Vanilla Cheesecake

Vanilla Cheesecake

Vanilla Cheesecake – Pure Bliss!

Vanilla Cheesecake is one of the most glorious desserts on earth. Fact. Tangy, creamy, smooth and rich. Paired with a sharp fruit compote, it is even better! Total, TOTAL bliss. Oh, and let’s not forget the buttery crust!

If you’ve read my previous posts in my Perfect Cheesecake Series, you will know that I was absolutely petrified of making baked cheesecake – for yeeeears. There are so many things that can go wrong with baked cheesecake. It can sink, curdle and crack or (on the other side of the spectrum) you can be too gentle and end up with an undercooked cheesecake.

In most cooking/baking shows, we constantly see all the dramas and dangers surrounding the humble cheesecake. BUT, you honestly don’t need to be afraid – at all!

Let’s Get Technical

A perfect baked Vanilla Cheesecake is, seriously, super straight forward.

The method is simple.

The ingredients are simple.

The only advice I would give is that you READ MY PERFECT CHEESECAKE MANUAL FIRST, before diving into the recipe! These tips will prep you for making your own flawless Baked Vanilla Cheesecake.

My Perfect Cheesecake Manual covers all the essential tips you need to avoid any cracks, curdling, sinking etc. I also discuss an alternative method to the traditional (and indiscreetly tedious) water bath baking method.

Open the Perfect Cheesecake Manual in a separate tab and give it a read. Remember, method determines at least 50% of the quality of your bake! Method matters.

vanilla cheesecake | perfect cheesecake | cheesecake recipe | baked cheesecake recipe

My Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe Development

There are many takes on baked vanilla cheesecake. Many folks insist on using only cream cheese, eggs and sugar. I do feel that the cake ends up being a bit TOO cheesy though. Obviously a cheesecake needs to be cheesy, but I love it when the flavour is mellowed out just a tad with some cream inside the batter.

The first vanilla cheesecake I made was a recipe by Tyler Florence. He is constantly on a quest to make the ULTIMATE of something. My kind of person! His vanilla cheesecake recipe contained sour cream which gave the cheesecake a beautiful tang.

The addition of sour cream also rounded out the flavour of the cream cheese wonderfully! His recipe contained a bit too much sour cream for me though. Sorry Tyler!

I also tried a recipe by Gemma Strafford once. It was lovely, but I really missed the tang of the sour cream.

Some more influence came along from Ashlee Marie. Her recipe didn’t use any cream or sour cream inside the batter, but her baking and mixing methods for vanilla cheesecake were life changing.

For the cheesecake pastry, refer to my previous post in my Perfect Cheesecake Series – click here. I’ll include another link inside this vanilla cheesecake recipe (further down) when you will need it.

I utterly ADORE this vanilla cheesecake recipe… It’s a New York Style Cheesecake; buttery vanilla pastry with super creamy, dense (but not too dense), smooth and tangy cheesecake. Deeeeelectable!

It can be eaten as is, or you can top it with a fruit compote of your choice. A mixed berry compote hits the spot for me, so I’ve decided to include that in the recipe.

Here is my ULTIMATE Baked Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe!

Vanilla Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 9 inch cheesecake
Ingredients
FOR THE PASTRY:
  • 210 g All-Purpose Flour
  • 60 g Icing Sugar
  • 130 g Salted Butter, cold and cubed
  • 50 g Egg Yolks (about 2 ½ egg yolks)
  • ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
  • 950 g Medium Fat Cream Cheese (25% fat), at room temperature
  • 320 g White Sugar
  • 5 g Salt
  • 4 X-Large Eggs (240 g)
  • 250 ml Sour Cream
  • 40 ml Water
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
  • 35 g Cream
  • 40 g White Chocolate
FOR THE BERRY COMPOTE:
  • 100 g Blueberries
  • 100 g Strawberries (passion fruit use 2 tubs (230 g) total)
  • 120 g sugar (passion fruit use 70 g)
  • Tiny pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 45 g Water
  • 13 g Corn Flour
Instructions
FOR THE PASTRY:
  1. Refer to my previous post, Cheesecake Pastry, for instructions.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
  1. Preheat your oven to 300˚F/150˚C and move an oven rack to the center of your oven. Place the largest roasting tray you have on the bottom rack of your oven.
  2. Use a stand mixer to make this vanilla cheesecake. Do not use a hand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, then rather mix the batter by hand. Place the room temperature cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium low speed till smooth.
  3. Add in the sugar and salt. Beat on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and beat again on medium-low speed till sugar is dissolved (30 seconds).
  4. Scrape down the paddle, sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat again on medium-low speed till smooth (30 seconds).
  5. From here on out ONLY mix on the lowest and slowest turtle speed possible. If your mixer doesn’t have the option to go very slow, then do the rest by hand.
  6. Crack all the eggs in a separate bowl. Stir lightly with a fork till the yolks are broken.
  7. Pour more or less 1 egg at a time into the cream cheese mixture with the mixer going on its slowest speed, or stir by hand. It is crucial to not whip in any air.
  8. Add the remaining egg in in 3 sessions. Don’t watch it the whole time, you will be SO tempted to increase the speed. It is a great opportunity to spend some time on pinterest or learn a language on the Duo Lingo App (I’ve become 7% more fluent in French, just from cheesecake mixing time! Haha!).
  9. Before mixing in the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl thoroughly and mix again on lowest speed.
  10. At this point, start boiling a full kettle of water on the side.
  11. Stir the sour cream, water and vanilla into the cheesecake batter by hand because the mixer takes forever to incorporate the liquid.
  12. Pour the vanilla cheesecake batter into the semi-baked pastry.
  13. Place the cheesecake in the center of your oven. Fill the empty roasting tray with just boiled water. Bake for 1 hour.
  14. Turn the cheesecake 180 degrees around. Bake for another 35 minutes. Switch off the oven with the cheesecake still inside and the door still closed.
  15. After 5 minutes, leave the oven door ajar. Leave the cheesecake inside the switched off oven for 1h30.
  16. Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to the fridge and leave to cool overnight.
FOR THE BERRY COMPOTE:
  1. Place the berries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to cook for 5 - 7 minutes till the sugar is dissolved. Smash some of the berries with a fork during the cooking process.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the corn flour in the water. Add it to the cooking berries while stirring constantly. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, while stirring, so that the corn flour gets cooked through. The compote should be thickened. Set aside to cool.
FOR THE GANACHE:
  1. The next morning you can decorate the cheesecake! There may be some condensation on the surface of the cheesecake; dab the surface with some paper towels to absorb the moisture.
  2. Heat the cream and tsp of sugar in a saucepan to simmering point. Remove it from the heat and pour it over the finely chopped white chocolate. Leave to stand for 2 minutes, stir till smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Once cool, whip till fluffy and white (about 30 seconds).
FINISHING THE VANILLA CHEESECAKE:
  1. Spread the whipped white chocolate ganache in a thin, even layer on top of the vanilla cheesecake. Refrigerate till the ganache is set - about 10 minutes. This ganache layer will prevent the fruit compote from seeping into the cheesecake.
  2. Top the white chocolate ganache with your cooled berry compote and spread it out evenly.
  3. Carefully push up the bottom of the tin all around the cheesecake to loosen the sides. Place the cheesecake on top of a mug or sturdy glass, gently pressing down the sides of the tin.
  4. Lift the bare sided cheesecake back onto your work surface. Slide a large, smooth edged knife under the pastry to loosen the cheesecake from the bottom of the tin. I like to go all around the edges first before attempting to loosen the center-bottom. Push the cheesecake gently, with a cupped hand, onto your cake stand/cake board/serving platter.
  5. Cut slices with a hot, dry knife. Enjoy!!!

Please let me know how you get on by using #philosophyofyum or even tagging me @philosophyofyum on Instagram because I would love to see your bakes!

In my next post we’ll be making Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake 😀 ooooooh yeah…

 

Chat soon!

Aurelia 😊

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to unlock their FULL potential & make a living from it! Recipes from my own Artisan Home-Bakery, BEST baking tips & Home-Bakery Biz Tips




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Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting

Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting

Frosting Memories

Philosophy of Yum’s Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting is not a recipe that happened over night. I used to HATE frosting actually! My childhood memories of frosting are completely grim. Conventional Chocolate Buttercream piped onto semi-dry sheet cakes with a star tip was a STAPLE at every single birthday party as a kid.

Oh and don’t forget the garnish of chocolate vermicelli sprinkles, glace cherries or the tiny rosettes of dulce de leche! Even though every birthday party had a themed cake, there was always one of these chocolate sheet cakes on standby in the background.

As fond as my memories are of childhood birthday parties, the chocolate sheet cakes are not included in that fondness. That frosting was just too darn sweet. The overwhelming sweetness penetrated into your gills and made your mouth turn skew!

Every time I ate chocolate cake, I hoped this chocolate frosting might taste different, and every time the outcome was the same…

Photos by Alice Swan

I ended up having one tiny bite, proceeded to scrape off all the frosting and ate the semi-dry cake on its own instead (which suddenly seemed a whole lot yummier after tasting that awful frosting!). Did anyone else also do this??

In the end I was so opposed to ANY kind of frosting. I had just never tasted a frosting that actually had FLAVOUR of its own. Not just sweet fat to make a dry cake seem less dry. I apologize for the clouds of criticism… I’m just so passionate about flavour 🙂

A Second Date with Frosting

My mother was writing Low Fat Low GI recipe books throughout my school years. The series is called “Eating for Sustained Energy”. The carrot cake recipe is just fantastic! Naturally they had to take a road less travelled when it came to the frosting. Butter is not exactly “low fat” 😀

They also wanted a frosting with less sugar. Problem with buttercream is that you need to add a LOT of sugar to achieve the right consistency and something resembling flavour. Thus, a smooth cottage cheese (which is even lower in fat than cream cheese), low sugar frosting was the option they went for.

IT

WAS

SOOOOO

GOOOOOD!!!!!!

Finally, a frosting that had a great flavour and didn’t make my head spin from sweetness! A frosting you wanted to eat, as is, with a spoon! The frosting was often a bit temperamental though… If you mixed it too much, it would go runny in seconds. Even so, the flavour and different approach was a great lesson I would draw from in the future.

Philosophy of Yum’s Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting Development

When I started baking part-time in 2012, I kind of avoided frosting. I knew I wouldn’t use buttercream. EVER. And I was honestly too scared to make my mom’s frosting out of fear that it would go runny. I needed something pipe-able.

Luscious, easy, CRAZY delicious LOW SUGAR CHOCOLATE FROSTING. You will NEVER want to eat buttercream ever again!

I realized that cream cheese on its own would be too solid and cheesy tasting, so adding whipped cream would make it lighter. Truly, I had never read about whipped-cream-cream-cheese-frosting before or heard about it or anything! It just seemed like a good idea.

The great thing about cream cheese is that it already has flavour and it’s softer than butter, so you can add WAY less sugar to achieve the right consistency and sweetness. Wonderful!

It worked out PERFECTLY. Easy to pipe, super yummy and it seriously goes with ANY cake.

At this point I was still using chocolate ganache as my chocolate frosting. Although I LOVE ganache, it is a bit intense and heavier – even if you whip it. I wanted something more mellow, but still very chocolatey.

About 2 years later I was watching another episode of Unique Sweets (all my stories seem to involve this show! LOVE IT!). The crew was visiting The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co in Seattle, Washington. It is a unique cupcake eatery that makes an INSANE amount of cupcake flavours. Like 150+ flavours! The frosting they use is Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC).

The one cupcake flavour on the episode was the “Tomato Soup Cupcake”, which is a flavour one of the owners had as a kid at every birthday party. Amazing! On top of this cupcake they put chocolate SMBC and it just looked divine.

At that moment I realized that I can easily turn my vanilla cream cheese frosting into a chocolate frosting by adding cocoa powder. I tried it and it was amazing.

One fine day, I didn’t have enough cocoa powder on hand to add to my Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting. I was super upset since Alice Swan and I were having a food photography session that day. I did however have some dark chocolate ganache on hand. Why not just mix it in? The result was insanely delicious!

A blend of cocoa powder and dark chocolate ganache added to vanilla cream cheese frosting was just perfect. Sometimes speedbumps can turn into unexplored avenues of greatness! So cool!

Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting is so easy and TASTIER!! Photos by Alice Swan

So here is my super classified (until now) Philosophy of Yum Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting recipe. I have made it 1000’s of times, refined it and perfected it in my 5 years of full time baking.

I guess if you wanted to be technically correct you could call it whipped-cream-chocolate-ganache-cream-cheese-frosting.

Reasons to make Philosophy of Yum’s Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting:

# It is so flipping DELICIOUS!!! So delicious in fact that it makes you giggle, squirm and dance from the deliciousness.

# Philosophy of Yum Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting contains a staggering 75% – 80% LESS SUGAR than any other frosting, but it is completely sufficiently sweet enough.

# It is actually a whole lot quicker and easier to make than buttercream or traditional cream cheese frosting.

# You don’t need a stand mixer to make this chocolate frosting! A simple electric hand mixer is ideal.

# Because there is no butter in this frosting, it is also 55% lower in fat than any other conventional frosting. What a bargain!!

Let’s get started! My instructions are going to be rather thorough so that there’s little room for error. I really want  you to experience the awesomeness of this low sugar chocolate frosting.

Low Sugar Frosting | Chocolate Frosting | Alternative frosting Photo by Alice Swan

Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 30 g Whipping Cream with ½ tsp Granulated Sugar
  • 40 g Dark Chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 80 g Cold Whipping Cream, ±35% fat
  • 200 g Cold Medium Fat Cream Cheese (smooth, non-aerated) ±25% fat
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 70 g Pure Icing Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (Good quality)
  • Cold Water
Instructions
  1. First make the chocolate ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a ceramic or glass bowl.
  2. Place 30 g cream and ½ tsp sugar in a saucepan and heat till simmering.
  3. Add hot cream to chopped dark chocolate. Stir well until fully combined and glossy. Transfer to the fridge to cool down for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Next make the frosting. Whip cold cream to stiff peaks with an electric hand mixer in a medium mixing bowl.
  5. Beat in cold Cream Cheese till smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat again till smooth and thickened. About 1 minute.
  6. Beat in Vanilla and icing sugar. Leave to stand for 2 minutes to that sugar can melt into the cream cheese.
  7. Beat again till smooth and thick – about 1 minute. Rub a bit of the frosting between your fingers to make sure all the sugar is dissolved. If it is not fully dissolved, leave to stand for another minute, beat it and then test it again.
  8. The longer you beat the frosting, the thicker it becomes. If it gets a bit runny once the sugar has fully dissolved, just keep beating it in one spot and it will thicken up. After this the “thickness” spreads to the rest of the mixture when you incorporate it.
  9. Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture and beat to combine. Beat in the cooled chocolate ganache till the frosting is uniform in colour. If you want your frosting even more chocolatey, go ahead and beat in more cocoa powder.
  10. The frosting will be quite thick at this stage, so I like to thin it out a little. Add 1 Tbsp of water at a time till you reach the desired consistency.
  11. Signs of my perfect consistency: when you tap the side of the bowl, the frosting jiggles a tiny bit. When you scoop up a spoon, it takes about 2,5 - 3 seconds to drop back into the bowl.
  12. Stir the chocolate frosting with a spoon to smooth out any air bubbles before transferring to a piping bag or smoothing onto a layer cake.
Notes
This batch of frosting is enough for about 15 Cupcakes

Please try out my Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting! It’s a perfect match with my Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes, not to mention my most epic Dark Chocolate Cupcakes.


If you give this recipe a go, tag me on facebook, twitter or instagram #philosophyofyum because I would LOVE to see!

Next time I’ll be sharing a recipe to go with this frosting… a VERY special recipe since it is Philosophy of Yum Blog’s 1 year birthday! 😀

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to unlock their FULL potential & make a living from it! Recipes from my own Artisan Home-Bakery, BEST baking tips & Home-Bakery Biz Tips




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Gluten Free Cake Flour

Gluten Free Cake Flour

Gluten Free Cake Flour

Gluten Free Flour is just as essential in my kitchen as regular Cake Flour. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will know that my husband, Adriaan, is gluten intolerant. The news was such a downer initially…

We both kept thinking of all the foods he could no longer eat; bread, pies, pasta, pizza, cookies, CAKE!!

The list just felt so long and heavy.

One of the main ways I communicate my love and support is through cooking and baking. It’s my “thang”, you know. Over months of researching and trying out dozens of recipes, I had to face the hard truth that gluten free baked goods simply aren’t as delicious as normal baked goods.

I mean, for a poor gluten free soul they are better than nothing, but come on, I wanted Adriaan to leap in the air over the yumminess! There had to be a solution to gluten free baking that would produce goods SO YUMMY that they actually make him dance with joy…

The Cravings

The main thing Adriaan was craving was just an ordinary yellow cake. Nothing fancy – just pure and honest cake. Thing is, the simplest bakes are the ones that leave ingredients nowhere to hide!

Making a chocolate cake is so much easier in that sense, because if your gluten free flour blend has a slightly funny flavour, it will be masked by the chocolate flavour (gluten free bakers nodding in agreement here).

Another impossible craving he had, was for pie! Flaky, buttery pastry. What more does a man need? Except a wife to make it of course. Adriaan used to eat tons of pies. In South Africa they are everywhere. From every grocery store to the smallest take away shop in a run-down neighbourhood. I often made a butternut, spinach and feta pie for us at home as well.

Making gluten free cake is one thing, but pastry is a whole other colossal monster.

Photos by Alice Swan

Why so complex?

As I’ve said before, I have done hours and days of research online. MOST gluten free flour/cake recipes were severely annoying. They asked for these crazy ingredients which I’ve never seen before in my life and could not find in any supermarket or health food store in my area.

Things like Ultratex, Expandex and Whey Protein Isolate… What?! Or should I say “Gezuntheid”?

I was on a mission to find something that could be made with ingredients that are available to me and can easily be mixed with no special equipment or effort.

Breakthrough

One fine day I was searching for gluten free flour/cake recipes yet again and I came across Yammie’s Gluten Freedom. Her recipe for White cake looked fantastic.

I wasn’t too keen on making it though as the recipe called for coconut flour as well (which is too expensive) and if I can avoid doing the egg white thing, I prefer to do so. BUT, Yammie gave a link to Jeanne’s gluten free flour recipe on Art of Gluten Free Baking.

I tried out the flour blend and it was really really good!

This gluten free flour can be substituted gram for gram in ANY cake recipe! I also use it to make shortcrust pastry, rough puff pastry and even in homemade pasta! Pasta that can be rolled into sheets with a hand operated pasta machine – I kid you not!

Refining

This gluten free flour blend was a great breakthrough and made cupcakes that improved Adriaan’s quality of life significantly. I also started using this gluten free flour in my own bakery for all gluten free cakes. After a few months however, I realized that there is a slightly grainy residue in your mouth when the crumb breaks down. Not severe, but it was still there.

When I made a gluten free cake about a year later, I had run out of glutinous/sweet rice flour. Such a bummer. Going to a Asian supermarket was not an option on this particular day, so there had to be a plan B! Art of Gluten Free Baking suggested Potato Flour as a substitute for Sweet Rice Flour.

The result was just so much better! Such a soft and tender crumb! In the meantime I’ve also increased the amount of Xanthan Gum and Brown Rice Flour as well. I’m so extremely happy with the recipe as it is now!

And I love that I can find ALL of these ingredients in my closest health store/supermarket!

This gluten free flour can be substituted gram for gram in ANY cake recipe! I also use it to make shortcrust pastry, rough puff pastry and even in homemade pasta! Pasta that can be rolled into sheets with a hand operated pasta machine – I kid you not!

I mix 1 kg of flour in a little sealed bucket and keep it in my cupboard to whip out whenever I need it. You are welcome to halve or quarter the recipe if you need to. I go by grams because the accuracy is just better when it comes to dry ingredients. Now go bake yourself some perfect gluten free cake with your favourite normal cake recipe!

Important note: This flour recipe is not ideal for making bread.

Gluten Free Flour
 
Author:
Serves: 1 kg
Ingredients
  • 310 g White Rice Flour
  • 265 g Brown Rice Flour
  • 235 g Potato Flour (not starch, different ingredient)
  • 175 g Tapioca Flour (or starch, same thing in this case)
  • 15 g Xanthan Gum
Instructions
  1. Weigh ingredients into a bowl or tub with at least a 2,5 kg capacity. Some of the flours are quite fine and will form dust as you mix them.
  2. Using a metal spoon, VERY gently fold the flours together. Be sure to dig all the way down and scoop the flour up in the process. Get into all the corners as well. Do this for about 1 minute.
  3. Next stir the mixture gently again, but this time using a handheld balloon whisk. Keep stirring for 1 minute. Be thorough.
  4. Put your gluten free flour in a sealed container. It will last as long as the actual ingredients – a couple of months.

I’m pretty sure you will enjoy my Ultimate Gluten Free Brownies Recipe… I’ve literally sold like over 8000+ of them. They are AMAZING!!

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know if you like my gluten free flour blend as much as we do.

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to unlock their FULL potential & make a living from it! Recipes from my own Artisan Home-Bakery, BEST baking tips & Home-Bakery Biz Tips




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Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten Free Brownies – The Story

Gluten Free Brownies were totally not a sales gimmick for me. Many of my clients thought I started baking gluten free brownies because gluten free eating became a trend a few years ago. Actually, that is not the case.

Photos by Alice Swan

See, I married this incredible guy… Adriaan. When we were dating he ate all the wonderful things that any regular student eats. Pasta, pies and McDonalds. Problem is that these nutritious foods were often eaten at 3h00 in the morning.

Adriaan and I both studied architecture and all-nighters were as common as breathing. Obviously you get hungry and McD’s was the only 24 hour food provider.

Adriaan’s mother also has a highly sensitive stomach with a whole list of foods she cannot eat. Whether the poor quality of food, lifestyle or genes were to blame, about 6 months into our marriage we discovered that he is gluten intolerant. Thanks Murphy!

Wife becomes a baker, and 6 months later, husband becomes gluten intolerant.

gluten-free-brownies-chop-2

You need to understand that my husband is my biggest fan. When I realized I want to rather be a baker and not an architect, he was so excited with me. Even though we had nothing, were getting married, moving to a new city and had no jobs he could see the potential and my heart 🙂

best gluten free brownies | gluten free chocolate brownies | gluten free brownies recipe

One of my favourite ways to express love, gratitude or joy is through cooking and especially through baking. But now my whole baking repertoire was suddenly quite useless in our home. I had to regroup.

Adriaan had to have a baked thingy. It had to be gluten free. And I was going to make it for him.

Gluten Free Baking Begins

Gluten free brownies seemed like a good place to start 🙂 There is a wonderful chocolaterie here in Cape Town called CocoaFair! They are “Africa’s first bean to bar chocolate manufacturer founded on the principles of social entrepreneurship.”

I bought their chocolate once and I’ve never looked back. So yes, great quality chocolate is of the essence here as half the recipe is just melted chocolate!

If you don’t have a local chocolaterie, you could always order goods online. Just be sure to check the ingredients list. Commercial chocolate often contains gluten.

I adapted this recipe for gluten free brownies from a recipe by David Lebovitz. I’ve baked this recipe hundreds of times – editing and fine tuning for 3 years now. This really is my ultimate recipe for gluten free brownies. I hope you enjoy them as much as our family, friends and clients do!

This Gluten Free Brownie Recipe has earned me at least $5000 in brownie sales, so yep, I think it’s SAFE to say that they are amazing 😉

gluten-free-brownies-cut

A non gluten free eater ate these brownies and commented: “This is the best brownie in the world… I want to go sit in a corner and cry now.” Lol!

The texture is perfectly balanced between fudgy and chewy…

Gluten Free Brownies
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 120 g butter, unsalted
  • 250 g 65% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1t Salt
  • 180 g sugar
  • 2 ½ eggs, at room temperature
  • 40 g White rice flour
  • 40 g Tapioca Flour
  • 20g milk chocolate, chopped
  • optional: ½ c pecans, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of a 17 x 27 x 3 cm (7 x 10,5 x 1 inch) brownie tin with non-tick cooking spray. Line the tin with baking parchment so that it goes up the sides and 3 cm over the rim. This makes the brownies easy to pull out once cooked and cooled. An 8 x 8 inch tin will also work just fine.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
  3. In a medium size pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As soon as the butter is melted and begins to simmer, add in the chopped dark chocolate and turn off the heat. Stir around thoroughly every 30 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted into the butter.
  4. Keep the pot on the stove and stir in the sugar and salt. Leave to sit for 5 minutes and stir very well. Remove the pot from the stove.
  5. Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
  6. Add the white rice flour and tapioca flour to the pot and then stir to combine into the chocolate mixture. Beat the batter on high speed for one minute. You’ll notice that the batter becomes a shade or two lighter in colour.
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, making sure to spread out the batter into the corners of the pan. Distribute the nuts evenly over the mixture. Push the nuts down into the mixture with a spatula and then smooth the surface once more.
  8. Sprinkle the chopped milk chocolate over the top of the brownie batter and allow the heat from the mixture to melt the chocolate. If your batter is too cool to melt the chocolate, use a hairdryer to melt it! Useful appliance! Smear the melted milk chocolate into the top layer of the batter, making sure to cover every inch of the surface. This creates the shiny crust on top.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. It is important that a skewer comes out completely clean when testing. Remove the brownies from oven and let them cool completely before removing them from the tin. Place the tin (with brownies) in the fridge for about 5 minutes before slicing – it makes slicing much easier. Enjoy!

best gluten free brownies | gluten free chocolate brownies | gluten free brownies recipe

Have fun with this recipe! Bask in the chocolate ambiance…

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to unlock their FULL potential & make a living from it! Recipes from my own Artisan Home-Bakery, BEST baking tips & Home-Bakery Biz Tips




POPULAR RECIPES

Top secret recipe for CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES! Super moist, creamy, soft and chocolaty! Absolutely divine...
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Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie that is FULL of lemon goodness and not overly sweet. EASY to make and foolproof!
My Ultimate Salted Caramel

My Ultimate Salted Caramel

First Time Making Salted Caramel

The first time I made Salted Caramel, I was nothing short of terrified! Okay fine, I was terrified the first 3 times actually. I used to picture piping hot sugar landing on my hand and the pot then flying across the kitchen, smashing the window and landing on top of an unfortunate soul’s car.

In reality this NEVER happened and I can assure you that making Salted Caramel is really not hard at all! It’s not a big deal and there’s nothing to be afraid of 🙂

Plus, the flavour and texture is just to die for! Totally worth the effort. It also keeps for a very long time, so it’s easy to whip out and drizzle over ice cream, cakes and your finger.

If you are a first timer, however, do make sure your attention is fully committed to what you are doing. Put about 20 minutes aside to focus on nothing other than making your Salted Caramel. Tie your hair up, wear an apron and have a bowl of cold water on standby – just in case.

Techniques:

Swirl, don’t stir!

My sister and I had such a crush on James Martin in high school! He is a celebrity chef that was all over BBC Food shows like Ready Steady Cook and Sweet Baby James. He always did the most incredible things with sugar and caramel as he had Pastry Chef training as well.

After about 2 months of just staring at him on cooking shows, the information he shared started penetrating through my googling eyes, into my brain! Haha!

Ultimate-Salted-Caramel-JM

“Never, ever stir a caramel” he used to say in almost every episode he featured on. “It will clump together and become an unusable mess. Just swirl it around.”

Some folks do stir the sugar and water to help the sugar dissolve. You are welcome to do this, but swirling it is really quite sufficient, even in the beginning stages. Using boiling water is the best way to help the sugar to dissolve faster.

Thermometer – yes or no?

Most Salted Caramel recipes insist on using a sugar thermometer. According to other recipes the sugar will be the perfect colour at 150°C – this did not work at all. My sugar syrup was still only slightly coloured at this point.

I do own a thermometer that I use regularly for Italian meringue and other candies. However, it is not necessary to use a sugar thermometer for Salted Caramel. Go by colour, not temperature. You can take it too far and burn it, but just follow the method carefully and you will be fine.

So, without further ado, here’s my ultimate recipe for Salted Caramel.

salted caramel | salted caramel sauce | salted caramel from scratch

My Ultimate Salted Caramel
 
Author:
Serves: 32
Ingredients
  • 175 g granulated white sugar
  • 65 ml boiling water
  • 125 ml whipping cream (between 35% - 40% fat)
  • 25 g salted butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes OR ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Place sugar and boiling water in a heavy based saucepan on medium heat.
  2. While the sugar is dissolving, place butter, cream and salt in another small saucepan on medium high heat. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat right down to its lowest setting just to keep it warm.
  3. Swirl the sugar and water mixture occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. Proceed to turn the heat up to medium high to bring sugar syrup to a steady boil. After a minute or so, turn the heat up to high (Out of my 6 heat settings, I put my stove on number 5).
  4. Watch the sugar like a hawk! Spots of colour will start to appear after anything from 7-10 minutes. Gently swirl the pan every now and then so the sugar doesn’t only caramelize in one spot.
  5. Keep cooking until traces of light smoke releases from the mixture and the sugar is a dark amber colour.
  6. Remove sugar from the heat and immediately pour in the warm cream mixture in phases (stand back and be careful... It reacts like me if you forgot my birthday), whisk with a balloon whisk until fully combined. Return the caramel to medium heat and cook for another 2 minutes. *If you want to use it as a more pourable sauce, only cook it for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in Vanilla Extract with a balloon whisk.
Notes
You can store this Salted Caramel in the fridge for up to 3 months!

In the next post you can get one of my ALL TIME favourite recipes to date – Salted Caramel Apple Blondies! Make them – they will change youre life.

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

 

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to unlock their FULL potential & make a living from it! Recipes from my own Artisan Home-Bakery, BEST baking tips & Home-Bakery Biz Tips

BEST Gluten Free Banana Bread

BEST Gluten Free Banana Bread

BEST Gluten Free Banana Bread

Welcome to my first ever recipe post! It most certainly will not be the last, of that I can assure you. Before I share my recipe for the BEST Gluten Free Banana Bread, let me just clarify my angle as a baker.

I am not exclusively a Gluten Free Baker.

My husband is highly gluten intolerant, so this was my motivation to start developing gluten free recipes that actually taste great! Bakes I would be HAPPY to eat as a normal-not-gluten-free-person. Baked goods also make my husband extremely happy 😀 It’s the cheapest, most effective way to make his day amazing!

Gluten-Free-Banana-Bread-3

Gluten Free Flours:

Anyone who has tried their hand at gluten free baking, knows that the flours are an absolute pain. Either the texture ends up being completely off, or the taste and, more often than not, both end up being off!

It is also very difficult for Gluten Free eaters to consume enough FIBER as they cannot consume any wheat bran roughage. When I bake any kind of gluten free loaf, I try to add extra fiber through adding psylium husks and a bit of legume flour – chickpea flour is my favourite.

Sorghum Flour also contains more fiber and doesn’t have a strong odour, so it’s a good one to use in a more robust bake like Banana Bread. I’ve managed to find a good balance with this recipe. You can easily go too far, but this Banana Bread is beautifully balanced.

If you plan to bake gluten free goods a lot, there is a flour recipe you just MUST have. I found the flour recipe on Yammies Gluten Freedom which linked to Art of Gluten Free Baking.

Get my GLUTEN FREE CAKE FLOUR recipe here.

This is the last gluten free flour recipe you will EVER need. Truly. Best part is that you can substitute it in ANY normal recipe! So no more fishing around for gluten free recipes 😀

I make cakes, cookies, muffins and PASTRY with this amazing flour. We even make fresh pasta with it! The consistency is just perfect – you can roll it out in a pasta machine – I’m not joking! This flour has changed my life. I mix the whole recipe in a bucket and keep it in my cupboard, ready to whip out whenever I’m cooking or baking.

For those who do not want to mix the whole flour recipe, I’ve included the exact grams of each flour you will need.

A Note on Measuring:

Unless it is a liquid, I ALWAYS go by weight and not volume. Your measurements are allot more accurate and the final product is just better! I apologize if you require the volume measurements…

But a digital scale is so affordable and will make your life SO MUCH EASIER. ALL my recipes’ ingredients will be shared in weight measurements.

Details in Method:

If you have read any of my other posts, you will know that FLAVOUR is extremely important to me. As a result I do a few extra things to get the best possible flavour in my bake.

In this recipe, it means frying half the bananas in salted butter on a medium heat for about 15 minutes in total. It makes a huge difference – really. I discovered this technique when trying to intensify the banana flavour in my banana cupcakes. Do not roast them in the oven because this dries out the bananas. Pan frying them in butter works wonders.

I cut half the bananas in the recipe up into 2cm thick slices. Then I Pan fry them in salted butter and an extra 1ml salt, stirring every 3 minutes or so. Keep frying till the banana is well caramelized. It will break down into a gooey mush, that’s perfect.

gluten free banana bread | gluten free recipes | gluten free banana bread recipe

 

BEST Gluten Free Banana Bread
 
Author:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 4 Large Over Ripe Bananas (450 g, peeled)
  • 40 g Salted Butter
  • 120 g Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (120 g)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 90 g Chickpea Flour
  • 90 g Sorghum Flour (or any high fiber, gluten free, bread flour mix you can find)
  • 180 g Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (32g Tapioca Flour, 45g Sweet/Glutinous Rice Flour, 46g Brown Rice Flour, 55g White Rice Flour and ½ t Xanthan Gum)
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 40 ml Fine Psylium Husk (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut half the banana (225 g) into 2 cm slices. Place sliced banana in a medium sized frying pan along with the 40 ml Salted butter. Fry for about 15 minutes on a high heat, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Do not stir too often. Give the banana time to caramelize between each stir. Keep frying till the banana is well caramelized. It will break down into a gooey mush, that’s perfect.
  2. Preheat your oven to 170ºC/338ºF. Grease and line a 22,5 cm x 12,5cm (9 inch x 5 inch) bread loaf tin with parchment paper. I usually just line the bottom of the tin with parchment paper and spray the sides with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Sift together the Flours, Salt, Bicarbonate of Soda and Cinnamon. Add the Fine Psylium Husk to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Set aside.
  4. Place butter in a large, heat-proof, bowl. Melt butter in the microwave – this usually takes about 2 minutes.
  5. Add both the caramelized and regular bananas to the butter and mash the two ingredients together with either a fork or a potato masher.
  6. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the banana mixture and mix well together with a large metal spoon.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture in 2 batches. Mix through gently (keep using the same metal spoon – do not use a hand mixer), making sure to mix thoroughly after each addition.
  8. Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle with linseed or sesame seeds if desired.
  9. Bake at 170ºC/338ºF, on a rack in the lower half of the oven for 20 minutes and then on a rack in the upper half of your oven for 40 – 55 minutes more, until a skewer tests clean (1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes total baking time).
  10. If the top of the loaf becomes too dark, place a piece of parchment paper over it to prevent further browning.
  11. Allow to cool in tin for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Do not slice the loaf until it has cooled down for at least 1 ½ hours.

 

This Gluten Free Banana Bread is tender, soft and moist with a wonderful flavour! I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do. It’s become a staple in our home!

What is YOUR favourite sweet loaf recipe? 

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to unlock their FULL potential & make a living from it! Recipes from my own Artisan Home-Bakery, BEST baking tips & Home-Bakery Biz Tips




POPULAR RECIPES

Top secret recipe for CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES! Super moist, creamy, soft and chocolaty! Absolutely divine...
Bran muffin recipe | Bran muffins with molasses | Bran muffins healthy
Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie that is FULL of lemon goodness and not overly sweet. EASY to make and foolproof!

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