Friday, March 8, 2013

Potato Flour Cupcakes + No-dye Green Buttercream Frosting

I have totally fallen in love with this cake recipe.  It is great for people on grain-free and low-fat diets (just don't put the butter cream frosting on top if you want to avoid fat....yeah, that's all fat.).   This recipe would work perfectly for a more traditional sponge cake, a sponge roll, trifles, tiramisu...the list goes on.  It's so good.  I've been dying to find more uses for potato flour, especially since it is so close to St. Patrick's day!   The homemade butter cream frosting is tinted green with spinach.  It looks really beautiful - light green with darker green speckles - and you can't taste the spinach at all.

The recipe for the sponge cake comes from the website  The leavening for this cake comes primarily from the air that is beaten into the eggs, and partly from the baking soda. It should be noted that the potato flour sponge cake recipe is in metric measurements. 1 cup is 250ml which is slightly larger than the imperial 1 cup of an 8 oz measure.  


4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup arrowroot/tapioca flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
pinch salt


Preheat the oven to 340F (170C) and get your cupcake tins or cake tins ready.  This recipe made 12 cupcakes for me, but I overfilled the tins a bit - it should probably be more like 14-16 cupcakes. It is vital to get the tins and oven ready beforehand because the chemical reaction of the leavening ingredients begins as soon as the batter is combined.  If you wait to long to get it into the oven the chemical reaction will be over and you won't end up with the right texture.

Separate the eggs and reserve the yolks in a small bowl, place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Beat the egg whites until they are stiff.  I beat my eggs until they had soft peaks, but I think the recipe would have come out better if I had been a bit more patient.  Gradually add the sugar to the eggs until the mixture is creamy and thick, the beat in the egg yolks one by one.

Sift together the remaining dry ingredients (potato flour, arrowroot, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt).  Gently fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg and sugar mix until fully incorporated, being careful not to over mix.

Gently scoop into the cupcake tin, filling about 2/3 of the tin.  (I overfilled mine. Whoops.)   Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes.  If making a cake instead of cupcakes it should be 15-20 minutes.   When the cupcakes are done they will be starting to turn a light golden color, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Spinach Green Butter Cream Frosting


1 cup spinach, steamed and drained
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar (about 1lb)
1 tsp. vanilla


Steam and drain the spinach, then place it in a food processor and puree it until smooth.   Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, add the vanilla and spinach and blend thoroughly.  If the mixture is to moist add more powdered sugar.  Should make enough to frost one large cake, or one batch of cupcakes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Twice Baked Irish Flag Colcannon Potato

It's March!  That means our next holiday is St. Patrick's day!  St. Patrick's day was originally a Catholic feast day, but over the years it has become a secular celebration of Irish heritage and culture around the world.  It's estimated that the Irish diaspora (Irish immigrants to other countries and their descendants) "contains more than 100 million people, which is more than fifteen times the population of the island of Ireland itself, which had approximately 6.4 million in 2011."(Source)  In a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau in 2008, 11.9% of the total population of the United States claimed Irish ancestry.   It's estimated that the Irish diaspora population in the United States is 6 times the population of Ireland! 

My Mom comes from an Irish Catholic family and enjoys celebrating her Irish heritage once a year.   When I was a kid she would *always* make the Irish classic corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day.   As a kid, I absolutely hated the smell of corned beef and cabbage cooking all day (especially the cabbage), though I loved eating corned beef.  Once I got older I started liking the cabbage too, and I've even made this traditional meal a few times myself since moving out.   But this time I wanted to make something a little different.  Something traditional but unexpected.  I wanted to take a classic Irish food and give it some zazz!

And this beautiful masterpiece, ladies and gentlemen, is what I came up with - the twice baked Irish flag.  This twice baked potato is stuffed with colcannon instead of plain mashed potato.  The green was added by liquefying some Kale and mixing it in.  The orange is sweet potato!   It is a little bit more work than a regular twice-baked potato, but it is totally worth it.  (Colcannon beats mashed potatoes ANY DAY.)

Twice Baked Irish Flag Potato - makes 4

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato (comparable size to the baking potatoes)
  • 2 shallots OR 1 leek OR 1/2 an onion (your choice, I used shallots.  If you use leeks, only use the white and light green parts)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Milk and Butter for mashing (personal preference on how much you use, just don't make it soggy)
  • Olive oil (for cooking the shallots and kale)
  •  Bake the potatoes until they are soft and cooked through.  I rubbed some oil onto mine, wrapped them in tinfoil and stuck them in a 400F degree oven for about an hour.  However you normally bake potatoes will work. 
  • Slice the 3 baking potatoes in half.  Carefully scoop out the meat of the potato from the skins, leaving an 1/8th to a 1/4 of an inch of potato in the skin.  Reserve the 4 nicest looking halfs and discard the other 2 skins (scrape out the rest of the potato from them).  You can also discard the skin from the sweet potato. 
  • Add your preferred amount of milk and butter to the potatoes and mash them up good!(This is also a good time to add salt and pepper if you are into that)
  • Chop your shallots (leeks or onions) and garlic.  Destem your kale and tear it into bite-sized pieces.   Set aside a few pieces of uncooked kale to use to make the green color. Cook the shallots in a pan with a small amount of butter or oil until they become translucent, then add the garlic and kale and saute until the kale is fully wilted.  
  • Add 2/3 of the kale mixture to the mashed potatoes, and 1/3 to the sweet potato.  Once mixed in, divide the mashed potatoes into two bowls.   To make the green dye place the raw kale you set aside in a food processor or mortar and pestle and process until it begins to liquefy.  Add the kale juice to one of the bowls of colcannon and stir in until it becomes uniformly green.  
  • Scoop the colcannon mixtures back into the waiting potato skins in order of color - green, white, orange - and stick back in the oven at 350F until it is warmed through.  Turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to brown the top.   Serve with Irish cheddar grated over the top.
 These are very easily reheated by just sticking them in the oven again!


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