Rum and Coconut Cake

My Uncle Bob has been sending a coconut rum cake to my family for years during the holiday season. This cake is coveted by the whole family. It is moist, covered in coconut and pecans and AMAZING. For years – years – only my mother knew about the cake. She would get the package, eat the coconut rum cake, and then share the remaining items with the family. Only recently have we been able to partake in the glory that is the coconut rum cake. Bob won’t share his recipe – and this isn’t exactly the same, but it is pretty close!


Rum and Coconut Cake

for the cake:

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons oil, separated

1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 3.4 oz package coconut pudding mix

3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

3/4 cup rum*

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup shredded coconut plus 1/2 cup coconut

for the soak:

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup rum*

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare two 9 inch loaf pans. Pour a little oil into each pan and wipe with a cloth to evenly distribute the oil.

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons of oil and mix until combined. The mixture will look like crumbs. Add the pudding mix, and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, rum, vanilla, and remaining oil. Add the wet ingredients slowly to the flour mixture until combined. The mixture should be pourable. Hand mix one cup of coconut into the batter.

Pour the batter into the two pans and tap them on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Top the pans with the remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Bake the cakes for about 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

While the cake cooks, make the soak. Combine the butter, water, sugar in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cook until slightly reduced, then remove from the heat and add the rum. Be careful when adding the rum! The mixture will bubble!

When the cakes are done, remove from the oven and place on the counter. Pour the warm soak over both cakes. Let the cake soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Slice and serve.

*Do not use spiced rum. Use dark rum.

Breakfast, Snacks, Sweets


I’m a ginger nut. Early in my marriage, I purchased candied ginger and would occasionally pop a piece and chew it slowly. My husband ate a piece and told me, it was inedible. It was too spicy. He had no idea how I could possibly eat such a thing. He never ate straight candied ginger again (to my knowledge). He has, over our six years of marriage, grown to appreciate ginger. He now drinks ginger beer. He likes ginger candy. He approved of this gingerbread.



3/4 cup ginger ale (do not use diet)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup oil, plus a little extra

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon dried ginger

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a eight by 4 loaf pan with a little oil. I like to drizzle a little oil in the bottom of the pan and use a towel to wipe the pan to evenly coat the inside with oil.

Bring the soda to a boil. When boiling, remove the soda from the heat and add the baking soda. Make sure you’re using a pan with high sides because the soda will foam. When the foaming has stopped, stir in the sugar and the fresh ginger. Set aside to cool. When cooled, whisk in the eggs and the oil.

Whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the soda mixture into the flour slowly until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and tap the pan on the counter gently to remove air bubbles.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the loaf is firm to the touch. Let the loaf cool before slicing.



Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

I adore my sister in law. She is the sister that I never had growing up, and always wanted. When she entered our little family, I was a little nervous – you never know how new relationships are going to go, you know? Her first holiday with out family was Easter, and my mother made carrot cake. The plates were passed, and she grew quiet. She ate a few bites and paused. I never knew why people would eat carrot cake, she said. A cake, made of vegetables, not entirely appealing. But, sometimes you have to just put your head down, she said, and power through. But she liked this carrot cake, and the head down and powering through technique worked.

And now, I can’t eat carrot cake without smiling. I don’t know if this would pass the sister in law test, but it is pretty good.

Oh – and my sister in law blogs! They are presently engaged in a four-month world tour. Check it out here.


Carrot cake with cinnamon buttercream

for the cake:

2/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup raisins

2 eggs

1 cup gluten free flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup walnuts

for the buttercream:

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

Make the cake. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs until well incorporated. Slowly added the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the carrot, raisins, and nuts. Pout into a loaf pan and bake at 350 for one hour and five minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

For the buttercream, whip the butter until fluffy, then add in the sugar and spice a little at a time until thick. Frost the cake roughly when cool.


Banoffee Pie

We’re celebrating a bit of an anniversary this week. The one week anniversary of my husband’s purchase of fourteen bananas. We are generally a banana-for-breakfast kind of family, but that a few too many bananas for even us to eat. We got down to it, but at the end of the week, we had four bananas left. As the old saying goes, if life gives you bananas, make banoffee pie. It is really rather simple.


Banoffee Pie

2 14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk

4 bananas

1 pint whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 par-baked gluten free crust

1 oz dark chocolate, shaved (optional)

Place the cans of sweetened condensed milk, with the paper labels removed, in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a simmer and keep it simmering for four hours. That sounds long, I know. You’re making caramelized sweetened condensed milk here, and that takes some time! Put the water to simmer, and read Outlander for a few hours, checking the water every once in a while to make sure that the cans are still covered by the water. You’re going to add water every now and again. Remove the cans at the end of the hour hours and set aside to cool.

Assemble your pie. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Slice the bananas into roughly quarter-inch slices. Arrange the banana slices in the pie crust. Open the sweetened condensed milk and pour over the bananas, making sure to allow the caramel-y milk to drip to the bottom of the pie crust. Top with the whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Chill for at least four hours.

Breakfast, Snacks, Sweets

Gingered Pumpkin Bread

Winter is quick bread season. Life is fast, and if you need a little sweet in little time, quick bread to the rescue. This one is a mash up of some of my winter favorites: gingerbread and pumpkin bread. If you’re like me, you already have these things in your pantry already. Let’s get to mixing.


Gingered Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour)

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 rounded teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 stick butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup water

1 thumb-sized length nub of fresh ginger

1 tablespoon oil, to grease the pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease a loaf pan with oil.

Sift the flour, the salt, the spices, the baking soda into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Peel the ginger, and grate the fresh ginger into the wet ingredients. Mix well. Create a well in the dry ingredients, and mix in the wet ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife emerges from the loaf cleanly. Let cool before slicing.


Parsnip Pie

If you are me, and you have eaten a few squash-based pies in your life, you begin to wonder what other starch-based pies will be equally delicious, sweet potato aside, as it has already been proved utterly delicious. Just ask the little girl that I help learn to read on Mondays. Yesterday she was so hyped about her Aunt’s sweet potato pie that we just ended up spelling and reading Thanksgiving-themed words. Sometimes you just go with the flow I guess. Back to parsnips. They are delicious roasted toasty in the oven as a side to the Main Course, but take a minute to prepare this pie and brace yourself for a sweet and loamy* pie just right for the end of a holiday dinner.


Parsnip Pie

2 lbs parsnip

1 shot whiskey (optional)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon clove

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup evaporated milk

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs, and two additional egg yolks

1 prepared and blind-baked pie crust

Peel your parsnips, and chop into even-sized pieces. Boil said parsnips for fifteen or so minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain the veg and mash viciously with a masher. Small lumps are acceptable, large lumps are not.

Remove two cups of mashed parsnip from your bowl, and empty into a sauce pan. Add the whiskey, nutmeg, clove, ginger and salt. Apply medium heat for about five minutes. You want to see the whiskey escape as steam, and begin to smell the spice mingle with the parsnip mash. Slowly dribble the evaporated milk into your mash, stirring to incorporate. When incorporated, stir in your sweetened condensed milk. Allow to cool slightly.

Dump the eggs into a blender or food processor, and turn the machine on. Add the parsnip mixture, a scan tablespoon at a time until you can feel that the eggs have lost their chill and have begun to warm. Once the eggs have warmed, feel free to add the parsnip mixture quicker.

Pour the mixture into your crust and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, or until the pie is firm.

Serve room temperature, with whipped cream.

*Any Narnia fans out there? Love when the hamadryads eat a variety of soils, including loam. This pie isn’t exactly dirt, but the word loamy just fits with certain foods. Go with me here.

Breakfast, Sweets

Banana-rama Bread

I love banana bread. Not only am I bananas about bananas, but there is something satisfying about taking a fruit that was at the end of the line, and make it into something new and fresh. Don’t you wish you could banana-bread-ize other things in your life? Of course, yes. But you can’t. Just make up for it by eating banana bread.


Banana-rama Bread

3 medium over-ripe bananas

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 egg

3/4 cup cashew milk (you can use any milk here, but do not use a reduced fat milk)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (white or coconut)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1 1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten free flour

1 1/4 cup gluten free oats

1/4 cup tapioca flour

Mash the bananas thoroughly. Mix in the vanilla, the coconut oil, the egg and the milk. Gradually mix in the sugars, baking powder, salt and cardamom. Add the flours and oats a little at a time until mixed.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately an hour.

Let this baby cool completely before cutting, it is a little on the crumbly side straight out of the oven.


Rose and Pistachio Ice Cream

I’m an ice-cream fool, and my love is in love with pistachios. I’m no pistachio eater, but if you bring home a bag of those bright green nuts, and they are gone in minutes. So, in honor of the birthday week, an ice cream for my pistachio eater and scented with rosewater for a sultry middle-eastern frozen treat.

Rose and Pistachio Ice Cream

Rose and Pistachio Ice Cream

Rose and Pistachio Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk

1 1/4 cup whipping cream

2 of cream cheese, room temperature

1 tablespoon corn starch

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 cup pistachios

1 teaspoon rose water

1 teaspoon salt

Toast the pistachios at 400 degrees for approximately ten minutes, or until toasted and lightly browned. Blend half of the nuts in a food processor until they form a paste similar to peanut butter. Whisk the pistachio butter with the cream cheese and the salt until the cream cheese is completely mixed with the pistachio butter.

Mix three tablespoons of the milk with the corn starch in a small bowl.

Warm the remaining whole milk, the whipping cream, the granulated sugar and the corn syrup in a sauce pot until boiling, and boil for four minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the corn starch and milk mixture. Bring the milk back to a boil and boil for one minute. Whisk the warm milk into the cream cheese mixture slowly until completely incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a plastic bag and chill. When cool, spin in your ice cream mixer. While the cream is mixing, pour the rose water into the mixer. Churn until the ice cream is thick, and pour into a container, incorporating the remaining pistachios at the same time. Freeze until solid.


Polka-Dot Sweet Cherry Pie

This is a week of pie, and why not? American is a land of pie, and nothing else is more American than pie! We are a family that generally prefers pie to cake, and this is even more true in the summer when fruit  is literally ripe for the picking (and pieing if you will). This is not your typical sour-cherry pie, so I’ve added some lemon juice to counter act the sugar that I’ve added. I added cardamom and ginger to play up the lemon flavor, which made my mother-in-law name this pie “Sparkling lemon ginger cherry pie for the fourth of July.” If you’re one for longer names, feel free to use this one.

But if you’re in Oklahoma, you can just think of this as my husband’s pie, as today is his actual birthday. Happy, happy, happy birthday to the most wonderful man on the planet!

Sweet cherry pie

Sweet cherry pie

Polka-dot sweet cherry pie

1 package Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pie crust mix

20 tablespoons coconut shortening

5 cups dark sweet cherries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon ginger

3 tablespoons corn starch

1 tablespoon whipping cream

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Mix the cherries with the sugar, the corn starch and the spices and let sit and macerate for thirty minutes to let the juices mix with the dry ingredients.

Make the pie crust according to the directions, substituting the coconut shortening for the recommended butter and vegetable shortening. Divide the pie crust into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately thirty minutes. When chilled, roll out the bottom crust and place in the bottom of your pie plate. Pour the cherries into the crust and level the fruit in the pie shell. Roll out the remaining pie crust and use a small round cookie cutter to cut circles into the pie crust. I have a set of biscuit cutters, and I used the smallest one to make these polka-dots. Take the top crust and arrange the crust on top of the fruit. Crimp the top and bottom crust together with your fingers and pinch to seal. Slightly shift your circles to create a little extra space to see the fruit underneath. Brush the milk over the crust and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake at 375 for 55 minutes or until the crust is slightly browned and the fruit is bubbling.


Fig and Oatmeal Pie

Not so very long ago I baked a version of an oatmeal pie for a very dear friend. My husband was enamored with the idea of an oatmeal pie, and has been asking for one ever since. Since it is his birthday week, and because I very much wanted to eat oatmeal pie myself, I made him his very own. Happy Birthday, Love.

Fig and Oatmeal Pie.

Fig and Oatmeal Pie.

Fig and Oatmeal Pie

1 package Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pie crust mix

20 tablespoons coconut shortening

4 oz dark chocolate, chopped fine

1/3 cup whole milk

9 ounces dried figs

1 cup gluten-free rolled oats

2/3 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3 large eggs

Make the pie crust according to the directions, substituting the coconut shortening for the recommended butter and vegetable shortening. Par-bake the crust at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, with pie weights to reduce the risk of bubbles. Let the crust cool and turn down the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

For the chocolate layer: Warm the whole milk in the microwave for 45 seconds. Pour the warm milk over the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted, and you have a smooth mixture. Set aside.

For the fig layer: Remove the stems from your figs, and divide into two bowls. With one bowl, chop the figs into sixths. Pour boiling water over the figs in the other bowl, and let them soften for one half of an hour. When softened, strain the water from the figs and blend the figs into a loose paste.

For the oatmeal layer: Whisk together the brown sugar and the melted butter until combined. Then add the light corn syrup, the vanilla, and the vinegar and whisk to combine. Finally, whisk in the eggs one at a time. Finally, whisk in the oats and the chopped figs.

Assemble and bake: Spread the chocolate mixture in your cooled pie crust. Spread the fig paste over the chocolate. Finally, pour the oat mixture over the figs. Bake for 55 minutes at 325 degrees.