Banana Cake, GF But Delish!

There are desserts I really miss.  Leading a busy life it is hard to find time to bake. My sisters were here to visit for the weekend and I had planned an elaborate dessert; lemon meringue pie. 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. These were 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 recipe but doubled the vanilla 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 cake is all gone and I wish it wasn’t….one more slice with a cold glass of milk would have been awesome!

banana cake in pan

Ingredients:

2 cups GF flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp sea salt

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

1/4 cup butter softened

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.

 

Lemon Birthday Layer Cake

If you know me you know I love to bake. Pies, cookies, bars, muffins, sweet breads….cakes not so much except angel food cake which I am rather good at if I do say so. But birthday cakes are my kryptonite – I screw them up time after time. I guess it is the pressure….it gets to me. So I was going to make my birthday cake last week and went with a lemon flavored layer cake with a bit of lemon curd between the layers. Sounds kinda ambitious but I was determined to try a new recipe and use some of my wonderful homegrown lemons mailed all the way from Texas.

I had some new Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 baking mix to try out. But it turned out that what I needed was the same flour mix I love and use in the majority of my recipes *King Arthur’s All Purpose blend. Perfect. The new mix will wait….

My sister Karen suggested cream cheese icing after I told her I was not too happy over the super sweet sounding icing that this recipe used. The cake was simple to make; lower fat as it was made with canola oil not butter.  It can also be dairy free but I used the whole milk I had.

I made the layers using my hand held mixer as I have found that the stand mixer is too strong; it over-beats cakes.  Both layers rose well; I used those old school cake strips I have; they help make for level layers that aren’t overbaked on the edges. The cake texture was perfect; not heavy but not light; great crumb and moist.

I had made my own lemon curd the day before; used the Meyer lemons my brother Robert sends every year about now.  The recipe is actually calibrated with Meyer lemons but I am sure you can use standard lemons; will be a bit tarter.  It really added the perfect filling inside this cake; don’t be tempted to use more than half a cup as  your cake will have lemon curd running down the sides….not a good look.

Putting it together was tricky; the curd made the layers slide a touch so I put the whole thing in the freezer to chill and stabilize before I finished the icing. The topping per the recipe was fresh blackberries; got some at Aldi’s and put them around the edge and in the center.  My family gobbled up their slices. Everyone loved it and that is hard to accomplish!  Maybe the birthday cake curse is over…….

 

lemon cake layer

A few minor defects but it is tall and well baked.

The recipe can be found at glutenfreepalate.com/gluten-free-lemon-cake/

I didn’t use the icing used there; went with something less sweet. My citrus cream cheese icing recipe:

1 stick butter, at room temperature

4 ounces light cream cheese at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar; sift unless it is a new bag

1/2 tsp. lemon extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1  to 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Grated zest of one lemon, zest of half a navel orange (about a tsp)

Use hand mixer to fluff up butter; ;add cream cheese and blend well. Add powdered sugar 1/3 cup at a time on slow speed. Add extracts, one Tbsp. lemon juice and zest. Blend until fluffy adding more lemon juice if needed to reach a good spreading consistency.

lemon birthday cake

As you can see I am not a great decorator or a fantastic photog but  you get the idea of this rich lemony treat of a birthday cake!

You can buy some lemon curd. I made mine as I am an overachiever and I had all the ingredients; can be pricy stuff plus it tastes even better fresh. THe recipe I used is from the Cake Mix Doctor’s GF Cookbook;  2 large lemons, 3/4 c sugar, 2 large eggs and 6 Tbsp. butter melted and cooled somewhat.

Wash the lemons and dry. Grate the zest onto a plate lined with some wax paper. You need about a Tbsp of zest. I had to use most of a third lemon to get that much zest. Juice the two lemons; you want 1/4 to 1/3 cup juice. Put juice, sugar and eggs in medium sauce pan; heavy bottom and whisk until blended. Then add the melted butter and whisk. Heat pan on medium heat until it comes to a boil; you MUST keep whisking it constantly so it doesn’t burn. Once it reaches a boil I like to boil it up to a minute; stir like a mad woman (or man)! Take off heat; pour into a bowl and chill. You can strain it but I like the zest in mine and my lemon juicer strains off seeds so I don’t see that step as necessary. Chill it well before using; at least 2 hours. I made mine the night before. I had 8 oz leftover and am debating how best to enjoy it! lemon birthday cake slice

I used one small container of blackberries and a few more from a second container. Afterwards I wished I had put them all on there as the flavor of them is just perfect with this lemon cake.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! Enjoy!

lemon cake half cropped

Can you see the lemon curd layer? I used my three hole zester to make long strands of Meyer lemon zest to decorate after I put on the blackberries. Not too pretty but pretty darn delish!

 

Easy Quick Lemon Cupcakes

Cupcakes, who doesn’t love a sweet little cake with some homemade icing?  I tried a mix for lemon cake made by Authentic Foods. Mail order and about four bucks for a packet that makes 12 cupcakes or one layer.  I bought it when I got that imitation rye flavoring for breads; no extra handling charge for one small additional item and lemon cake mix is not that common especially gluten free. Bonus was that the mix said no GMOs and no soy.  lemon cake mix

So I made them as a lunch dessert for company visiting this weekend.  The directions give option for butter or vegetable oil. I used butter. I used 1 percent milk; directions said to use milk or cream.

The recipe mixed up very thick, like loose whipped cream. I have to wonder if I should have thinned the batter a bit.  The directions do not say what consistency the batter should have.  I filled the cupcake liners and baked the recommended time.

They looked great when they were on the cooling rack.  I made some homemade cream cheese icing.  Iced six and froze six.

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Very nice but a bit denser than I like in my cakes. I think next time I will use the vegetable oil instead of butter. The icing was my basic vanilla cream cheese icing. Delicate and complemented the lemon cupcakes nicely. indian food 004 My friends enjoyed the dessert and each gladly took a spare one home with them.  Notable because neither of them normally eats gluten free.  I will count this mix as a win especially if you love lemon flavored cake.  Buy it on line at authenticfoods.com; I don’t know any stores that carry their cake mixes. They have other flavors for sure!

Kahlua Cream Cheese Icing on my Chocolate Cake Please!

A year ago I posted on chocolate birthday cake.  So classic, so addictively sweet, you know your mouth is watering right now for a big bite of two layer lusciousness!  This year for my daughter’s birthday I went right to that classic cake recipe, it is the only two layer chocolate gf cake I ever make.  It came out perfect, well mostly; a small chunk came off one layer and a touch on the second.  Gotta love that wax paper circle under the batter for saving my butt…again!  Maybe parchment paper next birthday cake….

This time I updated my timeless and tasty cream cheese icing for adult tastes.  This coffee flavored icing is as easy as ever to whip up but now it is even yummier.  Kahlua icing was the star of the party, champagne colored and coffee flavored, it seduced that chocolate cake right into our mouths with that combination of coffee and dark fudgy cake.   The cake recipe is here at https://myworldwithoutwheat.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/chocolate-fudge-birthday-cake-perfection/ and all you need to do to change it for this spectacular icing is get out that bottle of Mexican Kahlua from the liquor cabinet. Leave out the vanilla in the icing and add a tbsp. of Kahlua and a tsp. of coffee powder.  Coffee powder is simple to make.  I use my electric herb grinder and put in a couple tablespoons of decent quality instant coffee.  Grind it a few pushes of the button until it is a powder.  There you have it; smooth and dark and perfect for adding coffee flavor to any recipe.

kahlua

kahluakahlua

It was hot as heck in my busy kitchen when I went to ice it; baking sweet potato oven fries, baked beans simmering in a cast iron fry pan and 6 people milling around yakking and hugging so I put a thin icing layer over the entire cake and set it in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up the icing.  Then I finished frosting to even things up a bit.  This trick is wonderful in the summer and your cake is none the worse for a little freezer time.  Heck, I wanted to climb in there for 20 minutes myself!

chocolate khalua cake 001

The little hole in the icing is from a birthday candle! I guess I should have smoothed it over before the photographing!

Next birthday party try this cake; if I can make you can too!  I am terrible at birthday cakes; you will find that out when you read that cake post from November 2014. Birthday cakes are an effort of love, made for those who are so special you are willing to fire up the oven on a 90 degree afternoon just so they can dig their fork into a real cake, a safe for us celiacs cake and a cake so good no one misses the cakes I made years ago. Now, that is the must have cake for my birthday parties. Made with cocoa, melted chocolate, sugar, butter, gf flour mix and a whole lot of love!

PS: It keeps great in a sealed container in the fridge; minimum of a month; ate some I had longer than that and it was still terrific.  If it lasts that long in your house!

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake Perfection

Okay, I have to confess something.  I am a terrible cake baker, under pressure, that is.  I call it the birthday cake curse.  Really.  I actually took a personal vow like 8-9 years ago to make no more scratch birthday cakes as they always get screwed up.  I can make a great cake the rest of the time but birthdays…not so much.  Once I baked a birthday cake for my sister Margie at my mom’s house and unbeknownst to me there was a second bottom on her cheesecake pan; my pear ginger cake was all goopy in the middle because of that! And then there was that fancy three layer cake I baked for my birthday long ago; the top layer was a sort of raspberry gelatin and it slid mostly off! Disaster at the party… Any number of cakes that didn’t rise properly or cracked as it baked or broke as I tried to get them out of the pan. I could go on and on.  The curse continues!

Now I am gluten free and there are very limited and expensive options as to making gf cakes.  Perhaps I should mention that I enjoy baking and it is a challenge I accept in my new gluten free life.  So I persevered and several birthday cakes have been created since going gf and all were totally yummy.  A few glitches but on the whole, I am pleased with my new gf birthday cake record.  Today I baked my three year old grandson’s cake.  Not so good in the perfect department but it sure was tasty when we ate it at the party.  When it came out of my oven the layers sank some in the center.  Re-reading her instructions at the start of the cake chapter I discovered that she does not recommend using a Kitchen Aid mixer; it is too powerful and always overbeats gf cakes.  Now I know.  I just flipped one layer over and used it as the bottom. I put extra cream cheese icing in the middle.  The top was level and the flavors were out of this world.

chocolate cake 001

This is the third time I have baked this cake for a birthday; time to share it.  It is from my go to cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts.  Get a copy if you haven’t already.  This cake is incredibly yummy, no one will ever feel cheated by the gf nature of it.  And it isn’t that difficult to make, just don’t use that big powerful mixer! I like that it is make with low fat milk and canola oil; less fatty than many cake recipes. I used half the vanilla in the cake and it tastes perfect.  I also measure the oil and milk and remove that tablespoon from each before mixing; she does it after mixing.  I think oil and milk are hard to blend so I do it first.

I iced Aiden’s cake with a frosting from the Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor cookbook by Anne Byrn; vanilla cream cheese frosting and the contrast is perfection with this decadent chocolate layer cake.  This icing spreads easily and the cream cheese makes it smooth and less sweet with a tangy undertone; it is addictive. It’s a perfect combo for a birthday celebration once you poke a few candles on top.  This cake gets its deep chocolate flavor from two sources, unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder.  You will need a fair amount of sugar to make it sweet enough.  And you will need some of that brown rice flour mix I often use.   Recipe for that is below.

chocolate cake 002

Not the prettiest looking cake but one of the tastiest chocolate birthday cakes ever!

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake

4 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped up

1 ¾ cup brown rice flour mix

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

½ cup canola oil

1 ½ cup low fat milk

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Line two nine inch cake pans with parchment paper; spray the inside of the pan lightly with cooking spray.  You need the paper for safe removal from the pan. Do not use dark cake pans; light ones are far better for this cake. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, oven rack in the middle.

Melt chocolate, stir often.  I used the melting feature on my microwave and did a lot of stirring until the last bits were liquid. You can do it in a double boiler if you are into that sort of thing.  I went for the easy way.

Put all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.

Measure oil and milk, remove 1 tbsp. from each and discard.  Mix together.

Beat sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Do not use your kitchen aide. Beat until light and fluffy.  Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla, blend well.  Add the dry and wet ingredients alternating half at a time, low speed on mixer.  Mix at medium speed for one minute.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake immediately.  Any delay is not going to help so have the oven ready to go.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, run knife around edge, tip out onto a cooling rack.  Flip upright so the top of the cake is on the top.  Let cool completely before icing.

Aidens 2014 birthday party 006

You could make cupcakes out of it but no 8 inch pans; I tried that once and it overran the pan in a crazy “I love Lucy” manner!

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Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

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Cream cheese Icing

1 8 oz package light cream cheese, room temperature

1  8 oz stick salted butter, room temperature

3 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sieved

2 tsp. real vanilla extract.

Blend the cream cheese and butter in the mixer (yes I used my Kitchen Aid for this recipe!)  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, blending on low speed.  Do not skip the sieving.  Add the vanilla and blend a bit more.  This recipe will frost one 9 inch layer cake perfectly.