Gluten Free and Eggless Black Forest Cake

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Ignoring the sloppy frosting on the second picture (I’m a bit out of practice), isn’t she beautiful! This traditional black forest cake is so simple and delightful to make, that it surprises me that I hadn’t tried it earlier. Nowadays its a bit harder for me to bake, due to IB, College admissions, SATs etc, but being my source of relaxation, its still something I absolutely love doing. I baked this for my father’s birthday, and he loved it! Making this iconic cake gluten free and eggless was not that challenging, which means it should be great for you to make at home as well! Mind you, while making this cake there will be too many instances where you just want to stick your finger in the bowl and have a lick of whichever part of the cake you’re making, be it the rich chocolate cake batter, the delightfully sticky fresh cherry filling, or the light and airy whipped cream.

Cake recipe adapted from: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY’S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

Ingredients:
For the chocolate cake:
1-3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Egg free equivalent of 2 egg
1 cup boiling water

For the fresh cherry filling:
1-1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the whipped cream:
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For decoration:
1 bar of chocolate, refrigerated for at least 1 hour (so it has hardened)
8 cherries, with the stem

Procedure:
For the chocolate cake:
Preheat your oven to. 180C, and line and grease 2 9″ round cake pans.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl, and whisk well. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, milk, vanilla extract and egg replacer, and mix with an electric mixer (though an immersion blender is the best for this).
Add the flour mixture in 3 instalments, mixing well between each addition.
Stir in the boiling water (The batter will be rather thin at this point).

Pour into your pans, and bake for about 27 minutes.
Remove when an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached, or until the cake has started pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cakes cool before assembly.

For the fresh cherry filling:

While the cakes are baking, prepare the cherry filling.
In a small/medium saucepan, cook the cherries on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until they have released quite a bit of juice.

In a small separate bowl, mix the cornstarch and sugar. Spoon around 2-3 tablespoons of the hot cherry juice into the small bowl, and mix with the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Then, pour this mixture back into the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking for a while until the mixture has thickened.

Let the mixture cool while waiting for the cakes to cool.

For the whipping cream and chocolate shavings:
While the cakes and cherry filling are cooling, prepare the shaved chocolate. Place the chocolate bar smooth side up on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, scrape the top surface of the chocolate, producing shavings. (Click here for a video demonstration). I made about 1-1/4 cup worth of chocolate curls. Place in the fridge.

For the whipped cream, place the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, using a stand or electric mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. Place in the fridge if still waiting for the cake or the filling to cool.

Assembly:
Once everything has cooled (this is really important, as the whipped cream may melt if the cake is too warm), place one of the chocolate cake layers on your cake stand. Place some whipped cream on the bottom cake layer (about 3/4 cups, but this is just an approximate measurement). Top with the cooled fresh cherry filling, and spread with a serrated knife.

Place the second chocolate cake layer on top of this, and spread the whipped cream evenly around the top and sides of the cake.

Then, with your palm, cover the bottom half of the sides of the cake with the chocolate shavings, patting them in place gently.

Fill a piping bag with the remaining whipped cream, and pipe a decorative circle in the centre of the cake. Place the cherries on this circle, and fill the center of the circle with the chocolate shavings. (This is just how I decorated it, you should decorate it in whichever way you want – get creative!).

Enjoy!

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Gluten free and Eggless Roasted Banana and Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich

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This ice cream sandwich is reminiscent of the peanut butter banana sandwiches I would occasionally get as a kid, when I would look forward to eating them the entire day. What you see here now is a wonderfully evolved version, consisting of the lovely peanut butter cookies I baked recently, along with a scrumptious roasted banana ice cream. This flavour combination is so familiar, yet so different, you just have to try it to get that.

Peanut butter cookie recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10275/classic-peanut-butter-cookies/

Roasted banana ice cream recipe from: http://www.onceuponachef.com/2011/07/banana-sorbet.html

Ingredients:
Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 1 egg
1-1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

Roasted Banana Ice Cream
3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsn butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or use milk instead, if you want a healthier alternative)
2 tbsn granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt

Procedure
Peanut Butter Cookies
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer cream the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Add both the sugars, and cream until soft and fluffy. Add the egg replacer, and mix well, until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Mix this sifted flour mixture in the creamed butter mixture using a wooden spoon, until no patches of flour are seen. Chill this dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

Ten minutes before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 190°C. After the dough has chilled for an hour, take about half a tablespoon’s worth of dough, and roll into a 1 inch ball. Place these about 2.5 inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Flatten the dough slightly with your fingers. Bake these cookies for about 7 minutes (8-9 minutes if you want a firmer cookie), until they are a light golden-brown color.

Let the cookies cool before assembly.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream
Meanwhile, make the roasted banana ice cream. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Slice the bananas into roughly 1/2 inch pieces, and place in a deep baking dish. Sprinkle the slices evenly with the brown sugar and dot them with butter. Toss them until the banana slices are evenly coated. Bake for 40 minutes, or until they become a deep caramel color.

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Immediately transfer the bananas and the syrup into a medium sized bowl, and add 1/2 cup of the cream (or milk, if using), and mix well. Do this step quickly, as the caramel syrup hardens quickly. Transfer this mixture into a blender, and add the remaining milk, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Blend until thick and homogenous. Let this mixture chill in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until well-chilled.

After the mixture has chilled, pour into an ice cream maker, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Assembly
After churning the ice cream in the ice cream maker, let the ice cream chill in the freezer until its almost hardened, but not quite.

For assembly, take a cookie and place it flat side up. Spoon about a tablespoon of ice cream (or as much as you like, a little more won’t hurt!) on the cookie and spread it. Top this with a second cookie, of a similar size. Repeat for the remaining cookies.

Place in the freezer to chill, and then enjoy!

Makes about 15 ice cream sandwiches.

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Gluten Free and Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies

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I’m all for balancing contrasting flavors. In fact, I feel opposites attract and make dessert taste the best. Thats why these cookies work. The crunchiness of the PB balances the soft cookie, and the saltiness of the PB matches the sugary cookie. The PB integrates (the math HL student in me is snickering) smoothly with the cookie, giving rise to a beautiful and delectable marriage.

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10275/classic-peanut-butter-cookies/

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 1 egg
1-1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

Procedure:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer cream the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Add both the sugars, and cream until soft and fluffy. Add the egg replacer, and mix well, until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Mix this sifted flour mixture in the creamed butter mixture using a wooden spoon, until no patches of flour are seen. Chill this dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

Ten minutes before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 190°C. After the dough has chilled for an hour, take about half a tablespoon’s worth of dough, and roll into a 1 inch ball. Place these about 2.5 inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Flatten the dough slightly with your fingers. Bake these cookies for about 7 minutes (8-9 minutes if you want a firmer cookie), until they are a light golden-brown color.

Let the cookies cool before devouring them. Enjoy!

This recipe makes 30 cookies.

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