So…am I being a total jerk for posting a cake recipe during the second week of January?
If I am, you guys can totally tell me. Be honest.
Well…maybe not too honest. I don’t want my feelings to get hurt.
But here’s the thing: I like cake. I like baking it. I like sharing it with friends. And I like eating it. So I’m going to continue to do those things. Maybe with a little less frequency than I was doing in December. But I’m not going to abandon desserts altogether. Deprivation doesn’t jive well with me. Someone always ends up getting hurt in the end.
And this Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel is just barely crossing the threshold into the “dessert” category. The cake itself isn’t too terribly sweet. In fact, I’d say it’s definitely leaning more on the cornbread side of the equation than on the cake side of the equation. And if you skip the glaze, it would totally be acceptable to enjoy a slice (or two!) at breakfast or brunch. No one would judge you.
The fennel seeds were a last minute addition, spurred by the all mighty Google machine. When I was researching recipes, I found several sweet cornmeal cake recipes (usually Italian or Brazilian in origin) that used them. And that sounded like a pretty good idea to me. So I gave it a go. And holy moly, it might just be my favorite part of this recipe. So whatever you do, definitely don’t skip the fennel seeds!
I’m sharing this Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with Grapefruit and Fennel as part of our monthly seasonal eating round-up organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. At the start of each month, Becky posts a guide outlining which fruits and vegetables are currently at their peak, along with recipe suggestions for how to use them. You can find her January produce guide here. And then myself and a few other bloggers make new recipes to further highlight those ingredients. Check out the links below to see what everyone has created for the month of January. And follow along with the hashtag #eatseasonal on social media to see even more inspiring seasonal recipes!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
January Eat Seasonal Recipes
Healthy Tangerine Julius Smoothie by Letty’s Kitchen
Leek and Turnip Soup by Vintage Mixer
Apple Almond Bircher Meusli with Winter Fruits by Simple Bites
Saucy Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Curry and Mint by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Squash Boats by She Likes Food
Peanut Butter Crusted Sweet Potato Fries by JoyFoodSunshine
Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette by Project Domestication
Winter Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce by Cafe Johnsonia
Meyer Lemon Coconut Panna Cotta by Kitchen Confidante
Maple Orange Teriyaki Salmon Bowls by Flavor the Moments
Disclosure: I’m so happy to be able to give you all a peek into Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor-Tobin. Thanks for letting me share this beautiful cookbook with you!
Little known fact about me: I spent almost 2 years cooking and baking exclusively gluten-free.
This was back in my California days. And it wasn’t for my own benefit. But for a man that I was with at the time. I was determined to be the “good girlfriend” and make him all the things that he had enjoyed in his younger years, but had to forgo since excluding gluten from his diet. So with the help of the internet and the local hippie-dippy market (which at the time was the best place to find gluten-free products), I armed myself with a pantry full of alternative flours and got to work. I spent endless hours in the kitchen. And we indulged ourselves in all my creations.
But those days are very far away now. That man is gone. And with his exit, so went the dozen bags of flours that had taken up residency in my kitchen. I returned to my usual baking ways (albeit for the occasional use of almond or hazelnut flour in a recipe). And eventually, all the other parts of my life returned to normal as well.
Truth be told, I did enjoy my walk on the gluten-free side of life. Sure, gluten-free baking can intimidating at times. But it can also open up a brand new world of flavors and textures. And recently, I’ve found myself kind of missing that. So with a copy of Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s new cookbook, Alternative Baker, firmly in my hands, I’m taking the plunge again.
Alanna is one of the sweetest blogging friends that I have. She is soft-spoken, silly, genuine and humble. And I knew I would love her before I even met her in person. Oh and let’s not forget to mention how amazingly talented she is in the kitchen and behind the camera. Like, I want to cry when I look at her beautiful cookbook and blog. It’s just too lovely to even process sometimes.
I knew right away when I spotted her recipe for this Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart that it would be the first thing I would make from Alternative Baker. I’m a big fan of pecan pie, but sometimes it can be too cloyingly sweet, even for me. Alanna’s recipe, however, hits just the right balance of tart and sweet. With enough chocolate to keep any chocoholic very satisfied. The gluten-free tart dough comes together easily enough. And Alanna gives lots of tips and tricks so you’ll be sure to nail it on your first attempt. This is definitely one dessert to put on your Holiday baking list!
Check out Alanna’s adorable trailer of her cookbook on over on her blog. And pick up a copy of Alternative Baker today!
Reprinted with minimal adaptations from Alternative Baker. Copyright © 2016, Alanna Taylor-Tobin.