Gluten Free is Actually Yummy

Oct 26

A few weeks ago, my friend, Bethany, and I hosted a baby shower for our sweet friend Sam.  Sam was our neighbor when we lived in Hollywood right when we moved to Los Angeles, nearly 7 years ago.  At that same time, we met Bethany and her husband Alex, and we all became great friends, even throwing Sam’s wedding shower and attending her wedding in Sacramento (to her fabulous husband Eric).  When we found out Sam was pregnant, Bethany and I jumped at the chance to celebrate her again!

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Now, Sam is a celiac, meaning she is allergic to wheat, so she has had to change her diet to cut out wheat, flour, and anything with gluten in it.  As you can imagine, having a baby shower (an afternoon dessert party no less) is unique when your guest-of-honor’s diet restricts all the typical baked goodies!  Luckily, I love treats of any kind, and Bethany has always been my favorite, Trader Joe’s-loving, Oregonian Martha Stewart, so we were up for the challenge.  The menu included lemon ricotta cake (see full recipe below) served with fresh whipped cream and raspberries, german chocolate gluten-free brownie bites, strawberries filled with almond cream, hot coffee, and even a gluten-free peanut butter cookie wrapped up as the party favor!

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Just Almond Meal (* see “Additional Notes” below)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 15-oz tub (2 cups) fresh ricotta (“Traditional Fresh Ricotta Cheese” at Trader Joe’s)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp)

Instructions

  • 1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 2.) In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking powder, and salt.
  • 3.) In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • 4.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well until smooth.
  • 5.) Pour mixture into oiled 9-inch pan, deep pie dish, or springform pan. Bake 50-55 minutes until the cake is completely puffed up, no longer “jiggly” in the center, and very golden on the edges.
  • 6.) Cool cake completely and thoroughly chill in fridge before serving. Cake remains very moist and is even better the next day. Serve with whipped cream or garnish with lemon zest

Additional Notes

Trader Joe’s has convenient bags of ground almonds (called “Almond Meal”), ready to use in breads, desserts, or as breading on chicken or fish. If you want to make your own almond meal, just grind raw whole almonds in your food processor until you achieve the consistency you like.

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Congratulations, Sam!!!! We cannot wait to meet this baby!

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P.S. — As I enjoy parties, showers, and celebrations in my own life, I am aware of so many who not only do not have this luxury of celebrations, but who also struggle to eat, stay clothed, and even protect themselves around the world and even more sadly, this is the case right here in our own backyard.  My friend Lindsay shared a beautiful idea of how to incorporate more awareness and giving back into your events.  Read her brilliant ideas here.

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