Banana Cake, GF But Delish!

There are desserts I really miss.  Leading a busy life it is hard to find time to bake. Not made cake in many months but my taste buds were craving old school banana cake. Of course it has to be gluten free for me. yet it has to taste yummy for all of us. My grandson helped dump in ingredients and he smashed the bananas up with a fork the first time I made this recipe; I used dead ripe bananas I had frozen a month ago and really wanted to put them to good use. Gotta say, this was a wonderful choice! I let them thaw partially before Aiden went to town with his fork. This recipe is simple and I subbed in my favorite all purpose gf flour from King Arthur and it worked great. My family loved the results!

I made the cream cheese icing in the original busy bee  recipe, but I doubled the vanilla (the amount below is the doubled amount) as I like it with more of that delicious stuff!  It was a big hit and really finishes off the flavor of the cake. This is made in a nine inch square cake pan. I did put my cake strips around it as it was browning unevenly. They helped to even the baking out.The bake temp is 350 degrees for 35 minutes. If you have no eggs you could do the flax eggs (2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed and 5 Tbsp. water; mix and let sit 5 minutes) or do 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce. In these pricy egg days these two alternatives become very attractive!

Making this cake early tomorrow morning so we can enjoy this classic cake later after work is done.

banana cake in pan

Ingredients:

2 cups GF flour (I used KA Basic GF flour)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 cup canola oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar packed

2 lg eggs

3 ripe bananas

1/2 tsp. vanilla


Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese at room temp (I used light cream cheese; really like it best for icings.)

1/4 cup butter softened to room temp

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

banana cake

A big hunk of banana cake.

See recipe at theprettybee.com for directions. If you love banana cake and have to be gf; this recipe is simple and delish! Enjoy.

Original post Feb 2019 updated with minor changes and clearer information.

Shoo Fly Pie (Shoe Fly Pie at my house!)

This sweet pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. It is quick to go together, needs neither refrigeration, nor a long chilling down before consuming it, pleases most everyone and best of all it can be made in any season; no fruit needed.  It wasn’t too hard to change from my old recipe to a gluten free version.  I recommend it for celiacs who miss that old time flavor of shoe fly pie.  Note: some folk say shoo fly pie but my recipe used the spelling you see in this post.  I believe either is appropriate.

I know folks who shy away from gluten free baking thinking it is too complicated.  Well, a couple years ago I featured pies and this is the easiest pie around so I dedicate this to a few friends who have been too scared to bake gf.  You can do this one! If you want, buy a ready made uncooked crust but I swear that with a stand mixer this is the easiest and best gf crust around.

This shoe fly pie recipe is a blending of the filling I have used for years, (my sister Margie gave me the recipe a long time ago) and the pie crust and crumb recipes from Annalise Robert’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  Her cookbook is a fabulous resource and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone trying to bake gluten free for a family member.

My shoe fly pie is considered a “wet bottom” pie; not too crumbish.  If you want it drier use ½ cup molasses and ½ cup water.  I love it soft and moist so my version always is a wet bottom shoe fly pie.

Angie’s Shoe Fly Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of parchment or wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of parchment or wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Make the crumb topping while it chills.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.  You will only use 1 ½ cups of the crumbs; put it in a jar and store it in the fridge until your next pie; it keeps well for several weeks.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Next, roll out pie crust between the two sheets of parchment or wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Then make filling and pour half into the crust, careful not to splash it out.

Filling:

2/3 cup molasses, I used Grandma’s

¾ cup boiling water

½ tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with a spoon until blended. It will foam up a bit as the baking soda mixes with the molasses! Gently pour half of the molasses mixture into the raw pie shell.

Then pour half the crumb topping (1 1/4 to 1½ cup total) evenly over this mixture.  Add the rest of the molasses liquid and sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes Cool at least ½-1 hour before serving or let cool to room temperature.

Note: I used to bake pies in my bottom heat pizza oven and it gaveme a great browned crust. No longer have that oven so I put the wire rack as close to the bottom as possible and it really helps the bottom of my pie to brown.  One other option: if your oven isn’t bottom heat you might want to pre-bake a gf crust 10 minutes before filling.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (King Arthur’s basic gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

** This blog post first appeared in March of 2016, revised slightly in 2023 to clarify the directions.  Enjoy!

Scandinavian Almond Bars, GF for Your Eating Pleasure!

Christmas cookies are everywhere in my kitchen. In tins, Tupperware and cookie jars. This year I tried 3 new recipes; this one is replicating a particular cookie called a Scandinavian Almond Bar. It is somewhat crunchy and somewhat addictive. My guy snuck a bunch of them while I was at church Christmas Eve! It is a traditional cookie and apparently quite popular. I don’t know how I missed them! If you are not gf just use all-purpose flour and leave out the xanthan gum too. This is one of those recipes that is yummier than it seems like at first glance. Of late, I like bar cookies; less work usually and can look very uniform if you wish.  Fussy complex cookies can be exhausting; this is easy despite the long list of flours.

Scandinavian Almond Bars

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice flour

¾ cup gf oat flour

½ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp. kosher salt                                    

 Directions:     Blend all dry ingredients in a small bowl; use a whisk.

Next: In stand mixer bowl: place 1 cup sugar and ½ cup butter, softened; beat until fluffy. Add

1 lg egg at room temperature; beat until blended in. Add ½ tsp. almond extract (I did more like ¾ tsp)

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Topping: 1 Tbsp. milk, ½ c sliced almonds

Icing:  3/4 cup powdered sugar, ½ tsp almond extract, 1-2 Tbsp. milk

Directions: Heat oven to 325. Butter a 9×13 pan. Make dough and press the dough into the pan evenly; use a sheet of parchment paper to do this; it will be very sticky. Using a pastry brush; brush milk over the dough and top with the sliced almonds. Press almonds lightly into the dough. Bake 20-22 minutes.  Remove when just starting to brown at edges. Let cool for 5-7 min in pan, cut into bars with a sharp knife. If too soft; let cool a few more minutes. Carefully move them to a wire rack. Let cool completely and drizzle the icing over the bars thinly; too thick and it will be goopy, too thin and the icing will drip off. Let sit a while until icing is firm.  Can be frozen once iced.  Enjoy!

Almond Flour Chocolate Cake

My guy wanted chocolate cake for Valetine’s Day the other year. With chocolate icing. I don’t care for chocolate icing and was kinda tired of cake after the holidays. This cake has a more distinct crumb due to the almond flour…. the only other flour in it is tapioca starch so it is gluten free which I need. It is easy to make; no tricky process here plus it is dairy free which can be helpful to some folks. I made it but used half peanut butter icing and half chocolate: just made a half batch of each. It was a big it with my man; he took home the chocolate iced portion and I feasted on the peanut butter iced half.

Mine sunk a little in the middle; I think my 4 eggs were all kinda large; there is variation in a dozen eggs; try not to get the 4 largest from the box, live and learn. I did bake it the full time. The center was like fudge; quite yummy if squishy. The peanut butter icing was the bomb!!

So if you need a quick and easy cake this holiday season this one might be the one to please everyone!! Enjoy!

Chocolate cake ingredients:

1 1/2 cup almond flour (not almond meal)

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup canola oil

4 large eggs at room temp

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; I used a whisk. Spray a 9 inch cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, shelf for baking set in the middle. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs until well blended, blend in the oil and vanilla until smoothly blended. Add in the dry ingredients 1/3 of it at a time; blend in and do the next third and then the final third. Pour into the cake pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Bake 30-34 minutes until tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before turning out onto a drying rack. Ice when completely dry.

Chocolate icing (this is a half recipe)

1/4 cup room temp butter

2 tbsp. cocoa

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt (about 1/8 tsp)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk (may need another tsp)

Beat the butter with your mixer until fluffy, add the other ingredients and beat until fluffy; add extra milk if too stiff.

Peanut butter icing (half recipe)

1/2 cup creamy peanut btter

2 Tbsp. room temp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk (may need another tsp or two)

Beat the peanut butter and butter until fluffy; add the rest of the ingredients and beat until fluffy; add extra milk if too stiff.

Ice half the cake with the chocolate icing and the other half with peanut butter. Enjoy!

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies To Love!

Years ago I searched for the holy grail of GF baking: home made chocolate chip cookies.  Bet you thought I was going to say some sort of bread!  That’s another post entirely.  Anyway, when I went GF almost 9 years ago I made a batch of chocolate chippers that were gf. They were rather sweet and didn’t taste all that great.  I keep looking for something that would approximate the real deal cookies I loved all my life.  Recipes I came across seemed to require that I buy weird vegetable shortenings or use Crisco. I draw the line at Crisco. Or they used odd flour blends and I feel it’s just not worth it to me to add another flour mixture just for one cookie recipe.  So I had not made chippers in years.  Missed them….desperately.  Store ones I tried were small, hard, drab in flavor and incredibly pricey. Until I went to King Arthur’s website and looked in their cookie recipes.  There it was: cookies made with the same flour blend I use and made with butter, one of my few chosen shortenings.  Glowing reviews and advice; said to make them and refrigerate a day or better yet, freeze them formed and ready to bake in a few minutes.  Comments about how much they are like Tollhouse cookies, great texture and flavor.  Bingo, this seemed so hopeful. So…Less than a week later I made up a batch; Goal scored; perfect brown sugar nutty flavor and texture; not too hard or too soft. I am a happy chocolate chip cookie lover at last! Lots of you probably bake chocolate chip cookies for Christmas so I decided to reblog this cookie so you could easily make a batch.

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When I first made them I put some in my cookie jar, closed it tightly and 4 days later those cookies (what remains) were still delicious. That is pretty long for a gluten free baked good. By the fifth afternoon my last cookie in there was getting soft so suggest not holding them for more than 4 days in a jar. A big bonus I love isthat they can be frozen ready to bake in like 12 minutes.

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This is my go to basic chocolate chip cookie recipe; none other will do. I love that I can freeze them ready to bake and in 12 minutes I have warm fresh gooey cookies!

So, if you are still looking for a great gf chocolate chip cookie look no further:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe.  Enjoy!

Originally published in 2016. Minor text changes.