April 13, 2015
The newest member of my paleo cookbook collection comes from my amazingly talented friend Jenni Hulet of The Urban Poser entitled My Paleo Patisserie: An Artisan Approach to Grain-Free Baking. All I have to say is WOW! This book is stunningly beautiful and crafted with a love and care that only someone with a true love and passion for baking could produce.
After recieving a diagnosis for crippling gluten and casein intolerance and months of healing and recovery, Jenni decided to take her Yoga focused blog and expand it to a more lifestyle centered blog, with real food for people with allergies such as hers at the forefront. Unknowingly, many of the recipes she was bringing to us were actually paleo friendly and once she began to embrace and learn more about all things paleo, the more her readers and followers benefited. For someone who found this paleo community of ours in a sort of round-about way, she sure has become many of our "go to" resources for paleo friendly baked goods. Jenni not only set a lofty goal for herself with this truly artisanal style baking cookbook, but she smashed it! This book is packed with beautiful confections that are worthy of any patisserie window display you might see strolling down the streets of Paris.
As if beautiful and elegant recipes such as a Citron Tart, Italian Almond Cookies and savory Bacon and Chive Pancakes weren't enough, Jenni also brings to us a seemingly endless multitude of what she calls "choose your own adventure" style recipes! These recipes offer the reader a chance to customize her recipes or create something totally new and unique. I myself plan on using her recipe for Matcha Green Tea Pastry Cream and putting it on just about every kind of waffle and pancake that I can. However, it was Jenni's recipe for Maple Carrot Cake that not only made my mouth water at the sound of it but actually made me drool when I looked at its photo. Jenni's ability to capture the decadence and beauty of the food she creates is like nothing I have ever seen, she is a true master of her craft!
Jenni was sweet enough (pun intended) to share with me her recipe for her beautiful and delicious Maple Carrot Cake so that I could share it with all of you! I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did, your dinner guests, family members, co-workers or whomever you decide to make this for will absolutely love it, and find it almost to pretty to eat... Almost. Make sure you run out to your local bookseller or order a copy of My Paleo Patisserie to add to your paleo book collection because this one is coffee table worthy!
- 1/4 cup (45 g) palm shortening or ghee
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup (200 g) firmly packed maple sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 cups (350 g)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup (50 g) raisins
- 1/3 cup (60 g) chopped pineapple
- 1/3 cup (40 g) chopped pecans
- 3 medium carrots (260 g), grated
- 3 cups (170 g) coconut flakes, for garnish
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar or lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups (270 g) palm shortening*, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- *To substitute ghee, use an equal amount by weight. If measuring by volume (cups), reduce the amount of fat used to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Grease and line the cake pans with parchment paper circles cut to fit the pans.
- Melt the shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, then set aside to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, egg white, sugar, and lemon juice on medium-high speed for 15 minutes. The mixture should become thick and voluminous. Always beat it for the whole 15 minutes, though.
- While the egg mixture is beating, whisk together the flour, spices, and baking soda in a large bowl till blended. Add the shredded coconut, raisins, pineapple, pecans, carrots, and melted shortening, then toss to combine.
- When the egg mixture is ready, gently fold it into the flour mixture till completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or till the tops spring back when gently pressed. (Bake for 35 to 40 minutes if using a 9-inch/24-cm round cake pan.)
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Loosen the edge of each cake with a sharp knife, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before assembling.
- Once the cakes are have cooled, prepare the buttercream. Combine the egg whites, maple syrup, and cream of tartar in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a small or medium-sized saucepan with 2 inches (5 cm) of simmering water in it. It is important that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat the mixture till it reaches 160°F (71°C) on a candy thermometer, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or seize.
- Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a metal bowl and a hand mixer. Start whipping on low speed, gradually increasing to high over the course of 30 seconds. Continue to beat the mixture on high speed till stiff and completely cool. This could take up to 8 to 10 minutes, or longer if using a hand mixer.
- When the meringue is ready, switch to the paddle attachment on the stand mixer. Add the shortening bit by bit, beating on medium-high speed till thick and smooth. Beat in the vanilla.
- If the buttercream becomes loose and liquid, your meringue may not have been sufficiently cool when you added the shortening. Chill the mixture slightly in the fridge, then resume beating. It will emulsify eventually. If it curdles, the shortening may have been too cold. No worries! Don’t fret or throw it out; just keep beating! Beating the mixture fixes pretty much everything.
- To assemble the cake: Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread about a 1/4-inch (6-mm)-thick layer of buttercream evenly over the cake. Place the second cake layer on top of the buttercream, then spread more buttercream on top. Finally, place the last cake layer, then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. You don’t need a super thick layer, but you want enough buttercream to press the coconut flakes into.
- Scoop up handfuls of coconut flakes and gently press them into and all over the surface of the cake.
- For best results, chill the cake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes to secure the coconut flakes. If needed, fill in gaps by placing a little frosting on the back of a coconut flake and securing it to the area.
For this recipe you will need three 6-inch (15-cm) round cake pans, as the recipe is written for that amount of batter. However, this amount of batter will also make one 9-inch (24-cm) round cake for a nice single-layer cake if desired.