Gluten Free Schmoo Torte Recipe

Schmoo torte is very much a Winnipeg thing, though locals don’t tend to *know* how exclusively Winnipeg it is, til they move away!

Schmoo – or “Shmoo”, depending on who’s writing it – is a soft, pecan-laced angel food cake that is torted and filled with sweetened whipped cream, before being served up with a buttery caramel sauce. This decadent cake is served at various bakeries and dessert restaurants around the city, and apparently it’s very common at Winnipeg Bar Mitzvahs- but you don’t really see it anywhere else.

While it’s not generally something that people tend to make at home, it’s not actually all that difficult to make. As a bonus, it’s not something that has much pressure to look pretty, either! Slather some whipped cream on, messily drizzle that caramel over it… it’s all good.

When it comes to doing a gluten-free cake, Schmoo adapts beautifully. Where there is such a reliance on the egg whites for structure – and the fact that it includes nut meal, a staple in gluten-free baking – much of the concerns with GF baking don’t even apply.

Choosing flours and starches purely for flavour and texture, this recipe produces a Schmoo torte that is virtually indistinguishable from the full-gluten source material.

Schmoo Torte is one of the over 80 recipes featured in my upcoming book, More Than Poutine. Preorders will be opening soon, be sure to subscribe to our email list to receive that announcement! (Note: We only send emails once every few months / a few times every year)

Gluten Free Schmoo Torte

Cake:
12 egg whites
1 cup pecan meal / flour
1/3 cup light buckwheat flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:
2 cups Heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp Icing (Powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel:
1/2 cup butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish:
Chopped pecans, pecan halves, etc

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line the bottom of a tube / angel food cake pan with parchment paper, set aside. (Do not grease the pan)

Separate egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer, allow to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the pecan meal, flours, starches, baking powder, and xanthan gum; set aside.

Add cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites, use a whisk attachment to bear on low until combined. Turn speed up to high, beat until stiff peaks form. Turn speed down to medium, and slowly add the sugar, a little at a time, until combined. Turn speed to low, add vanilla, mix just until combined.

Remove bowl from stand mixer, gently fold in the flour mixture – about ½ cup at a time – JUST until combined. Be gentle- you don’t want to deflate the eggs!

Gently spoon mixture into tube pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Invert cake onto a cooling rack – leaving it in the pan – and allow to cool for about an hour. Remove pan, slice cake into 3 equally thick layers.

Whisk 2 cups of the heavy whipping cream together with the icing sugar and vanilla until very thick. Spread as filling between the 3 cake layers, stacking as you go. Use remaining whipped cream to frost the sides and center of the cake, decorate with more pecans as garnish if desired. Chill for at least two hours.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add brown sugar and heavy cream, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, allow to cool.

To serve, warm the sauce, drizzle over whole torte, and/or individual slices.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

“More Than Poutine is available for preorder, here.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten-Free Lingonberry Muffins

A while back – in my pre-gluten-free days – I went one a big muffin making kick. I’d make all kinds of muffins, a different flavour each week – lingonberry, raspberry-nectarine, cardamom-pear, apple struesel… and they’d serve as breakfasts for the week. Once going gluten-free, I know I’d need to come up with a great fruit-based muffin recipe – I’d never had a great gluten-free muffin!

Fruit is an excellent way to add some more flavour AND nutrition in any muffin – gluten or not – but when it comes to gluten-free muffins, the moisture that fruit adds is key to a great texture!

This recipe is an adaptation of one of the recipes in my latest cookbook, “Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking“. It’s pretty much the perfect muffin: Soft and tender, kind of cakey, but actually containing some decent nutrition, via sorghum, oat, and buckwheat grains… but, in this case, it has the added bonus of Lingonberries – my absolute favourite. I love them with a hint of orange, so I included juice and zest in this recipe. It’s fabulous 🙂

Don’t have access to lingonberries? Feel free to swap in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or cranberries. (strawberries and cranberries should be sliced or chopped before adding). Enjoy!

Lingonberry Muffins

3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup light buckwheat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice (or more milk)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup berries
zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flours, starches, sugars, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, orange juice, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Add wet mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Add berries and orange zest, stir once again until just combined.

Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

“Con” Brownies

Today is day 4 of the week-long feature on convention food that I’m doing over on Facebook. So far, we’ve had “Convention” Sloppy Joes, Hotel Room Smoothies, and Roasted “Convention” Chili”.

So, with breakfast and entrees pretty much covered, here’s a look at a favourite con dessert / snack recipe I’ve been making the past few years – “Convention Brownies”. With these brownies, the two main con-related nutritional deficits I decided to tackle were protein and fiber.. and these have a fair amount of both!

Don’t worry, though… these don’t have the taste or texture of a nutritional supplement. They’re your basic wonderful gooey, fudgey chocolate brownie. All the goodness is hidden among all the fat and sugar, LOL!

Oh, and hey – if you use gluten-free oat flour, these are naturally gluten free. That’s the thing about upping the fiber and protein in something like a brownie… there’s just no room for something like all purpose flour. AP flour has basically nothing to offer for nutrition… so it’s the first to go when revamping a recipe!

“Convention” Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup chocolate flavoured whey protein powder
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup chopped nuts or other “stuff”

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 9 x 13 pan ( or two 8 x 8” pans) with pan spray / shortening, or line with parchment or foil.

In large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, whisking until everything is well incorporated. Add eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir until dry ingredients are well incorporated and wet. Add chocolate chunks and nuts/etc, stir until evenly distributed in the batter.

Spread batter into prepared pan(s), Bake for 20 – 25 minutes for 8 x 8” pans, or 30-35 mins for 9 x 13” pan. Brownies are done when knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

* If you’re not big on nuts, substitute 1 cup of chocolate chunks, chocolate chips, or… whatever. M & Ms. Reese’s Pieces. Andes Mint Chips. Whatever will make you happy!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Chewy Chai Blondies Recipe

Chewy Chai Blondies

1 cup dark brown sugar (well packed!)
1 cup granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tbsp instant tea
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup melted Butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 9 x 13 pan ( or two 8 x 8” pans) with pan spray or shortening.

In large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add beaten eggs and melted butter, stir until dry ingredients are well incorporated and wet.

Spread batter into prepared pan(s), Bake for 20 – 25 minutes for 8 x 8” pans, or 30-35 mins for 9 x 13” pan. Blondies are done when knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Boozy Raspberry-Peach Bread Pudding

I’ve been really lazy DISTRACTED FROM blogging lately.

Two books off to the publisher this month, one debuting next month, working on a Kickstarter (A gluten free cook book WILL happen!), and then product development for something fun in the new year. WHEW!

Have a recipe 🙂 This one is particularly ridiculous and amazing.. yum!

Boozy Raspberry-Peach Bread Pudding
Makes 8-10 servings

1 Loaf of day old French or Italian bread
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 1/3 cups milk
2/3 cup Peach schnapps
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
2-3 fresh peaches, sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 Egg
2/3 cup Chambord

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9″ x 12″ square baking pan with vegetable shortening or butter.

Rip bread into bite sized pieces (about 6 cups worth). Cover with melted butter and milk, stirring to coat the bread pieces. Allow all of the milk to soak in, then arrange into prepared baking pan.

Combine peach schnapps, beaten eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk until fully combined and smooth. Pour over bread, stirring lightly so that all of the bread is covered. Gently stir in peach slices and raspberries. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set. Edges should be golden, and easily pull away from the side of the pan.

Combine melted butter, sugar, and egg in a small saucepan, whisking until well blended. Whisk constantly, cooking over low heat until mixture thickens – do not allow mixture to come to a simmer. Whisk in Chambord, remove from heat – sauce should be smooth and creamy.

Serve bread pudding hot, with sauce poured over each serving. Best eaten the same day it is made.

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

“Citrus Splendour” Cake Recipe

It’s been a while since I posted a cake recipe… gotta make sure to keep up on my Evil Cake Overlord-ness, right?

So, here’s the recipe for my “Citrus Splendour” cake. This was one of the most popular flavours for our wedding cakes, back when I was still in the custom cake business. This was especially popular for summer weddings – wildly popular. It’s light and citrussy and pretty to look at – what’s not to love?

My basic “Zesty citrus cake” is filled with layers of Lemon, Orange, and Lime buttercreams…. a bit of work, sure… but TOTALLY worth it!

Enjoy!

Citrus Splendour Cake

3 cups cake flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 1/2 ox box Instant vanilla pudding mix
6 Eggs
1 cup Water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed juice
1 1/2 cups Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Freshly zested citrus rind

1 batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Juice and zest of 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 2 limes (separated)
Orange, yellow, and green food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Liberally grease two 8″ round cake pans with vegetable shortening, and/or spray with baking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs and water, beating until smooth. Carefully add juice, melted butter, vanilla, and zest to the mix, mixing on medium speed until smooth.

Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Bake until golden and knife inserted into center of batter comes out clean and cake springs back – about 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before turning cakes out onto baking rack to cool fully. Ideally, allow to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Allow cake to sit overnight.

The following day, prepare Swiss meringue buttercream , divide into 3 equal portions. Add juice and zest of one orange to one portion, juice and zest of lemon to another portion, and lime juice and zest to the final portion. Use a tiny amount of food coloring to lightly tint each portion, if desired. Beat each portion of frosting until well combined and smooth. It WILL eventually come together!

To assemble cake:

Remove plastic wrap from cake layers. Carefully slice the domed top off each round, leveling the surface of the cake. Carefully cut each cake in half, horizontally, for 4 thin rounds of cake in all.

Place one round of cake on cake plate, spread with some of the lime buttercream. Top with another round, spread with some lemon buttercream. Top with a third round of cake, spread with some of the orange buttercream, and top with remaining layer of cake. Combine remaining amounts of buttercream to frost the outside of the cake. Serve at room temperature.

Note: This cake gets VERY hard when chilled. Always serve cakes at room temperature! Cold cake is DRY cake

Interested in making wickedly delcious cakes? You’ll LOVE my second cookbook, Evil Cake Overlord! We’ve long been known for our “ridiculously delicious” moist cakes and tasty, unique flavors. Now, you can have recipes for all of the amazing flavors on our former custom cake menu, and many more! Bake your moist work of gastronomic art, then fill and frost your cake with any number of tasty possibilities. Milk chocolate cardamom pear, mango mojito.. even our famous Chai cake – the flavor that got us into “Every Day with Rachel Ray” magazine!

Feeling creative? Use our easy to follow recipe to make our yummy fondant. Forget everything you’ve heard about fondant – ours is made from marshmallows and powdered sugar, and is essentially candy – you can even flavor it! Order your copy here.

“Fat Elvis” Cupcakes!

This past weekend, I had to bring something to an author’s picnic that Minnesota Historical Society Press – the publisher of Sweet Corn Spectacular was putting on. Being kind of corned out at the moment, I decided to bring something other than the delicious corn-filled foods I’d been talking to the media about for the past few weeks.

Inspired by the excitement that one of my friends was expressing over this particular cupcake flavour, I decided make a blast from my past – Fat Elvis Cupcakes. This is an amazing flavour combination: a moist banana cake, combined with both peanut butter and chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream!

It was a popular flavour on my cake menu back in the day, done up as cupcakes and sold at farmer’s markets, and it’s been popular with those who have copies of “Evil Cake Overlord“, where it was also featured.

It went over so insanely well at the picnic – I’d almost forgotten how wild people get about that flavour! I’d also forgotten that Swiss Meringue Buttercream still isn’t widely known about / used here in Minneapolis, so it was a lot of fun exposing people to it, once again. It’s creamy and smooth and perfect – nothing at all like heavier, gritty American buttercream.

Normally, this is done as a torte, with alternating layers of frosting. As a cupcake, I’ve always loved to swirl the two frostings together, for flavour AND appearance. Aren’t they gorgeous? I figure it’s about time I blogged the recipe.

Enjoy!

Fat Elvis Cupcakes
Makes 18 regular sized cupcakes

2 cups Cake flour
1 1/2 cup Sugar
4 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
1 small (3.5oz) box Instant vanilla or banana pudding mix*
4 Eggs
3/4 cup Water
1 cup Pureed bananas
1 cup Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract

1 batch Swiss Meringue buttercream
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled to almost room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake papers, or spray with nonstick baking spray (I prefer liners)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs and water, beating until smooth. Carefully add pureed bananas, melted butter and vanilla to the mix, mixing on medium speed until smooth.

Divide batter among prepared cupcake pans. Bake until golden and knife inserted into center of batter comes out clean and cake springs back – about 20-22 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature

Prepare either swiss meringue buttercream, divide into two equal portions. Beat peanut butter into one portion until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat melted and cooled chocolate into the other portion.

To Frost:

Have 3 large frosting bags on hand. Fit one with a large coupler set and tip of your choice – I used used a 4B, large star tip. Fill the other two bags with one each of the two frosting flavors. I like to tie them off with a little bit of twine, as it keeps things cleaner:

I filled them a bit more full than you really should – I was making a double batch!

Cut about 3/4″ off the end of the two frosting bags and CAREFULLY insert them into the third frosting bag, so that the two open tips insert almost all the way into the coupler (NOT all the way into the tip, though!)

Be gentle, you don’t want to squeeze frosting out of one or both of those bags yet!

Use the frosting bag as you normally would, piping a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake.

* I use vanilla pudding with this, as I prefer to see it only as a moisture ingredient… however, feel free to substitute banana pudding mix for an even more intense flavor.

Interested in making wickedly delcious cakes? You’ll LOVE my second cookbook, Evil Cake Overlord! We’ve long been known for our “ridiculously delicious” moist cakes and tasty, unique flavors. Now, you can have recipes for all of the amazing flavors on our former custom cake menu, and many more! Bake your moist work of gastronomic art, then fill and frost your cake with any number of tasty possibilities. Milk chocolate cardamom pear, mango mojito.. even our famous Chai cake – the flavor that got us into “Every Day with Rachel Ray” magazine!

Feeling creative? Use our easy to follow recipe to make our yummy fondant. Forget everything you’ve heard about fondant – ours is made from marshmallows and powdered sugar, and is essentially candy – you can even flavor it! Order your copy here.

So, I made a Cake for Amanda Palmer… (NSFW)

As someone with no filter to speak of, I’ve historically had to rely on others to be my “That’s not appropriate” guide. I am the queen of “It seemed like a great idea at the time!” (See: “What if I audition for a reality show?“, for example!).

My husband and friends are such enablers, that a lot of my crazy ideas end up coming through to fruition. “Let’s tile pi into our kitchen!”, “Let’s tile Fibonaaci into our bathroom wall, because I love Mathnet!”. “Let’s make costumes and dress up as Weeping Angels!”, “How about we do a tornado-smashed gingerbread house?”. “Silence of the Lambs is a perfectly legit ‘food and wine’ theme for my competition cake for a fancy Food and Wine show!”… sure, some people think I’m crazy, but hey… we have a lot of fun!

The lack of “That’s taking it a bit far…” guidance in my life led to last night, and my very first boob cake – years after retiring from the cake business. Let me back up a bit here…

My friend Michelle (of our Floor Tiling Tutorial fame!) was involved with the organization of Amanda Palmer‘s Minneapolis Kickstarter House Party. The theme was extravagance, and she offered me the opportunity to make a crazy cake for the event. While I’m still pretty caked out, I thought this would be a fun break from everything else, and a chance to flex some creative muscle. Plus, the event was WAY in the future – I think this conversation happened a year ago – so it gave me time to “recover”. 🙂

Flash forward to last week. In the midst of doing promotion for my new cookbook (“Sweet Corn Spectacular“), and with the release of my latest Spandex sewing manual (“Fitness and Bodybuilding“) coming up in just a couple weeks, I sat down with Michelle to hash out design ideas for the cake.

Between the guest of honour being so ripe for inspiration, and the theme – “extravagance” – being vague enough to not really guide or hamper design possibilities, it was really hard to narrow down what direction we wanted to go with the design.

The one thing that we knew for sure was that it would be chai flavoured – my most popular flavour from back in my cake days, the flavour that I get the most compliments about from my cake cookbook, “Evil Cake Overlord“, and it was the flavour that I’d served as a TARDIS cake at Wootstock, where I’d met Amanda’s husband – Neil Gaiman.

… in other words, it’s the flavour I’ve kind of become known for.

We’d tossed out a few ideas for design, between myself, Michelle, and her boyfriend Peter. Nothing was really grabbing me, so I joked:

“Why don’t we just do a pile of boobs? Hahaha!”

They laughed, and then stopped. It just clicked with all three of us at once, and all of a sudden I was on track to make my first boob cake ever.

(If you have no idea why we picked that, check out this coverage of Amanda Palmer’s response to a sleezy “Daily Mail” article about her: Amanda Palmer: “Dear Daily Mail”).

We decided that it would be a varied representation of boobs: Different shapes, sizes, and skin tones. Different types of nipples. We’d have some pierced, maybe a tattoo, and a mastectomy scar. As Peter put it, it would be “Boobucopia: A boob for everyone”. The whole thing would be accented with piped frosting “black lace”, to represent the bras that these boobs would be “escaping from”.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous. It’s been half a year since I last baked a cake – the one I served to Gordon Ramsay on MasterChef. It’s been a FULL year since I last decorated a cake – the “Robots and Doughnuts” one I did for an art show cake competition. I was honestly kind of worried that I’d be out of practice!

In the end, I was really happy with the results:





We delivered it to the James J Hill House for the event last night, and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I’ve got to say, I don’t miss the stress of delivering tiered, carved cakes halfway across the city. Due to the shape of the carving, the cake wasn’t the most balanced and stable cake ever… “My boobs were wobbling and bouncing” the whole way there, LOL!

We finally got to relax, sit back, and just take in the responses to the cake. All of the planning and effort (and destroying the “purity” of my browser history! LOL!) to get a variety of boobs was definitely appreciated, as people oohed and ahhed over them. The final tally had the cake at:

11 boobs
5 different custom blended skin tones
2 piercings
2 tattoos
1 mastectomy scar
1 tan line
1 with freckles
1 with a birth mark

I want to give a big shout out to my friend Julie Schanke-Lyford at Fabulous Functions for helping us out with a last minute decor crisis, and hooking us up with reasonably priced linen rental… at the last minute! I can’t imagine how busy she must be right now – summer is always a busy time for wedding planners, but Julie has been actively promoting GLBT rights and serving the gay wedding market since before it was “socially acceptable” to do so – Now that “gay weddings” can just be “weddings”… she must be swamped. About time! Be sure to check out her Facebook page, here.

Anyway.

Amanda arrived, loved the cake – dubbed it “BREASTS OF ALL NATIONS” – and many photos were taken and tweeted:



… and then she had the idea to get EVERYONE together and do a big, “Wedding style” cake cutting, en masse. Hilarity ensued as she handed out cake and instructed everyone to NOT EAT IT til she was ready. On her mark, everyone fed cake to the people next to them… it was pretty awesome, I’ve never seen anything like it!








… and then the cake no longer looked like a big pile of boobs!

Everyone ate, drank, and socialized before filing into the music room for the coziest little concert I’ve ever been to. My husband was the official photographer, and took several hundred photos of the evening – bookmark (I seriously just typed that as “boobmark”!) this blog entry and check back in a few days for a link to the online album he’ll be posting! (Edited to add: Here it is!)

In the meantime, Click here to visit my Facebook page album for this entry, to see larger sized images of those you see here!

What a great night!

Interested in making wickedly delcious cakes? You’ll LOVE my second cookbook, Evil Cake Overlord! We’ve long been known for our “ridiculously delicious” moist cakes and tasty, unique flavors. Now, you can have recipes for all of the amazing flavors on our former custom cake menu, and many more! Bake your moist work of gastronomic art, then fill and frost your cake with any number of tasty possibilities. Milk chocolate cardamom pear, mango mojito.. even our famous Chai cake – the flavor that got us into “Every Day with Rachel Ray” magazine!

Feeling creative? Use our easy to follow recipe to make our yummy fondant. Forget everything you’ve heard about fondant – ours is made from marshmallows and powdered sugar, and is essentially candy – you can even flavor it! Order your copy here.

Healthier Apple Oatmeal Muffins

In the past couple of months, I’ve gotten back in the habit of making a fresg batch of muffins for my husband (almost) every weekend, so he has breakfasts for most of the week. (Pina Colada Muffins and Cardamom-Pear Streusel Muffins have been some of the biggest hits lately). It’s a lot of fun to run wild with it, creating new recipes for him.

We’re talking about cleaning up our diets and aiming to get healthier in the coming months, and breakfast is a great place to start. I created this recipe to suit a few of his requirements – low fat, ease up on the sugar, and raise the fiber content.

One of the things I’ve done with this is substitute a lot of the all purpose flour with oats – both in rolled and flour form. In addition to being very heart healthy (Thinking of you, Mairlyn Smith!), oats are lower in carbs than all purpose flour, lower glycemic, have fewer calories, AND contains more fiber. Plus, it adds flavor – Score!

In addition to the flour substitutions, I cut the amount of processed sugar, relying on natural sweetness from the apples and oats. The butter in my normal muffins was swapped out in favor of apple sauce.

What this gives you is a wonderfully moist, dense muffin with a ton of great flavor. It sounds so cliche, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s “diet” from eating these… SO good!

As my husband puts it:

“They’re super good, they’re not just a healthy version of something, they’re something good that happens to be good for you :-)”

Enjoy!

Healthier Apple Oat Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flours, flax meal, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and cloves. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, apple sauce, grated apple, and vanilla extract. Add wet mixture all at once to the flour mixture.

Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Pina Colada Muffins

When I about 11 or 12, I spent a summer at the CalAlta Figure Skating Club in Calgary. Loved the rink, had a really nice coach…

… but the rink and the coach aren’t what inspired this blog entry. It was the giant muffins that they sold there.

I’m pretty sure they were from Costco.. each was way too big to be eaten in one serving. My favorite was the pina colada muffin, which I’d never seen before then. Upon my return to Winnipeg, searches of Costco failed to turn up these muffins, much to my dismay at the time.

Anyway, last weekend I woke up from a dream about those skating days, and with the muffins included. I decided to design a recipe around the idea of them. I wouldn’t be going for authentic, as their muffins were actually pretty dry.

So, here we are. Moist, tender pina colada flavored muffins! One of the tweaks I made to the source content was to top the muffins with coconut flakes prior to baking, which would allow them to toast up in the process. Pretty AND tasty!

Pina Colada Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups coconut flakes (sweetened or not), divided
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup coconut cream (Canned type, not milk replacement type)
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup pineapple puree*
1 tsp. rum extract

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup of the coconut, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, coconut cream, melted butter, pineapple puree, and rum extract. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.

Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full. Sprinkle remaining coconut over muffin batter in cups.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

* For pineapple puree, I drained a 20 oz can of pineapple chunks, then pureed the chunks. You can use crushed pineapple if you would like, just drain it really well first!