I can't believe it's already Christmas and this year is coming to a close.  I'm spending time in rainy California with family, tons of christmas cookies and holiday music.  This sticky date cake will be a beloved new addition to our usual Christmas morning cinnamon rolls (gf, of course), hot chocolate and quiche.  These cakes couldn't be more festive if they tried, and I hope they bring some much needed cheer to your holiday gatherings.

STICKY DATE CAKE WITH SALTED TOFFEE SAUCE (Gluten-free) Makes 10 mini bundts

Date Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped medjool dates 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 mandarins, zested + 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut or brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Salted Toffee Sauce (Adapted from Nigella)

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 stick butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a mini bundt pan with coconut oil and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add chopped dates, baking soda and boiling water.  Let mixture sit for about 10 minutes to soften.

Once dates have soften, using a masher or fork, mash the mixture until dates have broken down and sauce is thick, smooth-ish paste.  Then, stir in coconut oil, vanilla, maple, and mandarin juice + zest.  

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together almond, oat, and arrowroot flour with sugar, spices and salt.  Then, mix flour mixture into wet ingredients, a little at a time, until all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Stir until well combined, then evenly divide among mini bundt cakes (filling until 3/4 full).  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are firm and cake bounces ever-so-slightly back.  Set aside to fully cool in the pan before trying to remove.  

To make toffee sauce: Put sugar, maple, and butter in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil.  Once sugar and butter have dissolved, let simmer/bubble for 3-4 minutes, then whisk in the heavy cream (carefully, it will bubble up).  Mix in sea salt.  Then, cook mixture over medium heat until thick, glossy and golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Store in a clean mason jar.  

To serve: Top date cakes with warm toffee sauce.  Serve immediately!  Also, would be great with a dollop of creme fraiche or ice cream ;) 


nutmeg-spiced hazelnut cake with chocolate ganache

I recently celebrated a birthday at the end of January.  Naturally, I was reminded of all the pool parties I couldn't have as a child since my actual birthday is usually quite cold and rainy (or snowy).  There are in fact some upsides to a Winter birthday, especially if like me, you enjoy cold weather and warm, spiced desserts.  Cake made of roasted hazelnuts is definitely one of them.


Generally, I'm not really one for a real "classic" birthday cake.  I don't particularly enjoy frosting or super sugary desserts (I know, who am I?).  This cake completely seduces me, though.  I originally adapted it from Smitten Kitchen, made it gluten-free and added some freshly grated nutmeg.  If you're planning any special occasion baking anytime soon, this is a sure show-stopper.  It may even cure your childhood resentments and/or winter blues.




1 heaping cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 pound butter (or earth balance)

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose flour

5 large egg whites (or egg replacer)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon xanthum gum

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Add butter to saucepan over low to medium heat.  Cook 6-8 minutes or until it smells nutty.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xanthum gum, powdered sugar and nutmeg.  Add this mixture with hazelnuts to food processor or blender.  Mix a little at a time and pulse into flour.  Add flour back to bowl and set aside.

4.  Place egg white in a stand mixer and beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes or until they have stiff peaks.  (For egg replacer, do this same step, but mixture will not get as fluffy).

5.  Fold egg whites into flour mixure making sure to combine well, but not overstir.  Add to greased cake pan (bundt, layer cake, etc) and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Set aside to cool.

6.  As cake cools, double broil chocolate with vanilla.  Stir mixture as the chocolate melts.  Remove from stove and let cool.  To serve, drizzle or cover entire cake with chocolate ganache.  Top with dusting of powdered sugar and freshly grated nutmeg.