A Review and a Giveaway: Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski

Think going gluten-free means resigning to cardboard-flavored, overly dry and crumbly desserts? Hardly. I take a firm stance against tasteless desserts. Only the good stuff in our household! So when my review copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to devour every page. When it came time to test a recipe, I couldn’t decide on just one. After all, I should be doing my best to give you a thorough review of the book, right?

The first recipe I decided to make was her Grain-Free Chocolate Cupcakes. They seemed so simple to make, and was free of not only gluten, but also dairy and refined sugar. What was there to lose? I did opt to top it with some “buttercream” frosting (buttercream made with palm shortening instead of butter), so the end result did have sugar, but they were definitely a hit with Brittany. They weren’t overly sweet, but the cupcakes stayed moist enough and held together without crumbling – both big marks in the win column. Of course, they were chocolate – which automatically means they rank high on my “yum” list.

But I cannot live on chocolate cupcakes alone. I had to do something that was a bit different. So I additionally opted to make the mango sticky rice cake. Again, it was a simple recipe calling for relatively few ingredients. I did substitute coconut sugar for the brown sugar, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Warm from the oven, it was sticky, creamy, with the lovely savory-sweet flavor of coconut and the sweet, fresh flavors of the mango. It’s not the flashiest cake in the world, but it definitely makes up for that with real, honest flavors. I could have eaten it for breakfast.

What surprised me about this book was that there was more than just desserts. Carol also included a few muffin recipes and breakfast ideas! I am a muffin fan – I make them a lot more often than I let on here (you know, I think I should remedy that, come to think of it…). Next on my list is to make her Apple Cinnamon Muffins, which are dairy-free and refined sugar-free as well as gluten-free. They sound amazing.

But of course, many of you are here because I mentioned “giveaway” in the title of this post. I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here are the details:

I will be giving away one copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, to one of you. The giveaway will end on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

To enter, you will need to leave me a comment telling me what dessert you would love to see made gluten-free.

But wait, there’s more!

You can have additional chances to win by doing the following:

“Like” Simply…Gluten-Free on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

“Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Follow Simply…Gluten-Free on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Follow Tasty Eats At Home on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

That’s it! I wish you the best of luck!


And last, but not least, the recipe for the Mango Sticky Rice Cake.

Mango Sticky Rice Cake, reprinted with permission, from Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski


 2 mangos, peeled and sliced lengthwise into about ¼ inch slices
1½ cups sweet rice (mochi, pearl or sushi rice)
1½ cups water
1 cup brown sugar (packed) plus about 1 tablespoon – use divided (I substituted coconut palm sugar)
1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk
Pinch kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute plus more for preparing pan

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch round cake pan by greasing the bottom and sides liberally with the butter or non-dairy substitute. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Lay sliced mango on top of brown sugar in a nice spiral pattern.

Put rice in a large glass bowl and cover with enough water to come up about 1 inch over the top of the rice. Soak rice for at least 1 hour. Drain off water, rinse with running water and put back into bowl with 1½ cups fresh water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir rice thoroughly and return to microwave for another 5 minutes. Stir again. Rice should be tender, cooked through and sticky. If not, microwave for another 3 minutes and check again. Let stand covered for 5 minutes when done. Alternately you can cook the soaked rice in a rice cooker.

While rice is cooking, heat coconut milk with ¼ cup brown sugar and salt until almost boiling over medium heat. Do not cook it over too high of a heat or it will curdle. Cook until all the sugar is dissolved and it is very hot. Pour hot mixture over cooked rice; stir well and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute over medium heat with ¾ cups of brown sugar until it forms a thick caramel. Gently pour over the mango slices in the cake pan. Add rice mixture and press down to pack it well in the pan. Smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

Place cake pan in a sheet pan to catch any caramel that may bubble over and bake in oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the rice is lightly browned and the caramel is hot and bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes and then run a knife around the pan to loosen. Invert on serving plate and let cool. The more you let it cool the easier it is to slice.


  1. says

    Hmm…I’m not sure which dessert I’d like to make gluten-free. I think I’d like to see any dessert made gluten-free by someone else for me to just enjoy. :)

  2. Carol Cripps says

    German Chocolate cake is hands-down my favourite, so I’d love to see a gluten-free version of all three layers, with the gooey, good coconut-pecan topping in between and on top. Making a gluten-free version of that and serving it up for a special occasion would be terrific.

  3. Susan says

    I love desserts…Jeanine from The baking Beauties is my daughter and she has a wonderful variety of desserts but I’m always up to try another desssert. Would love to win the book..

  4. Francesca Orsomarso says

    I would love to see a gluten free angel food cake, I have yet to find a recipe. I ‘liked’ both facebook pages and I am following both Twitter users. My Twitter name is @FM17

    I’d love to win this cookbook ;)!

  5. Rosanna says

    Pastiera! It’s an Italian cake baked around Easter :) I’ve followed to both the FB and the Twitter addresses

  6. Sabrina says

    A big tortule chocolate cake. :) YUmmy, or this cake named ” Principe Alberto” made in Mexico that contains more cornstach than flour but still contains flour and milk.. mm yummy.

  7. says

    I would love to see (or make myself) Carrot Cake Cookies, Grain free Pavlova, Grain Free pie crust, and sugar free choc gelatin.
    Lots of yummy sounding recipes!

  8. eiren says

    I would LOVE to see a traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe made into muffinS! OR… in a close second i would take hummingbird cupcake recipE!

    Oh and i liked simply gluten free and tasty eats on BOTh Facebook and TwittER! :)

  9. Denise says

    Please please PLEASE make Pulla Bread!!! (AKA Finbun) It was my all-time fave dessert bread and I can’t for the life of me find a gf recipe for it anywhere! I can’t get enough of that slightly sweet bread with the mouth watering cardamom flavour.

  10. Denise says

    Oh and I’m already a fan of Simply Gluten Free on facebook. As soon as I can figure out what my pw is on twitter, I’ll follow you there too. I don’t ever use twitter… I just opened my account for your contests, so I’m hoping I can manage to get in.

  11. Gabrielle says

    @GabrielleLyons is now “following” Simply…Gluten-Free on Twitter and I’m leaving you a comment telling you.

  12. Gabrielle says

    @GabrielleLyons is now “following” Tasty Eats At Home on Twitter and I’m leaving you a comment to tell you :)

  13. Denise says

    Ok I’ve followed Simply gluten Free at Twitter

    I’ve followed Tasty Eats at Home on Twitter

    Not sure I’ll ever get this whole Twitter thing…

  14. Kim Belongia says

    Would love to see gluten free carrot spice cake. My son who will be 13 next week just found out he has celiac disease. I have had it for over a year. This is one of his favorites, so I would love to make it for him.

  15. says

    I “like” on FB and I would love to see a really good Peach Cobbler or maybe a pound cake that doesn’t fall apart. . . . or Chocolate Meringue Pie . . . .they would all be awesome to have GF/dairy free/refined sugar free!!!

  16. says

    I would love to see any dessert made gluten free and not have anyone say to me…that’s different, not bad, just different….I hear that often when I make gluten people gluten free food.

  17. says

    I can never get enough gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipes…I learn a little something from every batch I make! I got to test some of the recipes from the book last year, but would adore a copy of my own!!

  18. says

    Well I don’t do Facebook and I don’t tweet sad I know, but I do follow your blog and tell my friends about it , your recipes inspire me ! Crepes ,Crepes and more crepes filled with some wonderful fruit …need a crepe recipe!

  19. Laurel says

    Well first of all I think you should have had mango rice cake for breakfast. I mean whyever not? Second I can’t be entered because there is absolutely NO dessert that cannot be made gluten free. Now if you throw in dairy and egg free as well that’s another story and would be flourless chocolate cake. Have a great weekend and I’m sure you’ll be making someone incredibly happy on the 7th.

  20. Laura W says

    Swedish kringles cookies! My grandma would always make them at Christmas. It was bittersweet that she passed away the year before My first gluten & dairy free Christmas. I don’t think I could have said no to my precious grandma and her kringles.

  21. Pam says

    Hello there,

    thank you for a wonderful site. I have ‘liked’ both on FB so please please put me in the draw for the book. I also would love cheesecake dessert but have seen your recipe for it so will see if I can get the ingredients to make it. Cant wait. Thanks again

  22. says

    do poptarts count as desserts? because little ole’ GF me misses those jelly filled, frosted, sprinkled pastries more than anything! i’ve made my own version with not much success and would love to see someone else try their hand at a gluten-less version!

    and i’m a new fan of simply gluten free on facebook!

  23. Melinda J says

    I’d love to see a recipe for gluten-free angel food cake! Strawberry shortcake is on my mind with all those beautiful strawberries in the stores! Thanks for the giveaway. :)

  24. Kristie says

    Am a fan on facebook and would love the cookbook….trying to eat healthy and do a really good job – except when I’m craving something sweet. I need help!!! 😉

  25. Heather Ray says

    I would love to see an orange pound cake recipe, or even plain pound cake.

    I also like Tasty Eats on FB

  26. says

    I would love to see more cakes!! After lots of taste testing, my fiancee and I decided to make our wedding cake! We are getting married next month!! :):) I am Gluten-Free; he is a garbage disposal 😉 The most recent cake that I have made that I love is from Namaste! Their chocolate cake is what dreams are made of — topped with buttercream frosting – GAH, I die! :) I would love a copy of this book so I can see our full options and make the right decision! We bought 3 round pan this morning and are making a 3 tier for sure — the flavor is still up in the air! Great giveaway! :)

    I am following you on FB!

  27. Melanie says

    Dessert breads/artisinal
    Like chocolate cherry bread there is a great one made by LaBrea Bakeey which I miss such good French toast and grilled cheese or just toasted with butter!


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