FeaturesApr/May 2009 Issue

Gluten-Free Party Cakes

Easy gluten-free, dairy-free recipes worth celebrating

Will you be hosting a birthday party, graduation gathering, Mother’s or Father’s day brunch or other festive occasion this spring? Chances are that cake is on the menu – and it’s probably the food that’s center stage for the event. Multi-layer, sheet or bundt, frosted or plain, cake serves as the universal language for celebration.

But what if dietary restrictions make most cakes off-limits? Creating a delicious cake that doesn’t contain wheat, gluten, dairy or eggs is usually a major culinary challenge.

Until now. Welcome cake to the party using the following special recipes. Enjoy making tasty treats that are gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free and bake up beautifully. Enhance these basic recipes using various flavors, frostings and decorations and you’ll have the perfect cake for a variety of events—even a wedding.

Kiss sweet deprivation goodbye. Making, eating—and safely savoring—a slice (or two!) of this favorite confection is now, literally, a piece of cake.

Photo by Paulette Philipot

Vanilla Cake

Makes one 2-layer cake

Vary the taste of this versatile recipe by replacing vanilla with a different gluten-free flavor extract, such as almond, orange or maple. See variations below. Frost with “Buttercream” Frosting.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, margarine or Spectrum Organic Shortening

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3½ cups gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend+ extra for dusting

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1½ cups cow’s milk or rice milk, hot

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat margarine and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy again, scraping down bowl.

3. In a separate bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.

4. Add half the dry mixture to the sugar mixture and beat at low speed until combined. Add half the milk and blend. Then add remaining dry ingredients and milk. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth, approximately 2 minutes.

5. Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes or until done. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in pans. Then turn cake onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 324 calories, 13g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 49g carbohydrate, 370mg sodium, 0g fiber, 3g protein.

TIP This cake can be made egg free. Replace 4 large eggs with 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder + 4 tablespoons warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon gluten-free egg replacer.

Variations

Coconut Cake

Substitute 1 tablespoon pure coconut extract for the vanilla; substitute coconut milk for milk of choice; then add ¾ cup coconut flakes (optional) to the cake batter, stirring until combined.

Lemon Cake

Substitute 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract for vanilla; reduce milk by 1/3 cup and add 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice; add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest to the batter when adding the eggs.

“Buttercream” Frosting

ENOUGH FOR ONE 3-LAYER CAKE

This frosting is not too sweet. To vary the flavor, replace vanilla with another gluten-free flavoring extract, such as lemon or coconut.

6 cups powdered sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup boiling hot water

2½ cups Spectrum Organic Shortening

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter or margarine, slightly softened, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and salt.

2. Using a whisk attachment, add boiling water and whip at low speed until smooth and cool, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Add shortening and margarine to the sugar mixture and whip at medium speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Add vanilla. Increase speed to medium high and whip until light, fluffy and increased in volume, approximately 10 minutes. Frosting will fill most of a 5-quart mixing bowl.

Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 538 calories, 40g total fat, 16g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 18mg cholesterol, 45g carbohydrate, 163mg sodium, 0g fiber, 0g protein.

TIP Leftover “Buttercream” Frosting is great on cupcakes or cookies. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. Allow chilled frosting to return to room temperature before using. To fluff it up, whip for a couple minutes.

Lemon Filling

MAKES 2 CUPS

Delicious in layered lemon, coconut or vanilla cake. This recipe makes enough for a 3-layer cake with filling left over.

1/3 cup cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

1½ cups water

4 egg yolks, beaten with a fork

½ cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, optional

1. In a medium saucepan, stir cornstarch, salt and sugar. Add water and stir again. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, approximately 5 minutes. When mixture begins to boil, lower heat and continue to stir for 1 minute. Remove pan from the heat.

2. In a small bowl, place egg yolks and about 1/3 cup hot cornstarch mixture and stir together.

3. Whisk this mixture back into contents of the saucepan and return pan to medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture is very thick, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.

5. Pour filling into a bowl or container and let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for about an hour to firm. Remove from fridge and spread on cake layers.

Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 62 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 52mg cholesterol, 13g carbohydrate, 39mg sodium, 0g fiber, 1g protein.

Carrot Cake

MAKES ONE 2-LAYER CAKE

Lighter and fluffier than most carrot cakes, this dessert delivers rich, spicy flavor with a healthy twist.

5 large eggs, room temperature

½ cup canola or other vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend (page 62)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and lightly dust with gluten-free flour.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs, oil and sugar at medium-high speed for 3 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and xanthan gum.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter and mix on medium-low speed just until blended, approximately 30 seconds. Fold in grated carrots, raisins and nuts (if desired) until combined.

5. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 60 to 75 minutes, depending on oven and pan size. Begin checking for doneness at 60 minutes. Cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pans for 20 minutes; then turn out of pans and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 340 calories, 22g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 66mg cholesterol, 336mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

TIP This cake can be made egg free. Replace 5 large eggs with 9 tablespoons applesauce mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder + 4 tablespoons warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon gluten-free egg replacer.

“Cream Cheese” Frosting

MAKES ENOUGH FOR ONE 2-LAYER CAKE

Use this recipe as an alternative to cream cheese frosting for those who can’t tolerate cow’s milk. For another dairy-free icing, try “Buttercream” Frosting,

½ cup (1 stick) butter, margarine or Spectrum Organic Shortening

9 ounces Chevre soft goat cheese or soy cream cheese

6 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the margarine or shortening on medium-high speed until creamy, approximately 1 to 2 minutes for margarine and 4 minutes for shortening. Add the goat cheese and beat at medium-high speed, approximately 5 minutes or until creamy and smooth.

2. Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat at low speed until smooth. Once smooth, beat at medium speed for several more minutes until light and fluffy.

Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 319 calories, 14g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 7mg cholesterol, 45g carbohydrate, 178mg sodium, 0g fiber, 3g protein.

Chocolate Cake

MAKES ONE 3-LAYER CAKE

This recipe makes an impressive birthday cake. It’s also great for cupcakes: Line cupcake tins with paper baking cups. Fill tins nearly to the top and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

1 cup brewed hot coffee

1 cup cocoa powder

1 cup hot water

3 cups gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, margarine or Spectrum Organic Shortening

2½ cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee and cocoa powder. Add hot water and whisk until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together the flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat margarine and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower mixer speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and cream well, scraping down the bowl.

5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet batter, mixing until combined. Add half the cocoa mixture, mixing until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed until smooth, approximately 2 minutes.

6. Spoon batter equally into the 3 prepared cake pans. Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until done. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in pans for 20 minutes. Then turn the cake out of pans onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 291 calories, 13g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 42g carbohydrate, 476mg sodium, 2g fiber, 4g protein.

TIP This cake can be made egg free. Replace

4 large eggs with 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder + 4 tablespoons warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon gluten-free egg replacer.

Butterfly Cupcakes

MAKES 24 CUPCAKES

Free of gluten, dairy, soy and nuts, these whimsical cupcakes (pictured on our cover) are a beautiful addition to any Easter or springtime celebration and a fun dessert to make with children.

1 batch Vanilla Cake

½ batch “Buttercream” Frosting

1 bar dark chocolate of choice half in a separate bowl. Add food coloring to one to create a pink glaze.*

Glaze

    6     cups powdered sugar
    4     tablespoons hot water
           Food coloring of choice
 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 dozen cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
2. Prepare Vanilla Cake batter according to recipe instructions. Fill each cupcake liner to nearly the top with batter. Bake cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. They should spring back to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
3. While cupcakes are baking, prepare half a batch of “Buttercream” Frosting by dividing each listed ingredient in half. Set frosting aside.
4. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. When cool to the touch, place cupcakes in the refrigerator to cool completely before icing. Glaze will not set if cupcakes aren’t chilled.
5. To make the glaze, place powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add hot water and stir until smooth. Glaze should be thinner than frosting but not so thin that it’s translucent. If your glaze is too thick, add a few drops of hot water at a time until it’s thick but has a pourable consistency. Divide the glaze in half, placing each half in a separate bowl. Add food coloring to one to create a pink glaze.*

6. To prepare cupcakes for decorating, place a serrated knife just above the top of the cupcake liner and cut the top off the cupcake horizontally. Cut each top down the middle to form two butterfly “wings.” Cover two cookie sheets with waxed paper or parchment paper and place a cooling rack on each sheet. Divide the cupcake “wings” equally between the two racks.

7. Spoon the white glaze over half the “wings” and spoon the pink glaze over the remaining half, being sure to glaze them completely. Glaze will spill through the rack onto the waxed paper. Re-claim it by carefully lifting the rack off the cookie sheet and spooning the glaze back into the bowl. Let the glaze set on the “wings” for approximately 10 minutes. (For a thicker glaze, re-glaze the “wings” a second time.)

8. Fill a pastry bag (fitted with a #2 or #3 Wilton round tip) with “Buttercream” Frosting. To make your own pastry bag, fill a plastic food storage bag with frosting and cut a very small tip off the bottom corner of the bag. Decorate the “wings” by piping frosting to form dots, curvy lines or a design of your choice.

9. With a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and filled with “Buttercream” Frosting, pipe frosting on each cupcake, up to ¼ inch of the liner edge. (Or snip a larger hole into the corner of your plastic food storage bag and pipe approximately 2 tablespoons frosting on top of each cupcake.) Place one decorated “wing” on one half of the frosted cupcake, angling the wing down in the center of the cupcake and coming up at the outer edge of the cupcake. To secure the “wing” into position, pipe a little additional frosting under the outer part of the wing to give it “lift.” Repeat this step for the second “wing” on the cupcake. Repeat this process for all cupcakes. Place decorated cupcakes in the refrigerator to set, as the frosting will harden as it cools.

10. Grate the chocolate bar by running it over the large holes of a food grater. Remove butterfly cupcakes from the fridge and sprinkle grated chocolate down the center of the cupcake in between the two wings to form the butterfly body. Cupcakes are best if brought to room temperature before eating.

Each cupcake contains 521calories, 22g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 41mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 2g protein

*TIP To recreate the look of the pink glaze on our cover cupcakes, use 1 drop of red all-natural food coloring from India Tree Natural Colors (indiatree.com). LW

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