FLAVOR FLOURS – Two Recipes by Alice Medrich

“My career started with a handwritten recipe for the tiny cocoa-dusted chocolate truffles given to me by my Paris landlady in 1973. The truffles had captivated me with their pure bittersweet flavor, and the recipe changed my life.

I brought Madame Lestelle’s directions back to California and began making and selling bittersweet chocolate truffles — to immediate acclaim — at Pig-by-the-Tail Charcuterie in Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto”. Happy accidents coupled with local tastes and predilections led to the development of a larger “American” chocolate truffle, a confectionary phenomenon that culminated with the opening of Cocolat, my own chocolate dessert shop, in 1976. From that first chocolate truffle to today, I’ve continued to experiment with new ingredients and techniques. I’m still learning and evolving, and still having fun.” Alice Medrich

EDF ForkDark and Spicy Pumpkin Loaf

[Excerpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Leigh Beisch.]

Serves 6 to 8

Buckwheat flour lends an almost woodsy note to the flavor of this not-too-sweet tea cake. Serve it with coffee, plain or with a smear of cream cheese or soft goat cheese. The batter may also be baked in muffin cups or it may be doubled and baked in a Bundt pan.


  • 179_Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Loaf8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (120 grams) white rice flour or 1¼ cups (120 grams) Thai white rice flour
  • cup (40 grams) buckwheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup (70 grams) raisins or currants


  • -by--inch (6-cup) loaf pan, bottom and all four sides lined with parchment paper
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment or handheld mixer


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of the loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, and eggs in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Or beat with the handheld mixer in a large bowl on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and buckwheat flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pumpkin puree, and raisins and beat on low speed until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the loaf for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the pan on a rack for at least 2 hours before unmolding and slicing.
  5. The cake keeps, wrapped airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; let come to room temperature to serve.


Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Muffins

Line 12 regular muffin cups plus 2 custard cups or ramekins with paper liners (the batter is too much for a 12-muffin tin). Fill each cup about two-thirds full. Bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting if desired.

Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Spray a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray. Double the recipe for Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Loaf and bake it in the prepared pan for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding it on the rack to cool completely.

EDF ForkCaramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

[Excerpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Leigh Beisch.]

 Serves 6 to 8

Tart, flavorful apples, such as Pink Lady, Pippin, Sierra Beauty, Braeburn, Arkansas Black Twig, or Winesap (to name a few), are best with this recipe. Try the pear or nectarine variations, or the fig variation for something even more unusual and gorgeous.

For the topping

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick/55 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
  • ½ cup (100 grams) packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large apple
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon

For the cake

  • 97_Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake1 1/4 cups (200 grams) white rice flour or 1 2/3 cups (200 grams) regular Asian white rice flour
  • ¼ cup (25 grams) oat flour
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (180 grams) sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
  • Scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (any percent fat) or slightly watered down Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream or whipped cream


  • 9-by-2-inch round cake pan
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment


  1. Position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Use the back of a spoon to smear the 4 tablespoons topping butter all over the bottom of the pan. With the same spoon, spread the brown sugar over the butter (the brown sugar should be in an even layer but does not need to be incorporated into the butter). Sprinkle with the cinnamon. Peel, quarter, and core the apple and cut it into ¼-inch slices. Place in a bowl and toss gently with the lemon zest and juice. Place the apple slices flat in the pan, covering most of the brown sugar layer, and pour the lemon juice from the bowl on top; set aside.
  2. For the cake, combine the rice and oat flours, sugar, butter, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is the texture of brown sugar, about a minute. Add the baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes; the batter should be very smooth and fluffy. Scrape into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Let the cake sit for 5 minutes on a rack, then slide a slim knife or small metal spatula around the edge to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate to cool. If some of the apples stick to the pan, use a spatula to transfer them back into place—the gooey topping will hide all sins here. Serve wedges with ice cream or whipped cream.

And this bonus variation on the White Rice Sponge cake recipe on page 63 (the cake we tasted):

White Rice Genoise with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Smear the bottom and sides of the pan with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of soft butter and 2 tablespoons sugar and press sliced almonds into the butter mixture, patting them to stick. Mix the cake as directed using 6 tablespoons room temperature extra virgin olive oil mixed with the grated zest of half an orange instead of the hot clarified butter. Bake as directed.

Alice Medrich interviewed on “At the Table” about Flavor Flour.

EDF ForkVisit Alice’s web site for more. Read Risa Nye’s review of Flavor Flours elsewhere in this issue of EatDrinkFilms.

Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours and other books are available at your local book store or through our affiliate programs with IndieBound and Amazon.

COVER. Flavor Flours. HIGH RESAlice Medrich, author, pastry chef, and teacher is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts. Since 1976, when her renowned shop, Cocolat, opened and her first dessert feature (of many) appeared in a national publication, Alice’s innovative ideas and recipes and her insistence on quality ingredients have influenced a generation of confectioners, pastry chefs, and home cooks. Among her early accomplishments, Alice is credited with popularizing chocolate truffles in the US and introducing the larger “American” chocolate truffle, now a mainstream confection.

The New York Times recognized Alice for creative leadership in the decades that saw the gourmet and specialty food segment take on national culinary stature. She is a featured case study in Growing a Business, Paul Hawkens’s book and TV series profiling successful entrepreneurs. Alice’s other television appearances include the Food Network’s Chef Du Jour and Baker’s Dozen, Julia Child’s PBS series Baking with Julia, and Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America.

Since selling her interest in Cocolat in 1989, Alice has become an award-winning cookbook author, receiving three Cookbook of the Year awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals for COCOLAT: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts (Warner Books, 1990), Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts (Warner Books, 1994); and BITTERSWEET: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate (Artisan, 2003). In 2007, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine magazines named her Pure Dessert (Artisan, 2007) one of the top cookbooks of the year. Alice’s book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your Mouth Cookies (Artisan, 2010), won the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the baking category. Her latest book, Flavor Flours won the 2015 James Beard Award for Best Baking and Dessert Book. 

Ever busy, Alice currently consults for established and emerging bakery, chocolate, and confectionery companies, and teaches in cooking schools across the country. Alice lives in Berkeley, California.

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