Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Birthday Cake for Iris (Vanilla Cake with Carob “Buttercream” Frosting)

A few weeks ago, Iris over at The Daily Dietribe posted a Gluten-Free Birthday Cake challenge. My interest was immediately piqued. While birthday cake isn’t really one of my most favorite of desserts, I realize that for some, it’s practically a food group. There is a special place in Iris’s heart for birthday cake, and it’s my belief that no matter what food intolerances or allergies someone has, they should be able to enjoy those foods they love the most. For a special occasion such as a birthday, Iris ought to be able to enjoy a cake that doesn’t cause pain afterwards. I wanted to give her that cake.

So I started in my kitchen, experimenting. At first I tried to bake with stevia as the only sweetener. The first cake was terribly dense, and not sweet at all. I then attempted to increase egg whites in the batter, almost like an angel food cake, but the cake ended up so rubbery and chewy it was destined for the garbage can as well. The third cake showed promise, as I incorporated coconut nectar as a sweetener, but it was still rather coarse and tough in texture. The final cake, the one I’m showing you here, was the best gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free cake I made to date. The texture was still a wee bit more coarse than a traditional white birthday cake – I used coconut palm sugar, and I believe that had something to do with it – but it tasted good. The 100% fruit black cherry jam filling and carob “buttercream” frosting sealed the deal. Four tries later, I finally had something that would truly be considered “birthday cake”.

Like any cake, this still isn’t health food – the flours are refined, and it’s still sweet, but it’s a treat. (Especially the frosting, which I could have eaten by itself, by the spoonful…) I hope Iris likes it, and has a wonderfully happy birthday. (I wanted to ship a slice to her, but I imagine cake doesn’t travel well.)

Happy Birthday, Iris!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Cake

2 eggs

1/3 c coconut milk

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 t almond extract

6 T virgin coconut oil or palm shortening

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1/3 c plus 1 T tapioca starch

1/3 c potato starch

1/4 t xanthan gum

3/4 c coconut palm sugar

1/2 t salt

1 1/2 t baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan and lightly dust with gluten-free flour. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, extracts, and coconut oil. (warm the coconut oil slightly, if it’s solid, by microwaving for 10 seconds in the microwave.) In a large bowl, combine the sweet white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, coconut palm sugar, salt, and baking powder. Mix together the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and frosting.

(This recipe makes 1 layer. For a layered cake, double the recipe.)

Carob “Buttercream” Frosting

1/4 c Earth Balance buttery spread or other vegan butter

2 c powdered coconut palm sugar (you can make this by following a recipe from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free by Amy Green – page 180)

2 T coconut milk

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 T carob powder

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, add the buttery spread, half of the powdered coconut palm sugar, the coconut milk, the vanilla, and the carob powder. Turn the mixer on medium speed and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides, until well blended. Add the rest of the powdered coconut palm sugar in batches, whisking in each addition, until the frosting is stiff enough to hold its shape. Frost cake as desired.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Southwestern Omelet and a Call for Recipe Testers

I love eggs. They’re not only healthy, a great source of inexpensive protein (even happy, free-range eggs don’t cost much), and one of the speediest things to cook, they also are SO tasty. One of my favorite ways to enjoy an egg is simply cooked sunny-side up, followed closely by poached. But sometimes, I want something with a little more flair, and more ability to incorporate the plethora of veggies in my kitchen. This is when an omelet is just the thing.

Omelets don’t need to be complicated. Of course, mine aren’t as delicately fancy and thin as some, but for my everyday breakfast, that’s fine by me. Just a single fold – enough to allow the filling inside to get all warm, melty, and mingled with the egg – works for my quick and healthy breakfast. I’ll save the fancier stuff for fancier occasions.

Another bonus about omelets – each one is customizable. That way, if you’re making omelets for other family members, everyone can pick out their favorite fillings. Today, I opted for a Southwestern style – a sauteed mix of shallots, diced tomato, serrano pepper, and spinach, topped with just a tiny bit of Daiya cheese. It was spicy, fresh, and packed with powerful flavors, but light enough so that I had energy to get on with my day. My kind of breakfast.

Southwestern Omelet (makes 1 omelet)

1 T olive oil

2 T sliced shallots

4-5 slices fresh serrano pepper (or more if you’re daring – my chile was HOT!)

1/4 c diced tomato

1 large handful of baby spinach

2 eggs, scrambled

2 T Daiya (or other non-dairy) cheese, or omit

1 T fresh chopped cilantro

Heat a small skillet (mine was about 8 inches) to medium heat and add half of the oil. Saute the shallots and serrano chile for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add tomato and spinach and continue to saute until spinach is wilted. Remove and set aside in a small bowl. Wipe out the skillet and add the rest of the oil. Swirl to coat well. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the eggs. Allow eggs to sit without stirring for a minute. Once eggs start to cook on the bottom, take a flexible spatula and carefully pull the edges of the eggs away from the skillet and allow the runny part to fill the space underneath. Do this all the way around the omelet. Repeat this once or twice more, or until the egg is starting to set up more. Once nearly set, add your veggie mixture on one side of the omelet and top with Daiya cheese. Top with a bit of cilantro. Then carefully flip the empty side of the omelet over onto the filling, holding the top in place for a moment or two, if necessary, until the egg stays folded. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds or so, and carefully remove from pan and put onto plate.

Enjoy.

Okay, by announcing it here, this makes it official, right? Are you ready? (Am I ready? Eeek!)

I am working on my first e-book! This book will be filled with gluten and dairy-free recipes that are tasty and healthy for the whole family, made from whole foods and real ingredients. But I need your help to make this happen. I will be furiously working on recipes here at home, but I need testers! If you’re interested in testing out recipes, please send me an email at alta2924 (at) hotmail (dot) com. I hope to be able to have recipe testing start in the next month or so. Thank you in advance for all of your help! This is a huge step for me, and I have so many dreams for this book – I certainly hope it’s as exciting for you as it will be for me!

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Filed under breakfast, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Gluten-Free Goodness

This month for Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger I chose to adopt Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness. Cheryl’s a relatively new bloggy friend of mine; I “met” her through Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl. Cheryl is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist, as well as a health and wellness coach. She helps a lot of people enjoy a healthy, gluten-free diet. Cheryl has several food allergies, and while that might frustrate some in the kitchen, Cheryl handles it with grace and innovation. She is always coming up with something delicious, healthy, and allergen-free. It definitely makes choosing just a few recipes to try that much more difficult!

Somehow, I managed. I had to choose one of her dessert recipes, and came across these amazing Brazil Nut Chip Cookies. Brazil nuts, however, are not something I adore, so I improvised a bit. (Okay, more than a little bit…but I wanted to use what was on hand.)I used almond butter instead of the brazil nut butter, substituted raisins for the chocolate chips, and used 1 whole banana instead of the avocado. My gluten-free flour blend was 1 part teff flour, 1 part millet flour, and 1 part coconut flour. These came out of the oven tasting like banana-y oatmeal raisin cookies – one of my favorite cookies of all time. I’m definitely making these again and again. They were superb.

Another recipe I have tried (more than once) from Cheryl is her coconut curried greens recipe. I opted to use canned coconut milk, and did not add chicken, as I made this a side dish. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients here – these greens are craveably delicious. I had to make them twice – after the first time, the flavors haunted me. It’s a good thing collard greens are arriving in my CSA box in large amounts lately!

While this is all I’ve made so far, I definitely found more recipes I want to make in the future. Cheryl has a Nana Skillet Bread that looks comforting and delicious. I can imagine it as tasty breakfast treat. Her Sniffle Stew looks like a go-to recipe, especially in the winter. (I don’t think you need the sniffles in order to eat it – I can imagine it’s the perfect lunchtime soup as well!) And who could pass up her Chocolate Raspberry Pie? That looks killer.

Need some healthy, easy recipe inspiration? Check out more of Cheryl’s recipes here. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian