Tag Archives: agave

End of Summer (Gluten-Free) Cake (Though Cake Season Never Ends)

4 Sep

I shuddered as I wrote that doomsday-esque title; I know I have no place to announce the ends of seasons, but with the imminent approach of Harvest Gathering I feel like fall is coming, regardless of temperature. It’s getting to that wonderful part of August where the nights are cool and the days still pass the 80 degree mark; football season avoid Ann Arbor at all costs season is beginning; tomatoes are all but falling off the vine en masse. It’s time once again to embrace fresh apple cider, savory baked goods, and socks. Really cozy wool socks. I feel like I’m starting to sound like a Pure Michigan commercial. Maybe it’s the ultra-calming effects of the Blue Lotus tea Brandon just made me. ULTRA CALM. SUPER CALM. MEGA CALM! Nothing gets the blood pumping like a few phrases in all caps. I’m feeling snappy already! Perhaps just snappy enough to tell you about the awesome cake that I’ve already made twice in the last week. In two variations!

I borrowed the recipe from Karina at Gluten Free Goddess for an impromptu going-away-party-cake for Brandon’s sister, Corinna, who just moved to Connecticut to get even more awesome at being awesome. Oh gosh, Karina, Corinna…together for the first time in one sentence! Corinna has a really great band and Karina has a really great blog. Oddly enough, the post that this recipe came from begins with a letter from a “fan” full of backhanded compliments and waaay too much sass. I don’t know if I’m missing something but I can’t tell if it’s parody or not! Anyways, the cake recipe is GREAT. It’s totally a transitional cake–there’s a hint of cinnamon, cornmeal for a little texture, but based around summery strawberries. The first time I baked this with the strawberries, it was great. I opted for a pound of berries instead of the suggested pint, since it didn’t seem like the pint would at all cover the bottom of my cast-iron pan. The second time I tried the cake, it was even more impromptu and I only had peaches on hand, so they became the new base and GUESS WHAT. IT WAS STILL GREAT. SO GREAT. I topped both versions with homemade whipped cream, which was a stellar pairing. Also tasty would be some vanilla bean or cinnamon ice cream…mmm. This is a simple cake. “Rustic” seems like an appropriate adjective as chosen by Karina. I’ll let her do the talking as for the recipe (though I’ll insert my suggestions, too). Keep in mind my suggestion for more fruit! And experiment! What sort of seasonal fruits might you try with this?

iPhone for the win! Coming in handy when my camera is not around.


(for some reason my technology devices have decided that this section MUST be in a larger font size. I supposed it is the important part…)

The key word in this cake is rustic- due to the grainy cornmeal. I used a combo of hefty flours because I personally like a whole grain kind of feel in a cobbler cake like this.

For the strawberries:


1 heaping pint of fresh strawberries, washed, patted dry (I went for a pound of strawberries)

A sprinkle of lemon or lime juice

2 tablespoons organic sugar


Dry ingredients:

2/3 cup certified gluten-free cornmeal

1/3 cup GF buckwheat flour, GF millet flour, or brown rice flour

2/3 cup sorghum flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup organic light brown sugar, packed

Pinch of nutmeg- just a hint

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup hemp or rice milk, warm (milk or milk substitute of your choice! and it doesn’t actually NEED to be warm, as it turns out–I learned that due to a lazy moment)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or light tasting rice vinegar

3 tablespoons raw organic agave nectar or honey

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

Egg replacer for 2 eggs- I used Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with warm water (or eggs!)

Organic raw sugar for the top, if desired (it makes a lovely crunchy top)




Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Warm up a seasoned 10-inch skillet (or use a hefty cake pan or casserole dish). I rubbed mine with a little light olive oil (or butter). Set aside.

Stem the strawberries; cut them in half; toss them into a bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons organic sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine your dry ingredients: cornmeal, buckwheat and white rice flours, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients: light olive oil, hemp milk, vinegar, agave, vanilla, egg replacer (or egg). Whisk till combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly mix by hand until combined- don’t over-beat (it isn’t necessary).

Drain the strawberries and pour them into the warm skillet (reserve several for the top, as I did, if you like).

Spoon the batter onto the strawberries. Place the reserved berries on top, cut side down, pressing in slightly.

Sprinkle the whole top with organic raw sugar crystals.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending upon your altitude and oven (here at 6,700 feet it took 47 minutes). *Mine took between 25 and 35 minutes each, here in flat ol’ Michigan*

Test for doneness by not only touching the top- it should be golden and firm- but by using a cake tester inserted into the center; it should emerge clean.

Place the skillet on a wire cooling rack to cool.

Serve slices warm or at room temperature. Wrap leftover slices in foil; bag and freeze. Thaw to room temperature or warm gently before consuming.

We enjoyed our cake with a little local hard cider!

Here’s the peach version (with blueberries on top) in case you were wondering.






28 May

this picture placed conveniently at the top so you are inspired to continue on

This morning when I woke up, I decided that I wanted to make (gluten-free) cinnamon rolls. Why? Because I can. And just as the yeast was proofing, I learned that my mom’s darling pug had two seizures last night.

the prince of pugs

I had to move away from the flour so as to not get tears in it and instead proceeded to cry on Brandon (after googling pugs and seizures–not a good idea) for a while before returning to what then became therapeutic baking (I am totally obsessed with dogs, and I do not want this one going anywhere any time soon). This made delicious cinnamon rolls all the more necessary!  Before I get any more gooey (pun intended) I will just get on with the recipe.

gluten-free army ready for battle

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

For the dough:

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup oat flour

1 cup tapioca starch

1 Tbsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp quick rising yeast

1 cup flax milk (or milk-like product of your choice)

1/8 cup agave nectar

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

Heat the flax milk, oil, and agave nectar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a light simmer and immediately remove from the stove to cool. You want the mixture to be around 110 degrees to activate the yeast. For me, that’s about as hot as the water gets straight out of my tap. When the mixture is the right temperature, mix in the yeast and let it sit until it gets nice and foamy.

Mix together the coconut flour, oat flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and salt.

dry ingredients ready to be whisked together into one!

Once the yeast is proofed, add it to the flour mixture, along with the eggs and vanilla extract. The dough will be pretty sticky. If it seems too wet, add about 1 tsp at a time of tapioca starch until it holds together. Cover this bowl lightly and leave it to rise for about an hour (I stick mine in the microwave for safe keeping–with the microwave OFF!).

fluffy dough ready for rolling!

Okay, here comes a shameless plug for one of my favorite baking tools. THE SILPAT! A silpat is a non-stick baking sheet cover that I use when making any baked good that gets cooked on a baking sheet. Or, in this case, rolling out my cinnamon roll dough. Trust me when I say you need this. But if you don’t have one and are currently dying for cinnamon rolls (I know it’s hard to look at food blogs and not immediately be able to taste the food), you can grease up a piece of parchment paper and dust it with cornstarch.

Roll your dough into a large rectangle on the silpat or parchment paper. This may require dusting your rolling pin with cornstarch as the dough will likely try to stick at least a bit. Now onto the good part!

For the filling:

3 Tbsp butter

about 1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar (I just sprinkled mine on til I felt satisfied with the coverage so I’m guessing how much I used)

about a tablespoon cinnamon (again, guessing since I just dusted with it)

a handful of raisins (optional)

a handful of finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Melt the butter and spread it evenly over the dough’s now flat surface. Then, sprinkle it with brown sugar, cinnamon, and dried fruit or nuts if you so desire.

ready to roll

To roll up your cinnamon goodness, gently lift one side of the silpat or parchment to help you begin rolling the dough tightly (but not so much that it busts apart) into a big cinnamon log. Make sure you close the seam when you finish.


a cinn-ful log

Ready to learn a trick? Cut your cinnamon log into 1″ rolls using dental floss!

log bits

ta da!

Finally, grease a pie pan or baking pan with butter and tuck your fledgling rolls in to nap again (let them rise for about 45 more minutes).

Preheat the oven to 350°. When ready, bake for 15-20 minutes or until just turning brown. Check ’em at 15 minutes to be on the safe side.

ready to bake!

While they’re baking, prepare the frosting. I used leftover coconut milk frosting I had in the fridge from “Cake Is Beautiful.” You can either halve that recipe and use it, or do something like:

1/2 lb confectioners sugar

2 Tbsp flax milk

1 1/2 Tbsp butter (softened)

1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract, or maple syrup)

Whisk this jazz together and pour it over the buns when they’re fresh out of the oven.

And, drum roll please….

in all their gooey glory

Hope you like these as much as we did! Here’s a shot of Brandon torn between eating his salad and diving into a sugary surprise:

Brandon: What percentage do you want to eat another one of these?
Me: 150%


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