Tis the season to give, well at least that's the mindset I have as we head into December. So it's with great pleasure that I announce my first giveaway here at Harmony Kitchen! Drum roll please . . . Alanna Taylor-Tobin's amazing recipe book titled Alternative Baking: Reinventing Dessert With Gluten-Free Grains And Flours!!!
I'm super stoked to be sharing Alanna's book, not only because it is a masterpiece filled with gorgeous food photography and decadent recipes, but because Alanna has also become a dear friend. I honestly can't remember how I stumbled across her blog years ago, but from the moment I found The Bojon Gourmet, I was hooked on Alanna's witty writing style, stunning food shots and of course the creativity oozing from every single recipe she shared. And then, as luck would have it, she posted that she was writing her first recipe book and looking for recipe testers. It did not take me too long to muster up the courage to email her, but as I was typing up my message, I realized that she may not want a tester who does not eat dairy or eggs. I almost did not send the email, but then I remembered seeing more plant-based recipes showing up over at The Bojon Gourmet and I thought, just maybe she might have 1 or 2 I could test for her. Shortly after I sent the email, Alanna's response popped up into my inbox. Expecting a polite decline, I was pleasantly surprised that Alanna had not 1 or 2, but 3 recipes for me to try out! That was the beginning of our foodie friendship/collabortion, which I knew was meant to be when I found out that Alanna writes her blog posts to Bach's Cello Suites - kindred spirits?
Alanna and I finally got to meet when Andy and I took a quick trip to San Francisco this past May to visit with friends. She introduced me to Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya, DOSA, Bi-Rite Creamery and Dandelion Chocolate - to say we ate well on that trip would be an understatement! On our last meetup, Alanna gave me a surprise gift of one of her cocktail concoctions, her Verdant Lady made to perfection in a cute mason jar - a drink I will never forget!
While in town I also decided to attend a spoon carving workshop by the illustrious designer Windy Chien, who I found out about through Alanna. I had a blast at the workshop and came away with a handcrafted one of a kind spoon that I will be showcasing soon here at HK. Should you find yourself in San Fran during one of Windy's workshops, definitely sign up and attend!
Now to the recipe and BOOK GIVEAWAY! At one of our dinners together Alanna and I talked about the idea of me "veganizing" one of the non-vegan recipes from her cookbook. I asked her if I did so, could I share it on my blog? She graciously accepted and also sent me photos from her cookbook to share - THANK YOU!!!
Then came the hard part, having to choose from over 100+ brilliant recipes the one I was going to use for this post. At the time I was making this decision, my fig tree happened to be in full harvest. So I went with the seasonal recipe, as I conveniently had lots of figs on hand. Luckily I did not have to change very much from Alanna's original recipe to adapt it to a plant-based version - only the eggs, butter and yogurt. The only other change I made was to give an option to use coconut palm sugar, as it is my preferred granular sugar to use due to its low glycemic index number. Other than that, the recipe remains in tact from Alanna's book along with her instructions, save for the bits mentioning flaxseed.
Below are some snippets from Alanna's cookbook that she wrote about her Fig and Olive Oil Cake:
This cake was inspired by a flat of gorgeous Black Mission figs that arrived at my door, hand-picked by my dear friend Amelia from her grandmother's tree. The figs were enormous--it took only four, each cut into eighths, to cover the top of this cake . . . Almond flour and Greek yogurt form a nubby base that supports the juicy figs, and the lemon plays off he olive oil to add a bit of mysterious complexity. A a good sprinkle of sugar over the top makes a crunchy crust. If figs aren't about, try this cake crowned with sliced plums instead.
For a chance to win a copy of Alternative Baking: Reinventing Dessert With Gluten-Free Grains and Flours, please leave a note below sharing with me your favorite fig recipe or holiday dessert (I think mine would have to be this cake!) and head over to Harmony Kitchen's page and hit the like button. A winner will be announced Wednesday, December 7th. Best of luck to you all!
fig and olive oil cake ingredients
1 teaspoon plant-based butter (earth balance is my favorite!)
1 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup GF oat flour
1/4 cup millet flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or organic granulated cane sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup coconut yogurt or other plant-based yogurt of choice
6 tablespoons flavorful extra-virgin olive oil (Oil Ladi is my favorite!)
Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
4-6 large fresh figs or plums
Add the flaxseed and water to a bowl, whisk thoroughly and then refrigerate. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175 °C). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan with the butter and place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.
Sift the almond, sweet rice, oat and millet flours together into a medium bowl along with the baking powder, baking soda and salt, adding back any bits that get caught in the sifter. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar, cold flaxseed mixture, yogurt, olive oil and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the flax egg mixture until smooth and homogenous. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth into an even layer.
Trim the stems from the figs, halve each lengthwise, and cut each half into 4 wedges (for large figs) or 2 wedges (for smaller figs). Place the fig wedges over the top of the cake batter in concentric rings (or just drop them over the top willy-nilly--that looks nice, too). Sprinkle all over with the remaining 2 tablespoons (20 g) of sugar.
Bake the cake until golden on top and a tester inserted near the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely, 45 minutes, then remove the sides from the pan. Slide the cake onto a serving platter and cut into wedges to serve.
The cake is best within the first 2 days of baking but will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
"Constantly contemplate the whole of time and the whole of substance, and consider that all individual things as to substance are a grain of a Fig, and as to time the turning of a gimlet."
~ X, 17