luscious lemon almond cake (gluten and dairy free!)

I’m always  on the lookout for some extraordinary gf/df sweets for Greg.  And I think this fits the bill.  It is incredibly moist and dense and has a marzipan feel to it which Greg loves.  It is also verrrry lemony!  Rob and I enjoyed as well btw – don’t have to be gf/df to appreciate.

I found this recipe in The Healthier Bite blog.  Jennifer created this blog for those with ulcerative colitis who are on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Greg does not need to follow the diet so I modified only a tad –  only with the icing as my icing contains confectioners sugar and the original recipe does not.  

The original recipe is here if you want to follow the original SCD version and/or if you are trying to eliminate refined sugar.  (The SCD diet does allow honey which is why it is in this cake).  

When I made this cake the first time I mistakenly set the oven to 350 instead of 325.  But I actually prefer it that way.  The baking time is variable so you will have to check and check again.


Ingredients cake:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (but not hot) 
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (wash your lemon first)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
      powdered sugar (confectioners) and lemon juice.  Original lemon coconut frosting is on the blog   
     mentioned above



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the sides and bottom of a 8 or 9 inch cake pan. (Smaller pan will need a bit more cooking time).  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment. 

Place all wet ingredients (coconut oil, honey, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla) into a blender and blend for about 15-30 seconds.  The mixture should be frothy.

Add the dry ingredients (almond flour, salt, baking soda) and the zest and blend until all is combined.  Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed and blend again to incorporate.

Pour into the prepped pan and bake on the middle rack – check after about 25m.  I don’t remember exactly how long it took but use a toothpick and keep baking and checking until the pick comes out just clean and the cake is a nice golden color.

Let the cake cool before you glaze or frost.

Again look at the original recipe here for the SCD frosting.  And read through Jennifer’s directions too as they are more detailed than mine.  Also read the “about me” to learn more about Ulcerative Colitis and the SCD diet.

For Greg’s sugary and sinful icing – use about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and whisk In as much confectioners sugar as you like – to the consistency that you like.  It can be quite thick if you add a lot of powdered sugar and therefore will be sweeter.  Or, you can keep the glaze thin and lemony (which I prefer) and add just enough powdered sugar to cut the tartness.  Just add the sugar slowly tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in and continue to taste until it suits your palate.

With a toothpick poke a bunch of holes in the cake.  Then brush on the glaze.  Yum.


seriously good GF/DF chocolate molten cake

I cannot believe that 3 years has gone by since the photo on the right.  That is just crazy.  And it’s taken me this long to write about these delicious cakes.   

During covid 2020 Greg was home for his birthday – Andy too.  Andy’s request that year was a chocolate molten cake.  He loved it.  Greg’s Birthday, just four days later requested the same.  I sighed.  How to make a truly delicious gluten and dairy free molten cake?  It seemed impossible.  I am/was really inexperienced in this type of baking but I scoured the internet and thought hard about this.  (I make it sound like rocket science which is silly).  

The basic recipe for the cake is from Organically Addison –  I added what I learned from my first teacher Rick Katz – that molten is necessary for a seriously good molten cake.  No underbaked center here – but instead, a ganache ball made with coconut cream (not coconut milk)  and melted chocolate.  This little nugget placed in the center of the batter filled ramekin did the trick.  It was gooey, intense and the chocolate flavor popped.  Greg was thrilled. 🙂  

I made them again this last month – twice actually and Jill loved.  Sylvie loved.  She isn’t even GF or DF but enjoyed immensely.  Nicole, andy’s girlfriend who is GF and DF is next at bat.  These are easy to make despite this long write up! 

Here are some important notes/thoughts (please read through before you bake):

The recipe calls for coconut sugar.  But because Greg rarely eats desserts I opted for brown sugar.  I wanted a true treat for him.  But if he had access to these all the time I would make with coconut sugar as it is healthier than refined sugar.

The recipe also suggests that you grease the ramekins  and call it a day.  As mentioned above, because this is a rare treat for Greg when home I coated the greased ramekins with sugar.  Yup I did.  Regular white sugar so that the cakes had a crunchy sugar coating.  I hope that these efforts bring him home more often :).

Laslty, make the ganache balls the day before or a few days before – or the morning before you plan to bake.  This will give the ganache time to firm up – able to form a solid ball to be dropped into the batter. 

Oh, truly lastly I tripled the recipe as it calls for only 3! ramekins.  I made 9 and and froze the leftovers.  Now I’m ready when he comes home to pop in microwave for an easy treat.  The ganache recipe below is for 9 ramekins – so 3 times the recipe!

Ingredients and Directions

Ganache balls:
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup coconut cream (this is available in most supermarkets right next to the coconut milk)
tiny pinch of kosher salt

Heat the coconut cream to almost a boil.  Then pour over the chopped chocolate.  Wait a minute then whisk to combine.  Add salt.  Place in refrigerator to let cool and firm up.

When ready to make the cakes, form balls with the ganache – you can pick the size of these balls – but I’d say around 2 teaspoons or so.  Place the balls back in the fridge.

As mentioned the cake recipe is from Organically Addision.  Refer to my notes above before you start to bake – specifically eyeing my notes regarding sugar, sugar coating and tripling her recipe.

Here is the link to her terrific blog and the directions.

Follow her instructions but as mentioned feel free to coat the ramekin with sugar as I did.  And after you pour the batter into each ramekin – drop a delicious ganache ball into the center to create the molten lava that you will enjoy later.

Bake as directed. 

Feel free to kind of press down on cake with your finger to check if done.  The center ganache ball will remain gooey and will never looked cooked – but the cake should look and feel firmer and lose its unbaked sheen.  You may have to cook for a minute or two longer…keep checking and timing.

Let sit for a few minutes then run a knife around the edges and pop out if eating immediately.  Be careful the ramekin and ganache will be hot.  

If saving for a later date, let cool, then run a knife around the edges and pop out.  Freeze once completely cooled.   Microwave before serving – in small increments.  Don’t want to kill the cakes but warm up the ganache.  


Chocolate Dipped Fresh Fruit

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

I’ve dipped a multitude of goodies in chocolate.  My favorite is fresh fruit.  Not just strawberries, but blueberries and raspberries and especially pomegranates.  I might be alone here since whenever I make them I seem to be the only one standing over that platter insisting that “you need to try these!!”   That feeling of the pomegranates popping while the chocolate snaps and then melts, well, it is a symphony in my mouth.

Eat these the day you make them and place in the refrigerator until you serve.  They are mediocre the next day as the fruit begins to break down and gets a little funky.IMG_0286

Read here to remind you about tempering chocolate.  And here about other valentine treats.

banana bread (gluten-free and DELICIOUS)

This banana bread is really very good.  Seriously good.  For real.  Andy was home from school today, studying in his room and started texting me…What are you making! Smells so good!  I informed him that I made the banana bread again, but in muffin form.  Down he came and quickly gobbled up two and oh, BTW, he isn’t even gluten-free (and is a harsh critic).  You will not miss the gluten in this recipe.  Full of banana flavor, a delicious rich tasting crumb – and some extra chocolate chips, well, good good good!  Found myself muttering the good, good good as I tasted and sampled over and over again.

This recipe is from the book Purely Elizabeth and I just LOVE it.  I really do.  Elizabeth promised that you wouldn’t miss your old banana bread, and she is correct.  You do need to get a few special items from your grocery store or from Amazon.  If you are gluten free, I assume you have most of this in the house.  And even if you are not – I urge you to try.

Also – the first time I made this I baked in a loaf pan and it was really delicious – but I felt I needed more control on how cooked the middle was and so tried in muffin tins.  I liked both.  Next time though, I think I would pour most of the batter into the loaf pan, but hold a little back and bake the remaining in a mini loaf tin or make a few muffin shapes on the side.  Cooking time will be affected with all of the different shapes.

Oh, you want to wait for your bananas to be overripe – with dark spots on the skin.

banana bread (from Purely Elizabeth by Elizabeth Stein):

cinnamon sugar (2 T of coconut sugar for every 1 tsp of cinnamon)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup coconut oil (just melt this if in solid form)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts (I didn’t add because my family doesn’t love)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I added a cup!  I did, but do what you want)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use and oil spray or coconut oil to grease the loaf pan.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar to coat the bottom and sides and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the coconut sugar, almond flour, millet flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl (or in electric mixer) beat together the bananas, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Pour the wet into the dry (or if using your mixer you can put the dry into the wet) and stir until combined.  Add the chocolate and walnuts (if using).  Pour into pans – loaf, muffin, mini…and bake until done.  If you put all the batter into a loaf pan, Elizabeth says 45-50 minutes.  If you make the loaf pan less full as I mentioned above, baking time will be lower.  And muffin tins, much lower.  You want the top to spring back gently when touched.

Yum.  Enjoy –



coconut macaroons

It’s been a long time.  Too long.  Pain in my feet is the root of my inactivity and although it persists I am just going to bake, donate and blog because I miss it!

Made delicious little golden nuggets of coconut filled joy yesterday.  These little gems were so good – so flavorful, moist, and EASY.  Andy is almost done eating sweets – he is often reluctant to try and craves real food more than desserts.  But he came home from his first day of school yesterday and started popping these in his mouth and said “these are really good mom” and “can I have some more?”  When I told him I donated the rest he was so glum.  I quickly made another batch for him right then and there (although I only had unsweetened coconut which wasn’t as good in these cookies btw) but he was happy.  And so was I.  These came from my newish cookbook The Splendid Table’s How To Eat Supper.  I’ve cooked meals from it several times but this is my first dessert from the book, and I’m psyched that they were so good.


coconut macaroons (from Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swifts “How To Eat Supper”):

2 large eggs, well beaten (room temp if you remember)
1/2 cup sugar
generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use almond if you prefer)
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

chocolate chip option – add about 1/2 cup to the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Add the coconut and mix to incorporate.

Drop by generous teaspoons onto the baking sheet. I used my smallest cookie scoop and pressed the mixture in it.  If you don’t have one, try to smoosh coconut into a small spoon and drop the dough out onto the pan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes – until they are golden around the edges and a little golden on top.  If you bake each pan one at a time, they will need closer to 20 m in the oven.  If you put 2 pans in together, you should switch racks halfway through and they will likely take a bit longer to cook.



caramel apple jam

Thanks mom for sending me this recipe!

MMMMmmmm….so delicious and warm and soothing and inviting.  Funny for a “jam” to be all that but it is!  Caramel, vanilla, and apples delightfully and simply combined.  Warm this up and pour over some vanilla ice cream and you have a winner.  Equally good on the savory side if you serve as a sweet side relish for pork or chicken.  Alison Roman, the creator of this apple jam, also suggests ice cream (like me) – but topped with crushed Nilla wafers.  And I say, sounds great, but make home made vanilla wafers (coming next)  and add a little whipped cream.

Use a variety of apples, makes for a more interesting outcome because different apples break down differently and this will provide texture and fun!

apple jam (from Bon Appetite Oct 24th):

Original recipe and write up are here.

1 cup sugar
3 pounds apples, use a variety if you can, peeled, cored and cubed about 3/4 inch thick.
1/2 vanilla bean (scraped)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
cinnamon stick or powder
kosher salt

Place 3 tablespoons water in a large saucepan.  Add the sugar and mix.  Heat on medium high and boil – and continue to cook until the sugar caramelizes.  It will turn a dark amber color – but be careful as it all happens very fast, and it is HOT.  Seriously hot.

Add the apples and the vanilla seeds and bean to the pot and cook on medium heat.  The caramel may seize up at the start (because the apples cool it down) but soon it will dissolve again.  Add a 1/2 cinnamon stick (if you don’t have a stick, wait and add some ground cinnamon to taste at the end.)

Continue to cook for about 20-25 m, stirring occasionally until some of the apples are translucent and some still have their shape, and most of the liquid is dissolved.  You can keep cooking btw, if you like your apples super soft, or remove them earlier if you like them super chunky.

Remove from heat.  Add lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt.  Store in a glass jar or container for up to a month in fridge.


steel cut oats (the very best) don’t skip

Never ever ate any kind of hot cereal as a child, wanted to like it in my 30’s, enjoyed it in my 40’s but wow…at 47 I have found the exact hot cereal (n my case steel cut oats) that I craved (and didn’t even know I was craving it!)   I didn’t know that oats could be so nuanced with delicious flavors and so toothsome!  Seriously.  These oats are unlike the oats I’ve made for myself (every week) for the past year or so.  I recently bought the book Whole-grain Mornings and Megan Gordon (the author) really opened my eyes.  I looked forward to my morning bowl, but now, I can’t wait.  Please don’t beoats turned off by the tad of butter and the extra step of toasting your oats because it is WELL WORTH IT.  Really.  The result is super scrumptious.  My breakfast feels decadent.  This IMG_7184recipe is enough for 6 days.  Each morning I cut a serving, add a little water and heat – I then add my fruits, nuts or raisins and top it off with a sweetener and then add some cold home-made almond milk (you don’t have to use almond milk) and wow…feels like hmmm….happiness.  A great way to start every day!  My mom loved it too while visiting and I think I may have finally turned her into a breakfast eater.

steel cut oats (from Whole-grain Mornings by Megan Gordon):

1 cup steel cut oats
1-3 teaspoons unsalted butter (I use 2)
3 1/4 cups water
1 cup low fat milk (the recipes calls for whole milk which I bet is delicious, 2% might be a good alternative)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-3 teaspoons sugar (optional) (I use a sweetener at the time I eat it)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
cinnamon (optional)
brown sugar, honey, syrup, heavy cream, almond milk, milk, raisins, fruits (optional all for serving)
I use almond milk, monk fruit sugar, and sliced bananas and nectarines or berries (in winter diced apples and cinnamon)

In a heavy bottomed skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the oats and stir and gently toss in the pan until fragrant and darken in color.  See above photo.  This will take 5-6 minutes.

While toasting, bring the water, milk, sugar and salt to a low simmer over medium heat.  Add the oats (be a little careful here since the ingredients all seem to puff up).  Bring to a slow boil, partially cover – and decrease heat to low and cook until it has thickened (25-30m) and the oats have softened.  Stir occasionally while cooking – but especially towards the end so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

The porridge will look loose at the this point – but it will continue to soak up additional liquid so don’t worry.

Add vanilla.  If using raisins – stir in and cover.  Let sit (covered for 5 m).

At this point you can scoop into bowls and serve with all of the above optional ingredients or some of the above.

IMG_7222Since I am the only person eating this in my house, I pour the oatmeal into a container.  Each day I take some (it is kind of a solid mass at this point once refrigerated overnight) and place in a bowl with a little bit of water (to loosen it up).  I heat at a medium power for 3 m in the microwave – and end with a 30 sec full blast heat.  (I like it really really hot).  I add my cut up fruits – lately nectarines and banana, then my monk fruit sugar (a sweetener) and top it off with my cold almond milk and yum.  Seriously yum!!  Yum!  Enjoy –




flour-less chocolate cake (la bete noire)

The black beast lives up to its name.  Great for Passover – or really anytime (I made it for Rob’s birthday).  This cake is delicious, rich and satisfying.  It may seem daunting for a second (the water bath and layers of foil) but it is really easy.  Don’t be afraid and try.  I followed the recipe but added a dash of kosher salt.  But otherwise left it as is.  And I used all bittersweet chocolate because that is what Rob likes.  However, if for me, I would have used more semi-sweet.  Oh, and lastly I only had a 9 inch springform pan, so I made a few ramekins on the side (also cooked in a water bath) and gave to the kids since they weren’t invited to the party 🙂

For the water bath – place the springform pan into the roasting pan with out the water.  Then place the pans in the oven and pull the rack out.  Then add hot water to the roasting pan.  This way you don’t have to balance the water and the pan, and the cake pan.

Enjoy – here is the link to epicurious.

things i love!

Lisi's Kitchen

Stevers Candies chocolate marshmallows.  These are scrumptious!  Truly.  A family fave.

Eyes light up when I bring these gems out for company.  Friends eagerly ask “did you make these!?”  I reluctantly tell the truth and say no…I didn’t, but they are better than any candy I could ever make.

I often order gift boxes for the holidays and hostess gifts but I (we) often end up eating most of them since it is too difficult to give them away.

Located in Rochester NY – I found them with my grandma and mom (both from Rochester) and have been calling every year since.  Call because you can’t order on-line although they have a lovely and descriptive website.  And many more delicious treats.  And boy – the people in Rochester are really nice and so pleasant on the phone.  I’m serious.

Milk and dark – both delicious btw.

This is not an ad – nor do I get these for free…I’m just sharing some things I love so that you too can enjoy if you choose.


popcorn brittle

Yum.  Crunchy, sweet, salty and then chocolaty!  I made these treats and they were a hit with mostly me, Mark and Jack (Andy’s friends) and my sis in law Linda.  She kept telling Patrick that they were good “Patrick this is good!”  but sadly he refuses to enjoy popcorn in any form.  I happen to love popcorn.  It is up there with ice cream and brownies and lasagna.  So when I came across this recipe in Cooking Light – I was eager to try it.  Make no mistake, there is nothing really “lite” about these nuggets save for the fact popcorn replaces nuts.  Oh and speaking of nuts, my niece Emily who is severely allergic took a look at these and said, “wow, nuts” (clearly dissapointed that I made something so obviously nutty and placed it right in front her!)  But I was happy to report that these treats were miraculously nut free!  The brittle is good as is – or, like me you can dip or drizzle them with chocolate.  If you choose to keep them clean, crunch the brittle and mix it into vanilla ice cream.  Yum.

These can be a little tricky to make in that you must be careful working with the hot sugar – and you need a candy thermometer.  But beyond that – not too difficult.  Then of course the chocolate – the tempering of the chocolate.  See past posts for that and remember if you are into it, investing in a small tempering machine can be very helpful.

Oh, and these little gems last a long time so great for the holidays.

Enjoy –

popcorn brittle

5 1/2 cups popcorn (I cooked in a tad of oil and salted – you can also use plain, or air popped but I like the salt with the sweet)
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt (unless you salted your popcorn like me)

Line a baking sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray.

Place popcorn in a lare zip lock bag.  Seal and crush with a mallet or rolling pin.  Set aside.

Place sugar, syrup and water and a medium small saucepan and cook for 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.  Stir to help it melt.

Now take next steps carefully as this mixture will become very hot.

Then cook, over medium high heat without stirring until a candy thermometer registers at 270 degrees (should take 7-9 minutes or so) then add molasses and butter – and cook until therm registers at 290 degrees.  Remove from heat.

Stir in baking soda, vanilla and salt.  Then add the reserved popcorn and mix to combine quickly – then carefully pour onto prepared baking sheet.  Spread with a palet knife or back of a spoon to flatten as best you can.

Let cool completely then break or cut into chunks.  Dip in tempered chocolate for an extra treat!