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.
During the Summer months, I pretty much leave my oven dial set squarely in the “OFF” position. I occasionally break the rules to bake up a batch of perfectly moist muffins. Or if there is some emotional crisis that calls for chocolate therapy, then a pan of fudgy brownies is a fair trade for a little brow sweat. But other than that, it’s kind of not worth the risk of turning my kitchen into Satan’s den.
Which is why I was starting to get just a teeny tiny bit excited about Fall baking. I even had big plans for this past weekend: blondies, sticky buns and cookies were all on the menu. But then it ended up being crazy hot and humid here. So my oven dial stayed put. Which is kind of a shame. But probably better for my waistline in the long run, if I’m being completely honest with myself.
However, I did manage to sneak in this Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake last week when we had a cooler day. And I’m super excited to share the recipe with you guys today.
I find that pears are so underused in the Fall. Everyone is in some kind of pumpkin-induced delirium. Which causes pears (and even apples) to get overlooked. So I always try to give them a little bit of loving when I get the chance. These pear and ginger scones and this sweet potato and pear soup are two of my personal favorites from last year, if you’re at all interested.
This cake is the perfect way to highlight seasonal pears and blackberries. And it feels kind of like a transitional cake. Not too heavy, not too light. With notes of both Summer and Fall flavors. You could serve this cake for brunch. Or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert. I don’t think you can really go wrong here. I definitely had a slice or two for breakfast!
Make sure to buy pears that are ripe, but still firm. If they are overly ripe, they will release a lot of juice and the cake directly underneath the pears will turn out a bit on the gummy side. And that’s no bueno.
I’m sharing my Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake as part of our monthly #eatseasonal round-up organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. Check out Becky’s September produce guide for the low down on what’s in season this month (there is A LOT!). And see what some of my blogging friends made this month to celebrate September’s bounty of fruits and vegetables. The links are below!
Recipe adapted from my Rhubarb-Almond Cake
September Eat Seasonal Recipes
Coconut Curry Cauliflower Rice Bowls by Kitchen Confidante
Homemade Pumpkin Pasta by Bless this Mess
Melon and Raspberry Soda Float by Letty’s Kitchen
Ratatouille Lasagna by Flavor the Moments
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Carrots and Radishes by Vintage Mixer
Harvest Tortilla Soup by Simple Bites
Peach Muffins with Pecan Streusel by Cafe Johnsonia
Pear and Fig Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey by Food for My Family
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread by Foodie Crush