Apricot and Cherry Election Poundcake

Apricot and Cherry Election Poundcake

With the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election coming up, I wanted to make something special for the November 8th Election Night Dinner I'm making. I had heard about an election cake that used to be made around election time a long time ago from one of my mom's old cookbooks. First, I tried a traditional yeasted version, but it ended up tasting more like very dry bread. Back to the drawing board on that one! 

Then, I thought that a light pound cake with some of the same dried fruit that the yeasted version of the cake had would be much tastier. I was right & am so delighted with this version. I hope that you stop by for some on election day, or if you live too far from me, you will make your own. 


Apricot and Cherry Election Pound Cake

Adapted from "Vanilla Pound Cake" from Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts

Makes one 9 inch bundt cake

--melted coconut oil to brush bundt pan--

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3 large eggs

1 cup organic sugar

1 cup plain Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt for a dairy free version

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup dried apricots, finely chopped

1/3 cup dried cherries, finely chopped


1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons coconut milk


1. Heat the oven to 350F. Make sure there is a rack in the center of the oven. 

2. Brush melted coconut oil on the inside of a bundt pan. If your pan is highly detailed, like mine, make sure to brush every surface inside with the coconut oil. 

3. In a medium bowl whisk together: gluten free flour mix, baking powder, xanthan gum, spices and salt. Set the bowl aside. 

4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the eggs at medium high speed. Then, slowly add sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat the mixture until it is light and thickened. 

5. Add in the flour/spice mixture, yogurt (Greek or coconut yogurt), coconut oil and vanilla. Beat the mixture at medium low speed for about 30 seconds or until thoroughly combined. 

6. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes or up to 50 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. If you use a convection oven it will take less time to bake. Most conventional ovens used need to leave the cake in the oven for at least 45 minutes. 

7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it carefully onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool. Then, whisk together the glaze. Spoon a thin layer of glaze all over the cake. Slice and serve! Yum! This cake may be made 1 day ahead. You may wrap it and store it in the fridge. 


Dark Chocolate Coffee Puddings with Vanilla Bean Meringue & Coffee Syrup


Delicious Dark Chocolate Coffee Puddings with Vanilla Bean Meringue! 

This month of September my brother's birthday is coming up & last year I made this yummy dessert for him. My brother has never been a fan of cake. As a kid at birthday parties he would eat the strips of frosting and leave the cake for me! It became apparent that he preferred ice cream, gelled desserts and puddings for his birthday desserts. 

This is not a dairy free dessert. It is gluten free however. :) I hope you will experiment on this and see if coconut milk would work in this pudding and I have a feeling that it would. This is quite a treat and a very decadent dessert to enjoy on a special occasion! 

    Mixing up the dark chocolate coffee pudding mixture! 


Mixing up the dark chocolate coffee pudding mixture! 


My brother also really loves coffee. We as a family love very strong coffee, especially my dad. I think it comes from our Swedish and Norwegian background. I always make really strong coffee and really don't know how else to make it. Back in college when I worked every weekend at a laundromat, I used to make coffee for the customers. Nobody drank my coffee except for myself and one family that always came in on Saturdays to do their laundry. They really appreciated the coffee. 

So, this pudding has: 

dark chocolate- check

strong coffee- check

a contrast of creamy/marshmallow meringue- check

A perfect birthday dessert! 

I also added  a dash of Maldon salt. It adds a nice dimension of flavor to the pudding. You may also choose to sprinkle the salt on top of the pudding instead. You can also serve it with the extra coffee syrup to add even more pizzazz! 

Dark Chocolate Coffee Puddings with Vanilla Bean Meringue & Coffee Syrup

Makes 8 puddings served in martini glasses


1 1/2 cups strong coffee (I actually used strong decaf coffee since it was an evening event)

1 cup organic sugar

1 cup whole milk (try substituting full fat coconut milk to make this dessert dairy free) 

3/4 cup heavy cream (you can add more coconut milk here) 

4 large egg yolks

1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used dark chocolate chips, finely chopped- 60% cacao) 

1 teaspoon Maldon salt

1 tablespoon softened butter (vegan margarine) 


3 large egg whites

1/2 cup organic sugar

pinch cream of tartar

seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean

1. In a small saucepan, mix together the coffee and the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-high heat until the mixture is reduced to 1 cup. This takes around 18 minutes or so. 

2. In another small saucepan, bring the whole milk and heavy cream to a boil. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with a large whisk. Gradually beat in the hot cream/milk mixture while whisking. Add the chopped chocolate, Maldon salt and the butter. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes to combine. Then, stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coffee syrup. Mix well to combine. 

3. Divide the mixture between 8 martini glasses or your dessert container of choice. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight. 

4. Meringue: In the large bowl of a stand mixer, place the egg whites with the sugar and cream of tartar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on the stove. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3-5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Once it is dissolved, move the bowl to the stand mixer. Let the mixture cool slightly before beating it into a meringue. Place the whisk attachment onto the stand mixer and beat the egg white mixture at medium high speed for about 2 minutes, until glossy peaks form. Beat in the seeds from the vanilla bean. 

5. Place the meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the meringue onto each pudding. Use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue on top of each pudding. 

Enjoy this special dessert! These may be made in the morning or the night before your party and placed in the refrigerator before serving. 

If this post made you crave coffee and chocolate, pass it on to a friend who loves those too! 



Mexican Style Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Mexican Style Cinnamon Rice Pudding

The holidays and and all kinds of delicious foods are upon us! I really love this time of year because as a cook and baker I get to showcase all of my best work. I want  you to shine too, and with this delicious rice pudding, served in pretty glass cups, you can! 

This is a Mexican Style rice pudding, which is flavored with cinnamon and cooked till very thick. I love the creamy, rich texture of this pudding. It is a favorite of my son's. In fact, last weekend we brought this rice pudding to a party. There was a little girl who is a friend of ours there, and he simply couldn't understand why she didn't like or want to try the rice pudding. He kept asking her- why? 

Well, if you love creamy desserts sprinkled with cinnamon, you will love this one too! 

I hope you enjoy it soon with your friends and family. This recipe may easily be doubled to feed a larger crowd. 


Mexican Style Cinnamon Rice Pudding: 

Makes: 4 large or 8 small servings

4 2/3 cups water + 4 cups water

3/4 cup short grain white rice

2 cups  scalded full fat coconut milk (or whole milk)  (To scald the coconut milk, bring the milk to boil in a saucepan, then take it off the heat) 

1 cup full fat coconut milk (or evaporated milk) 

1 cup organic sugar

2 sticks cinnamon

Ground cinnamon to taste

1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Take off the heat and add in the rice. Let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse rice thoroughly and drain. 

2. Bring 4 cups water to boil in a separate saucepan. Boil uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain off the extra water. 

3. Mix the scalded full fat coconut milk, full fat coconut  milk, sugar and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook for 45 minutes or until the mixture becomes thicker and changes color. Add in the rice. Cook for about 40 minutes or until pudding thickens. Remove from the heat and stir to cool. 

4. Spoon the rice pudding into a bowl and sprinkle with ground cinnamon to serve. 

If you enjoyed this post, send it on to a pudding-loving friend!! 


Sweet Fruit Tamales


Delicious Sweet Fruit Tamales- Gluten and Dairy Free! 

When I was a junior in high school I had the privilege of living for a year in Mexico on an exchange. It was a once in a lifetime experience! I got to attend a local high school, be immersed in the Spanish language and learn about the local food customs. 

One of the greatest things was that there were many delicious foods to try. I loved how there were many street food vendors, and everyone in town knew who had the best foods and the times that those vendors would be on a specific corner, or outside a specific church to sell tamales or other amazing treats. 

I remember quite often that our first host family would go to a specific lady selling tamales. She would have both savory and sweet tamales. The sweet tamales had raisins in them and were sometimes dyed pink. I remember enjoying those tamales both for an evening snack and sometimes for breakfast. 

    Forming a sweet fruit tamale in the corn husk. 


Forming a sweet fruit tamale in the corn husk. 


I have not been able to find anything like that around my area here in Oregon, so I decided to create my own sweet tamales. They bring me back to the search along the street for the most wonderful food vendors. 

I love that these tamales are cute, small and delicious. I decided to make three different flavors: cranberry, mango coconut and cinnamon raisin. I am quite pleased with the tamales! They are so yummy and they take me back in time. 

I hope that you enjoy making these as much as I did. They are great because they are gluten and dairy free. 

They are a project and take some time, but it is fun to make these with kids or as a family project. 

    Tamales ready to steam in my pressure cooker/steamer I rigged up. 


Tamales ready to steam in my pressure cooker/steamer I rigged up. 


Sweet Fruit Tamales: 

Makes about 14 small tamales

Allow about 3+ hours for this cooking project

14 dried corn husks (soaked in hot water for about 2 hours) + extras for lining the steamer (about 5-6)

3/4 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 3/4 cups dry masa harina mix (I used PAN brand which I found at a local Latino market. However, in the future I would use Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina because it is non-gmo) 

1 1/4 cups water (to mix with the masa harina)

1 cup water 

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup each: chopped dried mangoes, raisins, dried cranberries

You can add 1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut to the mangoes if you wish. 

I added 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the raisins after soaking

Boiling water

Steamer kettle or vegetable steamer to steam tamales in batches

1. In a 13x9 pan put the 14 dried cornhusks in. Cover them with hot water (I used water I simmered in a hot pot) and cover them with a couple of plates to weigh them down. Let them sit to hydrate for about 2 hours.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the 1 3/4 cups dry masa harina with the 1 1/4 cups water. Mix well until it is combined. I often use my hands to mix the masa dough. 

3. Make the "honey broth": In a small saucepan place 1 cup water and 1/2 cup honey. Simmer for a few minutes and stir, making sure the mixture is thoroughly combined. Take off the heat and allow to cool. 

4. In a stand mixer beat the coconut oil, salt and baking powder on medium-high speed until light, about 1 minute. Add the masa dough in three additions, beating between each one. Lower the speed to medium-low and add 1 cup of the honey broth. Beat in more broth until the mixture is like a soft cake batter (it shouldn't be runny). If there is too much liquid, this may be remedied by adding a small amount of dry masa harina one tablespoon at a time until the mixture thickens up. 

5. Place plastic wrap on top of the mixer bowl after it is mixed. Place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to ensure a light texture to your tamales. 

6. Meanwhile, place each of the fruits in a separate small bowl, cover them with boiling water and let sit 5-10 minutes. Then, pour off the water. This will ensure that the fruit is plump and moist for the fillings. 

7. Once an hour has passed, take the masa mixture out of the fridge. Beat the mixture in the stand mixture until it is light and fluffy. 

8. Steaming: There are three choices you can make as far as steaming the tamales: 

  • You may steam them in small batches using a collapsible vegetable steamer set in a large, deep saucepan. 
  • You may make a large steamer by placing a round metal rack on top of coffee cups or ramekins inside a large kettle with water on the bottom. 
  • I used a large pressure-cooker with a rack that has holes in it & elevated the rack with 4 small coffee cups. I didn't seal the lid on the pressure cooker, but just used it as a regular steamer. 

Place several extra  corn husks on the steamer rack so that the tamales are protected from the direct steam. Make sure you put plenty of water in the bottom of your steamer before you put in the steamer basket/corn husks.

9. Time to form the tamales! Take a soaked corn husk out of the water and place it on a plate with the narrow end facing you. Place 1/4 cup of the masa mixture on the corn husk. Spread it out with your fingers so that it forms a 4" square. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the fruit filling of your choice in the middle of the tamale. Pinch the sides together and roll it closed. You may tie it together with strips of corn husk as I did, or use lengths of string. 

10. Place the tamales in the steamer on top of the corn husks you lined it with. Steam the tamales for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The tamales are done cooking when the husk peels away from the masa easily. 


If this post made you hungry for tamales, then pass it on to a tamale loving friend! Happy tamale making!