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)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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!

Cauliflower Cheese Dinner Pie

If you have a nice head of cauliflower, you can put it to good use in this vegetarian entrée. I love the cheesy cauliflower flavor of it, pretty substantial served with a yam and a beet salad; a great meal. It isn’t that difficult to construct; the crust is shredded raw potatoes mixed with an egg and some salt and pressed into the pie pan. You bake it for about 45 minutes and then gently lay in some shredded cheese, then the cooked veggie filling, top it with more cheese, pour on the egg custard and sprinkle it with paprika before baking it to a crispy tender pie that should serve 6 unless you are piggish; then 5 large slices!

The no traditional pie crust makes this easy to create. Nothing tricky at all in this recipe. Just a few steps to put it together. It is pretty much naturally gluten free, just a bit of rice flour to dust the pan with; I dusted the excess right into the shredded potatoes. Just a bit of flour in the pie pan and in the crust.

Sauteed onions, herbs and garlic

Cauliflower Cheese Pie

Mixed together cauliflower filling

Ingredients:

Ready to bake; yes, that is a chunk of cheese on top! The end of the block; don’t want to grate my fingers; it will melt nicely into the pie.

POTATO CRUST: 1 tsp. sea salt

1 lg egg, beaten

1 -3 tsp. gf flour, divided

Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees.  4 large potatoes; washed. I left them unpeeled but you can peel if you prefer to do that. Grate each whole potato on coarse side of a box grater. I did it right into a large mixing bowl. I like to press a couple paper towels on top to soak up any excess liquid. Add rest of ingredients and stir well. Press into a pie tin sprayed with cooking spray and then dusted with rice flour. I used a big spoon to lay it around the pan and then a fork to press it into the shape of the pie tin. I left a bit above the glass/metal rim to form a nice rim of the crust. Spray the potatoes all over with the cooking spray.  Bake 40-45 minutes. Make the filling while it bakes.

CAULIFLOWER FILLING:

About 3 cups cut up flowerets of raw cauliflower

1-2 Tbsp. mild olive oil or sunflower oil

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp. dried basil

Directions: Cut up the cauliflower; it was about ¾ of the head. Heat a ½ inch of water in a large sauté pan. Add the cauliflower, put a lid on and cook 5-6 minutes until just tender. Gently pour the pan into a large colander to drain well. Then heat the oil in the same pan. Add the chopped onion; sauté on low 5-6 minutes, I like to add a couple Tbsp of water to let it steam; then add the garlic, and then the dried herbs. Stir and let cook another minute. The onion should be soft, cook longer if needed.  When done, turn heat off; gently add the drained cauliflower and a quarter to a half tsp sea salt. Mix gently. While the crust is still baking make the custard.

CUSTARD:

3 large eggs

½ cup whole or 2% milk

1 2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese: I used mostly sharp cheddar with a bit of Monterey Jack cheese too.

Directions: beat the eggs in a medium mixing bowl until fairly blended, add the milk.

When the crust comes out turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Pour half the grated cheese into the hot crust, distributing it evenly. Gently spoon the cauliflower filling on top. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Pour the custard in all over the top. Sprinkle well with paprika and bake 40 minutes; until the custard looks done. Let set 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

A slice straight from the fridge; just need to warm it up in my trusty microwave! Lunch is served.

It keeps 4-6 days in the fridge; well wrapped. I heat a slice at a time in the microwave. A lovely lunch indeed!