About Jesicakes

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A BFA Painting and Drawing graduate gone cookie designer and decorator.  I bring my knowledge of art, composition, and color to pastries to create the perfect cookies and cakes for your events or occasions.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anything Imaginable Oatmeal Loaf


When I first went gluten free the biggest thing I had a problem eliminating was snacks and meal replacement bars.  I think my lunch every single day of my last two years of college was an apple with cheese, greek yoghurt, and then two hours later to hold me over until dinner a Luna Bar or a Special K Bar.  Those were my dinner half the time if I was working or just had a deadline on a painting so couldn't eat at home.  And while I like Larabars now they're not that same satisfaction of a granola bar.  So the very first gluten free thing I made was a take on an Oatmeal Loaf I found over at Flour Child.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is that there is a up to 1 1/2 cups of add ins part of the recipe that can be anything you want.  I was making a new loaf pretty much every week coming up with new combinations (some not as successful as others).  You can make it as healthy or decadent as you'd like...wherever the mood takes you!  I love making a healthy version with fruit and veggies and nuts that a perfect quick energy boost before a yoga class.  But I also love a good chocolate chip version when I have a sweet tooth.  Also, this is so easy in terms of preparation.  Absolutely no mixer required and I can whip this baby out in under 15 minutes (+ baking time).  Here's the kinds I've made:
  • Carrot, Sweet Potato, Walnut
  • Carrot, Zucchini, Walnut
  • Apple, Carrot, Raisin, Walnut
  • Apple, Cranberry, Carrot, Walnut (probably my favorite on the not as sweet/healthier side)
  • Cocoa, Walnut, Banana (not as good as it sounds...)
and finally...the best (slightly sinful) versions:

Banana, Chocolate Chip, Coconut and Walnut Oatmeal Loaf
Recipe adapted from Flour Child
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 1 8'' x 4'' loaf pan
Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour*
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon (+ with this recipe I add an extra 1 tsp as well) 
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or white)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup almond milk (original recipe uses buttermilk)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp canola oil (I've found this optional...for this loaf especially I don't think it's needed.  For the apple, cranberry, carrot, walnut though it could use a little moisture)
- 1 1/2 cups of add ins: 2 very ripened bananas, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips.  Be careful about adding TOO much wet ingredients.  If you do, compensate with a few extra tbsp of brown rice flour.

*With this batch, I tried doing a mix of different flours, but I definitely prefer it with just the brown rice.  I like the coarser texture with the oats...I feel like the finer texture of the tapioca and sweet rice flour are fighting the oat texture too much.  If you'd like to try though, I did 1/3 cup sweet rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 1/3 cut brown rice flour, and 1/4 cup oat flour.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hunker Down for the Hurricane


So, while I'm not freaking out like crazy buying the grocery store out of a year's supply of bottled water and batteries, it's common sense to not plan on going out at all during a hurricane.  Later tomorrow or Sunday I'll be posting a recipe for Anything Imaginable Oatmeal Loaf.  It's a gluten free loaf base recipe that has room for add ins of whatever you desire.  I've done everything from Banana, Coconut, Chocolate Chips, and Walnuts to Apples, Carrots, Cranberries, and Walnuts.  What you do need is a stocked pantry.  Being a baker, my pantry is always stocked with gluten free baking necessities...especially for those last minute chocolate chip cookies urges.  So here's a quick break down on some gluten free alternatives always in my kitchen:
-Brown Rice Flour - Dense and a bit grainy, but Bob's Red Mill version is actually pretty fine compared to others. When recipes don't call for a lot of flour (like my brownies) and it's silly to do a blend, I almost always will use just brown rice flour.
-Sweet Rice Flour - A thickener but also adds the sweet flavor of rice versus the more nutty almost flavor of brown rice flour.
-Oat Flour - (Obviously) adds a great oat flavor, and when mixed with other flours layers in really nicely.  My favorite recipe I notice it in is my chocolate chip cookies.  There's just a subtle undertone of oat flavor.
-Tapioca Flour - Helps in holding together the batter.  Adds that spring to baked good that tells you they're down.  It also helps add a nice crispness and golden brown color...which if you've tried a gluten free recipe without it you may have noticed that gluten free flours don't tend to brown.
-Sorghum Flour (I haven't used it yet but I'm excited to try it. It's pretty high in protein without the very earthy taste and smell of something like Garbanzo flour)
-Xanthan Gum - Necessary to add viscosity to gluten free batters.  Otherwise, anything baked free of a mold (like cookies) will not hold their shape and spread out too much while they bake
-Gluten Free Baking Powder - Baking Powder has some kind of starch in it. It can be cornstarch, potato starch or wheat starch...the latter of which will make it contain gluten.  So make sure you check the ingredients in it or make sure it says "Gluten Free."  I use Davis.
-Gluten Free Vanilla - Vanilla contains alcohol...some use a grain alcohol.  So again, make sure your vanilla says "gluten free."  I use Kirkland's Vanilla (the Costco brand...it's gluten free, tastes good, and you get a pretty gigantic bottle for very cheap compared to the gluten free vanilla in the supermarket)

Of course, my kitchen always has chocolate of some kind, sugar, salt, baking soda, unsalted butter, milk of some kind (usually almond because I actually love the flavor it adds, but just make sure no one has any allergies!), cinnamon, eggs, and so on....all the usuals for any pantry and fridge used in all kinds of baking recipes.  I also plan on making some homemade gluten free Graham Crackers this weekend...half of which I'm pulverizing to make Gluten Free S'mores Cookies.  So between that and possibly making some hurricane cocktails, I think I have a good plan to survive Irene.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rich, Decadent, Blissful Brownies

As a chocolate lover, brownies are at the top of my list of favorite desserts.  My idea of the perfect brownie is a crispy outside with a decadently moist center.  I also don't like brownies that are overly sweet, but rather have a rich, chocolately taste.  I found this recipe from The Weather in Cascadia, and the addition of almond meal made it sound too irresistible to not try to make.  When I made it I was an ounce short on chocolate, so I substituted an ounce of unsweetened cocoa powder and while I haven't tried it with all 5 ounces of dark chocolate this version I made was so delicious, why change a good thing?  I used 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate for my recipe, but I'd love to try an even darker version.  And I'm sure a lighter or milk chocolate could be just as good if that rich, dark chocolate flavor isn't for you.  Also, for this recipe I did a recipe and a half which is why you'll see 3 egg and why I used a 13'' X 9'' pan (it was slightly thinner than I would have liked, I think a double recipe would have been perfect).  They're my perfect brownie.  Crispy top with a moist, silky center.  Rich and decadent with the sweet almond flavor coming through and slightly floral notes from the dark chocolate.  My friends and family love them (and have been begging me for the recipe!) and I guarantee yours will too!

Gluten Free Brownie Bliss
Recipe adapted from The Weather In Cascadia, whose recipe was adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
Fills a 8'' X 8'' pan
Ingredients
- 4 oz 60% cocoa Ghiradeli bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped 
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder (Hershey's, or any non-Dutch processed)*
- 1 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1/2 cup of almond flour (I used a coffee bean grinder to grind fresh almonds)
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda

*Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder does not react with baking soda

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gluten Free Apple Pie Cupcakes


One of the first things I've ever made gluten free were vanilla cupcake bases.  We were celebrating Easter at my house and I wanted to do a blind taste test with a cute cupcake idea I came across that seemed like a perfect Easter dessert.  I wanted to make "Apple Pie" Cupcakes and not tell anyone they were gluten free to see what the response was (or if anyone could even tell!  Especially my brother who my mom has tried to "trick" with organic versions of food and he instantly can tell they're organic and therefore "gross."  The ones in the middle of that picture are plain Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream cupcakes for him because he wouldn't touch one with apples).  Now I know, you're not supposed to just switch up ingredients because it can affect the outcome of recipes, but I've often decided to throw that rule out the window.  I simply switched the cake flour for brown rice flour.  Since then, I've further delved into an exploration of flour combinations.  My first time making chocolate chip cookies using only brown rice flour they had a bit of a rustic, coarse texture, but since then with my mix they're nice and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  I can't wait for another opportunity to make cupcakes so I can try it with my gluten free flour mixture I've come up with, but til then the just brown rice version were slightly crumbly, but still delicious!

Gluten Free Apple Pie Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Annie Eats, whose recipe was adapted from Fatty Fat Fats
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
- 3 cups brown rice flour*
- 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla
- 1 cup almond milk (can use dairy milk, I love the flavor this adds though)

Click "Read more" for the procedure

Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome!


I have had the most wildly different aspirations for my life and my career.  From curator of a major metropolitan museum, to painter, to marine biologist I changed my mind almost every week.  One thing I always loved was baking.  Throughout college I'd bake for parties and my friends would tell me that I should start my own bakery.  I'd modestly laugh it off...baking was just a hobby...something I enjoyed.  And over the past two years I started thinking to myself why should baking just be a hobby?  So after graduating college I landed a job at Cookie Girl Bake Shop where I honed my baking skills and also learned to decorate specialty sugar cookies and cakes.  While all of this was happening, I was advised to go gluten free because I have a medical condition called fibromyalgia. So now the question is how could I keep baking if I couldn't eat anything I made?  That's when I began researching and discovering all the ways I could make gluten free desserts that taste just as great (if not better) than those with gluten.  One of the things that has always driven me towards baking is that desserts are always a positive thing.  No matter how bad of a day I'm having, I can have a chocolate chip cookie and all my troubles melt away if only for that one moment.  So now I'm out on a mission to develop recipes, further learn to decorate, and turn baking into a career.

On this blog, you can expect to find recipes I try and even some I've developed myself.  I'll also be posting photos of my decorating from work and home.  I'll post reviews of new products I try on my journey to develop the best gluten free versions of desserts.