Camp and cherry cobbler

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Hello friends!

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Usually I do a camp post when I get back with a bunch of photos – this post will have to do double duty for that and this cherry chocolate cobbler situation! I came back from camp a week ago and face planted into a squillion work projects, so I am just getting caught up on life.

Camp was so, so amazing as always. It never ceases to amaze me how much impact it’s had on my life over the years (this was year 15! omg) – both in regards to my huge camp family, but also how much it’s helped me grow as a person. I LOVE Two Sentinels: it is truly is my home away from home. I had a great session, with 14 great girls and two amazing co-staff.

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It was a time of some serious belly laughs, friendship, relaxation, grounding, stargazing, singing, rafter climbing, mental resets and a reaffirmation of what is most important in life: love, friends, time in nature, and a break from technology. I’m having wilderness withdrawals!

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Definitely wishing I was still up among the pines in the high sierra, rather than behind a computer, but I know I’ll be back so I guess I can deal for now ;)

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At the very least, it’s nice to not wear shoes 24/7 – I always bake barefoot, and it felt great to get back into the kitchen for some summer baking.

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This cobbler is legit amazing for a summer breakfast – one guess who I ate it with! C and I stepped out for some cool foggy hiking up to Twin Peaks and Glen Canyon (this photo looks like something out of Middle Earth!) and ate it afterwards as part of delicious breakfast spread – usual eggs & kale not pictured but rest assured we ate them anyway.

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C and I have a serious obsession with cream biscuits – you’ve seen them featured in a many of my other desserts, but this time I figured I’d go the chocolate route. Despite looking like they’d be deadly chocolate death, they’re actually very lightly chocolate-y, which sets off the natural cherry sweetness perfectly. The cobbler itself is refined sugar free and whole grain! There is very little added sweetener, which we both love. I suggest making it for breakfast on a lazy summer morning!

Happy Summer!

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Cherry Cobbler with Chocolate Cream Biscuits

Whole wheat and refined sugar free! The natural sweetness of the cherries is complemented nicely by the chocolate biscuits, which despite their appearance are not overly chocolatey. Great for dessert or breakfast! A Wait are Those Cookies original. Serves 2-6, ish. I used my 2 qt dish that is 8 x 8, but you could also do this in a deep 9″ pie dish, or a larger, shallower pan (ie 9×11 or somesuch – it’s very adaptable).

For the filling:

enough cherries to fill your dish of choice! I used about 1.5 lbs, pitted (I used a combo of Bing & Ranier)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp port (optional)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp tapioca starch

For the cobbler:

1 cup whole wheat flour minus 2 tbsp
1/2 c cornmeal
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 c chopped dark chocolate chunks

Heat the oven to 375°F. In your dish of choice, toss pitted cherries with maple, lemon zest and juice, port, and tapioca starch.

Mix the dry ingredients for the cobbler topping. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and chopped chocolate together in a large bowl. Add vanilla and pour in the 1 1/2 cups cream. Stir until just combined.

Scoop 2-tablespoon blobs of the cobbler dough onto the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Brush the cobbler dough with the 1 tablespoon cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Place the cobbler on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips, or place aluminum foil beneath it in the oven. Bake until the topping is turning golden brown around the edges (difficult to tell with the chocolate – make sure the centers of the biscuits are firm) and the fruit filling is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes.

Summer is for shortcakes

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Hi! I have cream biscuit shortcakes today.

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I’ve always thought that strawberry shortcake is just about the most June dessert there is.  I love shortcakes in most any form with pretty much any fruit, but C and I both agreed this one in particular is about the most perfect iteration. We might be a little biased since we both are obsessed with these cream biscuits, but whatever – this is pretty perfect.

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Simple, unsweetened cornmeal cream biscuits for the base, unsweetened sliced strawberries (they are just so perfect right now!), and some ice cream or whipped cream to finish it off: such a perfect trifecta.

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I did a bit of baking on Saturday morning, which was a great way to start the day. A batch of cookies for C’s studio recital, and then shortcakes for later! No complaints there – it was a good day.

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We both agree that these biscuits are also the perfect morning biscuit – not sweet, just so satisfying. They’re crumbly and flakey in the best way and go wonderfully alongside anything you might eat toast with (ie eggs and kale!). Of course, we did that – are you shocked? Ha. I didn’t think so.

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I’ll keep it short and sweet today: do yourself a favor and whip these babies out! They come together and bake up quite speedily, which is a boon when it’s hot out and you don’t want to run the oven excessively. Happy baking!

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Cornmeal Cream Biscuit Strawberry Shortcakes

Lightly sweet, perfectly biscuity. Summer dessert at its finest and most simple! Whole grain and refined sugar free. Yield: 8 biscuits. I adapted this one from my previous cream biscuit recipe; a Wait are Those Cookies original.

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For the cream biscuits:

1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 pint heavy cream + extra for brushing the tops of the biscuits
coconut sugar for sprinkling

For serving:

Sliced strawberries
Whipped cream or ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter using a fork, your fingers (my preferred method!) or a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of small peas. Stir in the cream and vanilla with a fork until blended.

Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, then turn it out on to a floured board or countertop and roll out to about 3/4″ thick. Cut 6 biscuits out – either circular or square, you do you! Reroll the scraps for 2-3 more. Place the biscuits on the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with a little coconut sugar if desired, and bake for about 17 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from baking sheet and let cool before serving.

To serve, split them in half & pile with whipped cream or ice cream & strawberries! Simple, summery.

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Strawberry Season!

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Happy Weekend!

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The strawberries are perfect over here right now – so, so perfect! I picked up a carton over the weekend and knew I needed to do something with them, besides just eat them over my sink.

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I love the idea of olive oil cakes – olive oil is one of my favorite things anyway, and putting it in cake just makes it that much better. Obviously all of my desserts trend not-so-sweet, and this one is no exception: the strawberries provide the necessary sweetness against the more mellow, lightly fruity cake.

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We decided that the cake itself is somewhat of a cornbread – shortbread hybrid (not so much in texture but in taste) – especially when eaten with ice cream and strawberries; we both go bonkers for cornmeal & polenta over here so it’s a win all around.

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Besides that, it’s a very easy cake that comes together in a snap and doesn’t require any overly unusual ingredients. We ate it for dessert and also (because it’s us!) for breakfast yesterday morning – no photos since it was a hurried morning, but never fear – it was eaten alongside the usual eggs, kale and coffee!

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Still loving the photos from last week’s hike to Twin Peaks – here is another of my favorites. This looks like it could be the Elysian Fields or something of that nature!

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Anyway – seize the moment of perfect strawberries, and put them on cake! Happy weekend!

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Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Strawberries

Fruity, very lightly sweet cake that is something of a cross between cornbread and a shortcake – we really noticed the comparison to shortcake with eaten with ice cream and strawberries, but it is also great for breakfast of course, with a little extra olive oil and strawberries. Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Yield: 1 8″ cake.

1/2 c olive oil
1.5 c almond flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c maple
4 eggs
zest of one meyer lemon
3 tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
strawberries for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8″ cake pan – if not using a springform, cut large strips of parchment paper to go underneath the cake with their edges hanging over the pan edge to make for easy removal.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until pale yellow in color. Beat in olive oil, maple, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in batches, beating until just incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack completely for about an hour before serving.

I cut up strawberries a few hours before serving and tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil and meyer lemon juice – I let them sit until serving and they were DELICIOUS. Highly recommended.

Serve with strawberries and ice cream and maybe an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Cake keeps really well covered in foil on the counter overnight & is excellent for breakfast – I’d eat it within three days for maximal freshness.

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Nature’s ombré: blood oranges!

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Happy spring! I really can’t believe it’s almost April.

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Aside from my car blowing a tire on the bridge in the pouring rain (why is it that car trouble always comes in multiples?), things are pretty spring-like over here, especially today – the weather is cool, sunny and beautiful.

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We got in a great ridge hike yesterday, despite some really aggressive ridge top wind; the clouds were beautiful and we only got hit with a bit of light drizzle. The colors of everything were so gorgeous – not sure my photos do it justice!

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What a great weekend – quality time with fave human, hiking & healthy dessert! And pizza. Because, well, because pizza! Ha. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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In other news, the skies have been beautiful lately.

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I have a very spring-y dessert for you today – our consensus was that this is a light, spring-like, mellow-in-a-good-way dessert – it certainly disappeared quickly over here!

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The panna cotta is very lightly citrusy, which plays nicely against the cornmeal & meyer lemon crust. Cornmeal is an easy sell with both of us, so no complaints there (except for some extra flossing). We ended up serving this with extra sliced citrus – both of us are really into tart things, but it’s also great on its own. I’d say that I like it with ice cream (because we know I love ice cream in general), but it’s not absolutely necessary, and could easily overwhelm the delicate panna cotta – in which case I’d say to skip it, just this once.

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This is a dessert that sounds complicated but comes together super quickly and requires minimal baking time. The only consideration is allowing enough time to let the gelatin set, but that’s just a small bit of planning ahead – I like to make this the night before and let it set overnight.

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Happy spring baking! Get on those blood oranges before they disappear!

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Citrus Panna Cotta Tart on a Cornmeal Lemon Coconut Crust

Gluten free and refined sugar free. Definitely could be done with coconut milk and dairy free yogurt for a df version! To me, this has the flavor essence of a creamsicle or a 50/50 bar, only lightyears better and not full of processed nastiness. Despite sounding complicated, this comes together quickly & easily, and can be made the night before. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several! A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
zest of 2 small meyer lemons (or 1 large)

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, melted coconut oil, and lemon zest, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
3/4 cups whole milk, divided
2 tsp vanilla
Scant 1/4 cup maple
zest of two oranges
zest of 1 meyer lemon
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the milk. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup milk into a small saucepan. Add vanilla, maple & zest into the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Strain into a large bowl to remove the citrus zest and cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt until well blended. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours or, better yet, overnight.

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Pears and cranberries: the perfect pair

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So normally, I would tell you that this makes great dessert but you should save some and eat it for breakfast, blah blah…

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But really, this time, I’m going to throw that out the window and tell you to just straight up make this for breakfast. You really won’t be sorry – it’s mostly fruit anyway! Hiding under a whole grain, gluten free cream biscuit – what more do you want for breakfast?! I concede that we added eggs, kale, cholula & coffee, and it was a stellar combination, but you do you of course.

This is one of those homely-but-delicious desserts that doesn’t win any awards in the looks department but is undeniably amazing and should be made and loved immediately!

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I really love this for an autumn-winter breakfast-dessert: the cranberries and pears are a perfect pairing; the cornmeal cream biscuits are hands-down one of my favorite things on this planet (I am not alone in this, either); and the whole thing is just so seasonal!

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I leave the skins on the pears, both because I enjoy when my fruit desserts have more texture & body, but also because fiber is good for you! The cranberries soften but still retain their shape and eating them is quite fun, since they pop when you bite them!

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Let’s see. Besides eating this for a stellar breakfast, other things of note lately…

Beautiful skies!

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The worst opera we’ve both ever seen, but in the best company with some awesome seats so it was worth it… as an excellent learning experience and unforgettable evening ;)

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Can anyone else believe December starts tomorrow?! I can’t. Where did the fall months go?? Not that I’m particularly sorry, I do love festive holiday time and all the baking that goes along with it.

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I highly recommend you throw the rule book out the window and make this for breakfast. I am behind you 100% on the wisdom of this action. Happy eating!

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Pear and Cranberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Cream Biscuits and Ginger

Gluten free, whole grain and refined sugar free! The fruit makes an amazing complement to the cornmeal cream biscuits, which are personally one of my absolute favorite things. Easy to make, the most time consuming bit of this is chopping up the pears. But you don’t even have to peel them, so that bit is even easier! Very lightly sweetened, this is perfect for those who love seasonal, fruity desserts. Adapted from both of my earlier cream biscuit cobblers, here & here.

For the filling:

4-7 Bartlett & Anjou pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and sliced into small bite-sized pieces*
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 c maple
2 tbsp port
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

*I used about 6; shrinkage will happen to a point so don’t be afraid to use a little more than you would think

For the cobbler:

3/4 cup fine cornmeal
1/2 cup oat flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour, slightly heaping
1 tablespoons maple (or coconut) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Crystalized ginger, chopped; for topping – optional but delicious

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a deep 9-inch square baking dish or deep 9-inch pie pan with butter (I prefer the deepness of the 9″ square – mine is a 2qt baker & it holds tons of fruit!). Cut up pears into large chunks and toss them into the buttered baking dish. Add cranberries and toss to combine. Whisk the maple, port, arrowroot, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon together, pour over the fruit, and toss to coat.

Combine cornmeal, oat flour, rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the cream and vanilla, stirring until just combined; the dough will be very wet. Scoop the dough into 8-ish blobs onto the fruit filling. Sprinkle with maple or coconut sugar if desired. Bake until the fruit bubbles and the juices thicken, and the topping is browned and cooked through, 45-55 minutes. Typically I test the biscuit done-ness by sticking a knife between two of them to see if the bottom is done – you’ll know if it isn’t, it will look raw. Stick it back in for about 10 minutes if you find that – mine is typically perfectly done at 55 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or more cream and chopped crystalized ginger; leftovers keep well, covered, in the fridge for a few days.

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Cranberries – not just for sauce!

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Happy almost-Thanksgiving! Hard to believe it’s in less than a week. In keeping with the spirit of all things autumnal and holiday-ish, I bring you a cranberry curd tart! Perfect for dessert but also excellent for breakfast alongside eggs & kale.

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Besides, this color is amazing! Nature is really spectacular when you let her do her thing – no artificial coloring here, obviously!

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This tart is for those who love love love tart things! I really loved the crust – cornmeal and ginger are a match made in heaven.

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In other news, the leaves are gorgeous around here just now, and I move my plants around my apartment to follow the sun. They seem happy about it…

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I don’t think I have too much more for you today; it’s a mellow Sunday and I’m contentedly chill today.

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Enjoy your holiday week!

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Cranberry Curd Tart on a Cornmeal Ginger Crust

Tart, PINK and perfect for fall / holiday dessert. Gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free – this is for those who like tart things! The cranberry curd ended up kind of like mousse – see note; if you’d like it sliceable like a proper tart, use a few extra eggs in the curd. The cornmeal ginger crust provides a naturally not-too-sweet complement to the tartness of the curd & puree. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves 2 ;) kidding – serves 2-6! A Wait are Those Cookies original.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, ginger, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, but leave the oven on.

For the cranberry curd*:

3 cups (12oz) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1/2 c water
1/4 c maple
juice of 1 lemon
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
scant 1 tbsp vanilla
3.5 tbsp coconut oil

*mine was on the runnier side, making my tart more like mousse than a set curd tart. Suggest adding another couple of eggs – unless you’re okay with the mousse texture (it was totally fine taste-wise, just didn’t really hold its shape when sliced)

To make the cranberry curd, place the cranberries and water in a saucepan. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, until you hear the the berries start to pop. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the berries have burst. Cool slightly, then puree with an immersion or regular blender. Strain the mixture into a bowl or large liquid measuring cup, pushing on the solids to extract as much cranberry puree as possible. Yield is about 1.5 c of puree.

Beat the eggs, egg yolks, maple, and lemon juice together in the top of a double boiler. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the warm cranberry puree. Add salt and vanilla. Whisk in coconut oil 1 tbsp at a time until melted. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool. The curd will thicken a little more as it cools – store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze for later.

For the cranberry swirl:

Basically, you’re replicating the earlier part of the cranberry curd, prior to actually making curd with it. If you’re smart (unlike me, who decided to do this later), do it all at once, and reserve some of the cranberry puree.

1.5 c cranberries, rinsed & picked over
1/4 c water
2 tsp maple sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cranberries and water and cook as directed above, for the curd, until the cranberries pop. Strain as before, pressing to extract the liquid. Stir in maple sugar and vanilla.

For assembly:

Bake the crust, as directed above (350 for 15, in case you don’t want to scroll back up). Remove and let cool for a few minutes, then pour in curd. Dollop the cranberry swirl in large dollops over the curd, then use a knife or toothpick to swirl everything together. Bake for 15-20 minutes to set the curd, then remove and let cool completely before serving. I prefer to refrigerate mine for at least half a day before serving to further set the curd. Serve with ice cream (obvs!) and extra cranberry puree. Store any leftovers in the fridge, covered.

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Appropriately autumnal baking

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There is something so soothing about early morning baking. I don’t necessarily choose to bake at 6:30a, but when a workout and work have to happen before I can deliver & eat dessert, baking by necessity becomes an early morning activity. That being said, though, it’s a very meditative way to spend a morning, especially when it’s still dark outside.

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Of course, then of course there’s that moment when you go to put socks on and somehow find some crystallized ginger stuck to your foot… um… no comment.

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It also gives me a great sense of productivity to know I’ve created something before I even leave the house that day – and then add a workout and a highly productive work day and by 6p I feel extraordinary accomplished.

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And THEN I get to eat cake! Ha. Win win, all around. Besides, coming back into my apartment after work, I’m greeted with a waft of OMG THIS CAKE SMELLS AMAZING – always a good sign.

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This cake was well loved by both of us – it is definitely going on the to-make-again list – and I have high standards for that list! The cornmeal/polenta give it great texture – it’s a cross somewhere between cake and cornbread, in the best way possible. It’s amazing with ice cream for dessert, and equally so alongside eggs and kale for breakfast – see exhibit A below.

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Besides that, just in case you needed proof as to how loved this cake was, see exhibit B:

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No crumbs. One (large) slice left – that is after a stint of very productive yard work & leaf raking – that cake had NO chance.

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I can’t believe it’s already November. What happened to October?! Happy autumn!

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Apple Ginger Polenta Cake

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Lightly sweet, sort of like a cross between cake and cornbread – perfect for dessert (served with ice cream!) and breakfast alongside eggs and leafy green things. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves… um… 2! Ha.

1 c almond meal
2/3 c yellow corn meal (I used medium grind)
1/3 c rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
Heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/6 c maple sugar
1/6 maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples
1/3 c crystallized ginger chunks, chopped*

*I have also made this with fresh ginger and it’s equally amazing; finely mince peeled, fresh ginger root and add to the batter. The quantity is up to you – I love ginger, so I used a knob probably about 1.5″ long

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper, or do like I did and use strips of parchment paper for easy removal. Be sure to grease the pan first though to prevent any stockage.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple sugar and maple syrup until soft and fluffy. Add in olive oil and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, rice flour, and baking powder. Stir dry into wet. Cut one and a half apples into cubes and thinly slice remaining half. Add the apple cubes and chopped ginger and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out a bit.

Arrange a few apple slices on top of the cake, sprinkle with a bit of maple (or coconut) sugar. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Check the cake after 35 minutes; mine was perfect at 40. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly during baking, you can always tent it with a sheet of tinfoil.

I stuck mine in the fridge for a few hours of storage, which didn’t hurt it at all. It keeps well on the counter overnight (covered with foil), and makes a ridiculously amazing addition to breakfast the next day!

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IMG_1632Early morning mis en place…

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