or how I found time to learn to cook.
From time to time I get inspired to try and make something special in the kitchen. It is hard for me to just break out and do something really different because my mom was simply not a good cook… downright scary actually. Her idea of dinner was some sort of cremated meat in the skillet, two frozen vegetables boiled to death on the stove, potatoes with gravy (from the cremated meat of course) and a salad consisting of chopped lettuce and tomato. In essence bland, hard to chew and tasteless. For variation we occasionally got something from a box or a can but just how delicious can Hamburger Helper or Hunts Chili Beans with (you guessed it) more fried hamburger be?
Now when I tell you I have issues with gluten, and several allergies to other staple foods, you may begin to understand how easy it has been for me to get into a similar rut of tried and true, boring and bland, nobody died yet, uninspired cooking.
Then, when it came to baking you could forget about it until a special occasion, because this is what baking looks like to me:
But then I retired!
Now I have more time to plan and prepare my meals. I also have a lot less money to buy all the special Gluten Free packaged cakes, cookies, breads and mixes. So if I want it, and who doesn’t? Then I have to make it from scratch, and interestingly, with more time to spend tweaking comes success!
All of this was simply to say, that the things that really converted well or I made up on my own, will be posted here from now on. Oh yes, and I will also include pictures and references/links to the origins of my inspirations.
A Lightly Spiced Cake
I remember my mother making Spice Cake from a box and then frosting it with Seven Minute Frosting. Strange as it may seem after my rant above it really was good! The problem is that nobody makes a Gluten Free Spice Cake Mix. So I have been searching high and low for a mild flavored spice cake recipe that doesn’t remind me of ginger bread. I have finally found it, and of course I had to convert it to be gluten free!
Here was my inspiration, with thanks to LaDonna at:
1 1/2 c. Pamela’s Baking mix
1/2 c. corn starch
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground all spice*
1/8 t. ground ginger
6 T. sweet/unsalted butter**
1/4 t. salt
1 c. + 2 T. sugar
1/8 t. zanthan gum
3 large egg whites***
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 t. pure vanilla
- Set your oven temperature at 350° and grease an 8 X 8 cake pan.
- Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl. Use a wire whisk to premix then sift the ingredients. Set aside.
- In a large bowl cream together room temperature butter and sugar til smooth and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and with mixer still running, slowly add your egg whites and then vanilla. Adding a bit at a time, alternate the addition your dry ingredients with the buttermilk♥ and mix til blended.
- Bake for 3o to 35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then gently loosen sides of cake. Place a serving plate over the cake pan and invert. WARNING: if cake does not come out easily, do not tap or shake it as it will tear. Sometimes waiting a bit longer will help, but my experience has been that you simply serve the cake out of the pan.
* The original recipe called for Nutmeg. I am allergic to it and so I subbed it for Allspice. Another good replacement for Nutmeg is Mace, but trial and error has proven that a ‘pinch’ is more than enough for this heady spice!
**Original recipe calls for 3T margarine AND 3T shortening. My stomach does not handle shortening at all! So I choose to use pure butter, besides, it simply tastes better!
***Original recipe called for 2 1/2 eggs. One critic of the original recipe said it tasted “too eggy.” To avoid the overpowering taste of egg, and to lighten to color of the finished cake, I chose to use three whole egg WHITES. (fresh from my hennies, of course!)
♥ If you do not have buttermilk, or can’t have milk then do this: Add 1 t. cider vinegar to liquid milk or milk substitute of your choice and add this mixture to the recipe when buttermilk is called for. Alternately, If using a powdered milk replacement (I used Better Than Milk Plain) add two Tablespoons of the powder to your dry ingredients and then add 3/4 c. water + 1 t. vinegar when the buttermilk is called for.
And finally, I changed the measure of the leavenings to smaller amounts because the Pamela’s mix already contains them, and I needed to compensate for the addition of the corn starch. I also added a bit of salt because I felt that it was necessary to round out the flavor.
© 2009 – Lynda Swink – All rights reserved. Recipes, photos, text and blog content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission from the author.