I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Alanna many months ago, because of a dear friend Emma. Asha, Emma, Alanna and I met for lunch one summer Sunday and spent a lovely afternoon together, at a restaurant in Berkeley and then we wandered around the streets of Berkeley, chit chatting about various things. It was so nice to meet Alanna and Emma for the first time, both wonderful gals, and so down to earth. That is when I got to know that Alanna has a book coming out, all about baking with gluten free flours, and I was really excited! If you know me, you know my crazy love for baking, and how I bake at unearthly hours, just because it gives me sheer pleasure, and the ultimate happiness when I am in my own space, in my own kitchen with my baking supplies! I could not wait for Alanna’s book to come out!
(Sorry Alanna! This shot from your book was so beautiful, I had to re-create it 🙂 )
Alanna was ever so kind to send me a copy before the book launched, and boy was I the happiest person to see her book and hold it in my hand!? It is a piece of stunning work, beautiful recipes, each one so well thought out, and the instructions are crystal clear, so that even a novice baker can make a wonderful creation. She gives proper instructions on baking, and how to consider each and every aspect of baking, to get the best results possible. The book has so much knowledgeable information on all the different types of gluten-free flours that are out there, the texture, flavor profile, consistency and health benefits of each flour as well, which is eye opening and very informative.
And let’s talk about the photography for a minute shall we ? Each picture, the layout, the props, the color is so beautifully thought out. I love simplicity in pictures, and the food talks for itself in her pictures. I dont know how many times I must have flipped through the cookbook just to look at the pictures ! 🙂 I have too many favorites in her book!
There are so many recipes I want to try, like the Rustic Plum, Teff and Hazelnut Tart, Grapefruit and Elderflower Curd Tart, Chocolate Truffle Tart with Olive oil and flaky Sea Salt, Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies, Chestnut Roulade Cake are some of the few. I love the fact that most of her recipes have fruits in it, which I totally dig! I love desserts with fruits! I have tried the Plum Financiers, and now the Persimmon Cake with Vanilla Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting, and believe me – both were simply amazing and delicious! One piece was just not enough!
Here I made the Persimmon Cake, with the Vanilla Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting! The cake uses Hachiya persimmons which are longer and chubby to look at. They are not eaten, but once ripened, they form a very sweet pulp that is perfect for baking. The best way to ripen them is to put them in a brown paper bag with a banana or an apple and it should ripen within about 2 weeks. Yea, it does take some time for it to ripen but the end result after baking is just so delicious! The cake has lovely spices like cinnamon, cardamom and 4 different types of gluten free flours like sweet rice flour, oat flour, millet flour and almond flour. The texture of the cake is nutty and very tasty! The cream cheese frosting has bourbon in it and the frosting together with the cake and the fuyu persimmons is SIMPLY DIVINE! Who knew this combination would be such a bomb!?
I am posting this recipe from Alanna’s stunning book and I hope you get a chance to try it while persimmons are in season! This would be a perfect Thanksgiving Dessert as well! and look so pretty on the table with the bright persimmons on the top of the cake!
If you have gluten allergies, or know someone who has gluten allergies, make sure to get this gorgeous book from Alanna, and bake away the most decadent goodies! Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup (60g) blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup (80g) sweet rice flour
- 1/2 cup (75g) millet flour
- 1/2 cup (55g) GF oat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
- 1/2 cup packed organic light or dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (235ml) Hachiya persimmon puree(See note at the end)
- Frosting and filling:
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temp
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp bourbon or gf whiskey
- 2 large fuyu persimmons cut how you like to decorate the cake OR cube into small pieces
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- To make the cake, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 6 inch round cake pan with 2 inch sides with a round of parchment paper cut to fit. Cut a 4 inch wide strip of parchment paper that is longer than the circumference of the pan and use it to make a collar around the inside of the pan, making it easier to unmold.
- Please a strainer over a medium bowl and add all the flours along with the baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl, adding back in any bits that get caught in the strainer.
- Combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 min, scrapping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the egg yolks, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, beat in a third of the flour mixture until combined. beat in half of the persimmon puree, until combined. Repeat until you have added everything.
- In a separate clean bowl, use a whisk to whip up the egg whites until they hold firm peaks when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl. As soon as the whites are whipped, stir a third of them into the cake batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain.
- Scrap the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake the cake until the toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan about 2 hours.
- When the cake is cool, use a small offset spatula or butter knife to loosen the edges and bottom from the pan. Invert it into your hand and pry it off the pan. Remove the parchment collar and bottom and discard. Place one layer of the cake upright on a board, or cake stand. Use a large serrated knife to evenly remove a thin layer from the top of the cake to make it even and smooth.
- For the Frosting and Filling:
- To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla seeds and salt on mediu speed until light and fluffy. Be careful not to overbeat, or the mixture could break and become grainy. Add the bourbon and beat to incorporate. The frosting can be covered and kept at cool room temp for upto a few hours.
- For the filling, slice the tops of the fuyu persimmos and cut them into an even disc about 1/4 inch square. Place in a small bowl and toss with a squeeze of lemon to keep them from oxidizing.
- To assemble the cake, place the bottom cake layer, on a fresh round of parchment paper or a small plate. Divide the frosting between the two layers. Starting with the bottom layer, smooth the frosting over the surface, taking it almost to the edge. Top with about half of the diced persimmons and press the persimmons into the frosting. Top with the second cake layer inverted, so that the top is smooth and even. Repeat the frosting and persimmon process.
- Serve immediately or for the cleanest slices, chill the cake for atleast 1 hour. The cake is best at room temp when the butter in the cake and frosting have softened.
- The cake is best the day of baking but will keep refrigerated for upto 3 days.
- NOTE: To make the hachiya puree, make sure that they are squishy ripe and feel like water balloons. When ready to bake, cut the blossom off the persimmon, squeeze the jelly like puree into a small bowl and mush it with a fork. OR you could put the flesh through a wide mesh strainer for a more better consistency.