Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake in a Jar {Grain Free}

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake in a Jar| Swirls and Spice

Cherries and chocolate and fluffy meringue create a layered dessert that is decadent, delicious, and healthier than anything like it!  The delicate sweetness comes from natural sources rather than refined sugar, freeing you to indulge without worry.  So grab a spoon and let’s dig in!

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cakes | Swirls and Spice

Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake in a Jar {Grain Free}

Ingredients:Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cakes | Swirls and Spice

For the Chocolate Banana Cake batter:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour or fine unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure honey

For the cherry filling:

  • 3 cups whole fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
  • 1 cups pear juice, apple cider or apple juice
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons tapioca flour OR 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract, optional

For the meringue:

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar, blended until fine, or icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour


  1. Place chocolate banana cake batter ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender container.  Puree until smooth, pausing to scrape batter from sides as necessary.
  2.  Grease bottoms of small Mason jars.  Fill 1/3 of each jar with batter.  Microwave in batches of 3 jars for 60 seconds.  Reposition jars if necessary.  Microwave for another 30 to 60 seconds.  If needed, microwave another 30 seconds.  Cake should remain moist. Allow cakes to cool for a minimum of 5 minutes.
  3. If making your own cherry filling, add cherries, juice, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and tapioca or cornstarch to a small to medium saucepan.  Heat over medium low heat, stirring continuously, until thickened, about 7 to 9 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Beat egg whites and salt together with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add honey or syrup and beat until incorporated.  Add sugar and arrowroot flour and beat until stiff peaks form.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 C).
  5. Layer cherry filling over chocolate banana cake, until each jar is 2/3 full.  Add a meringue layer to fill the jar (this will rise when hot and then shrink back when cooler).  Bake the jars for about 10 minutes, until meringue turns light golden brown.  Let jars cool before serving slightly warm or at room temperature.
Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cake in a Jar| Swirls and Spice

I‘m bringing this dessert to Fiesta Friday and Savoring Saturdays.

I also share recipes here.


Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame | Swirls and Spice

Asian salads, with their tangy, light dressings and refreshing vegetables are nearly impossible for me to resist. I could eat one every day.  Here on Swirls and Spice I’ve shared several of my favourite salads, including Sesame Orange Napa Cabbage Salad and last week’s Sesame Black Bean Salad. This latest recipe is ultra light, thanks to the potato starch noodles which are filling but low in calories and carbohydrates. For me, this salad makes a perfect foil for heavier favourites, like Vietnamese Roasted Chicken or Inside Out Potstickers.

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame | Swirls and Spice

The idea behind this salad was to combine two of my favourite dishes–Korean chap chae and Chinese liang cai.  My hope was to create a salad that I could love as much as Tangy Cucumber Salad with Peanuts, which I will gladly trade dessert to eat. It’s that good. And this new noodle salad? It’s just as delicious. If you’re not sure about that, you can make both salads and see which one you prefer. I think you will find yourself in a win-win scenario.

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame | Swirls and Spice

Glass Noodle Salad with Cucumbers and Sesame

  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  •  1 large English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 3 small bundles (38 g each) of bean thread noodles (made with potato starch)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, plus more to taste (or coconut aminos for vegans)
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (or other sweetener)
  • sweet chili sauce or sriracha, optional, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, optional
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil.  Break bundles in half to shorten noodles, if desired.  Cook dry noodles for 2 minutes in boiling water.  Turn off heat and let the noodles sit in the hot water for 3 more minutes.  Drain and rinse noodles in cool water.
  2. Toss together the cucumber and carrot with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.  In a small bowl, mix together sesame oil, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Pour sesame dressing over noodles and toss to coat.  Add cucumber mixture and toss to combine.  Top salad with toasted sesame seeds prior to serving.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

I share recipes here.

 Also linked to Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays.


Inside Out Potstickers {Gluten Free}

Taste the flavours of Asia in a delightful new way with deconstructed potstickers made from rice flour, cabbage and ground pork or chicken. Easier than fussing with wrappers and oh so good!
Inside Out Potstickers {Gluten Free}You know what’s amazing? That someone can throw an enjoyable, welcoming party every week–for a whole year!  If you haven’t popped over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday before, you really should. It’s the most interactive and friendly bunch of foodies that you are ever likely to meet on WordPress. I love it when I can participate.  And I certainly did not want to miss the big anniversary bash that starts this week!

So I am bringing out my new potsticker recipe a few weeks early in honour of the auspicious occasion.  If you like these inside out potstickers, now you’ve got time to make them your own by the time Superbowl Sunday and Chinese New Year arrive next month!  For even more party food ideas, see my recent roundup of 12 Gluten Free Party Starters and Sweets.   Let the celebrations begin!

Inside Out Potstickers {Gluten Free}

Inside Out Potstickers - Gluten Free

  • Servings: about 20 potstickers
  • Time: 45 min
  • Print
Ingredients:Inside Out Potstickers

  • 1.5 cups rice flour
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 240 g (8 ounces) ground pork or chicken
  • 3/4 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • oyster sauce or sweet chili sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon Chinese five spice powder, optional


  1. Add sesame oil to a heated skillet and sauté shallots for one minute.  Add ground chicken or port and season with five spice (if using) and ginger.  Brown meat in a skillet until cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.  Turn off heat and season with oyster sauce (or chili sauce) and soy sauce to taste.
  2. Stir in shredded cabbage and onion (which can be prepared faster with a food processor).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, and salt with a fork, followed by egg and 1/3 to 1/2 cup water.  Continue whisking until a smooth, thick batter forms.  Add meat and cabbage mixture and stir until combined well.
  4. In a medium skillet or wok, pour oil to a depth of 1 cm.  Heat oil over medium heat.  Batter should bubble in the oil when it is hot enough.  Add small spoonfuls of batter and fry on one side until golden, then flip over and fry the other side until golden as well.  Remove the potsticker cakes and drain on paper towels.  Serve potstickers warm, with garlic-infused soy sauce for dipping.

I’m bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday #52 and sharing it here too.

Also linked at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays.


Very Vanilla Pear Bread

Vanilla Pear Bread {Gluten Free Option} | Swirls and Spice

This pear bread truly lets the fruit flavour shine through, offering just a slight touch of cinnamon spice.  Pears and vanilla pair well by complementing each others’ delicate aromas.  We’ve enjoyed this delicious bread several times over the last couple of months and I plan on making it regularly, as I now prefer it to banana bread.

Though it is an ideal way to use up overripe pears, the recipe works just as beautifully with canned pears from the pantry.  It’s also a flexible and forgiving recipe.  You can add an extra half cup of pears if you like, and your flour can be gluten free or not, thanks to the binding power of eggs and oats and a bit of flax seed.

The natural caramel colour in the glaze came from using raw unrefined sugar, which I ground to a powder in my coffee grinder.  Feel free to use icing sugar (confectioners sugar) though, which will yield a whiter glaze.  Any way you make it, a slice of this nutty, moist bread is perfect when paired with a hot drink, such as tea, hot chocolate, or cider.  Those of you who love coffee shall have to give me a report on how it tastes alongside your favourite brew.

Very Vanilla Pear Bread (with gluten free option) |Swirls and Spice

Very Vanilla Pear Bread


  • 1 cup pears, cored, peeled and diced (or use 1 400 mL can of pears, drained)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup light buckwheat flour (or whole wheat flour if gluten is okay)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (I use aluminum-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup raw sugar, coconut palm sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, optional (but recommended for gluten-free)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar, processed until fine, or 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon almond milk or other milk


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl, blend together sugar, butter or oil, eggs, applesauce, flaxseed, and vanilla.
  3. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir until no lumps remain.  Fold in nuts.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).  Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan or line with greased parchment.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until middle tests done.
  5. Let loaf cool.  Whisk the fine sugar or icing sugar together with almond milk and vanilla until smooth.  Add more liquid or fine sugar until glaze reaches the desired consistency.  Drizzle vanilla glaze over bread.

Adapted from Fun and Food Cafe

Very Vanilla Pear Bread {Gluten Free Option} | Swirls and Spice

I share recipes at Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and here.

Also sharing this at Savoring Saturdays.


Sesame Black Bean Salad

Sesame and ginger-infused dressing breathes new life into this black bean salad, taking it in a deliciously different direction. Dive into the flavours of Asia with a salad that can serve as both side dish and healthy lunch.

Sesame Black Bean Salad

The versatility of bean salads also means that they can be enjoyed in many ways–in pitas, on crostini, as well as plain on a plate.  I also tried scooping up the salad with crisp rice crackers, which made the carb lover in me happy.

Another reason to love beans is that there’s not the risk of the lovely colours turning brown, as lettuce does.  Furthermore, in these temperatures, any leafy vegetables I buy are at risk of freezing and wilting by the time they get from the store to my kitchen. Flavourful salads from the pantry are an easier way for me and my family to eat well during winter’s coldest months.

Sesame Black Bean Salad | Swirls and Spice

If you are unsure about the radishes, it’s fine to leave them out.  Not everyone is a fan of their slightly bitter crunch.  I added diced carrots later and preferred the salad with both carrots and radishes.  Feel free to customize your salad too.

Sesame Black Bean Salad | Swirls and Spice

Sesame Black Bean Salad


For the salad:

  • 2 cups cooked and drained black beans (or one 400 mL can)
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow sweet bell pepper (capsicum)
  • 2 radishes, diced, optional
  • 1/2 cup carrots, optional
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro (coriander), optional

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure honey or maple syrup
  • 1 +1/2  teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

 I’m sharing this recipe at Savoring Saturdays and here.

Also shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays.


Pesto-Dressed Three Bean Salad

Pesto-Dressed Three Bean Salad| Swirls and Spice Three Bean Salad is one of the easiest salads ever!  It comes together in just minutes.   All you need are cooked beans plus a few dressing ingredients swiftly mixed.  Voila!  Flavourful herbs and filling ingredients create a marvelous side dish or lighter lunch.  We enjoyed this salad right away, but the leftover portion was even better on the second day after the rich pesto flavours had infused the beans.  My kids gave it their stamp of approval as well! More healthy salad recipes are coming your way this month.  I’ll be sharing a new salad recipe every Saturday!  Join me here and on Facebook for the latest posts and discussion of what’s on the menu.

Pesto-Dressed Three Bean Salad


  • 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 400 mL can, drained)
  • 1.5 cups cooked cut green beans (or one 400 mL can, drained)
  • 1.5 cups white beans (or one 400 mL can, drained)
  • 3 Tablespoons green pesto, from a jar or homemade
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • chopped walnuts and/or dried (or fresh) basil, for topping, optional


  1. Whisk together pesto, oil, vinegars and lemon juice in a small bowl.  In a larger bowl, combine chickpeas and white beans.  Toss with pesto dressing to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Gently mix in green beans.  Add more sea salt if desired.  Top salad with walnuts and basil (optional).

Pesto-Dressed Three Bean SaladI share recipes here, at Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Savoring Saturdays.


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