Posts by tag: dessert

  • Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}

Posted on October 19, 2016

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.

Alternative Baker by Alanna Taylor-Tobin |

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.

Boss Babes Fest MSP Retreat |

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!

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free} |

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.

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}

Serves 10-12

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart {Gluten-Free}


  • For the Tart Dough
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • For the Filling
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, halved


  1. Prepare the tart dough. Position a rack in the center of your oven and pre-heat it to 375 degrees. Place a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom on a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the cocoa powder, almond flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Then turn your mixer to medium-low and run it until the dough comes together in clumps and the butter is worked through, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Dump the crumbs into your tart pan and use your hands to press the dough evenly into the pan, starting with the sides and then moving to the bottom, keeping the edges square. The dough will be about 1/4-inch thick. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Then transfer the pan to your freezer to chill the dough until firm, about 15-30 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, transfer the pan to your pre-heated oven and bake until the crust is firm to the touch, about 18-22 minutes. Remove the pan the from the oven and while the crust is still hot, use the back of a spoon to press down firmly but gently on the bottom and sides of the crust to help it hold together. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the filling. Lower your oven temperature to 325 degrees and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  6. Spread the pecans out onto a small rimmed baking sheet and toast them in your pre-heated oven until fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the pecans from the oven and set them aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, use your fingers to break the pecan halves up into smaller pieces.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla extract, being careful not to over work the filling. Whisk in the melted butter. Fold in the toasted pecans.
  8. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the bottom of your prepared crust. Top with the cranberry halves. Then pour the filling over top, distributing it evenly. Transfer the tart to your pre-heated oven and bake until the sides are gently puffed and the center is still slightly wobbly, about 20-30 minutes.
  9. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
  10. The tart is best when enjoyed the day of baking. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake

Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake

Posted on September 12, 2016

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.

Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake |

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!

Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake |

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

Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake

Yield: Makes one 10-inch cake

Pear and Blackberry Almond Cake


  • 1 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 pears, peeled, halved and cored (make sure they are ripe but still firm)
  • 3/4 cups blackberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • Powdered sugar for serving, if desired


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. Then generously coat the parchment paper and the sides of the springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup of the sugar and the butter on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition. Then beat in the yogurt, lemon zest and the extracts.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the cake batter, adding in about one-third at a time, mixing on low speed until no more white streaks remain.
  4. Spread the cake batter into your prepared springform pan, making sure the top is even. The batter will be thick and a bit tacky. Arrange the pears, cut side up, on top of the batter, pressing them down slightly into the batter. Sprinkle the pears with the remaining 1 tsp. of sugar and 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon. Top with the blackberries and sliced almonds.
  5. Transfer the cake to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the cake form the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Cut the cake into slices and serve with a dusting of powder sugar, if desired.
  6. The cake is best served the day it’s made, but it can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 day.

September Eat Seasonal Recipes

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

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