Baking: A Study in Contrasts

I'm a (former) baking addict. I own both The Cake Bible and The Bread Bible along with the book I actually consider to be my baking bible, The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. I even won a ribbon in high school for a cake I entered in the Topsfield Fair. But in a health-conscious, mostly grain-free world they don't get dusted off quite like they used to and I have to admit that I miss it. I dabble in paleo/gluten-free/grain-free baking on occasion and it's all fine and dandy in a curiously-interesting-yet-nervewracking way, where the rules you're used to don't apply anymore. Everything turns out delicious of course, the journey just looks different and you're less sure of your footing. I can't rationalize baking a "real" cake for myself on whim nowadays but a-ha! There's this little thing at the end of the year called the holidays and now suddenly, with other people in mind I can get down n' dirty with some gluten-filled flour for a change. browniesI prepped myself with some peanut butter cookie dough brownies for my Secret Santa at work. I followed this recipe for the concept and the pb cookie dough top, but used Smitten Kitchen's brownie recipe for the base. I winged the topping a little bit--more peanut butter, less flour, only brown sugar, and so on. Tasty tasty stuff! I labored on something else this weekend but that has yet to be revealed...

Then on the other side of the spectrum we have....protein pumpkin pie?!

pieAs part of my exercises in non-traditional baking I've also been researching baking with protein powder. I've made protein powder pancakes before (which are darn good!) but wanted to stretch my wings further while also making a fun, festive post-workout snack. It's good! The texture is different from regular pumpkin pie though.

Protein Pumpkin Pie (slightly adapted from Anna Sward)


  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp honey


  • 200g pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whey protein powder
  • liquid stevia and spices to taste

Combine ingredients for crust and press into bottom of a pie pan. Bake at 360° for 10-15 minutes (essentially par-baking the crust.) Blend filling ingredients together in a food processor or blender then pour over the crust. Bake at 320° for 45-50 minutes or until filling is just set. (I did mine for 45 and it was already overdone, so I'd check earlier and frequently.) Sliced into 8 equal pieces, a slice is approx. 155 calories, 9.5g carbs/9g fat/10.5g protein.