Baking is more than just a way to make delicious food. It’s a way to keep a family legacy alive.
I’ve always thought that there was something magical about the oven. You can mix up a bunch of ingredients, put them in a heated box and 30 minutes later you have something delicious that everyone in the house is dying to get their hands on. Baking is essential to so many parts of our lives. Think about it - where would our celebrations be without baking?
I make a nice birthday dinner for my kids but we put the candles on the cake. And, that’s when their faces light up and they squeal with delight.
Think about it - what would Christmas be without cookies? Or Thanksgiving without pie? You’ve got to admit that without baking the holidays would be a little blah.
Over a decade ago I learned that I couldn’t eat wheat and refined white sugar. This changed how I did life.
For a lot of years I sat out - skipped the birthday cake. Passed on the Christmas cookies. But, I got married and I started to think about what I wanted for our life. I wanted my kids to have memories like mine growing up, with big holiday meals. I wanted to pass down to them the same traditions my mom and Grandma Ruth passed down to me.
So I went back into the kitchen. I tried to recreate many of the dishes I remembered from my childhood. At first, everything that came out of my oven was a disaster. My cakes were dry and dense. My cookies crumbled. My bread didn’t rise. I stood in my kitchen and cried.
Back then, there weren’t a lot of gluten-free recipes. It was next to impossible to find gluten-free baking ingredients in the store. Using unrefined sugar was almost unheard of. It was new territory.
Here’s the great thing about failure - you learn what not to do. Over time, I started to get it right. My baked goods started to get tasty - and people who didn’t eat gluten-free or refined sugar-free started to ask for my recipes.
This brings me back to why I fought so hard to learn to bake in a way that works for my body. I wanted to share the same sense of family with my kids that my mom and grandma shared with me.
When I was growing up our holidays and birthdays were celebrated around a table. We shared food and laughter. We saved room for Grandma Ruth’s pies and apple crisps. We ate her Christmas cookies before we even touched the turkey because we wanted to make sure we got our favorites.
The food we ate was part of the culture of our family. Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without my Grandma Ruth’s stuffing. And though she’s no longer with us, I still make her dishes every year. Each time I do, I remember sitting at her kitchen table watching her peel the skin off apples with her wooden-handled paring knife. And her No Bake Cookies - oh my gosh! I still remember watching her mix HERSHEY’S Cocoa into the pan and then eating the warm cookies as she dropped them on waxed paper.
My boys won’t get to sit across the table from my Grandma Ruth. They’ll never make a pie with her or watch her effortlessly cook for a family of more than twenty. But, they’ll spend time with me in the kitchen. They’ll get to listen to stories about how I learned to fix a cracked pie crust at my Grandma’s kitchen table. They’ll eat her cookies and her chocolate pie. They’ll understand who she was through the way she cared for her family. My Grandma Ruth’s recipes will keep her memory vibrant and her legacy will live on.
Baking for me isn’t just about making magic with food - it’s about making magic in my family. What about you? Why do you bake?
This post was sponsored by Hershey's. Opinions expressed are mine and, gosh, I’m thrilled to work with a company I love and has been part of my family for as long as I can remember.
Chocolate Cake with Maple Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup teff flour
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 sections (1/2 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar
- 1/2 cup grape seed oil
- 1-1/4 cups coconut sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
- 1/2 pound (about 1-1/2 cups) fresh blueberries
- 1-1/4 pounds (about 3 cups) ripe strawberries
- MAPLE BUTTERCREAM (recipe follows)
- 1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Kitchens SUGAR FREE Chocolate Chips
- 1 cup (1/2 pt.) heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Ganache Recipe
- Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease sides of 12 x16-inch jelly-roll pan; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together almond milk, applesauce, teff flour and vanilla in medium bowl; set aside.
- Break unsweetened chocolate into smaller pieces; place in medium microwave-safe bowl with grapeseed oil. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted. Place chocolate mixture in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
- Mix on medium speed, gradually adding the coconut sugar. Mix for about 3 minutes or until the mixture has cooled. Add eggs; mix until combined. Mix in reserved almond milk mixture.
- Sift together cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and guar gum; add to wet ingredients. Mix until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan; tap pan several times to even batter.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
- Invert cake onto large cutting board. (Cake is tender; handle very carefully.)Remove parchment paper. Cut cake into four (4 x 12 inch) pieces. Cover; set aside.
- Wash berries. Place blueberries on paper towel or clean dish towel. Remove leaves from strawberries and slice one pound (about 2-1/2 cups) of strawberries from top to bottom. Set slices in single layer on paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Set aside until ready to assemble cake.
- Prepare MAPLE BUTTERCREAM. Carefully place one cake layer on large serving platter. Evenly spread 1/2 cup buttercream on surface; top with layer of strawberry slices. Top strawberries with second cake layer. Repeat layering process ending with fourth cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with buttercream. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until frosting is chilled and set.
- Meanwhile, place chocolate chips in medium glass bowl. Heat whipping cream in small saucepan over medium heat until very warm, but not boiling. Pour over chocolate chips; let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir or whisk until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool until thickened, but still pourable (about 25 to 30 minutes). Pour over cake covering top completely and allowing some to drip down cake sides. Top cake with blueberries and remaining whole strawberries. Cover; refrigerate leftover cake. Makes 12 servings.
Maple Buttercream Ingredients
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Pinch of sea salt
Maple Buttercream Recipe
- Beat egg and egg yolks at medium speed in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whip attachment until increased in volume.
- Meanwhile combine heavy cream and maple syrup in small saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil (about two minutes). Remove from heat. While mixer is running at medium high speed, gradually pour hot maple mixture down the side of bowl and into eggs. Reduce speed to medium; beat 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture cools to room temperature.
- Continue beating at medium, adding one tablespoon butter at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly blended before adding the next tablespoon. Mixture will start to look curdled. Continue beating and adding butter. It will come together. Once all butter has been added; stir in salt. Makes about 4 cups buttercream.
Recipe created for The Hershey Company by Amy Green.