Jalapeno Lime Cheesecake

JalapenoLimeCheesecake-SpringformA number of years ago, I was the editor of a rural weekly newspaper. As part of that job, I was expected to be the face of the newspaper in the community especially for events such as fundraisers or events where local businesses were participating.

During one of those fundraising events, my talents as a cook were auctioned out to the highest bidder. One of the two times I did this, I pulled off a Habanero Orange Cheesecake. It was good, but a tad bit too spicy for a dessert. So I decided that Jalapeno and Lime was a much better flavour combo.

The fun thing about this recipe is that it only needs a small change to from gluten filled to GF. This is definitely one of those times that GF does not mean Taste Free!

Jalapeno Lime Cheesecake

JalapenoLimeCheesecake-blender1 1/2 cups (350 g) graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup (80 g) melted butter
4 jalapeno peppers
9 oz. (250 g) sugar
3 8-ounce (675 g) packages cream cheese
4 eggs
2 tbsp. (30 ml) heavy cream
3 limes

  1. The first step is to boil water to place in a pan on the bottom rack of your preheated oven at 400 degrees. The next step is to either crush about 20 graham crackers in crumbs or use about 1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs to mix with the melted butter to form your crust just lining the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Using disposable gloves destem and deseed your jalapenos. Once done with that, place them along with two tablespoons of sugar into a food processor to create a coarse paste. This can also be done with a mortar and pestle if you have one.
  3. Slowly beat the cream cheese together until it is smooth. After blending in the sugar, beat in the eggs one by one until the mixture is smooth. Add in the cream and blend before zesting one lemon.
  4. To zest a citrus fruit, you use a zester or a very coarse grater and basically scrape off the outside of the skin until you hit the white of the fruit. Don’t go below the white as that is usually bitter.
  5. Then blend in the zest from one lime and the juice that lime and another. Blend this well before blending in the jalapeno paste.JalapenoLimeCheesecake
  6. Pour the filling into the springform pan and then gently tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  7. Bake the cheesecake for about an hour or until it starts to separate from the sides; make sure to keep the pan of boiling water underneath the cheesecake. The added moisture from the steam should keep the cheesecake from drying out and cracking.
  8. Let the cheesecake cool outside of the oven for 20 minutes before placing in your refrigerator overnight. Before serving slice the third lemon into thin pieces and place one slice on each piece.

Some interesting variations –

For a deeper flavour mixture, you can roast the jalapenos slowly over an open flame. After putting them in a plastic bag, the skin will loosen and you should be able to peel the blackened skin right off the pepper. This should be done before you puree them with the sugar.

Also if you would like to give this a completely feel, use GF chocolate creme-filled cookies for the crust and sprinkle cocoa powder lightly over the top of the cheesecake after you pull it out of the oven. You could also put thin chocolate shavings on each slice. This version would be stupendous with habanero and orange!

Chocolate Trifle

ChocoTrifleA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (sorry that intro never gets old to me!), my wife introduced me to trifle. As a young warthog (ok, they’re both Disney properties!), I had never experienced trifle. I was not a huge fan of pudding mind you. On the other hand, chocolate cake was right up my alley!

Alas, a few years ago, CD hit me like a ton of flour and dreams of cakes went out the window. That is until I figured out there were GF cake mixes to be bought or GF flour to be purchased to make homemade cakes! And it was good.

This recipe is relatively simple and doesn’t take a whole lot of time depending on how store bought you go. Remember – chocolate cake, pudding – who said GF was TasteFree?!

Chocolate Trifle

1 recipe GF chocolate cake (something like this would work)Puddin
2 small (400 g) boxes chocolate pudding
1 tub (1 L) whipped cream
6 Skor bars
1/4 cup (30 ml) Kahlua

  1. Bake your cake and let it cool completely. This can be done obviously like the night before or a few hours before you want to actually put the trifle together.
  2. While it cools, make both packets of the pudding, ensuring it is set.
  3. Crush your Skor bars so that they are smaller bite size chunks.
  4. Cut your cake into small bite size pieces.
  5. Put half of the cake on the bottom of a deep bowl. Drizzle about half of the Kahlua on top of that.
  6. Add half of the pudding and then half of the whipped cream.
  7. Sprinkle half of the Skor bar over the top.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7, chill and serve!

Zucchini Cake

ChocoZucchini Cake

This was a double recipe made for my son’s Beaver camp. Everyone loved their veggies that night!

This simple GF zucchini cake recipe is a number of years in the making (or at least putting it online is). Back when I was an editor for a small, rural weekly newspaper in North Dakota, I got zucchini’d! I had never had that experience as a city boy before. So I made veggie burritos and had heard about zucchini cake some time later.

Then I tried it once and knew what I would always do with my zucchinis since I am not a fan normally. I’m one of those guys that looks at zucchini cakes as a good way to get my veggies. But in this case, my veggies are rich, moist and covered in chocolate!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup (125 g) butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil
1 3/4 cup (420 g) sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp (30 ml) vanilla
2 1/4 cups (530 g) GF flour
3/4 cup (180 g) cocoa
1 tsp (15 g) baking powder
1 tsp (15 g) baking soda
1/2 tsp (7 g) salt
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream
2 cups (475 g) zucchini – grated with skin
3/4 cup (180 g) chocolate chips


  1. While your over preheats to 325 degrees, beat the your room temp butter, oil and sugar on high with mixer for 3 minutes, then add the eggs and vanilla.
  2. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Add in the sour cream until it’s all combined. Then mix in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Watch out, this batter will be thick, so go easy on the mixer until it’s combined.
  3. Spray the bottom of your cake pan with cooking spray, not the sides. If you spray the sides, it will stick to the sides and give you unevenly cooked, charred sides.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes on convection (an hour otherwise) and let cool completely until you are ready to cover with delicious frosting. Something like this Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting would work.

Apple Crisp

I have a confession to make. When it comes to desserts, I usually forgo all others in favour of the flavour that has had me enthralled since I was a babe. In fact, that flavour is one of my four basic food groups – chocolate, cheese, chicken and chilies … cha, cha, cha!

But if anything can make me cha, cha, change my mind – it’s an apple crisp. In fact, if I can’t have chocolate, I gravitate towards anything with apple as a backup. Unfortunately, apple pie is currently out of my bailiwick – post CD, so the next best thing, or the better thing, is an apple crisp.

My mother loves apple crisps but never had a recipe. On the other hand, my mother-in-law has a good recipe that I tinkered with and made my own. That’s where some of the best stuff comes from – I should know, my wife came from her too! That said I don’t know who she got it from, so my mother-in-law is getting all the credit!

At any rate, this recipe is relatively simple. I like using Granny Smith apples, because I like the tartness. And using maple syrup gives you a bit more sweetness.

It can be glutenized if you must. But as my new motto is #GFNotTasteFree, why do you need to bow to others misconceptions? Make it so you can eat it and let everyone else figure out that it rocks!

Mama Jan’s Apple Crisp Redux

4 large Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup maple syrup
about a cup GF flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup GF certified oats

  1. In a saucepan, put your syrup, 2 tbsp flour, cinnamon and 2 tbsp butter to make a sauce. Start your oven pre-heating to 350 degrees.
  2. As the sauce cooks long enough to melt the butter and mix the ingredients, de-core and dice your apples into chunks with the peels still on.
  3. Pour the sauce over the apples in a 9″x9″ pan.
  4. Mix the brown sugar, 3/4 cups flour, the oats and the rest of the butter to make a crumble to put on top of your apple mix.
  5. Cook for about 25-30 minutes in a convection oven (about 35-40 in a non-convection) or until the crumble starts to brown and the sauce bubbles up to the top.
  6. Test a bit of the apple to ensure done-ness. If necessary cover it with aluminum foil to finish cooking it so that the crumble doesn’t burn.

Candy Bars

CandyBarI may have said this before … but I’ll say it again – I love cookies. One of my favourites has always been the original chocolate chip cookie. And if there’s a batch being cooked, my wife has said I have radar for cookies and always seem to appear when cookies come out of the oven,
So the idea of cookies have always intrigued me – especially when combining two of my favourite flavours – chocolate and peanut butter. Thus the Wookie Cookie and now this “Candy” Bar, which combines those flavours in a bar form. It’s fun and easy and seems to be a hit with my kids at least.

“Candy” Bars

2 cups (450 g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 g) butter, melted
3 eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
2 cups (450 g) GF flour
2 tsp (10 g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
1/2 cup (120 g) M&Ms
1/2 cup (120 g) Reese’s Pieces

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9 by 13 pan.
  2. In a stand mixer, blend your sugar and melted butter together.
  3. Add your eggs and vanilla as your batter continues to blend.
  4. Mix in your flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  5. Stir in your candy, making sure that it is mixed completely.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes in a convection and about 25-30 minutes without convection. Let it cool completely before you cut it.

Death by Ice Cream Cake

IC cakeWarning: This recipe takes awhile and may not be worth sharing with others depending on what flavours you use. They wouldn’t like it – it would likely only be for you. Why would you share it? Why do I have to share it? You can’t make me share … Shut up you and give them the recipe! All right, fine!

Now that my inner chocolate demon is done arguing with my kind sharing, er, angel, I’ll give you what is one of the most versatile recipes for an ice cream cake. I’ve used this recipe a number of times including for a few friends of mine who wanted two of them as their wedding cakes. The one I did most recently (and shared) prompted another friend to tell me that I could make one of them for her wedding as well!

Once you pick your flavours and make your cookies it’s then all about the assembly, which will likely take a day or two. Without further digression …



Death by Ice Cream Cake

1 recipe GF cookie (such as Creamed Coffee Cookies)IC cake with form
1 recipe Bailey’s Ganache
1 tub GF ice cream (such as Peanut Butter Cup ice cream)

  1. Bake one half of your cookie dough into one giant cookie at the bottom of a spring form pan (I used an 8″ form). You should line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper so that you can undo the mold and lift the baked cookie right off.
  2. Bake the second half immediately. For this one you don’t need the parchment paper unless you want to take the cake of the bottom to put it on a nice platter for serving.
  3. While both cookies cool, make your ganache and let it cool a bit. Pull out your ice cream so that it’s not extremely stiff when you start the assembly.
  4. Now you can start assembling the first layer with the form still on the pan. Layer about half of the ice cream onto the bottom cookie so it’s relatively flat; using a spatula to even the top works best. Pour a layer of ganache over the ice cream, again try to make it even.
  5. Put it in the freezer for a few hours to let the ice cream get cool again since it should be a bit melty and soft.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 & 5 with the parchment paper off the middle layer cookie.
  7. You may have to heat your ganache a bit to ensure you can pour it over the sides. Not to hot though or it won’t stick. Warning: this is the messiest part of the assembly as you take the form off the layers and then pour/frost the side of the ice cream cake. Try using a long frosting knife to coat the sides of the cake – you’ll have to work quick and then get the cake back in the freezer to keep the ganache on the side as it will likely try to melt down.
  8. Once it’s frozen, you should be ready to serve it! And remember it’s OK to share it!

IC Cake without form