Tag Archives: gluten-free cake

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.


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

A Review and a Giveaway: Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski

Think going gluten-free means resigning to cardboard-flavored, overly dry and crumbly desserts? Hardly. I take a firm stance against tasteless desserts. Only the good stuff in our household! So when my review copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to devour every page. When it came time to test a recipe, I couldn’t decide on just one. After all, I should be doing my best to give you a thorough review of the book, right?

The first recipe I decided to make was her Grain-Free Chocolate Cupcakes. They seemed so simple to make, and was free of not only gluten, but also dairy and refined sugar. What was there to lose? I did opt to top it with some “buttercream” frosting (buttercream made with palm shortening instead of butter), so the end result did have sugar, but they were definitely a hit with Brittany. They weren’t overly sweet, but the cupcakes stayed moist enough and held together without crumbling – both big marks in the win column. Of course, they were chocolate – which automatically means they rank high on my “yum” list.

But I cannot live on chocolate cupcakes alone. I had to do something that was a bit different. So I additionally opted to make the mango sticky rice cake. Again, it was a simple recipe calling for relatively few ingredients. I did substitute coconut sugar for the brown sugar, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Warm from the oven, it was sticky, creamy, with the lovely savory-sweet flavor of coconut and the sweet, fresh flavors of the mango. It’s not the flashiest cake in the world, but it definitely makes up for that with real, honest flavors. I could have eaten it for breakfast.

What surprised me about this book was that there was more than just desserts. Carol also included a few muffin recipes and breakfast ideas! I am a muffin fan – I make them a lot more often than I let on here (you know, I think I should remedy that, come to think of it…). Next on my list is to make her Apple Cinnamon Muffins, which are dairy-free and refined sugar-free as well as gluten-free. They sound amazing.

But of course, many of you are here because I mentioned “giveaway” in the title of this post. I won’t keep you waiting any longer. Here are the details:

I will be giving away one copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, to one of you. The giveaway will end on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

To enter, you will need to leave me a comment telling me what dessert you would love to see made gluten-free.

But wait, there’s more!

You can have additional chances to win by doing the following:

“Like” Simply…Gluten-Free on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

“Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Follow Simply…Gluten-Free on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Follow Tasty Eats At Home on Twitter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

That’s it! I wish you the best of luck!


And last, but not least, the recipe for the Mango Sticky Rice Cake.

Mango Sticky Rice Cake, reprinted with permission, from Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski


 2 mangos, peeled and sliced lengthwise into about ¼ inch slices
1½ cups sweet rice (mochi, pearl or sushi rice)
1½ cups water
1 cup brown sugar (packed) plus about 1 tablespoon – use divided (I substituted coconut palm sugar)
1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk
Pinch kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute plus more for preparing pan

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch round cake pan by greasing the bottom and sides liberally with the butter or non-dairy substitute. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar over the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Lay sliced mango on top of brown sugar in a nice spiral pattern.

Put rice in a large glass bowl and cover with enough water to come up about 1 inch over the top of the rice. Soak rice for at least 1 hour. Drain off water, rinse with running water and put back into bowl with 1½ cups fresh water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir rice thoroughly and return to microwave for another 5 minutes. Stir again. Rice should be tender, cooked through and sticky. If not, microwave for another 3 minutes and check again. Let stand covered for 5 minutes when done. Alternately you can cook the soaked rice in a rice cooker.

While rice is cooking, heat coconut milk with ¼ cup brown sugar and salt until almost boiling over medium heat. Do not cook it over too high of a heat or it will curdle. Cook until all the sugar is dissolved and it is very hot. Pour hot mixture over cooked rice; stir well and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter or non-dairy substitute over medium heat with ¾ cups of brown sugar until it forms a thick caramel. Gently pour over the mango slices in the cake pan. Add rice mixture and press down to pack it well in the pan. Smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

Place cake pan in a sheet pan to catch any caramel that may bubble over and bake in oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the rice is lightly browned and the caramel is hot and bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes and then run a knife around the pan to loosen. Invert on serving plate and let cool. The more you let it cool the easier it is to slice.


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

Book Review: The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free (Fresh Orange Bundt Cake)

Before the holidays, I was sent a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free by Anne Byrn. (She is the mastermind behind The Cake Mix Doctor as well) While there was a time when I was a big boxed cake mix fan, I typically ignore them nowadays, choosing instead to try to create something original (and sometimes healthier) in my own kitchen. However, I have seen that gluten-free boxed mixes are increasing in popularity, so I figured that this would be a great opportunity to try one, and at the same time try out some interesting and unique recipes from this new book!

This book has a lot of unique recipes – some I would have never thought to make using cake mixes, including muffins, wedding cakes, and even brownies, bars, and cookies. I would love to try her carrot cake recipe and her hummingbird cake – they both sound great. I opted to try the Fresh Orange Bundt cake. It was easy to put together, and not as sweet as some of the other frosting-laden cakes. After the over-indulgence of the holidays, I can appreciate that.

Simple, fresh, and lightly sweet, this cake was definitely a hit in our house. Our kids loved it. It would be perfect as an “everyday” cake (okay, so cake is most definitely NOT in my house every day, but you know what I mean!) to enjoy with a cup of tea or after a nice light dinner.

This book reminds me that the humble boxed cake mix isn’t to be cast aside, at least not in all occasions. And if you’re new to gluten-free baking, this is a great way to still have your cake and eat it too! (groan…bad joke, I know) She even gives some dairy-free options, if you’re a dairy-free baker as well. One note of caution on that – make sure you’re knowledgeable about what dairy-free margarines and milks you can have. Anne doesn’t specify, and a dairy-free newbie might assume that all margarine is dairy-free, etc. (it’s not) But this book does take away the biggest headache out of gluten-free baking – the need to own a dozen gluten-free flours. For many, that’s a saving grace!

Gluten-Free Fresh Orange Bundt Cake, from The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free, reprinted with permission, copywright 2010 from Workman Publishing

For the cake:

Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan

1 T rice flour, for dusting the pan

1 medium-size orange

Orange juice

1 package (15 oz) yellow gluten-free cake mix

1/4 c granulated sugar

8 T unsalted butter at room temperature (I used Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks)

3 large eggs

1 t pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 c confectioner’s sugar, sifted

3 T orange juice

1. Make the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust it with the rice flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.

2. Rinse and pat the orange dry with paper towels, then grate enough orange zest to measure 2 teaspoons. Place the orange zest in a large mixing bowl. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Add enough freshly squeezed orange juice or orange juice from a carton to measure 2/3 cup.

3. Add the orange juice, cake mix, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl with the orange zest and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan into the oven.

4. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 35 to 40 minutes (mine was done at 30). Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze, if using: Place the confectioner’s sugar and the 3 tablespoons of orange juice in a small bowl and whisk until the glaze is smooth. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke a dozen holes in the top of the cake. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake so that it soaks into the holes and dribbles down the side of the cake. Or omit the glaze and sift some confectioner’s sugar over the top of the cake. Let the cake cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes longer, before slicing and serving.


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

Adopt a GF Blogger: Gluten-Free Easily

Once upon a time, Sea at Book of Yum came up with a great idea. What if there was a way for gluten-free bloggers to get to know one another better? What if there was a way to encourage them to try each other’s recipes? In an effort to enhance the gluten-free blogging community, Sea created the Adopt a GF Blogger program. This program has been in place longer than I’ve been blogging (it was created in February of 2008), but this will be my first time participating. I noticed that Ginger Lemon Girl adopted me this month, so I thought I’d adopt one of my favorite gluten-free bloggers – Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking out Shirley’s blog, I strongly encourage you to do so! Shirley is a wealth of information, especially if you’re new to a gluten-free diet. She’ll show you how to navigate the diet without a lot of strange flours, without buying high-priced specialty items, and without a lot of stress. She has created some amazing things, like flourless gluten-free pizza made with a cheese crust, or surprise mint chocolate chip ice cream with spinach (no joke!). While I’ve been dying to try out her ice cream, I instead opted for 2 of her other recipes – her coconut chicken tenders and her pound cake.

First, the chicken tenders. Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients. I love it. So when I saw chicken tenders with coconut on her site, I knew I had to try it. As coconut is a nice, tropical flavor, I decided to keep with the tropical theme and make chicken tacos with these tenders. I made a pineapple salsa to top the chicken, and served them up in warmed corn tortillas, with a bit of lettuce for additional crunch. Even though I used sweetened coconut flakes, the chicken was not overly sweet – the heat from the chiles and the acid from the lime in the salsa provided perfect balance to the coconut and pineapple.

The only change I made to Shirley’s recipe was that I opted to bake instead of fry, and I added a touch of salt to the breading mixture. I placed the tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. The coconut came out lightly browned, and the chicken was moist and flavorful. It might have been chilly outside, but indoors, we enjoyed a tropical meal.

You can check out the chicken tenders recipe here. Below is the pineapple salsa I made.

Pineapple Salsa

1 T onion, diced finely

juice of 1 lime

pinch or two of salt

1 c diced pineapple

1 T cilantro, chopped

1 thai bird chile pepper, minced

Place the onion in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over. Add a pinch or two of salt and stir to mix. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add pineapple, cilantro, and chile pepper and stir. Taste and add more salt if needed. Store in fridge for 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

As for the pound cake, this was my second attempt. Shirley posted a perfect pound cake recipe a few weeks back, and I knew I just had to try it. Even in my gluten-eating days, rarely did I come across a decent pound cake. Most were dry and uneventful. However, there was one pound cake I can still remember like I tasted it yesterday. At our office, the widow of the former CEO bakes cakes and other goodies for us every Christmas. I cannot recall if she baked last year or not for us, (I was on vacation during the holiday, and I would have had to abstain anyway) but I remember fondly this lemon pound cake that she baked. It was moist, with the perfect amount of lemon, with a light, sweet glaze. It was amazing. When I saw Shirley’s recipe, I imagined recreating this pound cake of my dreams, gluten-free.

My first attempt was less than perfect. I tried to bake it in one loaf pan instead of two (or in other words, I didn’t follow her instructions!) and I didn’t change the baking temperature to compensate, so it came out underbaked in the middle, and browned on the outside. Rookie mistake. Second time around, however, I got it right. And there it was, lemony perfection. I followed Shirley’s instructions this time, subbing lemon juice for the orange juice, and adding 2 teaspoons of lemon extract. I also glazed the top making a simple lemon glaze – 1 cup of powdered sugar, about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a few tablespoons of water. It was amazing. I am sitting here right now, eyeing the cake on the kitchen counter, considering another slice. So good.

Many thanks to Thomas at The GFCF Experience for hosting Adopt a GF Blogger this month. I am so glad I participated. Actually getting to try some of Shirley’s recipes just validates what I knew already – that she’s amazing in the kitchen!


Filed under Baked goods, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes

Gluten-Free Tres Leches Cake

tres leches

Tres leches cake is not normally something I associate with this time of year. Around this time of year, I am usually focused on pecan pies, pumpkin everything, and soups of all kinds. Tres leches is usually the furthest thing from my mind.  

Of course, that all changed when we made last-minute plans to spend Hallowe’en evening with friends. They were planning a Mexican-themed dinner. (serving carnitas tacos, Mexican rice, and bacon-wrapped, cheese-and-jalapeno-stuffed shrimp. YUM.) I decided to bring along some homemade refried beans, a homemade salsa, and if I could pull it off, a gluten-free tres leches cake.

If you have never experienced the wonder that is tres leches cake, let me tell you, it’s amazing. Essentially, it is a sponge cake, baked and then poked full of holes, and soaked with three milks (hence the name) – whole milk (or cream – I used half-and-half), evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. And then, to top it off, it’s frosted with sweetened whipped cream. It’s moist without being soggy, and ever-so-creamy, rich, and delightful. Set your diets aside, because this certainly isn’t a “healthy” treat. But sometimes, you just need a bit of decadence. And this cake is so worth it.

When I started to make this cake, I honestly wasn’t sure if it would turn out. I’m still somewhat of a novice when it comes to gluten-free baking, but recently, I’ve become a bit more confident in understanding how certain gluten-free flours behave, and the role that xanthan gum plays in binding. My confidence has allowed me to break free from strictly following a recipe, and instead “feel” my way through baking. (something I wasn’t even comfortable doing when baking before going gluten-free!) Of course, when something turns out, I’m still so astonished. After I made this cake, and ate a piece, I exclaimed “Wow, this doesn’t suck!”

Aah, such high hopes I have, for these experiments of mine.

But truly, it didn’t suck. In fact, the flavor is absolutely wonderful, and the cake is not soggy in the slightest. I think that next time, I’ll reduce the milks by about 1/2 cup (I’ve written the recipe below making this change for you), because it was almost too wet, but the cake held up just fine, in spite of the amount of milks it was holding. But honestly, I could stuff myself silly with this sweet treat. It’s that good.

Tres Leches Cake, adapted from Baking for John, No Recipes, and Masa Assassin

For the cake:

5 eggs, separated

1 c sugar

3 T butter

1 t vanilla extract

1 t orange zest

Pinch of cinnamon

 ½ c sorghum flour

½ c masa harina

1 ½ t baking powder

1 t xanthan gum

¼ c milk

½ t cream of tartar

Pinch salt

For the milks:

1/2 c half-and-half

12 oz can evaporated milk

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

For the topping:

1 c whipping cream

¼ c sugar

1 t vanilla

Sliced strawberries and mint leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 13X9 baking dish. In a large bowl, beat ¾ c sugar, egg yolks, and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the vanilla extract, orange zest, cinnamon, sorghum flour, masa harina, baking powder, xanthan gum, and milk.

In another large bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks, adding cream of tartar after about 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining ¼ c sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy and firm, but not dry.

Gently fold the egg whites into the cake mixture. Pour this batter into the baking dish, spreading out evenly.  Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Pierce cake all over with a toothpick.

Whisk together the milks, and pour evenly over cake. Allow to cool for a bit, and cover and place in refrigerator for 4 hours, up to overnight.

Before serving,  place the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer bowl and whisk to stiff peaks, and nice and thick. Spread over cake and top with strawberries and mint leaves.

Allow to chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

tres leches2


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