Made in mind for: Amanda Chesnutt & Osha Chesnutt Perry

½ C brown sugar, packed
½ C white rice flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
4 TBS coconut oil, melted
½ C walnuts, coarsely chopped

In food processor, mix brown sugar, white rice flour, salt & cinnamon.  While running, slowly add melted coconut oil.  Mixture should appear like wet sand.  Turn processor off, add the nuts and pulse just a few times to incorporate nuts, but not chop.  Set aside

12 oz  organic fresh blackberries, whole
2 tsp  cornstarch
1 C white rice flour
½ C brown rice flour
½ C tapioca flour
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp nutmeg

2/3 C granulated sugar
zest of 1 organic lemon, reserve lemon
6 TBS Earth Balance butter spread
2 eggs
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
½ C unsweetened almond milk
½ fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray sides and bottom of 8” square pan with pan spray.  Toss blackberries with cornstarch to coat and place on bottom of greased pan.  In separate bowl, whisk all flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together and set aside.

In standing mixer, with paddle attachment, mix granulated sugar with lemon zest until fragrant and combined.  Add Earth Balance and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.   Add one egg at a time and beat until incorporated after each.  Add vanilla.  If batter looks curdled at this point, do not be concerned.

In measuring cup, mix almond milk with juice of ½ of reserved lemon, juiced.  Beginning with dry ingredients, add 1/3 of dry mixture to sugar mixture and mix until combined.  Next mix ½ of liquid almond milk/lemon mixture.  Repeat with dry, then liquid, and finish with remaining dry mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition.

Scrape batter on top of the berries.  Batter will be thick.   Spread until smooth and level. Making a fist, by the handful, squeeze the crumb topping together to make clumpy and place on top of the cake batter.  Bake for approx. 60 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean or with just a few solid cake crumbs stuck to it.

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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 and I’ll work underground to find an alternative and share my findings with you.  Together, we won’t be deserted of dessert!