Kabocha Pumpkin Cupcakes


Nothing says “Fall” like pumpkin desserts. Growing up in rural America, I remember going to our favorite farmer’s pumpkin patch to make our selection for Halloween. Living in rural Hawaii, pumpkins of many varieties are grown in backyards year round. My favorite to bake with and grow is the Kabocha variety. It has a hard green skin and burnt orange flesh. It is almost completely disease resistant and bugs so far are leaving it alone. The best part is it’s size. Roughly the size of a honey dew melon, it is the perfect amount for baking. If you can find a Kabocha pumpkin, try it! If not, there are lots of wonderful small baking pumpkin varieties on the mainland. So, this year, if you don’t already, try steaming and pureeing your own for your fall desserts. You’ll be glad you did!

A warm cup of chai or spiced milk is a great pairing for this cupcake. We like anything warming this time of year, so any tea with nutmeg, cinnamon or cloves complements these flavors. If going with green tea, try the earthy genmaicha. For black, and quality loose leaf will do!! Happy fall everyone!


Steam pumpkin, discard skin and seeds and set aside.Line muffin pan with favorite cupcake liners and preheat oven to 350

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup mochiko flour

1 cup sorghum flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1tsp allspice

1tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardomon

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups pureed pumpkin

Combine all dry ingredients well and set aside. Mix pumpkin, sugar and molasses. Beat eggs and oil in small bowl and add to pumpkin mix. Add in dry ingredients in 3 batches. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, add batter to liners and bake for 18-23 min. Until tester comes clean! Let cool completely out of pan before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

This is my go to chocolate frosting. Love the flavor! It can be softer or harder depending on how cold you let it become and how much coffee you add, so please play with it! We use local kona or kau coffee, but your favorite cup will do!

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 tbsp butter

1 tbsp corn syrup or agave

1tsp vanilla

1/4 cup strong coffee

Over double boiler melt your chocolate and butter until just melted, stir in corn syrup, coffee and vanilla off the heat. Mix really well and add coffee more coffee if necessary. Once combined pour into a glass bowl and either stir over ice bath or place in freezer until just firm enough to spread. Again there’s a lot of room to play with this frosting! Enjoy, and any leftover makes a wonderful candy coating for fruit! Aloha

Strawberry Ginger Cake


My experience with ginger was very limited before coming to the islands. The spicy root is used much more liberally here and it is everywhere. I decided very quickly that any root that created such beautiful flowers had to be explored more. It really is an acquired taste, so if you don’t love it like we do, please just omit it from this cake. For this recipe, I used homemade strawberry-ginger jelly (recipe follows), but any strawberry jelly will work. Vegan or dairy free versions of this cake could use flax eggs and a butter substitute for the frosting. This cake is better the next day, so make it in advance when you can. Aloha!

Quality loose Green Tea is wonderful with this dessert! Black, oolong or white teas also pair well. This month we are supporting breast cancer efforts and Republic of Tea’s sip for the cure Strawberry Hibiscus truly brings out the subtle strawberry flavor of this cake.


2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 cup extra virgin olive

3 eggs

2 cups strawberry-ginger jelly

touch of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and grease Bundt Pan

Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. In large bowl, combine eggs, jelly , oil and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined, don’t over mix. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 min, when tester comes out clean! Let cool completely before frosting.


1 cup butter (lightly softened)

2 cups powdered sugar

touch of milk

Beat butter until smooth, gradually beat in sugar and milk until evenly combined. continue to beat until frosting becomes a little fluffy! Don’t hold back when frosting the cake. It seems like a lot of frosting, but the cake is not very sweet and it complement nicely. Enjoy!

Strawberry-Ginger Jelly

2 1/2 quarts strawberries

1 inch cube fresh ginger grated

5 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 box sure jell+ 1 cup hot water

Cook Strawberries,ginger, sugar and lemon juice to a rolling boil . Add pectin and water and continue to boil until it will boil even when stirred. Remove foam from top and pour into your favorite jelly jars. This makes about 6 8oz jars. Aloha!

GF Banana Spice Cake


Who hasn’t had an entire bunch of bananas go instantly ripe on them? On the islands, bananas are in season year round and I recommend the apple banana for this cake. This is a great kid friendly cake for the pickiest of eaters. I love to use this recipe for kids tea parties or a keiki’s first birthday luau! If you have a dairy intolerance just substitute the butter for your favorite frosting recipe. This is also a wonderful cupcake! If serving to kids under 1, please omit the honey!

Any quality loose Black Tea, Republic of Tea Ginger Peach, or  your favorite Chai Tea are all great pairings for adults. If hosting a kids tea party, Republic of Tea has a great line of little citizen teas. You can also serve with warm milk with a touch of honey and cinnamon. Aloha!


2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)

3/4 cup brown sugar

7 apple bananas or 4 bananas mashed

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean scraped out or a splash of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350

Grease Baking pan with butter and set aside. I use a 12″ oven safe skillet or 2 9″ cake pans. If making cupcakes, line your muffin pan and set aside. Combine all dry ingredients well and set aside. Mash sugar into the bananas and add oil and eggs. Add dry mix into wet and stir until just combined. Pour into  pan of choice and bake 23-27 min until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.


1 cup slightly softened butter

1/3 cup raw honey

1 cup powdered sugar

pinch of cinnamon

Beat butter and honey on medium speed until smooth, slowly add in powdered sugar until you combined. Continue to beat until frosting becomes a little fluffy. Add cinnamon and enjoy!

Don’t forget the tea!

GF Lemon Meringue Pie


As we approach winter, the variety of fresh fruit becomes more limited. However, lemons are available on the islands year round. This is a wonderful pie to serve anytime of year. Fresh lemons are recommended! Any gluten-free pie crust will do, so please use your favorite. I hand mix my dough with a pastry knife, but food processors work beautifully! Prepare your pie crust 2-24 hours in advance.

You can serve this pie hot, warm or cold. I recommend serving with any loose leaf quality Black Tea, Earl Grey or Strawberry Hibiscus from Republic of Tea.  Enjoy!

Pie Crust

1 cup Gf oat flour

1cup sorghum flour

1/2  cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)

1/2 cup tapioca flour or cornstarch

3Tblsp sugar

1 cup frozen or cold  butter cut into pea sized pieces

1 cup ice water + 1 beaten egg yolk (save egg whites to brush crust with)

pinch of fine sea salt

Mix all flours , then add sugar and salt. If using cold butter cut into small pieces, if using frozen use a cheese grater and grate butter into flour. Mix with pastry knife until resembles lumpy sand then add combined water and egg yolk mixture.  Place on parchment sheet or plastic wrap and shape into flat disc. Refrigerate for 2-24 hours

When ready to bake, Preheat oven to 375

Place in pie plate and crimp edges to your own favorite style. Add either pie weights or a square of parchment paper covered with 1lb dried beans and baste the edge of pie with reserved egg white. Bake for 18 min. Remove weights or beans and bake another 5-9 min. While crust is baking prepare Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd Filling

4 eggs

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

4 Tbsp room temp butter

Zest of one lemon or 1 tbsp

For this process you can use either a double broiler or a stainless steel bowl over a medium saucepan filled with water. Whisk eggs and add sugar and juice, heat over medium heat until eggs start to thicken, about 10 min. Stir constantly.

Remove when mix is quite thick, like sour cream or pudding. Add butter until melted. Whisk to remove lumps and pour over baked crust. Return Pie to oven for 10 min. Prepare Meringue while baking.


4 egg whites ( room temp)

pinch cream of tartar

1/3 cup powdered sugar

(If your eggs just came out of refrigerator, you can microwave for 5-7 sec)

With whisk attachment beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, add sugar in three batches and whisk until firm peaks form. Don’t over whisk eggs or they can separate from lemon filling. Pour over Lemon filling while its still hot and return to oven for 10-12 min until meringue is golden to preference.

Serve hot or let cool. Can also be refrigerated over night once cool. Enjoy and don’t forget the tea!