Monday, October 24, 2011

Awesomesauce Cake II

Happy Birthday, LemurBaby!

This cake is a variation on the chocolate cake I made for LemurGirl's birthday last month:

Awesomesauce Apple Cake
  • Approximately 1/2 cup butter oil (Coconut oil or plain butter both have similar properties and should work instead, but I think butter or butter oil really works best flavor-wise if you can tolerate it. Coconut butter might work well - whizzing two cups of coconut in a blender or food processor until pasty (2-10 minutes, depending on how powerful yours is). You might also be able to use nut butter of whatever type you prefer.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or the equivalent in other sweetener) (see note)
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I didn't have any, so left it out)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk (of whatever type you prefer - I used homemade coconut milk)
  • 3/4 cup applesauce + more for frosting 
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon (plus any other spices you want - my applesauce already had cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. If yours doesn't, you probably want to add some)
  • Optional - shredded carrot, zucchini, or apple, raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, candied ginger
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients separately, then gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients (actually, I just threw it all in the food processor - since it's coconut flour, you don't have to worry about overstirring, since there is no gluten to develop). Stir in any extra ingredients you want. Bake for about 30 minutes, until it doesn't jiggle and a fork stuck in the center comes out clean. Makes 1 8" diameter circular cake. 

This cake came out a little on the wet side. Not to the point of being unpresentable, but it got rather brown around the edges before being anywhere close to done in the center. Either a little more coconut flour, a little less applesauce or oil (I'm hesitant to reduce the applesauce, since it's providing flavor), or eliminating the coconut milk would probably help. 

Note on sweetener: I used homemade applesauce made from fresh-picked apples, so it was very sweet and flavorful (This is easy - stick apples, peeled or not, in a crock pot with about a half cup of water and whatever spices you want until soft, blend if you left the skins on and want a smooth sauce). I think I could have left out the sugar entirely, or maybe added just a tablespoon. However, plain old storebought unsweetened applesauce would probably need the 1/4 cup, or maybe even a little more. If using a liquid sweetener, you may need to adjust the amount of other liquid accordingly (ie. reduce the applesauce a little).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gluten Free Cornbread

Not grain-free, but this one is a pet peeve of mine.

Cornbread, to me, is a bread made with cornmeal. This is how I was raised. I had no idea the ubiquity of the "cake with an accent of cornmeal" type of cornbread until shortly after we moved. My cookbook was still packed up, and I wasn't quite sure of the recipe, so I googled for a cornbread recipe, hoping to find something that would work.

Everything that popped up contained flour.

So I got smart, or so I thought, and searched for gluten-free cornbread. Everything that popped up contained a zillion ingredients, including at least 3 different types of non-wheat flour, plus a gum of some sort.

It doesn't have to be that difficult, people. This is one reason people get scared off by gluten-free - so many of the recipes require a trip to a specialty store. But really, you can make perfectly good, tasty stuff with only ingredients that you can find at any decent supermarket.

Finally, I googled for "Joy Of Cooking cornbread" and found my naturally gluten-free recipe:

1 tablespoon fat of choice (for greasing pan)
1 ¾ cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar (or more, or less, or none, or alternative sweetener, depending on your preferences)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk (can replace with any slightly acidic liquid - I generally use 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice added. You could also use thinned yogurt or sour cream, or any other dairy or non-dairy milk with vinegar or lemon juice added)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a heavy 9-inch oven-proof skillet, preferably cast iron, or an 8-inch square glass baking dish. If you want to be traditional, you grease the cast-iron skillet and stick it in the oven to preheat. I don't usually do that.

Mix together dry ingredients. Crack and beat eggs. Add buttermilk (or appropriate replacement) to eggs an mix. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended. Place the skillet or pan in the oven and heat until the fat smokes (or don't, if that sort of excitement doesn't appeal. It will work fine starting with a cold pan). Pour in the batter all at once and stick in the oven.
Bake until the top is browned and the center feels firm when pressed, 20 to 25 minutes  Serve immediately from the pan, cut into wedges or squares with butter (or whatever topping you prefer).
There you go. Gluten-free cornbread with no special ingredients.
I have made it with masa harina in place of about 1/2 cup of cornmeal, and that makes it really nice and fluffy (though gives it a slight tortilla taste). You might get similar results with some other non-wheat flour. I couldn't tell you, since I haven't tried. But straight cornmeal really works just fine.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Zucchinipocolypse has not yet ended. We haven't quite had a frost yet, and while production has slowed, it's still going.

It is good that production has slowed, because we are getting lazy about dealing with them, and I'm not sure I could deal with 12 of these at a time:

Not more zucchini, mom!!!