Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake

When I started this site, I set out to make dishes that were not just “good….for being gluten-free/vegan/sugar-free,” but also good in their own right. However clear this mission was, it was never so imperative as it was on Friday night, when I set out to bake a cake that was to be auctioned off for charity among a group of church members I would have to face again. The perfectionist in me (or should I say the perfectionist that I am) could never live with someone having purchased a mediocre cake. Which meant I spent a little bit longer than usual conceptualizing, writing, and ultimately executing this recipe, my show-offiest of cake recipes to date.

By the time the final layer was set — the coconut-pecan mixture lightly pressed on top — I had spent a good portion of my night and the next morning baking. I baked off a small cupcake-sized amount to taste-test, which confirmed that it was worth the extra effort. I decided it was.

That said, the lucky winner of this oh-so painstakingly created cake ended up being none other than my mom. Something about the “gluten-free,” “vegan,” “sugar-free” description just didn’t get the crowd too eager with their bids. Which is just as well, because really, nothing excites me more than shaking people of their notions that this type of eating is synonymous with deprivation. So when I started doling out slices to the diabetic at one table, the newfound celiac at another, I was delighted to watch their expressions shift from aprehension to pleasant surprise. I began to imagine this cake as not just a cake, but as a glimpse into a delicious world of possibilities, even  without the gluten, sugar, dairy or eggs.

Of course, this is a special occassion type of production, as it is a bit of an ordeal to make. This is the kind of dessert you look to when you want to be a show-off (and show your friends that you’re not missing out in the dessert world). But that doesn’t mean a modified version can’t be tackled on a smaller scale. German chocolate cupcakes, anyone?

The cake itself is quite moist; the frosting light and fluffly. It doesn’t have the exact makeup of a traditional German chocolate cake (not like you haven’t probably figured that out already), but the spirit is most definitely there.

Serves: 10-15

Chocolate Cake:

1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour

1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat flour

6 tablespoons coconut flour

1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (non-alkalized)

1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 tablespoons Ener-G egg replacer

2 1/4 cups light agave nectar

3/4 cup coconut oil (liquified)

1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups light coconut milk

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

Agave-Sweetened, Vegan “Buttercream”

1/2 cup soy-free Earth Balance buttery spread

5 tablespoons Spectrum Organic Shortening

6 tablespoons agave nectar

3 tablespoons liquified coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 tablespoons coconut flour

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

Toasted Pecan-Coconut Mixture:

1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

4 tablespoons agave nectar, divided

2 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted

Directions:

1. For Cake: Lightly grease three 8-inch, round cake pans with some melted coconut oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and egg replacer until combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together coconut oil, agave and vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly, on low speed, add in dry ingredients until incorporated. Beat in coconut milk and applesauce until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Pour equal amount of batter into each pre-greased pan, using a spatula to spread evenly and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for about 1/2 hour. Gently flip to remove from pan and allow to cool completely on rack.

2. For frosting: Beat together first 5 ingredients with electric mixer fitted with a wire beater on high speed until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and beat until incorporated. Refrigerate to set for about an hour, or until a bit more firm but still spreadable.

3. For coconut-pecan mixture: toss coconut and pecan with melted buttery spread and 2 tablespoons of agave. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake in preheated, 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool to crisp, then toss with remaining agave.

4. To assemble: Place bottom layer of cake on a large plate or tray. Spread about 1/3 of frosting (doens’t need to be a very thick layer) evenly over top. Sprinkle with coconut-pecan mixture, leaving some frosting showing so that the next layer will stick. Repeat with the second layer. To top: spread with remaining frosting just enought coconut and pecan so that the top is evenly covered, pressing down lightly into the top. If frosting seems a little loose, return cake to refrigerator so that the frosting can reset, about 30 minutes (it shouldn’t melt after this).

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Lemon-Rosemary-Olive Oil Cake

It wasn’t a particular recipe or picture or memory or craving that inspired me to attempt a gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free version of an olive oil cake. It was an unstocked pantry that brought this all about a few weeks ago. Still slow to build up to the pre-honeymoon stock of baking items, I was craving an upside-down cake and all I had was olive oil. Well, the upside-down cake was sort of a flop. But that’s O.K. What ensued was a two-week exploratory course in all things “olive oil cake.”

And that’s when the obsession started.

First, there was the olive oil cake Tastespotting search, which yielded this recipe, then this recipe, and finally this one (which leads me to an interesting question: if doing the same tastespotting search, which of the olive oil cake pictures would you have clicked on?). Of course, none of the offerings were gluten-free or vegan, let alone sugar-free. But I search for inspiration; rarely is an actual recipe the goal. Then there came the test runs. Some crumbly, others much too dense. Had it been any other recipe, I may have given up. But I couldn’t shake the olive oil cake idea. And so I let myself one last chance at redemption. This time, with rosemary. I think you can guess the rest of the story…

Now, a few things about this recipe. There comes a time during the baking process where compromise is necessary. While I was originally determined to bake this with stevia, agave nectar yielded far superior results here. So while I had to relinquish the stevia idea, please find comfort in the fact that I have a very promising cheesecake recipe — made entirely with stevia — in the works. Also, while I originally intended to use only the gluten-free all purpose flour here, I ran out. That’s when I decided to sub-in some almond flour, which turned out so awesome that I didn’t bother trying it again using the original plan (I think it enhances the flavor and texture of the cake). Finally, this cake is not too sweet at all. Instead, I tried to let the lemon and rosemary flavors do the singing, the agave offering a harmonious accompaniment to the real stars (sorry about the metaphors, The Simpsons “art camp” episode is starting to rub off on me).

Lemon-Rosemary-Olive Oil Cake:

I went a little easy with the rosemary here. I think you could definitely add a bit more if you’d like. Make sure to use a really good olive oil. Extra virgin yields the best flavor.

1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water until frothy

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup light coconut milk whisked with 1 teaspoon lemon juice (let sit for 10 minutes)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon minced rosemary, plus 1 sprig for topping

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.

3. In a mixer, beat together agave and olive oil. Add egg replacer-water mix, coconut milk-lemon mixture, vanilla, lemon juice, and zest. Turn mixer speed to slow and slowly add dry ingredients until batter just comes together. Fold in minced rosemary.

4. Pour batter into a pre-greased or parchment-lined 4.5×8.5-inch loaf pan (1.5 qt.). Pull leaves off rosemary sprig and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Run knife around cake to loosen and turn out from loaf pan. Let cool for another 15-20 minutes before slicing.

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Apple Cake

Having been born and raised in Michigan, and having lived there for 22 years, I’m well aware that there are plenty of reasons to love The Great Lake State. Still, every time I find myself saying “what? You never went to an apple orchard when you were a kid?!?!” to any of my east or west coast pals, I can’t help but move “apple orchards in the fall” to the top of my list of reasons to love my home state (as a side note, I usually get a similar reaction from people when I tell them I’ve never been to Disneyland. Or world.). As some of my midwestern readers might attest (and those New Yorkers who aren’t too cosmopolitan to leave the city every once-in-awhile), a day at the apple orchard, especially in the company of family and friends, is a pretty cool experience.

The Versical family take on this fall tradition usually involved a goal. After all, the Hungarian in my mother was not content to waste a day frolicking amongst the apple trees and sipping hot cider. We had quotas, people. Bushels to fill, winter supplies to stock up on (the same went for blueberry and raspberry picking, but we’ll stick with the orchard theme for the sake of staying concise). Inherently, sauces, pies, and baked apples were a mainstay in our household at least through the remainder of the fall, if not through the remainder of the year.

As I write this, I’m becoming a bit nostaligic remembering this part of my childhood. It’s traditions like these that we don’t really appreciate until they’re no longer a tradition but a memory. And my mom’s apple pie is yet another thing I wish I’d appreciated more when it was a mainstay, rather than a rarity (pies post-alleries have been a bit more elusive).

So, when I made this cake and wafts of sweet, apple-scented air floated from the oven, I was overcome with something much more than hunger. A montage of orchard memories filled my head. Images of my mom hovering over the oven poking apples as they bubbled away, filled with cinnamon and sugar and raisins. Then I thought of Halloweens carving pumpkins with my dad in the garage, Thanksgiving day parades in downtown Detroit.

Perhaps it’s the recent marriage that has me wondering things like whether I’ll be able to create such great fall memories for my kids. Having married the biggest Michigan football fan in, well, history (I would say I’m exaggerating, but I really, really don’t think I am), I’m sure our memories will be a bit more football-heavy. But I do hope there are orchards. Pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving in the garage. Jumping in a huge pile of freshly raked leaves (incidentally, my dad sent me the above cartoon clipping a few years back, and I can’t help but think of it now). Finally, I hope I’ll do half the justice to apples as my mom did with her baking.

This apple cake is just a start, but a good one. I’m always happy to have out-of-town visitors so I can really test-run some of my baked goods. Not that I didn’t already really like this cake. It’s just that a second opinion is always nice. So when an out-of-town guest — fittingly, a childhood family friend — seemed to enjoy it as much as my allergy-restricted self, I deemed it safe for sharing. Of course, this cake will work just fine with regular apples from the market, but will be all the more memorable with apples hand-picked during a day at the orchard with family. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Apple Cake:

This recipe makes 1 9″ cake. It’s awesome served warm with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream.

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour/Meal (Trader Joe’s almond meal will work, too, but yields a slightly more dry cake — still good!)

1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour (they’re the same thing)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted, plus more for greasing pan

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals Vanilla Liquid Stevia

1/4 cup water

1 medium apple (I used honeycrisp), peeled and sliced very thin

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. In a separate bowl, mix melted buttery spread with liquid stevia. Stir in to dry mixture. Add applesauce and water and stir until smooth. Batter should be a little bit thicker than a regular cake batter.

3. Arrange apple slices around the bottom of a pre-greased 9″ cake pan or pie pan until covered. Pour in batter and spread evenly over apples, all the way out to the edge of the pan. Use fingers to pat down and smooth out the top. Bake cake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes before turing out onto a plate.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Beet Cake

The. Bar. Is. Over. I don’t care if I don’t pass; I never, EVER want to take that thing again. That’s all.

On a bright note, everything after taking the bar exam seems relatively easier. I was delayed at Laguardia for 9 hours on Sunday before flying to Michigan. But I relaxed in that tiny, little Delta terminal as if it were Bora Bora, with not a care in the world (um, OK…I may be exaggerating a bit here. I did start to get a little cranky around hour 5). If it doesn’t involve sitting on a hard chair for 7 hours spewing out what’s remembered of the 165,000 laws once crammed through your brain, I’m a happy camper — even if that means a happy camper camping out at an airport filled with unhappy campers and crappy airport food.

But the best part of being done is that I can finally cook again!!!!! Toward the last hour of the exam, ideas started swirling in my head of all the different recipes I wanted to try. Raw oatmeal cookies. Baba Ganoush. Dandelion Pesto. Focus Beth, you still have 15 questions to go! That’s how much I’d been missing my tiny, little New York kitchen. My version of a therapists’ couch.

Now that I’m back living with my parents for a few weeks before the wedding (to start, rather than finish, my involvement in the planning process) my options are limited to what they have in the fridge, since I don’t have a car here. Two beautiful, cooked beets later, I came up with this moist, delicious and rather healthy cake. So no, I haven’t gotten to the raw oatmeal cookies or the Dandelion pesto (I did make a really nice eggplant dip last night that I’d love to post soon), but I was pleasantly surprised with this yummy cake.

I tried to make this one as low in fat as possible. But I figured a little coconut oil never hurt anyone. This one’s also sweetened only with stevia. It’s actually on the not-so-sweet side, almost like a muffin sweetness-wise but with the texture of a fudgy chocolate cake. For those with sweeter sweet tooths, please feel free to add a few (maybe about 5) more drops of stevia. On that note, I’m adamant about using NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia. It has a wonderful flavor and never gives off that dreaded, bitter taste. You could certainly make a nice frosting for this one, but I think it’s perfect with a scoop of Purely Decadent Vanilla Ice Cream. Pure Heaven — and that’s not just my post-bar bliss talking.

Chocolate Beet Cake:

2 medium-sized beets, boiled and peeled, chopped

1/2 cup water

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup light coconut milk (shaken)

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified

1 teaspoon plus 5 drops NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia (plus another 5-10 drops for a sweeter cake)

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour

1/2 cup potato starch (not flour!)

1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon celtic sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. In a blender or food processor, puree beets with water until smooth, like the texture of a really thin applesauce. Measure out 1 cup of the beet mixture and add to a mixing bowl. Whisk in the applesauce, coconut milk, coconut oil and liquid stevia. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining (dry) ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until everything is just incorporated.

4. Grease a 9 x 1 1/2″ round cake pan with a little coconut oil. Pour in batter and spread until smooth on top. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.

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Applesauce Cake with “Cream Cheese” Frosting

Two newly-discovered products inspired this super easy cake. First, I was recently asked to do a review of Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for Allergy Sense (which is a great resource if you have allergies or kids with allergies, by the way). I was interested in doing so because 1) I think it’s important, given the many allergy-friendly products that are available these days, that people are able to make informed choices before spending time and money in their cooking endeavors, and 2) well, I’ve personally been slow to accept gluten-free all-purpose flours in my diet, so I thought it was about time to explore baking with one.

How did I like it? Well, remember the days when you needed only one flour in your recipes? Remember when baking didn’t require added starches and gums? Jules got me reminiscing, which made me miss the one-type-of-flour-days myself. Why don’t I bake with all-purpose GF flours more often, I thought? For one thing, I’ve always thought it a bit of a cop-out — sort of the the gluten-free equivalent of cake mix. I know that’s not really the case, but the control-freak in me has always wanted a part in making my own flour mix, for whatever reason. After spending less than 15 minutes in the kitchen to bake, though, I started seeing the light. Second, I do actually like being able to control what types of flours I’m using to a certain extent, as I’m partial to the higher fiber — sometimes higher protein — varieties. That said, there’s definitely an appeal to shortening your list of ingredients, shorting your time in the kitchen, and shortening your grocery list once in awhile. So for my last trip to Whole Foods, I only bought one flour. I didn’t see Jules’ flour available there (hint, hint Jules, wherever you are!), so I went with Bob’s Red Mill for this particular recipe.

Then there was Xagave, the second prong of this cake’s inspiration. Now, I know certain food bloggers decline offers to try new products, but as I mentioned above, I think it’s important — especially in the allergy-free world, which is a new one to many who are living in it — for people to be able to make informed decisions about the products they’re purchasing. I know my grocery bills went up since I changed my diet, and a large part of that is due to the fact that not everything is a cheap as white flour and sugar. And not everything is as familiar, which is why I’m happy to give guidance where and when I can, and why I welcomed a sample of this agave nectar into my “test” kitchen.

The people at Xagave, it’s clear, were looking to make an agave product that goes beyond the mere “better-for-you-than-sugar” label. It would seem they sought to create a product that had actual health benefits to boot. For example, Xagave, unlike other brands, contains added inulin (a prebiotic fiber), along with calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals. Now, I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing that this can’t be a bad thing. I was particularly excited because now that I’m no longer eating dairy, I’ll take my calcium where I can get it; 17%  of the daily value in a tablespoon of Xagave ain’t  bad. Perhaps even more noteworthy for some of you out there is that Xagave is processed at 117 degrees, which they say makes it a raw food, though I’d have to do some fact-checking to make sure. This was at least interesting to me because I had literally just read an article denouncing agave nectar as “not really” a raw food (even those labeled as “raw”), since most are processed at 140 degrees, exceeding the general 104-115 degree range allowed for raw cuisine (if you ask Wikipedia). While still on the high end of this range, those following a raw regimine might certainly welcome an agave that’s heated at temperatures below those of most other brands.

So how, exactly, did an agave product inspire this cake? It was actually Xagave’s companion cookbook, Delicious Meets Nutritious, that did that. While all of the dessert recipes looked great to me, I realized that I could eat about zero of them, due to the fact that most call for eggs. But I did notice a cream cheese frosting recipe that piqued my interest. I decided to veganize the original recipe, as well as reduce the amount of agave called for, since I like mine to have a bit of tanginess to it.

My overall impression of Xagave? It’s a good bet, if you can find it. When I used the company’s store locator, I realized that exactly one store in Manhattan carries it. Plus, as far as taste and texture go, I didn’t notice any difference from other brands of agave nectars, despite claims that the taste and cooking qualities were superior. To me this means that if you’re not an agave fan to start, don’t count on Xagave being the product that changes your mind. Now, that could just be me; some of you with more discerning palates might say otherwise. I did try this cake recipe with both Xagave and another type to find that it made no apparent difference, which is why no particular brand is designated for the recipe. But overall, I would say this agave is worth looking into if  you’re interested in any of the above-mentioned health benefits — who doesn’t want a little calcium boost with their piece of cake? — and might be particularly worth checking out if you’re diabetic (re: the inulin) or following a raw regimen.

Applesauce Spice Cake:

2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose flour

1/4 cup flax seed meal

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup agave nectar

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup hot water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk in agave, oil, hot water, vanilla and applesauce and stir until incorporated.

3. Pour batter into a pre-greased, 9-13″ baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (check after 25), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Top with vegan cream cheese frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Delicious to Nutritious, by Stephen Richards): In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together 8-oz. vegan cream cheese (I use Follow Your Heart brand), 3 tablespoons Spectrum Organic Shortening, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup agave nectar (increase to taste). Beat until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Carrot Cake

carrot cakeThis carrot cake is one of my favorite new recipes. I made it this morning while witnessing an epic snowstorm in the making outside my window. The sweet, nostalgic smell of carrot cake somehow seemed perfect against the backdrop of billowing snow. Since I don’t have class on Fridays and am still recovering from my nasty little cold, I found being holed up in my apartment to be a perfectly fine way to spend the day. My dog, on the other hand, was a little less thrilled about the weather, since he was belly-deep in snow during much of our walk.

Anyways, back to the recipe. I love it because it’s moist and flavorful, and spongey rather than dense. Don’t get me wrong; I actually really love a dense, carrot-packed carrot cake. But this version is a foolproof cake recipe that I’m certain will satisfy all crowds. I had a “Miranda” (re: Sex and the City) moment today when — after sneaking small slices off of the sheet of cake throughout the day — I suddenly realized a quite sizeable chunk of it was missing. Whoops!

The coconut frosting I used is made from coconut-based ingredients and splashed with a hint of apple cider vinegar for some tanginess.  The way I made it, the frosting will set completely when it’s on the cake, which is why I add it in two batches. If you pour it on all at once, I think too much of the frosting mixture will seep into the warm cake. If you want to try a cream cheese frosting recipe instead, try this one from Elana’s Pantry. I haven’t tried it, but can attest to her recipes being pretty spot-on. I would suggest using Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese and soy milk for a dairy-free version.

In other dessert-related news, I recently discovered a great blog called madcap cupcake. It is my new web obsession. I could gaze at the photographs alone for hours, and the recipes (many linked to other great blogs) — albeit not all gluten or sugar-free — are all vegan.  I’m sure madcap cupcake will be a great source of inspiration for me in the future. I also love the cruelty-free angle. I’m taking an animal law class right now, and without getting too in-depth, I’ll just say that I’ve learned enough already to know that the world could use a good, cruelty-free recipe blogger. You go, Marika!

On that note, I hope you all enjoy this gluten-free, sugar-free, “cruelty free” carrot cake as much as I did.

Tip: toast the walnuts on a flat baking sheet at 350 for 10 minutes before using

Gluten Free Carrot Cake:

1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup grapeseed oil

3/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup hot water

1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)

2 cups shredded carrot

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

3/4 cup fruit sweetened dried cranberries

Coconut Frosting:

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons potato starch

2 teaspoons coconut flour

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup lite coconut milk

Directions:

1. Make frosting by blending all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Make sure coconut oil is liquified beforehand. If solidified, let jar sit in a warm bowl of water for 10 minutes. Chill frosting in refrigerator while preparing cake.

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (sorghum flour through salt). Add grapeseed oil, agave and hot water and whisk until batter is smooth. Fold in applesauce, carrot, walnuts and dried cranberries. Turn out batter into a pre-greased, 9-13″ baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

4. Let cake cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. When cake is slightly cooled, pour or spread 1/2 of the frosting mixture over cake. Cover and let cool in refrigerator until frosting is set (firm to the touch). Pour or spread the remaining mixture over the cake and let frosting set completely before serving.

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Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Cake

This cake is a quick and easy one-bowl-and-you’re-done operation. I adapted it from the apple cake recipe in the Joy of Cooking, which, for all intents and purposes, is my bible (the book, not the recipe). I’ve been known to bring it to bed with me to read on more than one occasion. You’ll love the smell coming from your oven as this cake bakes. In all, this gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free cake makes the perfect dessert for a cool fall evening. Add chopped walnuts for some extra flavor and crunch if you wish. In an effort to incorporate more gluten free flours into my baking, I made this bread using sorghum flour, which is high-protein and high-fiber and reminiscent of whole wheat. That is, if you remember wheat well enough to reminisce. I’m not sure I still do…

For a twist: try this cake topped with orange vanilla frosting from the recipe for carrot orange cupcakes. Of course, it’s very good as-is, with no frosting or sauce at all.

Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Cake:

1 1/2 cups sorghum flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup agave nectar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light coconut milk

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup apple, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup frozen cranberries

 Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add agave, coconut milk, oil and vanilla and whisk until batter is smooth. Fold in apple, cranberries and walnuts (if desired). Pour batter into a greased, 8-inch square baking dish.

3. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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