add more sugar or water if necessary to get the right consistency.  Remove about 1/2 cup of the frosting and place it in another heatproof bowl.

Spread vanilla frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie.  Leave cookies on a wire rack for frosting to set. While frosting is setting…

Add the finely chopped chocolate and cocoa powder to the frosting that has been set aside. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate has melted and the frosting is smooth. Add extra water if frosting is too thick.  Remove from heat.

Spread chocolate frosting on second half of the cookie.  Leave cookies on a wire rack for the chocolate frosting to fully set.

Enjoy these cookies within a few days as the cake will start to dry out!

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Filed under dessert, gluten free, vegetarian

Homemade Apple Sauce

Apple sauce is one of those amazing comfort foods that not many people make at home anymore.  I remember when I was younger my grandma making applesauce for all the special occasions we would celebrate together as a family.  She would make one that was sugar free for me and another with sugar for the rest of the family.  I personally see no need to add sugar to applesauce if you buy apples that are not too tart.  Homemade apple sauce is good for you (an apple a day, right?), it is delicious, and most importantly it is easy!  I use one special piece of equipment, a Food Mill, but with the method I am going to show you, if you don’t want to buy a food mill or don’t own one already, there is a slightly more time consuming way to make it as well.

Apple sauce is GREAT for canning.  I do not know how to can (although I wish I did) and there are many people who make HUGE quantities of apple sauce and then can it. Check out these links if you are interested:

*Pick Your Own

*Make it Do

*Simply Canning

Homemade Apple Sauce

This is one of those recipes that is more of a method than a “I must stick exactly by the quantities to make this recipe work” recipe.

1. Gather apples.  The sweeter the apples, the sweeter the sauce.  Gala, Jonathan, Fuji and Pink Lady work well.  For this batch I used 10 apples that were getting a little mushy.  The texture was not great for eating, but that doesn’t matter for saucing.  However, as you can see from the picture, the skins of the apples are reddish/pinkish in color.  This will add a beautiful pink hue to the sauce.

2. Use either an Apple Corer and Slicer or a sharp knife to slice and core the apples.  DO NOT remove the apple peel.

3. Place apples in a large pot and add about an inch of water.  The apples will start to break down, so you don’t want to add too much water.

4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the water has been boiling for a bit, reduce heat to medium-high and cook until all the apples are cooked through.

5. Let the apples cool a bit and then if you do have a handy food mill, pass the mixture through the food mill.  If you don’t have a food mill you have two choices: 1. Cook the apples with no skins to begin with and mash them with a potato masher when done (the sauce will not have a pinkish hue) OR 2. Spend some time pick out all the skins once the sauce is cool, then you can mash with a potato masher.

6. At this point, when all my glorious apple sauce is in a large bowl, I add cinnamon to taste.  For the 10 apples I added about 1 Tablespoon.

7. EAT! YUM!

Note: you can eat this apple sauce warm or cool it off in the fridge.  Either way it is amazing.  I suggest either eating it as a snack, over latkes or with pork chops.


Filed under breakfast, dairy free, dessert, egg free, gluten free, grain free, low sugar, nut free, paleo, side dish, snack, toddler approved, vegan, vegetarian

Almond Cheesecake with Nutella Topping

You have all been very patient waiting for my next post!  This is the recipe made with the jar of Nutella sitting on the counter in my Deviled Egg post.  HUGE DISCLAIMER: this recipe is full of sugar and for me is a once in a blue moon type of baking project. The original recipe for this cheesecake came from Giada De Laurentiis over at the Food Network.  She calls her cheesecake: Mascarpone Cheesecake with Almond Crust.  Since I have been working my butt off trying to be gluten free and all, and I REALLY wanted to make this for New Year’s Eve, I decided to take this recipe and change it up a bit.  I only had to make a few changes to make it gluten free and then I made a few more changes to reflect my mood.

This cheesecake makes quite a bit and it is VERY rich.  So, when you are done enjoying it, I suggest cutting it into slivers and wrapping and freezing them individually.  When you want to eat a slice, just take it out and enjoy it frozen (Brian loves it this way) or let it defrost for a bit.  And there you have it! Enjoy!

Almond Cheesecake with Nutella Topping

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup almond flour (I use Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lb.)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon butter melted
1/2 Tablespoon water

To make crust:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Tightly wrap the outside of a 9 or 9 1/2-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the almonds, almond flour, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and water and process until moist crumbs form. Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (not on the sides of the pan). Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon almond extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

To make filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in almond extract. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.


1/2 cup Nutella*
1/4 cup whipping cream

To make topping:

Combine the Nutella and cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave until warm, stirring every 20 seconds to blend, about 1 minute.

When cake is completely cold and firm, remove sides of springform pan and spread the topping over the entire cake.  Refrigerate a few more minutes until topping cools.  Then cut and serve. Delicious!

* Taken directly from Nutella’s website (because I was curious):

Is Nutella® gluten free?

Nutella® does not contain any ingredients derived from gluten containing cereals: wheat, barley, rye, oats or triticale.


Filed under dessert, vegetarian

Trifle I say!

What to do when baked goods taste good but don’t look as planned?  Make trifle I say!  This is exactly what I decided to do yesterday when the Ginger Macadamia Brownies did not come out as expected.  Brian suggested I use the brownie to make something else.  He said, “Can’t you crumble them up or something?”  I though AHA! Crumbled brownies=delicious trifle.  So I set to work to make an easy trifle with the crumbled up brownies.

You can use this method with just about any baked good that goes awry.  Just change the flavors of pudding or add fruit or liquor…whatever your heart desires!

Ginger Macadamia Brownie Trifle

1 recipe Ginger Macadamia Brownies, crumbled
2 boxes sugar free, fat free chocolate pudding
3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons agave
Chocolate shavings for garnish

Pour pudding mix and almond milk into a large bowl.  Using a handheld mixer, beat until pudding has achieved desired consistency.  Set aside (or refrigerate).  In a separate large bowl, combine heavy cream and agave.  Using a handheld mixer, beat until cream reaches soft peaks.

To make the trifle: in a trifle dish or large glass bowl, layer the crumbled brownies, pudding, and whipped cream.  Then repeat.  Top the trifle with chocolate shavings for garnish.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


If you don’t own a trifle bowl, here is a great one! Anchor Hocking Presence Trifle Bowl


Filed under dessert, vegetarian

Ginger Macadamia Brownies

My amazing friend Isa and her husband are having a holiday party, and of course, I asked what I could bring.  Her response: could you make a dessert that uses only natural sugar AND is gluten free AND tastes delicious?  A tall order you might think! But not for this lady!  I knew just who to turn to, gluten free goddess Elana Amsterdam of fame.  I recently purchased Elana’s cookbook, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook
and knew she would have something perfect for this party.

I narrowed it down to three choices: chocolate cream pie, a classic carrot cake, and ginger macadamia brownies.  I was rooting for the brownies because I LOVE macadamia nuts.  When I was living in Australia, they were available everywhere and super fresh and I used to eat them all the time!  Luckily, Isa wanted me to make the brownies.  Although, I obviously would have been happy with any of the choices!

I made the recipe with a few tiny changes.  I did not have any 73% cacao dark chocolate, so I used a Hershey’s Special Dark bar and chopped it up into little bits. I typically buy my dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s, but have not been in a while, so my stock has run out.  I also did not grease the pan with grapeseed oil and dust with almond flour, I sprayed my pan with Pam instead.  I also used Kosher salt instead of sea salt.  The directions below are what I did, not what is written in the cookbook.  And without further ado…

Ginger Macadamia Brownies

adapted slightly from the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lb.)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 large eggs
1 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla (my favorite is Charles H. Baldwin and Sons)
1/4 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Spray an 11×7 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, eggs, agave nectar, vanilla, and ginger.  Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the macadamia nuts and chocolate.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean.  Let cool in the baking dish for 1 hour.  Cut into 20 bars and serve.

The result:

Brian and I both agree that these brownies are a little too gingery for our taste.  If I make them again I might cut back on the ginger a little and add a bit more chocolate, or use a little candied ginger.  They are also more cake-like than the rich brownie I was expecting.  I am undecided if I will bring them to the party-I may just make some gluten free white chocolate chip cookies with added macadamia nuts instead…


Filed under dessert, gluten free, vegetarian

My first post and a (very late) Chanukkah Party!

Hi! I’m Andrea and this is my cooking blog.  There are a bazillion cooking blogs out there and I was nervous to start my own because there are so many.  However, many friends urged me to start documenting the food I cook and bake, so here goes!  I create original recipes and also adapt recipes from other food blogs and cookbooks.  You can read a little more about me by clicking on the about tab.  I hope you enjoy!

While Chanukkah is technically over, we have yet to celebrate with either of our families.  We will finally have a party tomorrow evening and I was in charge of vegetables and dessert.  I made an Orange-Cardamom cake, garlic roasted broccoli, Turkish seasoning roasted cauliflower, and maple roasted carrots.  The cake recipe is below:

Orange Cardamom Cake

Adapted (very slightly)  from Cooking Light, December 2007



3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs


1 cup powdered sugar
4 1/2 tsp. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  Coat a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Add orange juice, canola oil, orange and lemon zest, vanilla and eggs to flour mixture.  Beat with a mixer on low speed until well combined or just mix well with a wooden spoon.

Spoon batter in prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan.

To make glaze: combine powered sugar, orange and lemon juice.  Mix well.  Drizzle the glaze over warm cake and let cool completely.

Serves 16.



Filed under dessert, vegetarian