Bewitched Egg Cakes (Cakes Baked in Eggshells)

For almost a solid two weeks I’ve been thinking about what to make for Diane’s Harry Potter-themed Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free! party. Coincidentally I recently started to reread Harry Potter, starting properly at book 1 and working my way up steadily; often knocking down a book or two in a day. As I read, I took note of all the food mentioned – and sometimes finding myself wishing J.K. Rowling had described some of them a little more, but I suppose that was left for the reader’s imagination to fill – and thought of what I could make. As it is, I’ve ended up not making anything directly inspired by the books but I thought that these cakes baked in eggshells, an idea I saw on Cupcake Project via Pinterest, would qualify as a magical food, perhaps something used as a lesson in Professor McGonagall’s transfiguration class or invented by the Weasley twins.

Harry Potter is a point of nostalgia for me, as I’m more than sure it is for many people. I remember unwrapping the first book for Christmas when I was a little girl and my Mum would read it to me as a bedtime story; it wasn’t until the third book, the Prisoner of Azkaban, that I started to read them myself. Later on, I went with my Mum and sister for the midnight launching party upon the release of the fourth book, the Goblet of Fire, and it was the scariest book I remember reading at the time, particularly towards the end when Harry faces Lord Voldemort – actually, at that age I was always on the edge of my seat when Harry faced Voldemort at the end but the fourth was especially frightening to me.

I have all the books except for the seventh: after the killing off a very important and integral character – won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it and doesn’t want spoilers – and the furious, sudden charge of hormones in the Half-Blood Prince (sixth book),  Harry Potter was kind of ruined for me, although I wasn’t too happy either when another important and integral character was killed off in the Order of the Phoenix (fifth book) – again, not saying just in case – and that, I suppose, was the start. If you’ve read the books, you probably know who I’m referring two in both instances.

I’ve kind of held out reading the last book. When it was released, I honestly didn’t want to read it or even cared and it stayed that way as time passed on, yet I started to wonder when I was simply not interested, that I’d get to it when I’d get to it, or if I was simply holding out. (That doesn’t explain, though, why I read the plot summary on Wikipedia and gave a marvelous, rapid-fire recap to my parents at the time.) As the years went by, I began to feel in me a growing curiosity – the same kind of curiosity that one feels when after having distinctly told oneself that he’s not interested in something, which tends to quickly become an annoyance if it isn’t acknowledged and indulged. One might feel compelled to quickly criticize them at every turn to friends and family but privately adore them – or, if it’s in my case with Harry Potter, it happens as I just told it and wanting, eventually, to read it after four years and the movies are over. Yet despite having not read the last book I was fairly able to piece together the plot of the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake with Quinoa Flour (GFCF)

A dear family friend of ours, who also happens to be my brother’s OT (Occupational Therapist) made this cake. Dimity Duckworth is such an outstanding OT and truly wonderful person that she has long since captured a place in the heart of our family and almost everyone she meets, I am sure!  The recipe that she made the cake from calls it bread, but we’re calling it cake. I liked it so much that I simply had to share it with all of you, here. It reminds me of my grandmother’s banana bread, even though peanut butter was never used in her bread (but sometimes there were chocolate chips).

This cake uses quinoa flour, a flour I’ve yet to use in my baking (I have full intentions to, though, since I got that quinoa cookbook!) and she found it a bit heavier than rice flour, which is  what she usually uses but it does add a pleasant, complimentary nuttiness to the cake. Because it’s dense it’s a great snack cake and very satisfying – I cut a slice in half, like in the picture above, and it was enough to still satisfy me.

An interesting fact Dimity told me is that peanut butter isn’t popular to bake with in Australia, so, in her words, she’s really into using it. Since she mentioned it, it has struck me that I have not seen the PB in the Donna Hay magazine or her cookbooks that I’ve borrowed from the library. Is baking with peanut butter very (North) American? (I include North because it seems to be used quite a bit in Canadian baking also.)

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Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam

Cupcake cookbooks abound on the bookstore shelves and a couple or so years ago, there was talk that the trendy cupcake was coming out of style. If it is indeed coming out of style, it’s a slow death: people don’t seem to let go of their treats as easily as a fashion piece that was stylish or fashionable back in its heyday but now outdated or only suitable for a costume party.

Food trends come and go, they dictate our culture, but there are some things that shall remain classic, no matter how many grand, ritzy reincarnations it goes through and that includes cupcakes. When we were kids and ate cupcakes, or any treat for that matter, we didn’t care if it was fashionable or not. We just ate because we enjoyed eating – and, shouldn’t that be the point?

Until Elana Amsterdam’s newest cookbook Gluten-Free Cupcakes hit the market, though, gluten-free folks were missing out on the party. If you Googled for gluten-free cupcakes there are lots of search results for online recipes but, until now, no gluten-free cupcake cookbooks.

It’s now been only but a little over two weeks since Gluten-Free Cupcakes was released and everyone who has tried the recipes rave about them. There are bloggers’ confessions of how many cupcakes they ate. Even before it was released, her cookbook was already making waves in the gluten-free blogging community with pre-order sales, giveaways, reviews – sneak peeks of the recipes that this gem of a cookbook contained. I was honoured enough to receive a review copy from the publishers and have been thrilled with it. Everyone oohed and aahed over it, gushing over the lush photography, before we’d even tasted any of the recipes. Most of all, the constant ring in the air – “I can’t believe it’s gluten-free!”

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