Category Archives: entertaining

Super Cheesy Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

Warm, toasty, buttery garlic bread is always welcome alongside a plate of pasta or a hearty bowl of soup. But what if we told you it could be made even better?

Enter: gooey, cheesy pull-apart garlic loaf. Consider it garlic bread’s wilder, much cooler cousin, this crowd-pleasing, pull-apart version only takes a few more minutes to prepare, and is infinitely more delicious.

finishedproduct

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:
1 whole loaf French bread (or 6 large French bread rolls)
1 cup salted butter (cubed)
4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

step03

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place butter in a small pan and melt on medium-heat. Once melted, reduce to low, add garlic cloves and herbs, and let sit for 10 minutes so flavours infuse.
3. Remove aromatics and transfer 3/4 cup to small bowl and 1/4 of a cup to another. Set aside.

step02

4. Using a bread knife, slice the loaf (or loaves) on the bias in approximately 1” slices, stopping just before the base of the loaf. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees and slice again on the bias. You should end up with small squares of bread that are all still attached to the base.
5. Take the 3/4 cup of garlic thyme butter and use a small spoon to drizzle into all of the crevices of the bread. If needed, use fingers to gently separate the squares before drizzling butter.

step04

6. Once everything is buttered, take the shredded mozzarella and tuck small portions of it into the spaces between the cubes of bread. (Note: you can use less cheese if you want, but the more cheese you use, the gooey it will be.)
7. Wrap loaf in the tinfoil and let bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the garlic butter has become very fragrant, approximately 16-18 minutes.
8. Remove from oven, turn to low broil and unwrap loaf. Combine remaining melted butter with Parmesan cheese, stir to combine and then brush liberally all over the exterior of the loaf (or loaves).
9. Return to oven and bake until top is golden brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

finishedproduct02

Latkes

How to Throw a Crowd-Pleasing Latke Party

It’s time to celebrate the season, and what better way to gather friends and family than throwing a party dedicated to one of the most-loved Hanukkah snacks: latkes!

Like all great parties, a latke get-together takes a little planning ahead, and we’ve got five fantastic tips to make sure your party goes off without a hitch.

888_classic-potato-latkes

Make ’em Ahead of Time
As delicious as they are, latkes can be quite time consuming to make. You have to grate the potatoes and the onions, drain, add the flour or matzoh meal, and then fry them in small batches. You don’t want to be entertaining guests while sweating by your box grater. Unfortunately, you can’t make your potato mixture too far in advance or your spuds will oxidize, turning an unappetizing brown colour.

My advice is to make the majority of your latkes hours before your guests arrive and keep them warm in the oven. Place your fried latkes on baking trays in single layers in an oven set to 325° F. As your guests arrive, have enough potato mixture to fry up the last couple of batches. The kitchen is a great place to start the party. When guests come in, they will be welcomed by the delicious smell of crispy latkes being fried. Once you have finished frying the last few latkes, whip off your apron, grab a latke and a drink and settle into the party.

Spiced Apple-Pear Sauce

It is All About the Sauces
No one will argue that half the fun of eating latkes is loading them up with your favourite toppings. Classically paired with apple sauce and sour cream, latkes can really be served with lots of different dippers, so get creative! My bubbie served homemade strawberry apple sauce and now I can’t imagine eating my latkes without it. I recreate this sweet, chunky family tradition every holiday season to share with my friends. Passing on family secrets and stories is a special part of the season, but if you can always create your own traditions. Apple chutney is a great alternative to apple sauce. Think about switching out sour cream for thick Greek yogurt or tzatziki sauce. The possibilities are truly endless.

Don’t Forget the Sides
It’s a good idea to serve latkes with some fresh crudites or salads. Your guests will appreciate having something on the lighter side to eat alongside greasy latkes. Make a cucumber salad with lots of fresh dill and yogurt, or a roasted beet salad with mint. If you want to stick to finger foods, prepare some veggies and hummus or eggplant dip.

Serve Sippers that Pair Well with Latkes
It isn’t a party without drinks. Wines with high acidity and tart drinks are perfect for cutting through greasy latkes. Serve them with a cool, dry Riesling or dry sparkling wine. Cold, crisp lagers are another great option. Have some iced tea or tart lemonade on hand for non-alcoholic options.

strawberry cheesecake Sufganiyots

Don’t Forget Dessert
Latkes are the hero of the party, so you don’t want to outshine them with any big extravagant desserts. Typically, jelly filled doughnuts called sufganiyot are served at Hanukkah, but any little sweets will do the trick. If you are sticking to a Hanukkah theme, make some rugelach or serve some Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins).

Looking for more delicious recipes? Try our 15 Deep Fried Hanukkah Desserts.

Snowflake Cookie Cutter Devilled Eggs

Devilled eggs can be fussy, but with this bake-and-decorate method, they’re made party-friendly. Use whatever cookie cutter shape that you love, changing with the season.

In this festive version, we used snowflake cookie cutters to create the perfect party appetizer for any holiday celebration. Feel free to use other add-ins or toppings such as pickled beets, Sriracha, smoked salmon, olives… the options are endless!

snowflake-devilled-eggs

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
12 eggs
Oil, for greasing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh dill

Directions:
1. Preheat oven 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on the sides. Lightly grease parchment.
2. Separate egg whites into a large bowl and beat until foamy. Pour into prepared dish, cover with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until egg whites are set to the touch. Cool completely in pan. Remove from pan using parchment overhang or flip out; place on a cutting board.
3. Meanwhile, cook egg yolks in a large non-stick skillet over low heat until firm. Transfer to a food processor, pulse and cool for 5 minutes. To yolks, add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, curry powder and salt. Puree until smooth and transfer yolk mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
4. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes of egg whites and place on serving plate. Pipe egg yolk mixture on top of whites and garnish with a sprig of dill and/or egg white shape scraps. Serve immediately.

Note: Egg whites and yolks can be made-ahead, kept separately, well-covered in refrigerator for up to two days.

How to Make a Snowman Cheese Ball

Building a snowman cheese ball is a fun project for kids (and adults) of all ages, especially when you’re snowed in. This recipe is simple, relatively quick to prepare and can be made-ahead and frozen, which means you can get a jump-start on your holiday food prep.

Combining sharp cheddar, tangy feta and decadent cream cheese, it’s an adaptable recipe that you’ll have a hard time resisting with a few crunchy crackers. Flurries or clear skies, you can turn your stash of cheese into a charming, cultured (no pun intended) masterpiece that would make Frozen’s Olaf proud.

Snowman-Cheeseball1

Snowman Cheese Ball

Ingredients:
185 g feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
100 g aged white cheddar, crumbled
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
Whole black peppercorns (“eyes” and “buttons”)
Sliver of carrot (“eyes”)
Zucchini top (“hat”)
Shaved zucchini (“scarf”)

Snowman-Cheeseball5

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulse feta, cream cheese, cheddar and garlic powder until combined; scrape down sides and pulse again. Blend for 10 seconds, scrape down sides and blend until creamy.

Snowman-Cheeseball4

2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dollop 3 rounds into small, medium and large sizes (about 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup portions of cheese). Roughly form into balls and dust with Parmesan. Freeze for 45 minutes until firm but still pliable.

Snowman-Cheeseball3

3. Remove from freezer. Add largest ball to serving plate; insert a toothpick in centre. Secure second (middle, medium) ball on top with toothpick. To the middle, add another toothpick in the centre and secure head (top, small) ball.

Snowman-Cheeseball2

4. Insert a toothpick in the centre of the head (top, small). Decorate snowman with peppercorn eyes and buttons, and carrot nose. Wrap zucchini around snowman’s “neck” and insert 1 to 2 toothpicks to secure. Dust with additional Parmesan for a snowed-in effect. Serve with crackers.

Snowman-Cheeseball6

Notes:
– Make the 3 cheese balls in advance (without decoration), and store wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container, up to 1 month. Defrost in refrigerator overnight before decorating and serving.
– To add texture but keep the snowy-white appearance, mix in 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds after blending cheese. If you’re not concerned about the appearance, dried cranberries and walnuts, and/or fresh herbs work well here.

Easy, Cheesy Cherry-Pistachio Brie En Croute

Want to be a holiday party hero? Make this recipe that’s quick, easy and delivers huge in the yummy department. Impress your guests with beautifully decorated puff pastry, then shock them when you cut through and soft, gooey cheese oozes out. Finally, send them to heaven with this sweet and salty combination of tart cherry preserves, crunchy pistachios and rich double cream Brie.

cherry-pistachio-brie-en-croute2

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
1 10-inch x 10-inch sheet puff pastry
1 200 g wheel double cream Brie
1/2 sour cherry preserves (or jam/jelly of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (nut of your choice)
1 egg yolk

cherry-pistachio-brie-en-croute

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface. Place Brie in centre of pastry. Place preserves on brie and then place nuts over preserves. Bring the corners of the pastry into the centre of the Brie, then bring the side up to meet the corners. Trim excess pastry from the centre. Form decorative detailing with excess pastry to help seal the pastry. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes.
2. While chilling, preheat oven to 400°F.
3. Mix egg yolk with 1 Tbsp water and brush over pastry. Bake in centre of oven until pastry is golden, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Do not bake in advance.

Looking for more tasty hor d’ouvre inspiration? Try our 75 Holiday Party Appetizers Your Guests Will Love.

The Ultimate Vegan Cooking Cheat Sheet

When it comes to the holiday season, you want everyone to feel like they’re in on the fun; asking grandma to boogie down to a festive tune, putting reindeer antlers on your dog and, most importantly, making sure all of your friends and family enjoy delicious food and drink.

“We vegans appreciate any dish that you have taken the time to make for us, it is better than not getting invited to the holiday party at all,” jokes Halifax chef Lauren Marshall. “I love going to a friend’s house over the holidays and being able to eat all the vegetable side dishes and smothering them all with mushroom gravy. Hold the turkey!”

lauren-marshall-kitchen

As the only vegan chef to compete on the hit series, Top Chef Canada, it goes without saying Marshall has got some serious chops when it comes to cooking for special diets. Here, the Halifax chef shares some fantastic tips and pantry staples to help you confidently cook some indulgent vegan dishes everyone can enjoy this holiday season.

Don’t be intimidated when cooking for vegan guests:
Remember that we’re just happy if you include us in on your dinner party — nobody likes to feel left out. If there are a few options you’ve taken the time to cook for us, we will feel satisfied!

Know which vegan milk to use:
Every dairy milk substitute has its place depending on the recipe. I believe that a homemade nut or seed milk always tastes better, and only takes seconds to make.

Coconut milk: Great for Indian curries instead of regular cream and also a great substitute in buttercream icing recipes.
Soy milk: Fantastic as a replacement for cream-based sauces as the flavour is quite mild.
Nut milk (almond, cashew, etc.): Ideal for morning cereals or smoothies, as the flavours pair well with the strong taste of granola or greens.

Shopping for quality tofu at the grocery store:
Find a product that is 100 per cent GMO free and organic. Also, see if you can find a local product. On the East Coast, you can find a locally made tofu by Acadiana Soy Products that’s organic and GMO free.

Serving a group with several dietary restrictions:
Only a few of my close friends are vegan, so it’s natural that I end up cooking for a mix of diets. In these cases, I love to serve tacos. I set up a table and create a buffet with fresh salsa, slow cooked chipotle beans, roasted portobello mushrooms, guacamole, smoked tempeh, cilantro cashew cream and shaved lettuce. Ask your meat-eating friends to bring sides like pulled pork or roast chicken and shredded cheese, and then everybody is happy!

vegan-gravy
Lauren Marshall’s Vegan Gravy

The ultimate vegan comfort food:
It’s so easy to make vegan mac and cheese. For a delicious “cheese” sauce, just roast some butternut squash, garlic and onions, and blend with nut milk, cashews and nutritional yeast until creamy. Season with salt and pepper, then mix the sauce with cooked pasta. Even meat eaters will be impressed!

How to veganize holiday classics:
During the holidays, just replace regular butter for coconut oil and a bit of nutritional yeast in your roasted vegetables, or try making a vegetable-based gravy with cashews instead of using the standard turkey drippings.

How to veganize holiday baking:
These days, with the influx of vegan egg and butter substitutes available at grocery stores, it’s easy to convert everyday recipes to vegan ones. Instead of regular pie crust, pulse dates and ground almonds in a food processor, and slowly add coconut oil until it all comes together. It only takes minutes and bakes off well.

Great ingredients for easy vegan cooking:

Ground flax and good quality vinegar: This makes a great substitution for eggs when baking.
Agar agar: This is a vegan thickener, comparable to gelatin. It can work to firm up jams and other preserves. It also works for custards and curds.
Nutritional yeast: This has a really cheesy flavour, so try it anywhere you’d normally have shaved Parmesan and it’s especially great when tossed with freshly made popcorn instead of butter.
Tempeh (fermented soybean cakes): I always have some in my freezer, It’s my mainstay “meat” substitute because of its hearty texture.
Nuts/seeds, grains and legumes: Pumpkin seeds are great to throw into a smoothie in the morning. I love buckwheat for a protein boost, especially in baking bread or biscuits and I love lentils. Making a traditional Indian dahl with lentils is really easy and very filling.

laurenmarshall-blueberry-grunt
Lauren Marshall’s Lavender Blueberry Grunt

Lavender Blueberry Grunt Recipe

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp for pan
3/4 cup maple syrup
5 cups frozen wild blueberries
3 cups large flaked dried unsweetened coconut
1 1/4 cup whole spelt flour, divided
1 Tbsp lavender
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup almond meal
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, preferable golden flax
1/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spread 1 Tbsp olive oil over the bottom of the cast iron pan.
3. Arrange blueberries on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
4. Add coconut to food processor and add a handful of the spelt flour. Blend until coarsely ground and set aside. Sift remaining spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and lavender into a medium bowl. Add almond meal and ground coconut, stir to combine and set aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk together flax seeds and water. Add maple syrup, oil, vanilla, vinegar and salt, and whisk again. Pour into dry mixture and stir until just combined.
6. Scoop out round biscuit-like shapes onto the frozen blueberries. Place on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Looking for more delicious ideas? 25 Vegan Desserts Even Non-Vegans Will Love.

Ice Ring

How to Make a Party-Perfect Ice Ring for Your Punch Bowl

Nothing gets a party going like punch. Friendships and laughter are born around the punch bowl, but we’re not talking about the awkward fruit punch you drank at high school dances. This fresh, modern recipe is an elegant cocktail that’ll impress your guests, complete with a bright, berry-ful ice ring to keep your punch chilled while adding a gorgeous garnish.

Fruit Ice Ring

Sparkling Citrus Punch with Berry-ful Ice Ring

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
Ice Ring
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sour cherries, pitted (frozen if fresh is not available)
2 cups champagne grapes*
1-1 1/2 cups distilled water

Sparkling Punch
750 ml bottle of dry white sparkling wine
1-330 ml can sparkling orange soda, such as San Pellegrino Aranciata
2 oz bitter Italian soda, such as Aperol
2 oz orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh mint for garnish

Fruit Ice Ring

Directions:

Ice Ring:
1. Place raspberries, cherries, and grapes in an 8 or 9 inch Bundt pan. Pour distilled water over fruit only just to cover. Place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight until frozen.

Sparkling Punch:
1. In a large punch bowl, mix sparkling wine, soda, Aperol, triple sec, orange juice and lemon juice.
2. Remove Bundt pan from freezer. Run warm water over bottom to loosen the ice ring from the pan. Place the ice ring in the punch and garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.

*if champagne grapes are not available, substitute cranberries or sliced strawberries.

Looking for more entertaining inspiration? Try our 10 Tasty Canadian Cocktails.

Chocolate Cowboy Cake With Fudge Frosting

Even if you can’t make it to the Calgary Stampede, you can bring a little bit of rodeo home to your ranch with this fun and exciting cake.

Nothing says ‘classic’ like a chocolate cake with a decadent fudge frosting. Add a little espresso powder to the icing for a little jolt of ‘Yeehaa!’ Sophisticated in flavour, with a rustic homemade presentation, this cake is perfect for celebrating your big rodeo win or your special cowboy’s birthday.

cowboy cake

The perfect blank canvas (well, chocolate canvas), this cake is a great base for any party theme you’re after. The sides and top are iced, not too perfectly,  to give it a rustic, approachable look. Bring the excitement of the Stampede to your cake by topping it off with little horse and cowboy figures, homemade bunting, and sugared rosemary sprigs.

Chocolate Cowboy Cake with Fudge Frosting
Cook time: 30  minutes
Makes: 4-layer, 6-inch cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
175g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
270g (1-1/2 cup) brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Frosting:
225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (50 g) powdered sugar
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
100 g dark chocolate (70%), melted and cooled
2 tsp espresso powder (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven at 350°F. Grease 4, 6-inch cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time and mix until well incorporated.
4. Add in the dry ingredients and start mixing on slow. Gradually add the milk and sour cream/Greek yogurt.
5. Divide batter evenly into 4 cake pans. I used an ice cream scoop to make sure each pan had equal amounts of batter. You can also you a scale to do this.
6. Bake for 28-30 minutes until the cake springs back when you press the top gently. Let cakes cool before removing them from pan.

Cake icing

Frosting:
1. Beat butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and espresso powder and beat until smooth.
2. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.

Cake Assembly:
Level the cake layers if they have a domed top. Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Apply a large dollop of frosting and smooth it out, right to the edges of the cake. Place the second layer, apply frosting, and repeat. It is okay if things get a bit messy. With an offset spatula, coat the cake with the remaining frosting.

Decorations
Sugared Rosemary Sprigs
What You’ll Need:
1 egg white
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Whisk egg white until it’s no longer stringy in consistency.
2. With a pastry brush, lightly brush a thin coat of egg white on rosemary sprig.
3. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let dry overnight.

‘Yeehaw!’ Bunting 
What You’ll Need:
Two skewer sticks
Twine/string
Nice cardstock/paper
Glue, pen, scissors

Directions:
1. Apply a small dab of glue at the end of each skewer stick and attach each end of the twine to a skewer stick.
2. Cut out 6 small triangles from cardstock. Write the letters of ‘yeehaw’ on each of the triangles.
3. Attach to twine with a small amount of glue.

Looking for more delicious cake ideas? Try our 25 Best Birthday Cakes.

How to Throw a Carnival-Themed Party with HGTV Star Tiffany Pratt

Carnivals are all about eating delicious treats, having fun and enjoying marvellous spectacles. With all that emphasis on good times and that cheerful bright palette, they make the perfect family-friendly theme for a summer party.

We talked to Home To Win star and stylist extraordinaire Tiffany Pratt to get her tips on how to create a dazzling carnival-themed party.

Courtesy Tiffany Pratt. Photo by Tara McMullen.

Courtesy Tiffany Pratt. Photo by Tara McMullen.

Mix it up.

Tiffany’s signature style is colourful and whimsical. The aesthetic is not only perfect for a carnival theme, but is also easy to make your own. By mixing items you already own with new pieces, and avoiding the stress of being perfectly matchy-matchy, setting a stunning table is simple. “My personal philosophy is to use as much as you’ve got,” says Tiffany. She suggests repurposing leftover streamers from past parties, and mixing paper plates with regular cutlery. “The idea is to pull everything out that you’ve got; with a carnival you can use anything, because anything goes!” Once you’ve assembled the décor and serving ware you already own, you can start seeking extras: paper bags for loot bags or canvas to paint your own big top. “But the main event is to scour the house, use what you’ve got and have fun mixing patterns and colours,” says Tiffany.

Serve sweet and colourful treats.

“I think popcorn is the first thing that comes to my mind for this kind of party,” says Tiffany, “especially dazzled up popcorn.” She suggests decorating paper bags and filling them with colourful or caramel popcorn. She’s also a big fan of handheld edibles, like finger sandwiches and sliders. Candy is a must for a carnival party; for a refreshing beverage, Tiffany suggests serving root beer floats. For grownups who’d like a little more carnival spirit in their drink, sangria and other colourful punches keep the libations on-theme. Tiffany suggests umbrellas or swizzle sticks for added festivity.

Courtesy Tiffany Pratt. Photo by Tara McMullen.

Courtesy Tiffany Pratt. Photo by Tara McMullen.

Style a “smorgasbord of fun.”

“To create a table that looks like something you want to photograph, levels are really important,” says Tiffany. Think cake plates, stacks of cool dishes, and anything else that can be used to create height. “Not only are the plates, and the food, and the cups and the cutlery all centred in a really cool, artistic way, but you have them all away around the table to actually eat,” she says. “If it looks like a smorgasbord of fun in the centre, it invites people to grab and eat and play.” Style your table with levels; by mixing up colours and patterns, food and drinks, cutlery and plates, you invite entertainment factor, says Tiffany.  “People aren’t afraid to take apart the table and enjoy things, whereas if it looks so perfect, they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t want to touch it, it looks so good!’”

Don’t stress.

Remember: good style is equal parts functional and fashionable, says Tiffany. Invoking fun and creating curiosity is just as important as remembering to put out forks. At the end of the day, it’s about the people. Yes, a beautiful setting can encourage a festive mood, but don’t stress about it.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful gesture; putting out containers for guests to bring home leftovers, and including adults in the loot bags are small gestures with huge impact.

Courtesy Tiffany Pratt. Photo by Tara McMullen.

Courtesy Tiffany Pratt. Photo by Tara McMullen.

Flowers, flowers, flowers.

Don’t have streamers or festive décor you can repurpose for your carnival party? No matter what the theme, “lots of flowers make things look so beautiful and festive,” says Tiffany.

Follow Tiffany Pratt on Instagram @thetiffanypratt and watch Home to Win Sundays at 10pm on HGTV. Better yet, sign up to see if you have what it takes to win your very own HGTV dream home!

Winter Wonderland Birthday Party

A Whimsical Winter Wonderland Birthday Party

When I was younger, given the choice, I would always pick chocolate cake over coconut.  But as I got older, I really started to appreciate the subtle flavour of coconut — especially in winter.

With a hint of warm spices, coconut’s dreamy qualities are even more pronounced, making it an ideal cake for a winter birthday party. The fact that shredded coconut looks like snow is an added bonus!

Celebrate a winter birthday with a whimsical, winter wonderland themed party, complete with a snowy coconut cake and rustic decorations.

Winter Wonderland Cake

Give your party a fun, winter wonderland feel by creating a rustic woodland scene complete with DIY evergreen tree toppers, a  gold winter hare and lots of shredded coconut. If you want to kick it up a notch, make a shimmering snow scene by dusting some fine edible glitter on top of the coconut layer.

Coconut Cake Slice

Coconut Chai Cake with Coconut Buttercream
Makes: 1 three-layered 6 inch cake

Coconut Chai Cake:
185 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2-1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
200 ml coconut milk
100 ml milk
2 chai teabags (~2 tbsp chai tea leaves)

Coconut Buttercream:
227g (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp coconut milk

Winter Wonderland Cake

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease the 6-inch cake pans.
2. Over medium heat, let the two chai tea bags steep in the milk. Once milk comes to a light boil, remove from heat and let tea bags steep for 5-10 minutes. Once milk has cooled down, combine the milk with the coconut milk.
3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together. Gradually add in the eggs, one at a time.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, shredded coconut and salt.
5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on slow to combine.
6. Pour in the milk and coconut milk and add in the remaining of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
7. Divide the mixture evenly among the three prepared cake pans and bake for 33-35 minutes. Check for doneness by using a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, you’re good to go! You can also test for doneness by gently pressing your finger on the cake — it should spring back up.
8. For the icing, using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter until mixture is pale in colour and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, one cup at a time and alternating between adding the icing sugar and coconut milk, beat until light and fluffy. Add more coconut milk, 1 Tbsp at a time if buttercream is too thick.

Winter Wonderland Decorations

You’ll Need:
– Skewer sticks
– Assortment of felt, scrapbook paper, card stock
– Glue
– Plastic figurine
– Gold paint (non-toxic)
– Fresh flowers

Winter Wonderland Cake Toppers

Tree Cake Toppers

Draw out tree shapes on a variety of scrapbook paper, felt and glitter card stock. Cut out your trees.

Using a hot glue gun, apply a small dollop of glue at the blunt end of a skewer stick. Gently press a paper tree on top of the glue. Let the glue dry for a couple of seconds before arranging on your cake.

Gold Hare Cake Topper

Gold Hare Topper

Using non-toxic gold paint (easily found in the kids section at your local arts and craft store), apply a thin coat onto the plastic toy figurine. Apply a second coat if desired. Let paint completely dry (overnight, if possible) before placing on top of cake.

Tip: Your local craft store or toy store will have a great selection of plastic toys that will work as toppers.

By Amy Ho

When she’s not completing statistics homework for her graduate studies, Amy Ho can be found in her tiny kitchen testing recipes and adorning cakes with flowers. She can also be found dreaming up new cake ideas for her blog, Constellation Inspiration

ina-garten-dinner-menu.png

Ina Garten’s Easy Dinner Party Menu

The best part about throwing a dinner party is the company. Whether you’re hosting colleagues, good friends or family, the crowd hasn’t just assembled for the feast—they’ve come to catch up with you too. Recipe choices are so important during a dinner party, and as a host, your best bet is to avoid dishes that have you running in and out of the kitchen to stir and mix, leaving you much less time to spend mingling with company.

The Barefoot Contessa is the dinner party hostess of dreams. Her dishes are simple yet sophisticated, and top notch when it comes to stress-free entertaining. Take a leaf out of Ina Garten’s book and partygoers will never know how you made it look so easy.

Preparation is Essential

Finger foods are quick appetizers that’ll keep well as you wait for your guests to arrive. You can prepare them ahead of time, while you check off the rest of your to-do list. A light first course also ensures that your visitors have plenty of room for the entrée.

Try a honey-glazed baked Brie and Marcona almonds with sea salt.

baked-brie-honey-recipe

Serve the Brie with a variety of crackers, dried cranberries and sliced apples or pears. (Quick tip: sprinkle a small amount of lemon juice on the apples and pears to prevent them from going brown.) The sweetness from the honey-glazed Brie mixed with the salty Marcona almonds pair perfectly with cocktails.

Family-Style Dining is a Feast for the Eyes

For dinner parties, roasting meat in the oven is a cinch. Lock in tons of flavour by making your marinade early in the day and combining it with your choice meat for at least an hour in the fridge. And the more you can pop in the oven, the better, as dishes cooked on a stovetop require too much attention.

Try this herb-roasted turkey breast with Parmesan risotto and crispy roasted kale.

herb-turkey-recipe-Ina-Garten

Forget individual plating because ‘family-style’ dining can be just as striking. Showcase your herb-roasted turkey on your finest dinnerware. (Quick tip: if the platter is white, be sure to wipe off any extra juices from the meat, which may have spilled along the sides, while transferring the turkey breast from the roasting tray.) Lay the crispy roasted kale on a rustic cutting board alongside a block of Parmesan cheese and a small grater so you can offer guests freshly grated Parmesan for the risotto.

It’s Okay to Delegate

After the main course, leave ample time for the group to enjoy each other’s company at the dining table. (Dessert is best served once the main course has settled.) When everyone’s ready, politely recruit a willing helper to lend you a hand while you put together your final dish. Don’t be shy about delegating—guests are generally eager to learn new recipes.

Try this five-minute Limoncello and ice cream with biscotti.

limoncello-and-ice-cream-biscotti

Limoncello is often served as an after-dinner ‘digestivo’ in Southern Italy. Paired with ice cream and biscotti, it’s a well-balanced dessert—creamy, crunchy, sweet and tangy—that looks lovely in a frozen martini glass and finishes off your dinner party nicely.

Anna Olson: 1 Simple Dessert, 4 Seasonal Decorations

There are certain desserts that suit any season: chocolate or vanilla layer cake, cheesecake, lemon or chocolate tarts, to name a few. Almost any neutral dessert can be the foundation for a gorgeous plate, and playing with seasonal accents gives you countless options. You could serve the same dessert to the same guests on separate occasions, and they likely wouldn’t notice because you’ve changed the toppers (or maybe they just had a little too much wine with dinner!).

Seasonal plating gives any dessert a distinctly Canadian feel; very few countries have four distinct seasons the way we do, and with that comes not only a variation of ingredients, but preparation variations as well.

888_dress-up-desserts

For my Maple Chiffon Cakes (which happen to be gluten-free), I have four plating styles to show you, to give you a sense of how to change up your accents for each season.

888_dress-up-desserts2

1. Fall
Now that we’re into cozy sweater season, treat your desserts with the same sense of warmth. Try a warm caramel sauce drizzled over the cake with a crispy topper of maple toasted almonds, and you’ve got a perfect plate for this time of year.

2. Winter
Winter gives us the greatest plating flexibility since we have fewer local ingredients to access, and using tropical fruits or citrus can really brighten up any dessert on a frosty day. Here, I’ve gone with one of my favourite flavour combinations: chocolate and orange. The addition of a warm chocolate sauce and candied orange zest gives you gloss and vibrancy in a plated dessert.

3. Spring
When plating desserts in spring, you should try to lighten things up a little. A nice rhubarb or strawberry sauce would be perfect, or even a simple lemon glaze with edible flowers makes for a fresh arrangement on your plate.

4. Summer
Fruits flourish in summer, so take advantage of the brief warm season. A cream cheese frosting adds richness to any dessert, and would contrast well with a mix of berries or even berry preserves. If it’s really hot outside, you can’t go wrong with a scoop of ice cream to cool things down a bit.

Get the recipe for my Seasonal Garnishes.

Oreo Chocolate Salami

This chocolate salami is by far the easiest and most delicious no-bake dessert you’ll ever make. Despite its name, this popular sweet doesn’t contain any meat, but is named as such for its resemblance to salami. Traditionally, this tasty treat is packed with tea biscuits, tons of butter, eggs and some sort of port or alcohol, but this recipe needed a modern face-lift.

Oreo_Chocolate_Salami-7

My version eliminates the eggs and alcohol, swaps out some of that butter for sweetened condensed milk, and packs in Oreos and pretzels for lots of good crunch. After chilling out for a bit, it’s rolled in icing sugar so that it really gets that cured meat appearance.

Oreo_Chocolate_Salami-5

Truffle-like with tons of crunchy cookies and pretzels, it’s actually easy enough to make with the kiddies. Make it a topic of conversation by wrapping it neatly in parchment and tying the ends with butcher twine. Go that extra mile by making a pretty handwritten label for it. It would be a wonderful hostess gift!

Oreo_Chocolate_Salami-4

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 3 hours
Makes: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:
200 g good quality dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 heaping cup roughly chopped Oreos (about 10)
½ cup roughly chopped salted pretzels
¼ cup roughly chopped tea biscuits or graham crackers
Icing sugar

Directions:
1. Melt the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water. Mix often to be sure the chocolate is melting evenly. It may start look like it’s separating, but that’s OK. Season with a pinch of salt and mix.

Oreo_Chocolate_Salami-1

2. As soon as the chocolate is melted, combine with the Oreos, pretzels and tea biscuits.

Oreo_Chocolate_Salami-2

3. Transfer the mixture to a long piece of plastic wrap and form it into a salami-shaped log. Wrap super tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 3 hours to set.

Oreo_Chocolate_Salami-3

4. Unwrap and dust with icing sugar or roll in sifted icing sugar. Keep wrapped in the fridge until ready to serve. This will keep, if wrapped well, for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Pumpkin Truffle Pops

It’s much easier than you think to eat clean leading up to Halloween, and still satisfy your sweet tooth.

Try making these easy chocolate pumpkin truffle pops for your Halloween party and watch them disappear right before your eyes — without any tricks! Filled with natural peanut butter, shredded coconut, dates and vegan chocolate chips, these waist-friendly pops are also great for an afternoon snack or after-dinner treat.

888_pumpkin-truffle-pops

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 10

Ingredients:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup canned organic pumpkin pie mix
5 medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (or substitute another nut butter)
¼ tsp vanilla powder (optional)
Pinch sea salt
¾ cup vegan chocolate chips
½ Tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine coconut flour, pumpkin pie mix, dates, peanut butter, vanilla powder and sea salt until it forms a ball of dough.
2. With your hands, roll balls approximately 1 ¼” in size and poke truffle pop sticks into each ball. Set them on a dish or baking sheet lined with parchment paper while you melt the chocolate coating.
3. Melt chocolate chips with coconut oil in a double boiler or mixing bowl over a pot filled with a small amount of boiling water. 4. Stir until just melted and smooth, and remove from heat.
5. Dip the truffle pops in the melted chocolate and swirl to coat evenly. Use a spoon to get chocolate coating near the base of the ball. Allow excess to drip off before standing them upright.
6. Sprinkle coconut and/or pecans all over the chocolate, and using a piece of Styrofoam, place the truffle pop sticks in the 7. Styrofoam to stand upright in the fridge.
8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the chocolate set. Keep truffle pops in the fridge until serving.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Crostini

So you’re having some friends over for fancy cocktails and tasty snacks. You’re looking for a good recipe that looks sophisticated, but is quick and easy to make.

Caramelizing onions takes time and patience. Do not let anyone tell you differently. When onions are caramelized to their deepest, they’re super sweet and jam-like, absolutely perfect paired with a savoury, pungent blue cheese. In this recipe, I used Stilton blue cheese because I find the slight acidity cuts the sweetness of the onions nicely. It’s a semi-hard cheese and will hold up to thin slicing. I finished the crostini with a drizzle of balsamic reduction for added punch and acidity, but that’s optional.

Caramelized_Onion_Blue_Cheese_Crostinis-5

Something to note about the crostini: buy a fresh, crusty baguette and slice it right before you’re going to crisp it up, and cut it diagonally to create more surface area for the toppings to sit on. Slice the baguette ¾” to 1” thick and toast the slices on only one side to ensure there will be a great crunch as well as a soft interior.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 min
Serving Size: 15 crostini

Caramelized_Onion_Blue_Cheese_Crostinis-3

Ingredients:

For the caramelized onions:
6 medium to large yellow onions, sliced ¼” thick
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ Tbsp olive oil
2 big pinches salt
1 tbsp dry red wine or balsamic vinegar
Fresh black pepper

For the crostini:
1 fresh baguette, cut ¾” thick on the bias
Olive oil
Maldon Salt
Fresh black pepper

75 g – 100 g Stilton blue cheese
Balsamic vinegar reduction, optional

Caramelized_Onion_Blue_Cheese_Crostinis-4

Directions:

For the caramelized onions:
1. Heat butter and olive oil in a sauté pan with lid over medium-low to low heat.
2. Add the onions to the pan and cover with lid.
3. Cook the onions for 25 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. They will soften and slowly start to brown.
4. Remove lid, season with 2 pinches of salt and continue cooking for 30-40 minutes, stirring often until onions turn a very deep caramel colour.
5. At this point, deglaze the pan with red wine and continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
6. Turn the heat off and season with fresh black pepper.

For the crostini:
1. Pre-heat the oven broiler on high and place the oven rack in the top third of the oven
2. Place the baguette slices onto a sheet tray and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with a good amount of Maldon or another flaky salt, and fresh black pepper.
3. Place under broiler and toast for 1 ½ – 2 minutes until just golden brown around the edges. Keep an eye on them so they do not over toast!
4. Slice blue cheese into thin pieces. You can then break up the slices into smaller pieces that will lie nicely on top of the onions.
5. Arrange the toasted baguette on a serving dish, top with 1 Tbsp caramelized onions, a piece of blue cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction.

Caramelized_Onion_Blue_Cheese_Crostinis-11

100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

French-Toast-Bake

Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake

Start this weekend off on the right foot with this oven-baked French toast casserole that can be assembled the night before for a stress-free breakfast or brunch in bed. Using cream in the custard makes this extra decadent and delicious, but milk will work as well for a lightened up version.

Blueberries and Cream French Toast Bake 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

888_Blueberries-and-Cream-French-Toast-Bake

Ingredients:

Maple Brown Sugar Drizzle:
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

French Toast Bake:
1 cup 10% cream or whole milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
8 cups cubed day-old egg bread or Italian loaf
2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

Maple Sugar Drizzle:
1. Stir brown sugar with maple syrup, butter and cinnamon until combined.

French Toast Bake:
1. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square glass baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk cream with eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Stir in 1 cup blueberries.
2. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until mixture is absorbed.
3. Preheat oven 350°F. Top evenly with Maple Sugar Drizzle. Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until fluffy and golden.
4. Serve with remaining blueberries and whipped cream if desired.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.  Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

Vegan Cashew Cheese Toasts with Poached Pears and Thyme

This recipe might look ambitious, but after one bite you’ll realize it was worth it. Besides, fancy toast is so trendy and impressive!

These delectable toasts combine a vegan smoked cashew “cheese” with juicy poached pears and crispy fried thyme for the perfect sweet and savoury bite. Try serving it alongside dinner, as part of an array of appetizers or make it for an indulgent weekend brunch.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 14 small toasts

888_cashew-cheese-toast1

Ingredients:

Smoked Cashew Cheese:
1 cup raw whole cashews (soaked and refrigerated in water for 3 hours)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp miso paste
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp white pepper
Powder from 1 vegan source probiotic capsule (10 billion CFU)

Poached Pears:
3 bosc pears
3 cups water
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon
2-3 thick slices of peeled ginger

Fried Thyme:
30 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp olive oil (for frying)

Extras:
Loaf of sourdough bread, thinly sliced (or your preference)

888_cashew-cheese-toast2

Directions:
1. Drain the soaking water from the cashews and then rinse them in fresh water.
2. In a high-powered blender, combine cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso paste, sea salt, smoked paprika, white pepper and probiotic powder. You’ll need to stop the blender frequently to move the mixture around with a spatula and scrape it off the sides to get it smooth.
3. Wrap the cashew cheese mixture in a double layer of cheesecloth and place in sealed container to achieve a round shape or scoop the mixture into a jar with a lid and let it set in the fridge for at least 24 hours (up to 36 hours for a stronger flavour).
4. For the poached pears, bring water, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and peeled ginger to a boil in a pot.
5. Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut them in halves and remove the core and seeds.
6. Once the poaching liquid is boiling, place pears in the pot and let simmer at a rolling boil for 20 minutes. To prevent pears from poking out of the liquid you can cut a circle of parchment paper (the same circumference of your pot), cut a small hole in the centre and place it on top of the liquid in the pot.
7. The pears are done when you can easily poke a fork in them and they slide off. Remove them from the liquid and allow to cool.
8. Just before serving the toasts, heat a pan over medium heat with oil and thyme sprigs. Fry for 1-2 minutes until crispy, but still contain some colour.
9. Prepare your toast to your liking in the oven or toaster. Meanwhile, thinly slice the cooled poached pears.
10. Spread smoked cashew cheese on pieces of toast, place 3 thin slices of pear on top and garnish with fried thyme. Serve immediately.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

DIY Brunch Taco Party

Skip the lines and the hassle of corralling a large group into a 40-seat restaurant by hosting brunch at your house with an easy and fun breakfast taco party. Have your friends assemble their own tacos and they can even make their own corn tortillas from scratch. Not only does this keep your friends busy, it also means less work for you.

BreakfastTacos_sized

Restaurants typically use a tortilla press to flatten balls of masa (corn flour), but unless you have one of your own, here’s a way to achieve perfectly round and flat tortillas using two cutting boards, some plastic wrap and a steady two-foot jump. Seriously.

For the Tortillas:

Ingredients:
Two sturdy wooden cutting boards (or large, heavy hardcover books)
Plastic wrap
Corn flour (Maseca is a popular brand)
Water
Salt
Frying pan

BreakfastTacos5_sized

Directions:
1. Follow the instructions on the package of corn flour to make the masa dough. Typically it’s 1 cup of corn flour, 3/4 cup of water and 1/8 tsp of salt to yield 8 tortillas. Double up the portions to make more.
2. Use a Tbsp-sized measuring spoon to make evenly sized individual balls of dough.
3. Put one of the cutting boards on the floor and place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the board.
4. Place a dough ball in the middle of the cutting board, followed by another piece of plastic wrap on top. Carefully place the other cutting board (or sturdy book) on top of the dough ball. Holding on to a countertop (or trusty friend) for balance, make a two-foot hop directly on top of the cutting board, flattening the dough ball. Shift your weight back and forth and side to side to ensure that the dough is flattened.
5. Remove the cutting board and gently peel away the plastic wrap, revealing a perfectly round corn tortilla. Place the tortilla on a hot, un-greased frying pan for about 30 seconds on each side.
6. Stack the cooked tortillas on top of each other on a plate. Place a slightly moist sheet of paper towel on top to prevent the stack from trying out.

tacos3

Taco Fillings:

There are no rules as to what you can put in a brunch taco, but here are some suggestions. Fill individual bowls with these toppings and let your guests make their own:

– Diced tomatoes
– Sautéed mushrooms
– Green or white onions
– Sliced avocados or guacamole
– Hot sauce
– Spicy mayonnaise (Sriracha mixed with mayo)
– Bell peppers
– Cut up bits of chorizo or breakfast sausage
– Scrambled eggs
– Lime wedges

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.

Loaded Nacho Grilled Cheese for Game Night

Create a nacho grilled cheese buffet by setting all the ingredients out, and letting people choose the toppings they like. Or create mini grilled cheese by cutting them into little squares, making them perfect for dipping in salsa, sour cream or guacamole. To cook for a large group, use the oven at 450°F, cooking for about 6 minutes on each side.

Loaded-Nacho-Grilled-Cheese-recipe

Ingredients:

2 slices French bread
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons salsa
Tex Mex cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons cooked ground beef
1/8 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 green onion stalk (chopped)
4 to 5 cilantro leaves
1 slice of tomato (diced)
1/4 avocado (diced)
1 to 2 black olives (chopped)
1 tablespoon black beans
1 to 2 slices jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 to 2 handful nacho flavoured Doritos (crumbled)
1 egg (scrambled)
Butter

Directions:

1. If you don’t have any ground beef, cook that to your liking first (I just used salt, pepper and garlic). Now let’s start with the sandwich: crush all the Doritos and spread them on a plate, dip one side of each bread slice in the egg and then into the Doritos. Once you have done this begin assembling the sandwich with sour cream on one slice, and salsa on the other. Next place a layer of cheese on the bottom slice, then stack on the rest of ingredients and finish with another layer of cheese and your top slice.
2. In a pan on medium heat, add some butter. Once that has melted, place your sandwich in, cooking each side until browned and the cheese is melting. You may want to cover your pan with a lid while it’s cooking to help the cheese melt, since there is so much stuff in the sandwich.
3. Once everything is ooey gooey, slice it in half and enjoy all your favourite nacho toppings in one glorious sandwich. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make your own salsa and guacamole for dipping!

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Cake with Coconut

This flourless, white chocolate cake is rich, moist and custardy — and the crunch of the coconut makes the perfect complement in terms of taste and texture. Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth who’s avoiding gluten — or who just loves a deliciously decadent cake.

dessert-gluten-free-chocolate-cake-with-coconut

Gluten-Free White Chocolate Cake with Toasted Coconut

Ingredients:

300 grams good quality white chocolate
8 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, melted
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (40 grams) coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:
1 1/2 cup (200 grams) icing sugar
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter

For the topping:
2 1/2 cups large flake coconut

dessert-gluten-free-chocolate-cake-with-coconut-recipe

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325F°. Grease a 9-inch (22 cm) springform pan and line it with parchment paper. Mold aluminum foil on the bottom and up the sides to prevent possible leaks. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Allow to cool.
2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Beat in sugar, one tablespoon at a time; continue to beat until thick and glossy.
3. Beat egg yolks in a large mixing bowl until creamy; add salt and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the melted butter, followed by the melted chocolate.
4. Fold egg whites into the egg yolks and chocolate with a rubber spatula until incorporated; take care not to overblend.
5. Place springform pan in the middle of a roasting pan and fill the pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the side. Place in the oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick placed in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
6. To make the icing, separate the coconut cream from the water and beat it together with butter and icing sugar.
7. Toast coconut at 300°F for about 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden. Turn cake upside down onto a cake stand and peel off parchment. Spread icing over top and sides of cake and top with coconut.

Darina Kopcok Darina Kopcok is a food writer and photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She writes the blog Gratinée, for which she also develops, styles and shoots each recipe. In addition to photographic training from Langara College, she holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She has a passion for Italian cuisine and French culinary technique.

Darina Kopcok is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.

blog_network_banner