My first Gluten Free Cake!


    I don’t bake often, but when I do- I love making cakes. So when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and committed to a gluten-free diet, I was sure that my made from scratch dessert days were numbered. I decided to start small by trying a vanilla cookie recipe that I found online…. they were a DISASTER. I was immediately worried that I was going to be tethered to boxed mixes for cookies, cakes, and brownies for the rest of my life!

    After doing some research though, to my surprise and delight, there were ton of cookbooks by very talented bakers taking on the Gluten Free Dessert Challenge {I recently made a batch of Elena Amsterdam’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and they turned out great! Those cookies were the confidence boost I needed} So this Thanksgiving I made my first Gluten Free cake. I love using seasonal ingredients and choose an Apple & Pecan Cake from Hannah Miles’ beautiful book The Gluten Free Baker.

    I was nervous the entire time it was baking… and squirmish with every bite my family was taking. Luckily it turned out quite nice! Even though the cake was on the denser side, the grated apples folded into the batter gave it a wonderfully moist crumb. I sometimes skip the icing on cakes like this… but I’m glad I didn’t this time. It complements the cake perfectly. Now, I can’t wait to make my next GF cake!

    Apple & Pecan Cake
    by Hannah Miles

    10-inch springform pan

    For the cake:
    2 cups shelled pecans
    2 stick’s butter
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    4 eggs
    1 cup + 2 TBSP Gluten Free all-purpose baking flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp xanthan gum
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    2 apples
    1/3 cup sour cream

    For the icing:
    1/2 stick butter
    3/4 cup super fine sugar
    2 TBSP milk
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
    ground cinnamon for dusting

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
    Grease and line the pan with parchment paper {note: I didn’t have any parchment paper, so I greased the pan with butter then sprinkle sugar all around the insides. I learned that trick from one of my Thea’s who is a phenomenal baker. In addition to adding a little sparkle/crunch to the baked cake, it also happens to be a great gluten-free way to keep your cake from sticking to the pan}

    Blitz the pecans in a food processor until they resemble ground almonds. Whisk together the butter and both the sugars until light and creamy. Add the eggs and whisk again. Fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ground pecans using a spatula or spoon.

    Peel, grate, and core the apples and fold through the batter, along with the sour cream. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour- 1 hour and 15 minutes. Until the cake is firm to the touch and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool.

    To make the icing, put the butter and sugar in a sauce pan and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar starts to caramelize. Add the milk and vanilla extract and heat for 1 minute further. Remove from the heat, let cool for 5 minutes, then beat in the confectioners sugar using a whisk. Spread the icing over the cooled cake using a spatula {note: the icing hardens really fast, so pour quickly onto the cake and spread}. Sift a little ground cinnamon over the cake.

    This cake will keep for up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container.

Make a cake out of Ice Cream Sandwiches

20110603-103417.jpgimage via Real Simple Magazine

The summer heat has hit Houston and it’s just barely even June. In an effort to stay cool, I started looking for some easy ice cream desserts that would be fun to serve this summer. One dessert that kept coming up in my search was an Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. Here is a recipe from Real Simple that is easy to prepare and will be an instant crowd pleaser. For more variety, try using Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, butterscotch chips, or crushed oreos- the combinations are endless.

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
6 ice cream sandwiches (3.5 ounces each)
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped

1. Line an 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan with a piece of wax paper or parchment, allowing the paper to hang over both long sides.
2. In a large bowl, beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.
3. In the bottom of the pan, arrange 3 of the sandwiches in a single layer, cutting them to fit as necessary. Spread with half the whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and whipped cream.
4. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the chopped chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.
5. Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan and transfer to a platter. Discard the paper and serve.

By Jenni Hakensen, July 2008 Real Simple Magazine