Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Maida Heatter’s Lemon Mousse

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse, A recipe.

Maida Heatter celebrated her 100th birthday in the beginning of the month and I just had to acknowledge her. I do not know her, but after reading her cookbook and owning it for over 20 years, I feel like I do. Her cookbook, New Book of Great Desserts, was the first dessert cookbook I bought for myself back in 1982. I had other cookbooks but none solely dedicated to desserts. I believe her book was the first cookbook that I read front to back. Her anecdotes before each recipe are personal, thoughtful, funny, informative, and always friendly. She is a great teacher and her recipes are clear and easy to follow.

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse recipe

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse Recipe

I did not realize it at that time but her cookbook started my preference for cookbooks with a personal narrative. These types cookbooks are instructive and give me a personal sense about the author. Sometimes, it reads like we are friends, forming a friendship based on mutual enjoyment from cooking together. Thank you Maida Heatter for your wonderful dessert recipes that continues to instruct and inspire me and generations to come. Happy Belated 100th Birthday Maida.

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse recipe

More cookbooks by Maida Heatter

As a kid, I believed chocolate mousse was “the” supreme fancy French dessert. It was my go to dessert when my parents took us out to dinner on special occasions. Chocolate mousse was very popular in the 70’s and it was very rich and chocolaty and I loved it. In Maida Heatter’s cookbook, New Book of Great Desserts, there is not one chocolate mousse recipe, but there are several other mousse recipes that are made with fruit. From the beginning of owning her cookbook, the lemon mousse recipe caught my attention and I have made it several times. This is a special lemon mousse recipe. Despite the heavy cream, it is as light as air and has a clean lemon flavor that is not too sweet.

“This is food for angles, it is like eating a sweet lemon flavored cloud, like a glass of delicious nothingness”

Maida Heatter, New Book of Great Desserts

It is hard to top Maida’s own description. This lemon mousse is a luscious lemon cloud to float away on. Enjoy!

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse recipe

4 bowl set up

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse recipe

Whipped egg whites: soft peak

Maida Heatter's lemon mousse recipe

Whipped egg whites: Stiff peak but still wet

Maida Heatter's Lemon Mousse recipe


© 2016 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake: Oat Flour Sponge Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with an gluten free sponge cake recipe

As I researched types of cake to make for my dad’s Nifty Cake, I tested this gluten free sponge cake made with oat flour, from Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours cookbook. This is a remarkable cookbook featuring new ways to bake with gluten free flours. I love this cookbook because Alice Medrich’s recipes are well thought out and tested. It is also easy to follow. She is a phenomenal expert at everything she sets her mind to. I learned a lot about gluten free baking from reading and testing recipes in this book. Her cookbooks are very reliable and the desserts are delicious.

Gluten Free Nifty Cake make with a Gluten Free Sponge Cake recipe

Gluten Free Nifty Cake, made with a gluten free sponge cake recipe

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with gluten free sponge cake recipe


Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with a gluten free sponge cake recipe

The Oat Flour Sponge cake recipe is a great gluten free sponge cake to use for any cake made with an alternative flour. The oat flour brings a slight nutty flavor that compliments the butter in the cake. It was so good and worked beautifully with the strawberries, peaches and cream, I decided to share two versions of my Nifty Cake recipe.  You can also find a similar strawberries and cream cake recipe in Flavor Flours using this sponge cake as the foundation.

Although, sponge cakes are drier than butter cakes, the added fruit, jam and cream help keep the gluten free sponge cake moist. There are several things to love about this recipe. First, there is only one pan. It is a light cake even though eggs are the only leavening ingredient used. Also, the structure of the cake holds together well for a gluten free sponge cake.

Enjoy more recipes made with oat flour:

Gluten free Dutch Baby

Airy Oat and Banana Pancakes

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with a gluten free sponge cake recipe

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with a gluten free sponge cake recipe

You can read my story tribute to my dad and learn about how Nifty cake came to be.  Find the story post here, Nifty Cake recipe using all-purpose flour here.

What is your favorite gluten free baking cookbook and flour?

Gluten Free Nifty Cake made with gluten free sponge cake recipe

Gluten Free Nifty Cake: Oat Flour Sponge Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

Gluten Free Nifty Cake is a sponge cake made with oat flour and adorned with strawberries, peaches and whipped cream. It is a versatile cake that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It is a delicious sponge cake that everyone, with or without a gluten restrictive diet, will enjoy. The sponge cake portion of the recipe is from "Flavor Flours" by Alice Medrich, and is a great gluten free substitute whenever you want a sponge cake.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Author Ginger


Oat Flour Sponge Cake

  • 3 TB clarified butter or ghee
  • 1 cup /100 grams oat flour
  • 2/3 cup / 130 grams sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 tea Kosher salt

Fruit Filling and Decoration

  • 8 oz strawberries
  • 1/2 ripe peach
  • 1/4 cup best quality strawberry or peach jam
  • Extra strawberries and peaches to decorate the cake as you wish

Whipped Cream

  • 1 - 2 cups / 250 - 500 ml) of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 or 1 tea pure vanilla extract depending on how much cream you are using
  • 2 to 3 tea sugar


Oat Flour Sponge Cake

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 175 degrees Celsius/ Gas Mark 4 and position the rack to the lower third of the oven.
  2. Prepare an 8" (20.5cm) by 3" (7.5cm) cake pan or an 8" springform pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  3. Make the clarified butter: heat the butter in a saucepan until hot and bubbly. Continue to cook until the foam subsides. Turn off heat and pour the butter through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth into a small, 4-5 cup capacity, microwave safe bowl and set aside.
  4. Sift then measure the oat flour. Place the oat flour into a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Thoroughly whisk them together and to remove any clumps.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining sugar, eggs, and salt. Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whip the egg and sugar on high speed until the batter is light and fluffy. Depending on your mixer it could take about 4-5 minutes, longer if you are using a handheld mixer. 2 visual clues that the batter is ready: the batter will be very fluffy and a light yellow. Also, the volume will have tripled in size, and distinctive well defined streak marks from the whisk attachment will be visible.
  6. Right before the egg/sugar mixture is finished being whipped, heat the butter in the microwave until hot, careful to prevent the butter from bubbling.
  7. Remove the bowl with the eggs and sugar from the mixer and sift the oat flour into the bowl in three increments. Gently fold the batter between each addition, careful not to deflate the batter. Once the flour is barely folded into the mixture add a quarter of the batter into the bowl with the butter. Fold the mixture until the butter is thoroughly blended into the batter.
  8. Add the butter and batter mixture into the remaining batter and gently fold until just blended.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes and golden brown on top. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out dry and clean.
  10. Put the cake pan on a cooling rack and run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides.
  11. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan. Invert the cake out of the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Turn the cake right side up, and put the cake back on the cooling rack. Leave alone to completely cool.
  12. You can bake the cake in advance of preparing the whole cake with frosting and fruit. Once the cake is cool, keep the cake airtight, wrapped in plastic wrap.

Fruit Filling

  1. Wash and dry a half pound of strawberries. Remove the stems and cut into bite size pieces. Place the prepared strawberries in a small bowl. Cut one peach in half and remove the pit. Peel one of the peach halves then cut into bite size pieces. Place the prepared peaches into the bowl with the strawberries. Gently mix the fruit until evenly combined. Set aside.

Whipped Cream Frosting

  1. Before mixing place the bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to chill.
  2. If you plan on frosting the whole cake you will need 2 cups of heavy cream. If you only want to have frosting in the middle use a cup of heavy cream.
  3. For two cups of cream: Add the heavy cream and vanilla to the chilled bowl and beat until soft peaks have formed. Add 3 teaspoons of sugar to the cream and beat until stiff peaks have formed, being careful not to over-beat the cream. You do not want it to start looking like butter.

Putting it all together

  1. Cut the Oat Flour Sponge Cake in half horizontally to create two layers of cake. Set the bottom cake layer on a serving plate and the top layer on a flat bottomed plate, or rimless cookie sheet. (See Notes)
  2. Depending on how you are going to frost the cake, will determine the amounts of cream to use. Add one cup of the whipped cream if you are only using the whipped cream frosting in the middle cake layer. Use 2 cups of heavy cream you are planning to frost the entire cake with the whipped cream. Divide the whipped cream into thirds, 1/3 for the middle, 1/3 for the top, and 1/3 for the sides of the cake. Use one cup of whipped cream for each layer if you are not frosting the side of the cake.
  3. On the bottom cake layer, spread the jam to a smooth and even layer across the cake. Add the whipped cream on top of the jam and cake.
  4. Spread the whipped cream evenly across the cake then add all the cut up fruit. Press the fruit evenly into the whipped cream to make it smooth.
  5. Carefully slide the top cake layer on top of the fruit layer and evenly line up the sides. If you are planning on frosting the whole cake spread a thin layer of the whipped cream around the top and sides of the cake, a crumb layer, to create an even and smooth surface for the remaining whipped cream. Frost top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream then decorate the cake with extra fruit as you please.
  6. If you are not frosting the whole cake, add the remaining whipped cream to the top and spread the whipped cream across the top. Decorate the top of the cake with extra fruit.
  7. This cake should not be made too far in advance as the whipped cream will not hold for a long time and the cake will get soggy. Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Take the cake out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to get rid of some of the chill.
  8. The cake, without the fruit and whipped cream will last for a couple of days on the counter tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Recipe Notes

There are many ways to slice cake layers in half horizontally and different tools you could buy for the job. I cut cake layers using a ruler, toothpicks and a long serrated knife. I am not brave enough to eyeball it because it is so difficult to cut anything level. First, cut a small vertical mark on the side of the cake. This mark will be your guide to evenly line up your layers. Measure with a ruler the middle point around the side of the cake, inserting a toothpick every 3 inches all the way around the circumference of the cake. Put one hand gently on top of the cake with the other hand working the knife. Holding the knife parallel to the counter, rest the middle of a long serrated knife against the top of the toothpicks and make a cut, or score, around the circumference of the cake. Use the hand on the cake to turn the cake as you cut. Continue to cut in a circle around the edge of the cake, focusing your eye on the tip end of the knife. It helps keeping the knife level. Cut your way around the cake, gradually cutting toward the middle and then all the way through.

© 2016 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Aquafaba Meringue

Aquafaba meringue nests for vegan pavlova

A year ago I read an article on Food52 about an amazing food discovery – aquafaba. Aquafaba is bean water that comes from canned beans or home cooked beans. This is an ingredient that is unseemly and easy to ignore. I sometimes use it in hummus, but I mostly just pour it down the drain. Fortunately, some very clever and persistent people discovered that aquafaba has similar properties to egg whites and could be whipped into stiff peaks and make aquafaba meringue. This amazing discovery for an egg substitute has changed vegan baking, and general baking, forever.

Chickpea water is the surprise ingredient to make aquafaba meringue. a delicious vegan dessert.

Aquafaba from a can of chickpeas

At first, I struggled visualizing a white and fluffy aquafaba meringue, just the smell alone of chickpea brine, (especially canned) will deter anyone from considering there is merit in that broth. Vegan baking is a challenging concept for me.

I often wonder, how do you bake without eggs? It is the glue that holds everything together and gives structure and texture to baked desserts.  Could aquafaba really replace egg whites? I trust Food52 and their research, and I saw aquafaba was a trending discussion all over the web. My curiosity was sparked, and a year later, after relishing making and eating egg white meringue desserts-lemon meringue pie, dacquoise, pavlova, coconut chocolate meringue cookies, I finally put my mind to it and convinced myself it was time to make aquafaba meringues.

Aquafaba meringue is a delicious vegan dessert.

Soft peaks of aquafaba meringue

Aquafaba meringue is a delicious vegan dessert.

Stiff and glossy peaks of aquafaba meringue

To learn more about aquafaba check out these Facebook pages, Aquafaba Everything and Vegan Meringue Hit and Misses

Also The official aquafaba website.


© 2016 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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