In the Portland Heat gay romance series from Annabeth Albert, the flavors of Portland, Oregon play a huge role, and none bigger than coffee—the official drink of the region. Served Hot stars a barista and his favorite customer. Robby enjoys coming up with innovative daily specials for his coffee cart, but his favorite customer, David, always orders the same thing: a vanilla latte.
Whether you use a coffee pot, French press, or Keurig machine, it’s pretty easy to duplicate a vanilla latte at home—just add milk, your favorite sweetener, and a splash of the best quality vanilla you own. But the bigger question is what to serve with your coffee!
The Northwest is all about incorporating personal preferences and food needs into delicious products. This lower sugar gluten-free coffee cake is a favorite of the author and something Robby would be proud to offer at his coffee cart. To serve coffee cart style, try baking in large muffin tins w/ liners or individual silicon molds (reduce baking time accordingly!).
LOWER-SUGAR & GLUTEN FREE COFFEE CAKE
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup Stevia in the Raw (or other sugar substitute or raw sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups of gluten-free flour (Trader Joe’s and Pamela’s Artisan Blends are both recommended)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (to make a non-dairy alternative use 1 cup non-dairy milk + one tablespoon lemon juice).
1/2 cup brown sugar (reduce sugar further by using half brown sugar and half sugar substitute)
1/2 cup gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 chopped nuts (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 350. Place parchment paper in a 8 inch square baking pan (or butter and flour well, but parchment is recommended for gluten free baking).
2. Cream the butter, sugar substitute, and eggs together in a mixer. Scrape down the sides a few times as needed.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture along with the buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until smooth batter—about 2 minutes.
4. In a food processer, pulse the crumb topping ingredients together until a coarse mixture forms—about 6 pulses.
5. Spread half the batter mixture in the pan, add half the crumb in the middle, and finish with more batter and crumb. Bake for 40 minutes or until a thin-bladed knife comes out clean. (Gluten free baked goods can be tricky. Check at 30 minutes and if more time is needed at 40 minutes, check every 5 thereafter). Let cool for about ten minutes and then unmold the cake and serve crumb-side up.
ABOUT SERVED HOT:
In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…
Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency
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