Gingerbread Place Cards – Whimsical Table Decoration

Gingerbread Place Cards – Whimsical Table Decoration

gingerbread place cards

Last New Year’s Day I was thinking about place cards for our lunch celebration and wanted something more interesting than the regular folded gold cards I had in my crafts cabinet.

I remembered the Gingerbread House I baked last year so I created little gingerbread boys and girls and embellished them with colored sugar crystals and icing.  The fun part is decorating them with the colored sugar, candies and nonpareils so they resembled each of the guests.  

Ely gingerbread cookies

To start, find your favorite Gingerbread house recipe ( I used gluten-free) and royal icing ( is the “glue” for the cookie person to stick to the base and for the sugar and decorations to dry on to the cookie).  If you need a good base recipe, here is a good link:

 http://www.marthastewart.com/272117/gingerbread-house-recipes  

Roll out the dough and use your favorite gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out the shapes. Make sure to cut out square or round bases about 1/2″ wider than the cookie and bake until crisp ( use directions on your recipe) on a baking sheet.  Remove to cooling rack.     Make the Royal icing and put some in an icing bag or squeeze bottle for cake decorating with a small tip.  

decorating gingerbread people

Once cookies are cool, use a dollop of icing on the base and position the cookie upright.  You will need to lean it against something until it sets, about 30 minutes.  When cookies are all set and it is time to decorate them, assemble all your decorating sugars and candies and place the cookies on a wire rack over a tray ( to catch the run off of the sugar and decorations). 

December 23 021

Then start piping hair, clothes , eyes and any designs you want on the mini people cookies.   I usually start with the hair, sprinkling the colored sugar on that, tapping off the excess into the tray below and letting it set slightly before moving on to another part.  Repeat doing sections and letting them harden with their decorations  so the different colors don’t blend together.    Have fun with being creative, try shaved chocolate curls for hair,

gingerbread cookies group 2

alan cookie

sliced gumdrops for shoes, shiny edible metallic balls for eyes and jewelry.  If you have a color scheme for your table, it would also be fun to use all those colors. 

joe cookie

mom cookiesarah cookie placecardeileen cookie If you have extra cookie dough, use your other cutouts and make some fun regular cookies with decoration.

pictures 079

Happy Holidays!

gingerbread cookie group row

cookies on table

 

 

Scrumptious French Coconut Madeleine Cookies (Gluten Free)

SCRUMPTIOUS French Coconut Madeleine Cookies  (Gluten Free)

coconut madelines good

These cute little sponge cakes called “Madeleines” have quite a history!    In mid 1700′s France, King Louis XV was said to have called these  shell shaped cookies Madeleines, after his Father-in-law’s cook.  They are often lemon flavored and are the perfect pairing with tea as dunking the spongy center with it’s slightly crunchy edge makes a very satisfying snack.  Every pastry shop in France offers these treats, some chocolate dipped, others with a ground nuts mixed into the sweet batter. Even Proust, in the 1920′s, wrote in his autobiography: “

She sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell … I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses …

And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray … when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane …. and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea.

Well who wouldn’t want to have a Madeleine after reading that!

coconut madelines top

This wonderful recipe is inspired by my Mom’s cookies that she surprised us with last week.  They are very simple to make, in one bowl and in 25 minutes you can have a warm stack of cookies to hand out.

coconut madeline on cooling rack

Coconut Madeleine Cookies ( Gluten Free)

2 large Eggs

1/2 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Canola oil

1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1/2 cup Authentic Foods Gluten Free CLASSIC MIX  ( or brown rice flour blend without gums or raising agents)

              http://authenticfoods.com/products/item/43/GF-Classical-Blend

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray Madeleine pan ( full size pans have 12 cookie molds, Mini Madeleine pans have more. This recipe makes 12 large cookies.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip eggs with sugar for 3-4 minutes. Add in Vanilla and oil and mix well. Stir in Coconut and brown rice flour and mix just until fully blended.

Spoon batter into the 12 molds on the Madeleine pan. Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown on top.

Remove from oven and turn out cookies to cool on rack.  Dust with sugar and serve or dip in melted chocolate and let harden for an hour.

coconut madelines mixing bowlcoconut madelines no flashcoconut madelines flash

A beloved PANSY for your thoughts…

A Beloved Pansy For Your Thoughts…..

purple pansies

As a wildflower that was first noticed in the 1400′s, this cheerful little flower became the most popular flower in the world by the mid 1800′s when many color varieties had been developed from its parent flower, the Viola.  Their name in French, “Pensee”, means Loving Thought, and if a lover was near (and a bouquet of pansies were as well), the lovers could communicate without talking.  The German name for these cute flowers with their human-like expressions is Little Stepmother or “Stiefmütterchen”, from an old folk story.

They appeared in Shakespeare’s plays as ingredients in love potions, and on Art Nouveau and Victorian era postcards to forward the senders thoughts and well wishes. 

pansy postcard

art nouvea lady pansies

Pansy themed pottery and china was very popular in the Victorian and Art Nouveau eras. Look for vintage pieces at garage sales and antique stores -  they make wonderfully whimisical serving pieces. Adorn your cake or tart with candied fresh pansies from your garden.

lemon meringue pie in table setting

Cherrychocolatecake

oatmeal cookies on pansy platter

pansy place setting plate GOOD

pansy plate

Here is an example of a c.1890′s Celluloid Photo Album with a pansy design.

celluloidalbumpansies

 

They are one of my favorite flowers! They thrive all fall and winter here in Southern California and only finish blooming in the hot start of summer.  They are very easy to grow and thrive in sun, part sun and sometimes a bit of shade. They just need water, fertilizer and some removal of the spent heads. 

pansies in window box March 26 2013

They will just keep on blooming.

Here is an antique Carlsbad Oyster Dish with a fabulous Pansy motif:

majolica carlsbad pansy oyster plate

And a hand painted c.1900 German cup and saucer:

nymphenburg pansy tea set

  They make darling bouquets and sweet arrangements for your tiny vases but a big impact with their color and sunny personality!   *       *           *

pansy vase close

strawberries in pansy plate

mom'spansycake

Ode to a Lemon … Gluten free LEMON BLUEBERRY CAKE

Ode to a Lemon … GLUTEN FREE LEMON BLUEBERRY CAKE !

blueberry lemon glazed cake

Lemon appreciation started early for me.  As a young child my favorite color was YELLOW.  Not the pale yellow you see in frostings or greenish-hued yellow of sandwich mustard.  Pure, true LEMON yellow was my color of choice.  Did it start from enjoying my Mom’s mouth watering Lemon Meringue pies and cups …

Lemon Meringue cuplets

or velvety smooth lemon pound cake, both which were my favorite desserts?   I wouldn’t be surprised!   Which came first … the chicken or the …?  In any case the sunny brightness of lemons always makes me happy, and the tart fruity taste a wecome addition to many desserts that I enjoy baking.

In my California garden I am lucky to have both a Meyer Lemon tree (cross between a lemon and a mandarin or orange) and the regular Eureka (sour) lemon tree.  I prefer the Meyer lemon when using the juice only and the Eureka lemon if I need to grate the rind, as it has a more pure lemon taste.

lemons in basketlemon tree

Yellow has also found its way into my home decor with soft yellow walls in the bathroom , a wonderful yellow Spanish Marble floor and counters and some truely perfect c.1929 butter yellow Malibu Potteries flower tiles as accents.  So uplifting.

marble and tilebathroom colors Malibu

It doesn’t surprise me that our dear family friend, Pat, who passed away last weekend after a very long and full life, chose to give me what turns out to be just up my alley  in the form of two amazing antique majolica lemon towers which I will cherish.

lemon tower

Back to Lemon Recipes.  This cake or bread recipe is wonderfully moist and flavorful. Good enough for a birthday party or as an afternoon treat with coffee or tea.

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups gluten-free flour (Authentic Foods CLASSIC blend)
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or canola oil)
1 cup fresh firm blueberries ( one small container)

Lemon SYRUP:

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice ( strained)

¼ cup sugar

For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tablespoon cream

Steps:
(1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour loaf pan or bundt cake pan.

(2) Sift together flour, baking powder into medium sized bowl. Set aside.

(3) In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, oil, and vanilla.

(4) Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture.

 (5) Mix in blueberries

(6) Bake for about 50 minutes, or until knife in center of cake comes out clean and top is deep brown.

(7) While cake is baking, make the lemon syrup: cook 1/4 cup lemon juice +  1/4 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.

(8) Remove cake from oven and while still in pan poke a few holes with a wooden skewer all over the cake bottom. Brush lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in.  Turn cake over onto plate or cooling rack.

(9) For the glaze, mix powdered sugar, cream and lemon juice until thick. Pour over the cooled cake.

lemon blueberry breadlemon blueberry bread cutlemon blueberry glazed cake

SPICY CHICKEN PAPRIKASH – a Delicious Gluten Free Hungarian Paprika Stew

SPICY CHICKEN PAPRIKASH – a Delicious Gluten Free Hungarian Paprika Stew

chicken Paprikash

A classic dish in Hungarian cooking, this elegant stew can be seasoned to your taste by adjusting the amount of spicy and sweet red paprika powder that you add.  A perfect hot creamy chicken and healthy dish to serve over noodles this winter, this recipe just keeps getting better on the second and third day.  This dish is full of bright fresh bell peppers, which are blended with the onions after cooking to make a creamy and colorful sauce, something that was missing in other recipes I tried.  There were plenty of compliments when I served it for New Year’s Day lunch this year! 

chicken paprikash side

If you don’t need to prepare it gluten-free, simply use regular flour to coat the chicken pieces and regular lasagna noodles.

SPICY CHICKEN PAPRIKASH RECIPE

2 – 3  tablespoons  Garlic Olive Oil  ( or add 2 cloves minced fresh Garlic to Olive oil)

1/2 cup gluten free ( or regular) Flour – Authentic Foods Classic Flour blend is recommended

1  to 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless Chicken thighs or chicken breast cut into large bite-size chunks

1 large Brown Onions, thinly sliced

2 large Red Bell Peppers thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Spicy Paprika powder ( try Penzey’s version) or to taste

1 Tablespoon Sweet Paprika powder ( Szeged is the hungarian brand available in grocery stores) or to taste

2 cups low sodium Chicken Broth

8 ounces sliced Cremini mushrooms sauteed in 2 teaspoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup cold water ( for thickening)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 box gluten free Lasagna noodles, broken in half and then cooked, drained and kept warm

dollops of Cream Fraiche or plain yogurt as topping

Italian Parsley for garnish

In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.   Coat chicken pieces in flour and cook in hot oil for 4 minutes on each side, until golden.  You will have to do two batches.  Remove chicken pieces and reserve on a plate.

chicken paprikash chicken

To the same sauce pan, add sliced onions, peppers and both kinds of paprika and saute until soft. 

chicken paprikash paprika

chicken paprikash onions and peppers

Take about 2/3 of the onion paprika mixture and puree in blender or food processer and add back to pan. 

chicken paprikash stock

Add in sauted mushrooms, chicken broth and reserved chicken pieces and simmer with lid partially on for 30 minutes.

chicken paprikash on stove

 While the Paprikash is simmering, cook the Lasagna noodles .

Season paprikash mixture to taste with salt , pepper and more paprika if desired.  To thicken the stew, pour in cornstarch mixed in cold water and stir while simmering. Mixture should thicken slightly. 

chicken paprikash bowl

chickien paprikash top

 

Serve over hot noodles with dollops of creme fraiche or yogurt, parsley and a side salad.

chicken paprikash table setting tulip

Sour Cherry Tea Bread – A Wonderful Gluten Free Cake

Sour Cherry Tea Bread – A Wonderful Gluten Free cake recipe!

sour cherry tea bread         

Sour cherries are one of my favorite fruits to bake with as the sweet tartness of their flavor is what I call a “true” cherry taste – especially in a pie.  I always keep a bag of frozen sour cherries so I can have that wonderful flavor any time of the year. 

sour cherry tea bread slices  

 

This time of year, in the winter, I kind of live on apples, pears and oranges for my fruit  snacks. I have been missing the taste of summer berries and got out my frozen cherries to decide what to make.  This recipe is a real treat – light, fruity, delicious and will delight all your guests ( even those that don’t have to avoid Gluten) with its unique flavor.  It is very easy to make – no mixer needed.

sour cherry tea bread on rack

You do want to defrost the 1 1/4 cups frozen sour cherries ( pits removed) a couple of hours before and set them in a strainer to let the juice drain off.

sour cherry tea bread draining cherries

Sour Cherry Tea Bread  – Gluten Free

1/2 cup 2% Lowfat Milk

1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

1/3 cup Canola Oil

3/4 cup Sugar

2 large Eggs

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract

1 1/3 cup Authentic Foods Classic Flour Blend ( Gluten Free)

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 1/4 cup frozen Sour Cherries ( pitted, thawed, drained, gently dabbed dry with paper towel and sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of the flour blend just before stirring into batter). If you are lucky enough to have fresh Sour Cherries, than you just need to pit them.

1/2 cup chopped Pecans or Walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and oil loaf pan or small Bundt pan.

In a cup, mix the milk with the lemon juice and set aside for a few minutes.

In medium bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.

In a small bowl mix the flour and baking powder together well.

sour cherry tea bread mixing in milk

Mix the flour in stages into the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well after each addition.  Stir in the nuts.   Fold in the cherries and pour into baking pan. Mixture will be a little loose.

sour cherry tea bread mixing in cherries

Bake until center springs back when pressed gently and top is golden brown- about 35-50 minutes, depending on your oven and baking pan.

sour cherry tea bread cooling  

This recipe comes out quite nice in a loaf shape as well!

sour cherry tea bread in loaf shape

Turn out onto rack and cool before slicing.

sour cherry tea bread with slice out

Enjoy with powdered sugar or freshly whipped cream.

sour cherry tea bread slice

Gluten Free RED CURRANT VANILLA TEA CAKE

Gluten Free RED CURRANT VANILLA TEA CAKE

Red Currants may be tiny and full of seeds, but they are the jewels of the Gooseberry Family!  They are wonderfully juicy and have a  delicious flavor when baked into breads and cakes.   I keep a bag of frozen currants ready all year so I can make jam, colorful garnishes and this lovely tea cake.  On this cold drizzly December day this slice of berry cake is a perfect accompaniment to a whipped cream topped hot chocolate in a mini cup.

red currant cake with hot chocolate

Currants ( Red, Black and White) are grown all over North American and Europe and are prized for their tart taste – perfect for sauces, pastries and jelly.   In fact there is a hilarious story about a company in Bar-De-Luc, France, that makes the most expensive jelly in the world with red currants ( for the Queen of England!) after removing the seeds one by one with a duck quill.  See that post Here  .  Of course I was intrigued and bought a jar.  It was too sweet for my tastes and I was inspired to make my own jam instead.  It worked out great – all that was needed was to put the mixture through a food mill with the smallest disc to catch the tiny seeds.  Fit for a Princess.

red-currants in basket

Red Currant Vanilla Tea Cake:

1/2 cup Butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 3/4 cup Authentic Foods Gluten-free Classic Flour Blend you can buy it here     ( You can use 2 cups regular Flour if you don’t need to make it Gluten Free)

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

3/4 cup 2% milk or whole milk

3/4 cup red currants, fresh or frozen

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil or butter a Bundt pan.  You can also half the recipe and bake in a smaller ring form ( as I did for the images).

red currants with baking pan

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder together and add to the butter mixture , alternating with the milk.

red currants in batter

Fold in poppy seeds and red currants and pour into baking pan.   Bake just until top springs back when gently pressed.  Do not overbake.  The half recipe takes about 18 minutes, the full recipe will take about 35-45 minutes. Watch closely at the end of the baking time.

red currant cake baked in pan

Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn upside down out onto cooling rack .  Serve with whipped cream or powdered sugar.

red currant cake on rackred currant cake no flash

Gluten Free PEAR GINGERBREAD for the HOLIDAYS !

Gluten Free PEAR GINGERBREAD for the HOLIDAYS !

pear gingerbread

My friends gave me a lovely box of huge perfect pears for the holidays and while eating one sliced up with brie cheese on crackers I decided on what to do with the rest!  As I love to have the oven on warming the house for these cool rainy days of our California winter, a baked dessert was the plan.   The perfect pairing of ripe juicy fruit and spicy dark gingerbread makes a great homey dessert or snack cake for afternoon coffee and tea time.  This recipe has the added flavor surprise of three types of ginger – ground powder, fresh minced and chopped candied.

pear gingerbread types of ginger

This recipe can also be made with regular flour ( with gluten) see notes below.  This style of cake is where you layer the fruit and toppings on the bottom of your cake pan ( use a loaf pan or an 8 x8″ pan ) and pour the batter over the top and bake.  After it finishes baking,  let it cool for a couple of minutes  in the pan and then  invert it onto a cooking rack.

pear gingerbread, layer in pan

RECIPE

Bottom Layer:

2 Tablespoons melted unsalted Butter

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1 large Pear, cored and sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon finely chopped candied baby Ginger

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour melted butter into loaf or cake pan ( depends on how tall you want the finished gingergread to be, see images below) and make sure the sides and bottom are well buttered. The extra butter will pool on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom and top with overlapping pear slices to cover the bottom completely and up some of the sides if you like.  Spread the 1 T candied ginger evenly over pear slices and set aside.

pears fresh four

Cake Batter Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Authentic Foods Gluten Free CLASSIC flour blend or 1 3/4 cups regular wheat flour

1 Tablespoon finely chopped candied Ginger

1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh Ginger

1 Teaspoon ground Ginger

1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon ground Cloves

1/8 Teaspoon ground Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon baking soda

In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients above.

Cake Batter liquid ingredients:

1/4 Cup Canola Oil

2 Tablespoons melted unsalted Butter

2 eggs

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup Molasses

1/2 Cup plain lowfat Yogurt or Buttermilk

In medium bowl mix together liquid ingredients well.   Stir liquid ingredients into flour mixture just until combined and pour over pears in baking pan.   Put in oven and bake just until top springs back in the center when lightly touched.   In my long loaf pan that took 35 minutes.  In the rectangular pan it was 30 minutes. Baking time will vary a few minutes either way depending on your pan and your oven.

pear gingerbread mixing batterpear gingerbread pour batter over pears

Let cool in pan on cooling rack for 2 minutes.

pear gingerbread out of oven

Then invert onto cooling rack and unmold.  Cake should slide out easily.  Let cool and serve as is or dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

pear gingerbread snack size

Christmas CRACKERS (Poppers) for Festive Occasions – Make your Own and Delight your Guests!

Holiday CRACKERS (Poppers) for Festive Occasions – Make your Own and Delight your Guests !

Christmas Crackers “poppers” were first made in the mid 1800′s in England as a way to encase candies, trinkets and paper hats for celebratory table settings at Christmas time.  They also contained a strip of special paper that makes a snap or pop when quickly pulled apart.    Now they are sold commercially for any occasion and are usually filled with cheap plastic toys, paper hats and a fortune cookie insert .    They were always a disappointment to me – a great exterior with colorful paper and decorations but what poured out of them was not  interesting or worth saving.

christmas poppers santa balloon 4

This inspired me to create my own.   The first rounds of experimenting were fun and simple.  These early creations years ago were tissue-lined colorful cardboard cones filled with candy.

Then I moved on to collecting interesting  crepe, tissue, papers, ribbon and trims.  Yard sales are a great place to find bags of ribbon and trim remnants – perfect for small projects like these. 

All you need to get started:

4-6″ cardboard rolls ( save from bathroom tissue rolls or buy in crafts stores)

Tissue and Crepe paper

Ribbon and Trim

Glue gun

Double sided tape

Self adhesive rhinestones

Stickers for top decorations

For the filling you can customize based on your guests – imported chocolates, gourmet candies and caramels, silver dollars, lottery tickets, dollar bills, etc.  For the top decoration, if you want to customize the crackers for each guest, you can download images and print them on to full page adhesive back paper ( Avery 8465 full page shipping labels) and cut them to size.  If the original downloaded image is too large, before you print them out, choose 4 images per page on your print selections and they will be resized smaller.

 

First you encase your cardboard tube with tissue paper at least 3″ longer on each end than the tube and tape on with double sided tape.  Then cut a coordinating crepe or fancy paper about 1.5 inches narrower than the tube and center it on the roll and tape at the same seam as the tissue paper so the top of the roll looks seamless.  Then decorate with stickers, trim and ribbons – using the crafts glue, glue gun, adhesive dots and tape to secure.   Then tie one end closed with ribbon, fill with the candies and tie the other end closed.   

Take your time and think about what decorations to use for your guests – what are their passions, interests or hobbies. Here is the one for a descendent of Davy Crockett: 

For an Art Nouveau collector: 

For rose collectors or for Thanksgiving: 

For your lady guests: 

Best of all these colorful and luxurious crackers will add to your table setting and be a conversation piece.

Happy Holidays!

poppers on table closepoppers on table

Fruit topped gluten-free UPSIDE DOWN CAKE – a delicious casual dessert

Fruit topped Upside Down cake – a delicious casual gluten-free dessert or tea time snack!

If you grew up with with the classic pineapple ring and marachino cherry topping on this cake and liked it,  you will be happy to find out that this style of casual homey cake works well with many kinds of fruit.   I have created a gluten-free version that  has an airy, light vanilla cakey base and your choice of fruit toppings.   I have also found that it doesn’t need as much butter or sugar as the original version our Mom’s and Grandma’s used to make for us.  A healthy snack!

The reason this is called an “Upside Down” cake is that you layer the fruit at the bottom of your round cake pan and the pour the batter on top. As it bakes the fruit cooks, releases its juices and once cooled and turned over on to a plate, the fruit is on top and makes a delious, gooey and flavorful mixture that sinks a bit into the cakey layer.   The best fruits to use:  sliced plums, sliced apples, sliced peaches cranberries, raspberries,sliced peaches, sliced apricots, halved cherries , halved strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, blackberries,currants, ripe mango. 

Make sure the fruit you choose is ripe and feel free to do combinations, like apple-cranberry or raspberry- peach or anything that appeals to you.  

I tried mixing a few tablespoons of coconut flakes in with some mango slices and a squirt of lime juice for a tropical flavor.

Here is an Apple Spice Upside Down cake:

Try different cake forms for a fancier presentation. This one is an apple cinnamon upside down cake.

Cranberry Plum:

Berry Upside Down Cake

RECIPE for FRUIT UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted  ( 3 Tablesoons for topping and 3 Tablespoons for batter)

1 1/2 cups sliced fruit ( see above for suggestions)

1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons

spices to taste: if using apples try 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and or a pinch of ginger, for plums use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of ground nutmeg, for blueberries 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon,  for halved cherries a dash of almond extract, etc.  Use your favorite combinations!

4 eggs, separated

2/3 cup     Authentic Foods Classic Blend gluten-free flour mix ( buy on Amazon.com or direct from http://www.glutenfree-supermarket.com/p-5-gf-classical-blend.aspx) This is a gum free mixture of Rice, potato and tapioca flours.

1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a round cake pan, pour 3 Tablespoons of the melted butter and swirl around to cover the bottom and coat the sides halfway up.

In a small bowl, mix the sliced fruit with 3 tablespoons of sugar and spices, if using.  Arrange sliced fruit in a decorative pattern on the bottom of the pan on top of the butter layer.  Set aside while making the batter.

In a small bowl, mix egg yolks with vanilla extract and remaining 3 tablespoons melted, cooled butter.

In another bowl, mix flour blend and baking powder well.

In a clean mixer bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, add remaining 1/2 cup sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold egg yolk mixture into beaten egg whites just until blended.  Sprinkle flour mixture over top and fold in gently until no flour clumps are visible. Try to keep mixture fluffy.  Pour over fruit in baking pan and bake in oven 22-28 minutes-see below:

Pour batter over fruit:

Bake at 350 degrees until it is nicely browned and bounces back to the touch.  If using very juicy fruit, bake a few more minutes.

Let cool and then arrange on a platter for serving.

Serve plain or dusted with powdered sugar and topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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