A Piece of Cake September 2012
To many of you, fall brings to mind football, tailgating, back-to-school supplies, changing colors of the leaves, and local apples to bake into pies, cakes, applesauce—you name it. To me, fall is all of this, plus book tour. A ritual started more than a decade ago, my fall book tours signal a new book, the kick-off of baking season, and the chance to visit with many of you in your hometown.
Whereas football season has a bit more hoopla and TV coverage, in my mind, baking season is just as closely linked to fall, is just as enjoyable as watching football, and a whole lot safer than playing it!
No concussions, no torn ACLs, no passing out from the heat.Baking season can be kicked off in the comfort of your kitchen, and the only contact you will have might be with a spatula scraping batter from the inside of the pan, peeling and dicing apples, chopping chocolate to melt, or creaming butter until it is soft. This season I welcome baking season on tour with my new book, Unbelievably Gluten-Free, a collection of much-requested dinner recipes like pizza, pasta, potpie, fried chicken, meatloaf, Mexican casseroles, cakes, scones, cookies, brownies, pies, etc., that contain no gluten—the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
It was a challenge to create great-tasting, easy recipes that have no gluten, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of the recipes, such as the Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe I share today, are naturally gluten-free. And as someone who does not need to forgo gluten for health reasons but chooses to on many occasions, this book is crammed with great recipes I will make again and again, such as the chocolate cake. To be published in late October, you can pre-order the book here.
As we glide into September, bring on fall, bring on local ingredients and comforting recipes, and bring on book tour!
On the Road Again: My Fall Calendar
Sept. 6: Dallas, TX – I will be at the two Central Market stores sampling recipes using the Cake Mix Doctor’s Mix. 11:30-2 Lovers Lane, and 3-5:30 Preston Royal.
Sept. 7: Austin, TX – At the Austin Central Markets sampling the Cake Mix Doctor’s Mix. 11:30-2 North Lamar, and 3-5:30 Westgate.
Sept. 8: Plano, TX – At the Plano Central Market, 10-noon sampling the Cake Mix Doctor’s Mix.
Oct. 17: QVC – 9 pm ET. In the Kitchen with David. Featuring a dozen recipes from Unbelievably Gluten-Free.
Oct. 20: Cincinnati – Books by the Bank Festival.
Oct. 27: Nashville – 2 p.m. Book signing at Parnassus Books.
Nov. 2: Baton Rouge – Dinner and talk at Matherne’s.
Nov. 8-11: Nashville – Christmas Village. I will have a booth. Come visit and bring your cooking questions.
Nov. 14: Phoenix – Celiac Awareness Night with the Arizona Diamondbacks. More info to come.
Nov. 17/18: Miami – Miami Book Fair International. www.miamibookfair.com
Jody Lehman who owns A Cook’s Place gourmet store in Tupelo, MS, is gluten-free. One of her favorite desserts is this chocolate cake, which has no flour. The recipe was shared in a cooking class at her store by a local chef, David Leathers. We loved this recipe, too, and baked it in 8 small ramekins. It is amazing that a dessert with so much intense chocolate flavor and good structure can contain no flour.
Makes 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 12 to 15 minutes
2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature, to grease the ramekins
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Fresh berries and confectioners’ sugar, for serving OR peppermint ice cream, for serving
- 1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- 2. Rub eight 1-cup ceramic or glass ramekins or custard cups with the 2 teaspoons soft butter. Place these on a baking sheet and set these aside.
- 3. Place the stick of butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir until the chocolate has melted, 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- 4. Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium-high heat with an electric mixer until the eggs are frothy and have almost doubled in size, 4 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture a little at a time, beating continuously on low, or whisking with a wire whisk. (Do not add all the chocolate at one time or the heat of the chocolate will cook the eggs.) The batter will thicken as the chocolate is incorporated.
- 5. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins, spooning about ¾ cup batter into each ramekin. Put the baking sheet with ramekins in the oven. Bake until the cakes have risen and the edges are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes.
- 6. To serve, run a knife around the edges of each cake and turn out onto a dessert plate and serve with berries and sifted confectioners’ sugar. Or, leave the cakes in their ramekins and spoon vanilla or peppermint ice cream on them before serving warm.
Note: Use the best chocolate you have for these little cakes. I like bittersweet chocolate, and if you use bittersweet chocolate chips there is no need to chop the chocolate. An added bonus!
Dairy-Free: Use margarine instead of butter, and dairy free chocolate (not all bittersweet chocolate is dairy free). Serve with fresh berries
Anne’s Cake Mixes
Mix-cellaneous! If you would like more news from my kitchen, would like to hear about must-have ingredients I stash in my pantry as well as updates and recipes using my cake mixes, sign up for a new newsletter debuting this fall – Mix-cellaneous!
My Bundt Rules
- • Bundt pans are all about the same size—12 cups, a few a little smaller—and generally the cakes in them take about an hour to bake. It is no surprise that my favorite Bundt of the month is the Heritage Bundt pan, but I have found cakes baked in the Heritage pan take a little longer.
- • You gotta prep the pan right for a Bundt cake to release. I use solid vegetable shortening and flour. I paint the shortening onto the sides and into the crevices of decorative Bundts with a small pastry brush. In a hurry and with a cake without nuts or chocolate chips I will spray a basic Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray. Then add 2 tablespoons flour to the pan, toss it around to coat the sides, and invert over the sink or garbage to shake out the excess flour.
- • Signs for doneness? Carefully press the top of the Bundt with your finger and see if it springs back. Shake the pan slightly. The batter shouldn’t jiggle.
- • Remove the Bundt from the oven to a rack to cool for 20 minutes. That is it. Run a sharp knife or icing spatula around the edges of the pan to release the cake. Give the pan several good shakes to let the cake loosen from the pan. Then invert onto a rack to let the cake cool completely.
- • I do not place my Bundt pans in the dishwasher. I let them soak with warm soapy water for an hour then hand-wash.
- • The beauty of Bundts is that they are delicious as is, with a simple glaze, or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Perfect for Tailgating
- • Tennis Team Cheese Salsa – we love to tote it for an after-match snack
- • Cowboy Caviar – am thinking folks in Dallas might like this?
- • Fresh Tomato Pie – very impressive (pictured above)
- • Deborah’s Hot Spinach Dip – wait til the weather gets a little cooler
- • Warm Potato Salad with Rosemary and Camembert – my cousin Mary’s recipe
- • Jess’s Broccolini Salad – a perennial favorite
- • Grilled Chicken for a Crowd – good basic from What Can I Bring?
- • Seven-Layer Bars – retro chic and yummy
- • Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars – recipe
Next Issue: News from the road. Thinking ahead to the holidays.