Light and Airy Lemon Sponge Cake (Gluten Free)

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I’m pretty sure my hair smells like cake. Occupational hazard?

I also have powdered sugar scattered everywhere and owe my friend some eggs after using most of hers in this recipe.

But this cake! Let’s talk about it.

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I have, of course, read cake recipes that involved beating egg yolks and whites separately before folding it all together with just the barest bit of flour (because what else are you supposed to do on your computer during class?), but until this lemon confection had never actually ventured to make such a cake.

Don’t be like me and make such a ridiculous error! Go, go, go right now. Because not only is this cake delicious, but it’s just plain fun to make. You first get to beat together a whole lot of egg yolks and sugar until they are thick and pale and fluffy and basically already beginning to look like cake batter. Then you move on to beating the egg whites until they are stiff and firm, which is basically one of my favorite things ever because it blows my mind every single time. Finally, you fold everything together into the lightest, airiest batter imaginable, so delicate and ethereal that you can’t even imagine baking it.

But then you do, of course, and the result is a perfectly fluffy dream of a cake that makes you feel classy as can be while still keeping things simple.

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Oh, and that moment when you separate 6 eggs perfectly without breaking the yolk in any of them? Yeah, that feeling alone is pretty much enough reason to make this cake.

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Light and Airy Lemon Sponge Cake (Gluten Free)

Note: This recipe calls for potato flour, which is what I used, but you might have success using cornstarch or arrowroot in its place, although I cannot personally vouch for the results. Also, the original recipe used metric measurements, which I used when I made this cake, although I have provided approximate conversions below

From Five Euro Food

Ingredients:

22o grams (1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon) sugar
6 large eggs, separated
150 grams (1 cup) potato flour
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F/150C. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and 6 egg yolks until pale and thick. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are firm and hold stiff peaks (make sure your beaters are completely clean from the egg yolks before beating the whites!).

Fold half of the egg whites into the yolk mixture, working gently until combined. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Once completely combined, fold in the lemon juice and zest. Finally, sift in the potato starch and gently fold until no white clumps or streaks remain.

Pour batter into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, then allow to cool at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

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Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter Whip

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When I get confused, or frustrated, or anxious, or just start thinking too darn much, I bake. Something with yeast is preferable, but really anything will do. Even if all it involves is just whisking together a few ingredients until they’re smooth and dreamy and ready to be spooned straight from bowl to mouth.

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This peanut butter whip is a riff off the ever popular coconut whipped cream, and as a result it has many different uses. Spoon it onto cupcakes for a light and fluffy icing, spread it atop a pie (something with chocolate preferable), or just chill it a bit then eat it right out of the jar for the lightest peanut butter mousse you ever did see.

Oh, you should also probably know that I can only ever find chunky peanut butter over here in Denmark (at least in the cheap as heck grocery store where I shop), which is why this whip has little bits of peanuts scattered throughout. To be honest, I kind of like it! I think keeping the peanuts and adding a handful of mini chocolate chips would be stellar.

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This recipe is insanely simple and only takes three ingredients. Success! The only tricky part is making sure that you use full fat coconut milk, not light, and that you refrigerate your coconut milk at least 7 hours beforehand so that the cream and the water can separate. Other than that, it’s so easy even my baking challenge sister could handle it (sorry Hali).

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Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter Whip

Ingredients:

1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated at least 7 hours or overnight
1/3 cup peanut butter
2-3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Open the can of refrigerated coconut milk and scoop out the thick white cream that has risen to the top. Save the remaining coconut water at the bottom for smoothies or just to drink. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the coconut cream until smooth. Add the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla if using. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Use as is or refrigerate for a few hours, during which time the peanut butter whip will become thicker and more like mousse.

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Tahini Maple Fudge

DSC_0027Tahini maple fudge sounds like the name of a flavor in a fancy ice cream shop that only uses local, organic, hand-picked ingredients and is too high class to offer anything as mundane as rocky road.

I’m not sure how I’d feel about such an ice cream shop. I do, however, know exactly how I feel about this fudge.

This fudge is kind of awesome. It’s like one of those superfood concoctions people are always raving about, except not obnoxious or full of weird ingredients like lucuma powder. In fact, it’s got just three main components— maple syrup, coconut oil, and tahini— plus some vanilla and salt mixed in. But boy do those three ingredients go a long way.

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Because of the sesame seed butter and oil, this fudge is rich, decadent, and smooth. The addition of the maple syrup provides sweetness and flavor without any refined sugar, plus maple and tahini together, as I have now found out, is a combination that’s to die for. Throw in vanilla and salt for more complex flavors and you’re pretty much set.

In order to keep this fudge as high vibe as possible, try to use unhulled tahini if you can. Regular tahini— the thin, pale stuff that’s more commonly sold— comes from sesame seeds that have been hulled, which unfortunately strips a lot of their awesome nutritional properties, whereas unhulled tahini uses the entire seed and thus retains all of the awesome benefits of sesame (much like brown vs. white rice). Some of these crazy cool benefits include being high in minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and iron, having a ton of calcium (it’s one of the best natural sources there is!), aiding in liver detoxification, and being easy to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content, in addition to loads of other health benefits.

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Aside from being chock full of power ingredients, this fudge is also crazy easy to make, taking about five minutes of active time before being shuffled off to the freezer for a few hours. And I shouldn’t need to tell you that waiting for it to set is hands down the hardest part of the whole process.

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Tahini Maple Fudge

Ingredients:

1/2 cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
340 grams unhulled tahini
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

Directions:

Add the maple syrup and coconut oil to a saucepan over very low heat and gently heat until the oil is melted and all combined. Add the tahini and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pinch of salt.

Pour the mixture into a 8×8 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper (I didn’t have one so I just used a bread pan). Place in the freezer for at least two hours (ideally 4-5) to set before slicing into squares. Keep stored in the freezer.

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Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies

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Guys, I did it.

I did it, I did it, I DID IT!!!

I made a batch of cut out sugar cookies, and they weren’t a total failure. In fact, they were the exact opposite. They were phenomenal. It’s a miracle!

And not only were these cookies a success, but they were also a success made out of coconut oil instead of butter, so they’re vegan as well. It just keeps getting better and better!

(But seriously though, I started jumping up and down when they came out of the oven. That’s how excited I was to actually make sugar cookies and not fail)

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So… let’s break things down. These cookies are soft and tender; no rock hard sugar cookies here. They also roll out beautifully, and (for the most part) don’t break apart while trying to transfer to a cookie sheet. Just make sure you don’t roll them too thinly, or else they will break or burn in the oven, and nobody wants that.

Another quick note: make sure you don’t use cold milk. It needs to be warm, because otherwise it will cause the coconut oil to resolidify and not blend into the dough, which is pretty much the opposite of what you want. Another trick is to stick the cut out dough into the freezer before baking. This helps the cookies to keep their shape while in the oven, so you can keep the random assortment of people, stars, trees, and houses you’ve made (or whatever cookie cutters you have on hand).

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As you can see, I haven’t decorated my cookies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! Go wild with sprinkles, icing, glazes, or anything else that suits your fancy or upcoming party theme.

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Note: I wish I could say this genius recipe came from my own brain, but of course it didn’t. It’s courtesy of Oh Ladycakes (this is a dynamite blog; go check it out!). And as Ashlae says on her site, make sure that you follow the recipe exactly, otherwise they will not turn out correctly.

Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons almond milk, warm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the almond milk, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add the baking soda, salt, and one cup of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until about half of the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 1/3 cup flour and stir just until no flour streaks remain. The dough should be smooth and barely sticky; if it’s too dry, add more milk one more tablespoon at a time, and if it is too wet add more flour one tablespoon at a time.

Lightly flour a work surface. Gather dough into a ball, lightly dust it with flour, then roll it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut as many shapes out as you can and carefully place them on the baking sheet. If you have leftover scraps of dough, you can gather them together and gently roll out more dough, but the resulting cookies might not have quite the same texture (definitely worth doing though; it’s more cookies!).

Place the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking (this helps them keep their shape in the oven). Bake them for 9-10 minutes, then let them cool on the baking sheet for another 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Fanouropita

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We Greeks can be a strange bunch. I mean, my yiayia has been trying to set me up with a good Greek boy since I was in middle school. So really, it should come as no surprise that our method for finding things we’ve lost involves cakes and saints.

St. Fanourios is the patron saint of lost things. When you lose something (like your phone, wallet, Danish residence permit…) (not that I have any personal experience or anything), you pray to him for help in finding it. And then once you do find it, you bake this cake, called a fanouropita, in honor of him.

It’s a bit of an odd tradition, sure, but then again, it’s an excuse to eat cake. And whose going to snub their nose at a tradition like that?

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This cake is the sort that I would classify as a “snacking cake”. It’s not too sweet and a bit dense, making it perfect for breakfast or snack (or both), while the addition of chopped walnuts in the batter and crackling sugar on top keeps things interesting. As for the orange juice, the flavor comes through very little; this is by no means an orangey cake. Rather, it’s a wholesome, lightly spiced confection with a quite the original backstory.

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Oh! Also a quick note on Facebook: Facebook really cuts down on the number of Pages updates it shows in your newsfeed if you don’t like or click on any for a while. If you haven’t been seeing A Baking Girl updates in your Facebook newsfeed (and would like to!), go to Facebook and click on the Pages Feed on the left under Pages. If you like or click on a few A Baking Girl posts, Facebook will start showing future ABG updates in your newsfeed more often. Cheers!

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Fanouropita

Ingredients:

3/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup neutral oil (I used sunflower)
2/3 cup raw sugar (Plus a few tablespoons for sprinkling)
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour*
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour*
3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 inch round cake pan or a 8×8 inch square pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, and sugar until smooth. Add the orange juice and spices and whisk again to combine. Whisk in the baking powder.

Fold in the flours until no white streaks remain, being careful not to over mix; the batter should be fairly thick. Fold in the walnuts. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan, then sprinkle a few tablespoons of raw sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*Feel free to use whichever kind of flour or flour combinations/proportions you want, as long as it all adds up to a total of 3 cups

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Luscious Lemon Curd

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Oh dear. Please come help.

I need somebody to take all the lemons away from me. I need them to hide the sauce pans. I need someone to convince me not to make more, just one more, batch of this lemon curd. Because currently there’s no one doing that, so I’m basically surviving off lemon curd and I think I’m in heaven.

Lemon curd is what dreams are made of, I’m fairly sure of it. At least my dreams, in any case.

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I think lemon curd is one of those things that inevitably is going to be fabulous. After all, it’s a combination of butter, eggs, sugar, and lemon. How could it be anything other than delicious?

But what if maybe you wanted to get rid of the butter? And perhaps a few of the eggs? And a bit of the sugar? Would it all still work?

The answer: absolutely.

This curd is thick, smooth, and dreamy. And it’s not one of those lemon goods so overpowered by sweetness that you only get the barest hint of citrus behind all that sugar. This stuff is bright and tart and slightly in your face in a way that let’s you know you are eating something made from lemons and you best not forget it.

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Maybe, unlike me, you don’t think the best way to enjoy this curd is in a spoon straight from the jar. Maybe you’re a bit more civilized than that. In that case, may I suggest some biscuits to go with it? Or perhaps some crepes? Holy cow, or what about stuffed alongside some strawberries in cinnamon rolls? Whatever you want, you do you (I still highly suggest the spoon to mouth route. It’s very efficient).

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Luscious Lemon Curd

Makes about 1/2 cup of curd

Ingredients:

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
5 Tablespoons sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 egg, room temperature

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and sugar and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the lemon zest and heat one minute more.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. While continuing to beat it with a whisk, very slowly pour in the lemon mixture in a steady drizzle. Once all of the lemon mixture has been added, continue to beat for 1-2 minutes.

Add the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, which should take a few minutes. Strain the curd through a mesh strainer into an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use.

The curd will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe from Food.com

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Maple Coconut Macaroons

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I made these macaroons about a week ago, then promptly stuffed them into the freezer, threw some clothes in a bag, and ran to the airport (late as usual) for a week in Brussels and Amsterdam.

The last time I was in Amsterdam, it was my first time traveling alone, and my thought process as I walked the streets went a little something like this:

What if I accidentally eat a pot brownie while I’m here? Ohmygosh that guy can totally tell I’m an American. Wait, should I have watched Taken before I came? How does Liam Neeson’s daughter get taken anyway, and should I be worried about that happening to me? How do you say “excuse me” in Dutch? IS THAT THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT?!?!?!?!?!!!!!?????

This time around, things went quite a bit more smoothly.

I also spent the week stuffing my face with Belgian waffles, which are even better than I could have imagined. Can I have three more please?

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But it’s good to be back home, especially when I so conveniently left myself these macaroons for some necessary snacking. Unlike a lot of macaroons, they’re not sickly sweet or overpowering. And the maple syrup adds a wonderful flavor and depth that elevates them from being all coconut all the time. Success!

This is a pretty simple cookie situation, which I can always get behind. Plus maple and coconut combined together into something that’s healthy? They may not be Belgian waffles, but I’ll take as many as I can get.

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Maple Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:

3 egg whites
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325F. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until white and foamy. Slowly drizzle in the maple syrup and continue to beat until the mixture forms very soft peaks (they should fall over and droop into the mixture). Fold in the coconut until fully incorporated.

Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, drop the about 2 Tablespoons worth of the coconut mixture onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the tops of the macaroons are golden and lightly browned. Let cool before serving so that they can harden.

 

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Swedish Cinnamon Buns

 

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I would like to think that my living a short train ride away from Sweden—or even the recent weekend I spent in Stockholm, for that matter— was the inspiration for these cinnamon buns. Except that would be a lie. Because the real reason I made these cinnamon buns was that they looked like a prettier, fancier version of cinnamon rolls, and how in the world could you go wrong with that?

Plus, look at how pretty they are! All those twists and ripples of cinnamon sugar weaving in and out of a fluffy, satisfying roll…trust me, they’re as good as they look.

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Baking with yeast is a thing. And it’s fun. And it makes me feel like a real deal baker. Sometimes I don’t feel like a real deal baker, mainly because my brownie of choice still comes out of a box and I can’t make a dang cut-out sugar cookie to save my life. But yeast… yeah, I can handle that.

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What if I told you that these roles were vegan and (mostly) whole wheat? Would that impress you? Would that make you want to get in the kitchen and start baking right this second?

But let’s be real— you were ready to get baking as soon as you realized these things were a heady combination of carbs, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s chill, that’s what hooked me too.

PS: This recipe is in grams and milliliters. If you don’t have a scale… I’m sorry. Can I offer some pie instead?

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Swedish Cinnamon Buns

adapted from Izy Hossack

Ingredients:

For the rolls:
7g fast-acting yeast
250ml almond milk
60ml boiling water
50g cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
200g all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
200g spelt flour (whole wheat flour would likely also work)
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the filling:
100g cane sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

NOTE: Forming the buns is a bit tricky, so I would be sure to check out the links in this post for some great GIFs on how to make them. 

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the boiling water and milk. Stir in the yeast, then set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, flours, cornstarch, and cardamom. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the yeast mixture and the oil. Using a wooden spoon, combine the ingredients to form a dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. The dough may be sticky at first, so just knead in more flour if this is the case.

Lightly oil a bowl, then place the kneaded dough in. Cover with a clean towel then set aside in a warm place to let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

While the dough is proofing, combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl.

Once the dough has risen, dump out onto a floured work surface. Roll out to about a 13×13 inch (35×35 cm) square. Brush the surface of the dough with oil, then sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over it. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter (i.e. fold in two flaps so that there are three layers). Roll the dough out into a 13×8 inch (35×20 cm) inch rectangle.

Cut the dough into 8 inch (20 cm) long strips about 1 inch wide. Twist the dough so that it spirals (as seen HERE). To form the rolls, wrap the strip twice around your hand, then loop it over your hand and bring it to tuck under (once again, as seen HERE).

Place the formed rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then set aside to proof for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Once the dough has risen, brush with either an egg wash (1 egg beaten together with 1 teaspoon water) or almond milk.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until golden brown in color.

 

 

 

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