UA-9178589-17

Favorite Chocolate Cake – Spelt or Wheat

This has been our family’s favorite chocolate cake  for years – even superceeding the yummiest cake mixes, but since we’ve gone wheat free, I worked out the recipe for spelt flour, and we were all amazed. We simply couldn’t tell the difference. It was just as yummy as usual! :)

Spelt Chocolate Cake with  Italian Frosting and Shredded Coconut

Spelt Chocolate Cake with Italian Meringue and Shredded Coconut

So here’s both recipes, along with our favorite frostings. The Spelt recipe is first, then the wheat, then the instructions (which are the same for both), and then our favorite frostings.

The liquid quantities may seem a little odd with the spelt, but it’s what is necessary to make it work as spelt requires less water.

Spelt  Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

2 c. spelt flour (I used 1 cup whole spelt and 1 cup white spelt)
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar or coconut sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. b. soda
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup hot coffee (or 3/4 cup water +1/4 cup cocoa)
3 Tbsp cup vegetable oil
130 ml  fruit puree *
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Sift together dry Ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2. Add oil, coffee and milk; mix at medium speed for 2 min. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 2 more min. (Batter will be thin.)

3. Pour into three greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 325F for 20—25 minutes.

4. Cool cakes 10 minutes (in pans on wire racks). Transfer cake to sealed plastic container, and cool completely.

* Both recipes have been modified from the original which called for 1 cup oil, but I applied the baking rule of substituting up to ¾ of the oil  for a fruit purée (i.e. Applesauce, strained raspberry or strawberry sauce) I add sugar to the left over purée and heat to simmer to reduce it, then use it as a sauce instead of icing.

Wheat Chocolate Cake

2 c. all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. b. soda
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 cup milk
1 cup hot coffee (or 1 cup water +1/4 cup cocoa)
1 cup vegetable oil*
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Follow directions as spelt recipe.
open-spelt-coconut-chocolate-cake

Favorite Frosting – Italian Meringue
(Boiled Frosting)

Ingredients:

1 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup water
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

1. Put sugar in a small pot over low heat,  and gently pour water over sugar. Swirl the pot over the burner to dissolve the sugar completely. Do not stir. Increase the heat and boil to soft-ball stage (235 to 240 degrees). Use a candy thermometer for accuracy. Wash down the inside wall of the pot with a wet pastry brush. This will help prevent sugar crystals from forming around the sides, falling in and causing a chain reaction. Prepare your meringue.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs whites on low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks form.

3. With the mixer running on low speed, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over fluffed egg whites, on the very edge of the bowl. When done pouring in liquid sugar, add vanilla.

4. Increase mixer speed to high and beat mixture until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Spread the meringue over cooled cake.

Alternate instructions:

1. Microwave sugar and water together for 6— 8 minutes without stirring, until temperature reaches soft ball stage 235-240F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs whites on low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium, and beat until soft peaks form.

3. With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over fluffed egg whites, on the very edge of the bowl. Add vanilla and beat mixutre until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Spread the meringue over cooled cake.

Cooked Frosting
(Honestly don’t know the name, but we love it too! )

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
5 Tbsp. flour
½ c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ c. Shortening

Directions:

1. Combine milk and flour in a saucepan; cook until thick.  Cover and refrigerate.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening, sugars and vanilla until creamy.

3. Add chilled milk/flour mixture and beat for 10 minutes. Frost cooled cake.

Spelt Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread

Corn bread is so easy to make, versatile and a family favorite with most soups or with jam at breakfast. I had previously posted the link to the wheat based recipe (credit at the bottom of the page), but we’ve since gone wheat free, so I’ve been busily modifying our favorite recipes for spelt.

Whole Spelt Corn Bread

For an exact replication in taste and texture as the original all purpose flour recipe, use white spelt and regular white sugar, but for a more nutritious bread, I use whole spelt flour and coconut sugar. It does change the texture quite a bit, but doesn’t make it lose the endearing qualities of great corn bread.

Some of the liquid measurements may seem a little odd, but it’s due to the minor liquid changes necessary to convert the recipe for spelt.

Spelt Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal (300 ml)
3/4 cup spelt flour (whole or white) (180ml)
1/4 cup coconut sugar or granulated sugar (60 ml)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (5 ml)
2 teaspoons baking powder ( 10 ml)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2.5 ml)
1/4 cup whole milk (60 ml)
225ml buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons minus 1 tsp. unsalted butter, melted – reserve 1 Tbsp. To grease skillet

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425F and place a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the reserved butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

Substitutions:

Instead of milk and buttermilk, use 255ml skim milk + 2 Tbsp. White vinegar.

******************

The original wheat based recipe is from Food Network TV’s ‘Iron Chef’ Alexandra Guarnaschelli

http://foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/cast-iron-skillet-corn-bread-recipe/index.html

Spelt or Spelt/Buckwheat Pancakes or Waffles

In our family’s desire to go wheat free, I’ve been playing around with a basic 100% whole spelt flour pancake/waffle recipe for well over a month now, and have tried a few different variations with great success (ie. Empty plates :) The original recipe source is listed at the bottom of this post.

Spelt & Buckwheat Waffles

Spelt & Buckwheat Waffles

Spelt or Spelt/Buckwheat Pancakes or Waffles

Makes about 11 pancakes at the ¼ cup batter size or 8 waffles 1/3 cup each, on the Cuisinart griddler.

Note on spelt flour: Whole, white or  combination of both can be used.

Ingredients:

1⅓ cup spelt flour or 1 cup spelt and 1/3 cup buckwheat
1 teaspoon sugar or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
250ml of milk or buttermilk (buckwheat option – soak buckwheat in milk while prepping everything else)
2 large eggs – well beaten

Instructions:

Preheat grill.

If using buckwheat, combine liquid, buckwheat and sugar and let soak while prepping the rest.

Add all other dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together.

Whisk eggs and add to liquid mixture.

Add dry ingredient mix to wet ingredient mixing bowl and whisk till it just comes together.

Grease hot pan, pancake griddle or waffle iron (Cuisinart set to 400-425F). (We use grape seed oil.)

Use a ¼ measuring cup to scoop the pancake batter onto hot griddle or for the Cuisinart waffle iron, use 1/3 cup. All others, follow manufacturer’s directions.

This batter doesn’t bubble as much as wheat pancakes, so just watch for the edges to set up, and almost the whole surface, before flipping. They typically don’t

take more than 3 minutes to cook, or 4-5 miutes on waffle iron.

Our favorite topping is apple sauce. :)

Original Spelt recipe from:

http://www.foodprepper.com/spelt-pancakes-from-youtube-video.php

Spelt Cinnamon Rolls

Although I’ve made wheat based recipes, and LOTS of bread and cinnamon roles over the last 20 years, this is my first attempt at winging a spelt based recipe, and if my family’s smacking of lips and licking of plates is any indication, it was a success! Since our family is going wheat free, I’ve spent the last few weeks researching spelt, and it is easier to deal with in some ways, but harder in others. The best spelt bread take overnight, but deserts are just as easy, and in the case of my own cinnamon rolls recipe, which is bread dough based, the spelt is easier.

Spelt Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

Dough

2 cups whole spelt flour
4-5 cups white spelt flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons fast rising yeast
2 cups very warm, but not hot, water
1/ 4 cup sugar (white sugar, honey, agave or coconut sugar)
2 tablespoons oil (I used grape seed oil)

Center spread

1 cup brown sugar (I used 1 cup white sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon molasses – but will probably try coconut sugar next time)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter

Frosting

2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup water

Instructions

Mixing and First Rise:

1. Place water in small bowl or measure cup and stir in choice of sugar. Sprinkle in yeast and stir to blend. Let it sit to proof while gathering remaining ingredients.

2. Place the 2 cups whole spelt, and 3 cups white spelt in large mixing bowl

3. Add salt to flours and blend with flat beater.

4. Pour yeast mixture into flour/salt, then oil and beat at low speed just until it all comes together. The dough will be fairly wet.

5. Roll dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more white spelt flour as needed so that the dough does not stick to your hands.  This will be very short: 1-2 minutes.

6. Place in lightly greased mixing bowl, and let rise until double. Time will depend on room temperature and can happen in 30 to 120 minutes.

Forming Cinnamon Rolls:

7. Gently roll dough out onto floured counter, and cut in half.

8. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out one half of the dough in the shape of a rectangel about 6 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Length wil vary.

9. Using pastry brush, brush half the melted butter onto dough to within 1/2 inch from long edges.

10. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle all over dough to within half inch from edge. Don’t worry about full coverage as you can brush it with your hand to even it out.

11. Starting at one long edge, roll the dough gently until it forms a long roll. When you reach the other edge, gently pinch the loose end into the rolled dough to seal it up.

12. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1 inch pinwheels and lay on parchment paper covered cookie sheet, with each cinnamon rolls almost touching.

13. Repeat steps 8-12 with second half of dough.

Baking:

14. Let rise for 30 minutes and preheat oven to 400F.

15. Bake for 25 -30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

16. Let cinnamon rolls cool.

Frosting

1. Mix icing sugar and water till thoroughly blended.

2. Pour all over cinnamon rolls.

Enjoy!

The Maritime Donair

Donairs! I want a donair! Specifically a Pizza Delight Super Donair; however, since the nearest restaurant is 12 hours away in Alberta, I`m going to make them at home, so I need help from my fellow Maritimers especially. :)

Anyone who has had a Pizza Delight Super Donair knows the desperation…. LOL

Donair Meat

1 lb groud beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon italian seasoning (optional – we don’t prefer it, but it is part of the original recipe)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Knead for 20 minutes, or mix in food processor with blade attachment till dough is somewhat pasty (usually only a couple minutes on low).

Shape into a loaf and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up).

Bake in 350F oven for 35-50 minutes, until internal meat temperature reaches 160F. Loaves may be sliced thin immediately with serrated bread knife, or  cooled and sliced thin. Meat can be frozen for future use.

Donair Sauce:

1 1/3 cup canned sweetened condensed milk (see below the recipe for easy/cheap substitute)
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and stir well until fully combined. Makes a thick, sweet, garlicky sauce.

I’m sure this won’t compare to the one’s you get on a late Saturday night in Halifax! You Haligonians know what I’m talking about!

How to prepare the Donair:

If you’ve cooled the meat, reheat in a frying pan. Dip a pita bread in water and fry in frying pan to soften. Place a small amount of sauce on bread. Top with meat, chopped onions and tomatoes and finish off with more sauce. Roll up or serve open face on a plate.

Enjoy!!!!

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons instant dry milk
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup granulated white sugar

To use this substitute in the sauce, simply combine ingredients of both sauce and substitute in blender and mix till blended.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Angela’s Brocarkraut Slaw

This is Sunday’s lunch after church tomorrow morning, but the frozen pork loin has been put in the slow cooker tonight to be ready for lunch. I will add the BBQ sauce in the morning.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Angela’s Brocarkraut Slaw

We had this for supper on Wednesday, but also for lunch on Thursday. Served on white crusty buns on Wed., and sourdough bread on Thursday. The Slaw was perfected on Thursday. It was so yummy! For the pulled pork, we had to use a mix of on-hand BBQ sauces, but the overall flavour was apple, and one of the ingredients was the listed PC brand Apple Butter BBQ Sauce.

The name “Brocarkraut” is a mix of the slaw’s main ingredients: broccoli, carrots & sauerkraut, and all agreed that is was fantastic!

Besides tasting incredible, the best part of this dish is how easy it is to make! The meat can be prepped the night before with the dry rub, then placed in the slow cooker mid-morning to be ready for supper.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

2-3 lbs Pork Loin
Basic Dry Rub (This step can be skipped)
Apple Butter BBQ sauce (President’s Choice is quite good)

Place seasoned pork loin (dry rub recipe is below) in slow cooker and cover meat completely with BBQ sauce. Finish with meat fat side up.

Turn on high and cook 4-8 hours, adding more BBQ sauce to keep meat moist.

Once the meat pulls apart easily with a fork (fork tender), pull the loin completely apart using 1 or 2 forks. Do this in the slow cooker as the meat will blend back in with the wonderful cooking juices! Add more BBQ sauce if needed to make the meat thoroughly moist, but to your liking. If it cools down too much and you want to serve right away, put it in a pot on the stove and heat through. If you won’t be serving for a bit yet, put the cover back on the slow cooker and let it finish heating through. A half hour should do it.

Once the pork is to your liking, put on bread of your choice (sour dough is soooo yummy!) along with some homemade slaw and enjoy!

Basic Dry Rub

– Courtesy Alex Garcia, foodTV network (minus the fennel – as my husband doesn’t care for it)

1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 bay leaves

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except the tenderloin and grind in a spice grinder. Cover the tenderloin with the rub and marinate for 30 minutes or overnight.

Angela’s Brocarkraut Slaw

2 medium size carrots, peeled and shredded – about 2 cups shredded
1/2 to 1 cup peeled & shredded broccoli stems
1/2 to 1 cup sauerkraut
4-6 banana pepper rings – minced (to taste – we buy the big jar at Costco) – can be omitted
1/2 to 3/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. Grainy mustard

The sauerkraut and banana peppers are placed on paper towel and patted to remove a lot of the moisture, as I like to use apple cider vinegar with pork, and I want that flavour to come through rather than the original pickling liquid.

Mix all the ingredients together, preferably to let sit overnight for the flavours to develop. Excellent on pork or beef, but have not tried it on chicken.

Shepherd’s Pie with Variations

Besides taste and minimal ingredients, Shepherd’s Pie has always been a family favorite because of what a compact meal it is, making serving and clean-up a cinch. Now, with a few changes, it’s ease of prep makes it even better. The instructions for the simplified version are in the Tex-Mex variation below the Basic recipe.

This is not gourmet food, but it’s comfort food that does taste amazing. :)

The Basics:

For those unfamiliar with Shepherd’s Pie, it is a casserole consisting of a base layer of ground beef, then corn and/or carrots (we just use corn) and topped with mashed potatoes. 

Basic Shepherd’s Pie

Guidelines for Basic Proportions:

For an 8″X8″ glass baking dish:

1 lb ground beef
3 cups corn (canned can be used, but we prefer the bite of frozen corn)
2-3 cups mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Basic Directions:

1. Potatoes: if you are using whole potatoes, peel, cut in cubes, and boil in seasoned water till fork tender. Drain and mash as normal, adding milk if desired for fluffier potatoes.
2. Brown gound beef with a little oil until no longer pink, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

 Assembly:

1. Place ground beef in bottom of casserole dish.

2. Layer corn on ground beef and sprinkle with salt.

3. Top with mashed potatoes evenly spread out.

4. Bake in 350F oven for 30-45 minutes corn to be heated through (if using canned) or cooked (if using fresh or frozen).

5. Cut into portions and serve.

Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Shepherd’s Pie (Simplified)

As basic as Shepherd Pie is, I was able to make it simpler and quicker with the use of boxed potatoes. Just follow the package directions to make about 3 cups for an 8X8 dish, but for but when I use a 9X13, I find that it needs about 7 cups. I think I have the prep time down to about 15-20 minutes, then 30-45 minutes in the oven at 350F.

Tex-Mex Shepherd's Pie

Tex-Mex Shepherd’s Pie

Directions:

For an 8″X8″ glass baking dish:

1 lb ground beef
Taco seasoning to taste
3 cups corn (canned can be used, but we prefer the bite of frozen corn)
Boxed mashed potatoes to make 2-3 cups
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheese

Favorite Shepherd Pie Ingredients: Potato flakes, pre-shredded cheese, and taco seasoning.

Favorite Shepherd Pie Ingredients: Potato flakes, pre-shredded cheese, and taco seasoning.

Notes on the cheese: smoked provolone, cheddar, spicy pepper jack – something with some zip. The mixed bag I use had some mozzarella in it, which made it tricky, but still worked. I would tend to avoid it as it made the mashed potatoes stringy and difficult to deal with.

Basic Directions:

1. Prepared boxed potatoes as per manufacturer directions. When potatoes are done, stir in cheese.

3.  While waiting for potato water to boil, brown gound beef with a little oil until no longer pink, seasoning to taste taco seasoning.

 Assembly:

1. Place ground beef in bottom of casserole dish.

2. Layer corn on ground beef and sprinkle with salt.

3. Top with cheese embedded mashed potatoes evenly spread out, and sprinkle with taco seasoning.

4. Bake in 350F oven for 30-45 minutes corn to be heated through (if using canned) or cooked (if using fresh or frozen).

5. Cut into portions and serve.

Enjoy!

"She… worketh willingly with her hands." Proverbs 31:13