Made in mind for Cousin Amy

1          piece of lemon
1 ¼ C  granulated sugar, divided
4 oz     egg whites, at room temperature (about 3 large whites)
1 ¼ C  Spectrum organic shortening
4 oz     Earth Balance, softened and cut into pieces (1 stick)

Squeeze a slice of lemon into your metal saucepan.  With a paper towel rub lemon juice around to sanitize the pan.  Wipe two metal spoons with the lemon juice saturated paper towel.

Place 1 cup of sugar into pan. Add warm water from the sink, slowly around the edge of the saucepan, moistening the sugar on the outer edge.  With first cleaned spoon, stir sugar until water is incorporated into all of the sugar and a paste has formed.  Place on medium high heat with lid on saucepan.

Meanwhile, place egg whites into your Kitchen Aid mixer.  Attach whisk attachment. Begin whipping egg whites on high speed. When whites begin to foam, add second part of sugar (¼ cup) in a slow steady stream. Continue beating until shiny, stiff peaks form. If you reach this point before heated sugar is ready, simply turn mixer off temporarily.

Remove lid from boiling sugar water and take note when the mixture looks bubbly and syrup like*. At this point, dip your second cleaned spoon into boiling sugar water and transfer dipped spoon into a small glass of water. Heated sugar will either stay on your spoon tip or fall into the glass of water.  Using fingers, gather the sugar mixture from the cup of water or spoon and form into a ball with your finger tips.  If this forms a ball that you can squish, the sugar is ready.  This is called “soft ball” stage.  If the sugar does not come together into a ball cook longer and test again. Alternatively, with candy thermometer cook until 240 degrees is reached.

Turn your mixer back on and pour the soft ball boiled sugar in a slow steady stream into the stiff egg whites. Pour slowly between the side of the mixing bowl and the whisk attachment, (aiming to avoid direct contact with either surface) pouring directly into the egg whites until all boiled sugar is added.  Continuing beating on high speed for 10-15 minutes until the side of your metal mixing bowl is no longer hot to touch (this will cook your egg whites).

With mixer on high speed, add shortening and cubed, softened Earth Balance bit by bit, waiting in between for it to incorporate into your cooked whites.  When final bit of shortening and Earth Balance have been added the buttercream will miraculously come together into a wonderful, smooth, fluffy, spreading consistency.

If desired, use to fill in between cake layers and on the exterior surface of your cake (this recipe will fill and coat a 6” cake or just coat a 9” cake).  Other great cake filling options include jam, pastry cream and chocolate mousse.

When icing your cake, I recommend one coating of exterior frosting to seal any crumbs in.  Refrigerate the singular coated cake, remove from refrigerator once first layer has hardened and add a second later of exterior frosting for a clean, smooth finished coat.  If you have a piping bag and pastry trip.  Decorate the base and top of the cake with a piped pattern.

*NOTE: If sides of pan show tiny hardened sugar crystals, discard and start with fresh sugar in a new sanitized pan.  Unfortunately crystalized sugar will give your buttercream a gritty texture.  Additionally sugar water should not turn a caramel color. If it has, you have cooked too long.  Discard ans start fresh.




Made in mind for: Barron Harley

2 ½ C raw walnuts (divided)
3 TBS honey
4 TBS coconut oil, melted and then measured

By hand, coarsely chop ½ cup of the walnuts and set aside. Place the remaining 2 cups of walnuts in a food processor and hit pulse 20-25 times to finely chop (don’t leave blending in processor for too long or the nuts will turn to a nut butter).  Add honey and coconut oil and pulse until ground nuts absorb moisture and come together to form a dough (about 10 additional pulses).  Add remaining ½ cup chopped nuts and pulse just until combined (about 10 final pulses).  Press mixture into a 9″ pie dish and use fingers to evenly cover bottom and up sides of pan with mixture.  Place in freezer for 30 minutes.

8oz 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate (I use Ghirardelli )
14oz can original coconut milk, NOT lite (found in the Asian section of your local grocer)
½ C honey
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Finely chop chocolate, place into a bowl and set aside.  Pour coconut milk and honey into a saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until it begins to boil (be sure to watch as it heats, to prevent it from boiling over in the pan).  As soon as it boils, remove from heat and pour hot milk & honey mixture over chopped chocolate. Let rest for 1 minute and then whisk thoroughly until milk mixture is fully incorporated into chocolate, yielding an even deep brown color.  Whisk in vanilla extract.  Pour mixture into chilled crust.  Place in freezer for 2 1/2 hours, level on the shelf.  Remove from freezer and place into refrigerator until ready to serve.  Can be made in advance.

Tart slices are delicious served with fresh sliced strawberries, raspberries or Bing cherries. This seasonal fruit will compliment the intense chocolate flavor and provide great visual contrast.  Enjoy dessert!


I’ve always tried to be sweet as can be…but maybe that is a result of being flat out sugar-crazed.  Sweets have, and continue to, encompass my existence.

As young girls, my sister and I would covet our ‘fudge stripe’ cookies and wear them as elegant rings around our fingers that we slowly munched away on.  Sunday evening dinners with Dad always involved going to Wegmans’ bakery and picking out a special cake to enjoy after dinner.  Weekend drives to Grandma’s always lent themselves to an aromatic greeting and sweaty window panes from a hard day’s work in the kitchen. Whether it was fresh baked rolls, pumpkin pie or halfmoon cookies, the treats were vast and hard to choose which to enjoy first. I would often beg my mom for us to try one of the ‘boxed’ mixes from the store, not realizing how spoiled I was to have a made-from-scratch cake every birthday. Once old enough for working in the restaurant world, I would get excited when my sidework for the night involved cleaning out the pastry case.  You were being paid to closely examine each special cake, with all of it’s hard work, creativity and delicious taste, and wrap them up with the utmost care for the next business day. When I relocated to Colorado, my heart continued to be pastry-centric.  After attending a pastry program at the Art Institute, I was ready to take my passion into a career.

I’ve been honored to work in boutique bakeries and for well established, independent restaurants in Boulder over the past six years. As luck willed it to be, in 2010 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disease caused by ingesting wheat, rye, barley and the many condiments/sauces that contain these hidden glutinous ingredients).  Like anyone who learns of such news, it’s paralyzing, sad and impossible to not alter your lifestyle.  Although my love for the food industry has not faltered, I’ve evolved into different aspects of the business, such as managing the restaurant and catering company, Dish Gourmet in Boulder, CO.

Needing to adhere to a strict policy of no gluten, I also have allergies to dairy and potatoes.  All of the recipes I share with you on this site will include no gluten, no dairy and no potatoes.  While I now bake in a different light, I simply refuse to deprive myself of the confections that I once loved.  I am bound and determined to find creative ways to continue to concoct these great delicacies.  I am confident that you can make these recipes in your own homes and receive astounding reactions from your crowd when they discover that they are enjoying the gluten free/dairy free version as much as the original (whether they have food allergies or not).

I find extreme reward in discovering ways to replicate the recipes I’ve established over the years into tasteful, nourishing and artistic treats.  In the art of replicating, I invite you to share with me what sweets you long for and the food sensitivities that you have to substitute for.  Email me at carly@undergroundpatisserie.com and I’ll work underground to find an alternative and share my findings with you.  Together, we won’t be deserted of dessert!