Banana Rum Cake


Two weeks ago I celebrated my 23rd birthday (and 2nd gluten-free birthday) with friends and family. My dad planned to cook us an incredible feast of chicken tikka masala and other Indian dishes (all gluten free of course!) while I agonized over what type of dessert I wanted to make. Nothing says “It’s My Birthday!” like an elaborate layer cake, but I’m not a huge fan of classic white, yellow or chocolate cakes, and vanilla and chocolate frostings are just too dull for words.

So what to make? My favorite cake to date was the banana cake with peanut butter buttercream layers, milk chocolate buttercream on top, and a dark chocolate ganache I made for my 21st birthday (the recipe is from “Baked Elements” if you’re interested. It’s a great recipe and an incredible book). That cake knocked everyone’s socks off and I thought that just maybe I could recreate a gluten-version of said world-rocking cake. But since I had already done the peanut-butter-banana combo I decided to jazz things up with some salted caramel buttercream and then add some rum to my cake batter to make a fancy adult version of the cake.

The recipe itself was relatively easy (I substituted my own gluten-free flour blend for AP flour) and the salted caramel buttercream was made with Stonewall Kitchen’s dark chocolate salted caramel sauce… so really the hardest part of this process was resisting the temptation to eat the entire cake myself. Mushed bananas and rum are fantastic ingredients when baking with gluten-free flours because the liquids help keep the cake from drying out both in the oven and during the following days of storage. It only lasted a few days in my house, but I am guessing it will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. I only had one slice left to photograph when we were through devouring it if that gives you any idea of how good it was. Without any further ado – the recipe!

Ingredients: (original recipe here)

  • 3 cups gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (stick and a half) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 – 4 large bananas, very ripe, mashed
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper (to do this, trace bottom of pan on parchment paper with pencil and cut out the circle). Use potato masher or something similar to mush the bananas in a large bowl. Set pans and bananas aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. (Note* I always sift these ingredients together for a lighter batter but also to make sure any funny gluten-free flour clumps don’t get int there)
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the brown sugar and once combined add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Next, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and alternate buttermilk and flour into the mixer. Mix until almost combine. Repeat and end with the dry mixture.
  5. Add the mashed bananas and rum either by hand or on low speed until they look well blended.
  6. Divide cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and cake springs back to touch. Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes before you run a knife around the edges and turn cakes out onto a cooling rack. Allow cake to cool to temperature.


  • Beat together 2 sticks softened butter (salted or unsalted) and one 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add 3 Tbsp. of rum, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a splash of milk. Now begin slowly blending in 3 cups of powdered sugar and your salted caramel sauce to taste. (The cream cheese helps prevent this buttercream from becoming sickeningly sweet.)


  • When cakes have cooled completely, level the top of each 8 in. cake before cutting it in half. A long serrated knife is best for this. When you have four thin layers, start by placing the first on your cake plate and smoothing 1/2 cup of buttercream over the top. Repeat until all layers are done. Next, create a “crumb coat” of buttercream but smoothing the frosting all over the outer edges and top of the cake. Place in fridge for thirty minutes. When cool, evenly spread the remainder of the buttercream over the crumb coat until it looks good. Decorate with sprinkles, more icing, caramel sauce, chocolate, candles, etc. And enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Banana Cupcakes

banana cupcakes

This wayward traveler finally made it home! And while I am slowly plotting my return to the beautiful Spain, I have a little free time to bake again. One thing I found myself missing a lot of in Spain were sweet breads – zucchini, banana, pumpkin, chocolate chip, etc. so I decided I would make myself a nice batch of banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (because if bread is good, cupcakes are better). I was helped along in this tedious decision-making process when I saw 2 over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter and remembered a recipe I had tried years ago that was simply divine and from Glamour magazine of all place! (While I love Glamour and other fashion rags it must be said this is no Bon Appetit, amiright?)

I would also like to take this opportunity to get back to my blogging ways and slowly incorporate more posts from my time abroad this spring. I’m afraid I trickled out a bit there at the end of the fall due to trips, school, and trying to cram 36 hours into every 24 I had in Barcelona. So every once in a while there be a post about traveling gluten-free now, but rest assured I am most definitely writing it in my pajamas from the US. Sigh.

banana cupcakes

Anyway! That’s enough chit chat, who’s ready for a recipe? Just for the record, these are called “Propose to Him Banana Cupcakes” which is pretty dumb in my opinion but then I tasted them and was like…. Yeah, I’d marry me with cupcakes like this. As far as adaptation for a gluten-free recipe, I used the original recipe only substituting AP flour for glutey-free flour blend (in this case I tested out Pillsbury’s new gf blend and was pleasantly surprised! Give it a whirl if you see it in your supermarket.)


  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour (gluten-free or otherwise)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c. ripe mashed bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line tins with paper liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients and mix in 3 parts; alternate with buttermilk. Fold in bananas gently.
  5. Fill tins 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Let cool in tins before frosting, then hide from family.

Buttercream: Mix 2 c. powdered sugar, 1 stick softened butter, 1 cup peanut butter, 3 Tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend ingredients with hand mixer until consistency desired.

banana cupcakes

French Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

french buttermilk cupcake

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are very few problems in the world that good, raw cookie dough can’t solve. If you’re a female the chances are that you have already discovered this fact. Bad day? Cookie dough. Hard test? Cookie dough. Hangover? Cookie dough. Break up? Cookie dough, ice cream, and booze. See the pattern? Yes I knew you would.

If we’re being honest here, I crave it all the time regardless of my mood. Sure, sometimes I desperately need some cookie dough to get me through a rough patch and heal some emotional wounds after a particularly long day or sad movie or what have you. And I need cookie dough the most when I remember that I can never have “normal people” cookie dough again. And those of you who can’t eat gluten know how icky gluten-free cookie dough can be if you’re using the wrong flour or buying the wrong refrigerated gunk. The best solution to this problem I’ve found is to make some cookie dough flavored buttercream – and believe me when I say it’ll make you forget your dieting woes. Whether you can or can’t eat gluten, this stuff is delicious. And super sweet, just so you can say I warned you.

This is a good recipe and even though I complain constantly (not in real life, mostly just here on the interweb-ether thing) it shuts me right up. You don’t need gluten. I don’t need gluten! I have this buttercream and a good ole cupcakes beneath it.

Here’s something I learned after baking an entire batch of these cupcakes though: buttermilk doesn’t absorb very well into the gluten-free flours (Thanks, America’s Test Kitchen). So if you would like to adapt these and make them even better gluten-free cupcakes than I did, I suggest using milk, almond milk, etc. The best way to do it is add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice then enough milk to reach a cup.

Other than the milk thing and using gluten-free flour in place of regular flour, I used this recipe and I remember making them pre-gluten/buttermilk fiasco and they were just fabulous. And this buttercream! It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of, I promise.

gf french buttermilk cupcake

Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cupcakes


I will be the first one to admit I’m not a huge fan of red velvet. I mean… what is that flavor? Just a hint of chocolate, lots of buttermilk, vinegar of all things, and red food coloring. They’re just so RED. But I found an enticing recipe for Southern Comfort Red Velvet cupcakes and I thought that was a cupcake I could get behind. I know what you’re all thinking, SoCo?! Yuuuuuumm. Right? No? My entire family makes so much fun of me for drinking it but as a college kid what more could you want? It’s the best possible mix in for an Arnold Palmer on game day if you can’t foot the bill for a bottle of Maker’s Mark.

Anyway, I got off topic. We’re not here to debate the merits of SoCo but to talk about cupcakes! It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to take some cupcakes to a little gathering a friend of mine was throwing. So when I stumbled upon the aforementioned recipe I decided to give them a try and see how spiked red velvet was received.

I should also take this time to mention that I do not really like cream cheese frosting either. So I decided to forgo the classic red velvet topper and settled on  cinnamon whiskey buttercream instead. Best decision ever, I must say. You can never go wrong with a simple buttercream. And with some whiskey and cinnamon? Yeeeeess please. I added some red hots for garnish because they just seemed to fit the theme and they worked perfectly. I shocked myself with how much I enjoyed red velvet of all things. Just goes to show what a little whiskey can do!


Adapted from Martha Stewart; makes 24


  • 2 1/2 c. gluten-free AP flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. red gel-paste food color
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. Southern Comfort (or whiskey/bourbon of your choice….)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tines. Whisk together and sift flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. Mix together sugar and oil until combined in large stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Mix in food color and vanilla. (I didn’t have gel so I dumped in about a half of a small bottle of liquid dye.
  3. On low speed, blend in flour mixture in three batches. Alternate with two additions of your buttermilk/SoCo mixture, and mix well after each.
  4. Mix baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it sizzles!) and then add to the batter, mixing it in until just combined. So weird, I know, but supposedly this addition is what really brings out the “red” of the cocoa.
  5. Fill lined cupcake tins about three quarters full and bake for about 18-20, rotating halfway through for evenness. Let cool completely, frost and keep in airtight container for up to a week (yes, they’re that moist. They live foreeever in the cupcake world if you can keep yourself from eating them all.)


Beat 2 softened sticks of butter until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar (about 3-4 cups, when all is said and done), a dash of milk (yes, that is a technical term), whiskey and cinnamon to taste and blend all ingredients together. Vanilla is optional, but highly recommended if you use the same Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract I do! Frost cupcakes, add red hots and enjoy your super duper Southern cupcakes!!


Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

There are very few flavor combinations I enjoy baking with more than lemon and lavender. It just makes me feel so posh and British sometimes and with all the uncharacteristic snow North Carolina has been getting lately, the citrus notes are just what I need to perk me back up. Not that I don’t looove snow days, but you have to admit, once it starts to melt it’s just yuck.


Honey I could really take or leave, and tend to leave it. In the past honey has made me feel pretty ill (which is weird because I’m the type of person one would assume an abundance of sweetness would never bother) but in small doses, or paired with the perfect ingredients, I can make an exception. And boy am I glad I did with these puppies! This recipe from “Gimme Some Oven” is absolutely delicious. I substituted the 1.5 cups of flour for my gluten-free all purpose blend (it’s magical…. stick around for that post in the coming week!) and to add in the lavender I put the 3/4 cups of granulated sugar in my food processor with 1 teaspoon of dried lavender buds, stemmed. I like to wing it with flavored buttercreams when it come to frosting my cupcakes, but if you like the cream cheese honey combo in the original recipe, knock yourselves out! I’ll include my lemon/honey buttercream recipe too 🙂

Hope these gluten-free goodies help drive away your February blues as well!!



Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried, stemmed lavender buds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest

Honey Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1 – 2 c. confectioners sugar (as needed)
  • honey, to taste (I don’t use that much, probably a teaspoon or 2)
  • pinch of lemon zest if there is some over from cupcakes
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking cups with paper liners. (I made 12 large and about 6 minis!)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk honey, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in a smaller bowl.

3. In a food processor, combine sugar and lavender, pulsing 4 – 5 times until lavender buds start to break down a little .

4. Beat butter and lavender sugar on medium speed for until a fluffy, homogenous mixture form. Add eggs one at a time; beating each in until just combined.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Blend in entire honey/milk mixture and combine. Add remaining flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated.

6. Fill baking cups evenly, almost 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes; rotating halfway through for most even bake. *When baking with gluten free mixtures, I find the bake time can vary extraordinarily from original recipe, so be sure to check your goodies a few times throughout he baking process. For this recipe I think they fell safely within the 15-20 minutes with the toothpick coming out clean.*

Allow to cool, and frost!

Directions (for buttercream):

1. Beat together all ingredients and add powdered sugar, lemon, and honey to taste. If you don’t want an overwhelming flavor but you need more moisture, mix in milk a teaspoon at a time – a lot goes a long way in buttercreams.

2. Frost those suckers and enjoy!

Makes 12-15, or 12 regular and 6-8 mini cupcakes. Keep in air tight container for up to five days. Gluten-free goodies are best eaten ASAP however, and in our house that’s never a problem!Image