Ok y'all. I am beyond excited to share my cookbook review of My Paleo Patisserie and an AMAZING recipe with you today because this book seriously revolutionizes paleo and gluten free baking!
Many of you have probably picked up on the fact that I LOVE baking... I'm not sure if it's because I enjoy challenges (gluten free/paleo baking can definitely be challenging) OR if I just constantly love shoving deliciousness in my mouth. It's a combination of both, but obviously the latter is very important to me. Baking brings me joy, and sharing the things I bake with others bring me even greater joy! My husband says that it's one of my love languages - and I think the reason I find so much enjoyment in doing it for other people is because it just makes me HAPPY to see other people experience healthy yet delicious food, and the relationships and conversations that build over that. Nothing can say it better than this though:
Jenni also describes the fact that food is truly a common language across history, and the globe, bonding us together as a people - creating traditions and culture.
Yes - eating Paleo and Gluten Free is optimal and important to health. No - it does NOT have to be boring or unpleasant! I am a firm believer that we CAN and SHOULD still make food melt-in-your-mouth amazing because it is an incredible opportunity for families, friends, couples, heck - even with new people you don't know - to slow life down a little bit, enjoy food, laugh, and be happy. Life these days is so fast paced that I believe that food one of those things that can make you stop, breath, and remind yourself of what's important in your life - the people around you (oh and maybe that delicious cake in your mouth).
I have been following Jenni Hulet's blog The Urban Poser for a while and have such admiration for her talents abilities in the baking world! This cookbook is truly a work of art and you can tell that she has poured her heart and mind into it.
Now on to the cookbook itself! First of all, here's the link to it on Amazon because I can just tell you now that you are going to want/need to buy it. Let me say this - I have a ton of paleo/gluten free cookbooks and THIS one is going to be the one that I will use continuously for the rest of my life.
Every birthday or celebration, this baby is going to be pulled out. Want to try your hand at Paleo Double Chocolate Blackberry Cream Puffs (or any variation of it for that matter)? There's a recipe or 10 for that. Something more simple like a basic baguette (um hello puffy bread that I've been missing) or popover? Literally the list goes on from the most decadent pastries, to single layered or 3 layered cakes, ice creams, marshmallows, pizza crusts, and more!
One of the things that is great is that there are options for EVERYTHING. Everything in the book is gluten free and dairy free, and there are variations of recipes to make them nut-free or dairy-free also.
But more than just dietary options, the options that I REALLY love are that Jenni gives you the basic recipes (ex: chocolate cake, vanilla cake) and then the advanced recipes based off of those (Chocolate Cherry Naked Cake, Neopolitan Cake, etc.) AND THEN she gives you a "Build Your Own ---" pages! This is where the gold is and what you will truly use for the rest of your life. She has "Build your Own Cake", "Build Your Own Choux" for pastries, and "Build your Own Tarts" pages. Seriously brilliant.
Just the other day I used that section to make my husband his birthday cake - a 2 layer chocolate cake with French Buttercream filling and frosting. It was one of the most moist and delicious chocolate cakes that I've ever eaten!
And the great thing is that NO ONE at the party had any idea that is was gluten free until I told them! And even then, I got comments like "Are you sure?" and "Seriously?!". Oh and no judging my frosting skills. I'm working on it! I also learned why your are supposed to let the cakes cool completely before frosting because my buttercream filling in the middle melted haha (I was a little time crunched)! Don't worry, it was still freaking amazing and just got absorbed deliciously into the chocolate.
The last couple things that I want to touch on in praise of this book is the fact that she gives detailed instructions, has both basic and challenging recipes depending on what you want, and - SUPER IMPORTANT - the ingredients are staples and basic to a paleo/gluten free pantry! Sometimes I get cookbooks where I have to go out and buy some obscure spice or bizarre ingredient (that I never really use again) and it's very frustrating - this is not that. Jenni such does a great job at making sure that her recipes use simple ingredients.
The recipe that I have the honor of sharing with you today is for her Paleo Maple Carrot Cake - basically another way of saying deliciousness in your mouth. I also included the recipe for her Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Enjoy!
Maple Carrot Cake
For this recipe you will need three 6-inch (15-cm) round cake pans, as the recipe is written for that amount of batter. However, this amount of batter will also make one 9-inch (24-cm) round cake for a nice single-layer cake if desired.
- INGREDIENTS -
For the cake:
¼ cup (45 g) palm shortening or ghee
4 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup (200 g) firmly packed maple sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3½ cups (350 g) almond flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (40 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
⅓ cup (50 g) raisins
⅓ cup (60 g) chopped pineapple
⅓ cup (40 g) chopped pecans
3 medium carrots (260 g), grated
1 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream (page 58)
3 cups (170 g) coconut flakes, for garnish
YIELD - One three-layer (6-inch/15-cm) round cake (serving 12 to 15)
- METHOD -
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Grease and line the cake pans with parchment paper circles cut to fit the pans.
2. Melt the shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, then set aside to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, egg white, sugar, and lemon juice on medium-high speed for 15 minutes. The mixture should become thick and voluminous. Always beat it for the whole 15 minutes, though.
3. While the egg mixture is beating, whisk together the flour, spices, and baking soda in a large bowl till blended. Add the shredded coconut, raisins, pineapple, pecans, carrots, and melted shortening, then toss to combine.
4. When the egg mixture is ready, gently fold it into the flour mixture till completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or till the tops spring back when gently pressed. (Bake for 35 to 40 minutes if using a 9-inch/24-cm round cake pan.)
5. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Loosen the edge of each cake with a sharp knife, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.
6. To assemble: Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread about a ¼-inch (6-mm)-thick layer of buttercream evenly over the cake. Place the second cake layer on top of the buttercream, then spread more buttercream on top. Finally, place the last cake layer, then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. You don’t need a super thick layer, but you want enough buttercream to press the coconut flakes into.
7. Scoop up handfuls of coconut flakes and gently press them into and all over the surface of the cake.
8. For best results, chill the cake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes to secure the coconut flakes. If needed, fill in gaps by placing a little frosting on the back of a coconut flake and secure it to the area.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This buttercream is light, not too sweet, and fairly easy to make, and it pipes beautifully. Because the eggs in the meringue are heated to 160°F (71°C), this is an ideal frosting for serving to kids and the elderly, as the eggs are not raw.
- INGREDIENTS -
3 Room temperature egg whites
3/4 c maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cream or tartar or lemon juic
1½ cups (270 g) palm shortening*, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (omit for flavor variations)
*To substitute ghee, use an equal amount by weight. If measuring by volume (cups), reduce the amount of fat used to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons.
YIELD - About 3 cups (710 ml), enough to cover and fill one 6-inch (15-cm) round, two-layer cake. This recipe doubles nicely.
- METHOD -
1. Combine all ingredients in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a small or medium-sized saucepan with 2 inches (5 cm) of simmering water in it. It is important that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat the mixture till it reaches 160 degrees F (71 degrees C on a candy thermometer, whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle or seize.
2. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a metal bowl and a hand mixer. Start whipping on low speed, gradually increasing to high over the course of 30 seconds. Continue to beat the mixture on high speed till stiff and completely cool. This could take up to 8-10 minutes, or longer if using a hand mixer.
3. After making the Swiss meringue, switch to the paddle attachment on the stand mixer. (You can also use a hand mixer.) Add the shortening bit by bit, beating on medium-high speed till thick and smooth. Beat in the vanilla, if using.
4. If the buttercream becomes loose and liquid, your meringue may not have been sufficiently cool when you added the shortening. Chill the mixture slightly in the fridge, then resume beating. It will emulsify eventually. If it curdles, the shortening may have been too cold. No worries! Don’t fret or throw it out; just keep beating! Beating the mixture fixes pretty much everything.
NOTE - This buttercream can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for several days or even frozen for a few months. Bring to room temperature and rewhip before using.