29 January 2010

Cakes and Funerals

This last week has been both a creative and fun cooking extravaganza and also has been a week filled with sadness. A friend and mentor of mine passed away on Monday and had left me devastated, but today having gone to her funeral I have found peace and I have said goodbye to as her son put it, "The body that was just a carrier for her amazing spirit." She was a teacher, a mentor and a great figurehead in her community. Her inspiration will stay with me always. I also had to say goodbye to a hero of mine Howard Zinn a pioneer in his time and a man that shaped my future in being proactive in the world around me. He led me to be a free thinker and a bit of a rebel, but a rebel with a cause. Then there was JD Salinger the creator of my favorite fictional character Seymour Glass. He is the reason I devour books the same way I devour cupcakes. Through all of the tears and sadness I feel lucky. I am so very lucky to have known Mrs. Nach, to have read Zinn and Salinger. I am lucky I was given the opportunity to have these brilliant people inspire and shape my future. To these three I say thank you and you will be in my heart and mind forever.

And then there was cake...
In the middle of this emotional soul retching I was also given the opportunity from my beautiful and very much alive friend Julia to come up with some desserts for a week long yoga training class. I made desserts for three of the five nights, they consisted of a banana custard with a plantain rum sauce, gluten free pistachio cupcakes and a gluten free German chocolate cake with an agave fudge frosting (recipe from 500 Vegan recipes, sans gluten of course). It was a great way to divert my mind from all things grim and to embrace my love of baking.

All of the desserts were filled with robust flavor and most of all, love. It may sound silly but every ounce of my food is filled with a piece of my soul. My good thoughts and good intentions go into every cookie, cake or biscuit. I could feed the world with my sadness and my many joys. Food is so personal and such an expression of one's self that to eat a simple truffle or scone would be like shaking someones hand or giving them a hug, and sometimes like reading a page from their diary. All of you bakers out there know exactly what I mean.

And I will end on that note. Have a happy Friday, hug someone you love, hug a stranger, make friends and remember to say cheers because we never know what tomorrow will hold.

Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake

Banana Custard with Plantain Rum Sauce


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful soul. It's been an odd week in the cosmos. Your desserts sound and look amazing!!!!

    Would you be willing to share the custard recipe? I'd love to give it a go.

  2. For sure! It is really a simple recipe a bit sweet too, so you may want to adjust the sugar content.

    1/3 cup sugar
    4 T. arrowroot
    2 T. gluten free flour blend (you can use all-purpose flour)
    1/4 cup water
    1 1/3 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 banana

    Mix the first four ingredients and then in separate pan bring milk to a simmer. Puree a ripe banana. Remove 1/2 milk and add to sugar water mixture. Pour everything together in saucepan and heat. Beat contstantly until thick. Add banana and vanilla and then let cool.

    For the plantain sauce

    2 ripe plantains
    ½ stick Earth Balance
    2 tablespoons rum
    ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
    1 cup sucanat
    ¼ cup soy creamer

    Melt butter with sugar in saucepan and add plantains. Cook plantains about 5 minutes then remove from pan. Add coconut milk and rum to sucanat mix and bring to simmer, then add plantains and creamer and simmer for another five minutes.

    Pour over custard. Yum!