blackberry swirl coffee cake


This day began in the jury assembly room of the San Francisco Hall of Justice.  Huge bummer. Backpack, snacks, laptop, an extra change of clothes.  Not sure what I thought was going to go down or how long I was going to have to be there but I was prepared regardless.  Turns out I was part of the juror selection process for a murder trial scheduled to last two months. Two.  Months.  Can you imagine taking two months off from your whole life?  I may have had to find that guy guilty just on account of being a pain in the ass.  Maybe that's too much.  Pretty sure everyone else in that room felt the same though.  Who can honestly (and literally) afford to do that?  In any case I was fully prepared to faint, cry, or just full on throw myself at the feet of the judge and beg for mercy.  When you're freelance anything that threatens to take you away from work for any period of time, even voluntary fun things like a legitimate vacation, can be panic inducing.  Even booking work can be panic inducing because you never know what other work you'll miss out on as a result.  Fortunately it didn't come to making a scene but if it had...  

Back at home, safe and sound, and free of duty for the rest of the week, it would be wise to shop and prep for my shoot tomorrow but I'm gonna write about cake first instead.  In the early preparation stages for annual Easter brunch and, no surprise, my favorite part is deciding on what to make for dessert.  This coffee cake is so good on it's own.  Super dense and cakey with a sugary crust.  MMM!!  No one would guess in a million years that it's free of the glutens.  We served a few variations on it last year but this year it's the means to an end.  It has a higher calling.  We'll get to that recipe in the next post or two but first, in all it's original glory, this coffee cake is the starting point.    

gluten free blackberry swirl coffee cake

This recipe is (very nearly) straight from Let Us All Eat Cake by Catherine Ruehle.  A few years back I got to assist on the food styling for this book and it's held the standalone spot on my cookbook holder since it's publishing.  Every recipe is worth making over and over again. 


  1. Bring blackberries, sugar, half of the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice to a boil over high heat.  Cook it down for about 10- 15 minutes until slightly thickened, mashing the blackberries as you stir. Cool over an ice bath.  
  2. Bring the coconut milk and the thyme sprig just to a simmer.  Steep for 10 minutes or so.  Strain and cool.  These two steps can be done in advance or skipped altogether if you've got a jar of loose blackberry jam on hand and just wanna get to it.
  3. Preheat to 350.  Brush a 10 cup Bundt pan with butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  4. Whisk together the flour blend, baking powder, xanthan, and salt.
  5. Beat the butter and sugar on medium-high for about a minute.  Scrape down the sides beat for an additional minute until the sugar has mostly dissolved.  Scrape down the sides again.  With the mixer on low add the eggs one by one, beating to incorporate between each.  Add the coconut milk and remaining lemon juice and zest and beat on medium speed for about a minute.
  6. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture.  Once it's all in there, increase your speed to medium and beat for about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and beat for another 10.  
  7. Pour half of the batter into the Bundt pan and push it down with a spoon or spatula to make sure you get into all the corners of the pan.  Top with the cooled blackberry jam and use the spatula to swirl it through the batter.  Scrape the rest of the mixture into the Bundt pan over the jam layer and smooth the top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the edges of the cake are just pulling away from the sides of the pan.  Cool for 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with confectioners sugar to serve.





2 pints blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 cup coconut milk (the boxed kind)
1 large sprig of thyme
3 cups gf flour blend
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter
2 cups superfine sugar
2 eggs

sea salt chocolate chip cookies

a new york times recipe

After a long work week, THESE are the perfect accompaniment to a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Days of inclement weather is an introvert baker's dream.  After the market this morning (as per usual) plus gym, it's time to warm the house with the oven.  

I brought a handful of these to friends last week that recently welcomed a baby (along with those Chocolate Amarena Cherry Scones.)  Turns out another guest ended up devouring half of them and shortly thereafter emailed me for the recipe.  So this is for her.  They're salty and sweet, doughy and soft in the center and crisp on the edges.  Basically perfect.  

You'll need two kinds of flour and 24 hours for these but don't let either of those things deter you.  At least just do them once and then you never have to make them again if you don’t want to.  But you will. A little extra effort on this one is SO worth it.  Plus if you portion the dough into mounds and freeze it you can have fresh baked cookies whenever you must.  They go from freezer to oven to mouth in the time it takes you to preheat plus 15-ish minutes.   

new york times chocolate chip cookies

This recipe belongs to Jacque Torres.  Found on the New York Times Cooking website, I've always just referred to them as such.  


  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.  
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium high.
  3. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients.  Beat until just combined.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chopped chocolate.  
  5. Using a 3 1/2 ounce portion scoop or a quarter cup measure, portion into balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.  
  6. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Transfer six balls to a parchment lined sheet tray, sprinkle generously with sea salt, and bake for 12-18 minutes until golden on the edges.


8 1/2 ounces cake flour
8 1/2 ounces bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter, softened
8 ounces sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate discs, chopped