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It's All About the Baking came about because I want to share my Gluten-free baking. I've developed recipes and tricks over the past ten years so I could enjoy old favorites that tasted, well, just like the old favorites! Hundreds of experiments and tastings (including and especially friends who can eat gluten) later, I'm ready to share!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lemon Cake

I really believe this cake may be the best I've ever made. Co-diners have varying opinions, but this is my favorite. It has a moist crumb, a dense lemon flavor, holds up well, and keeps a couple of days, too. The recipe I used calls for a cup and a half of blueberries, which are a wonderful addition in season, but the lemon holds it own in this cake. Serve it with or without the glaze; I like to add the glaze for a bit of dressing up. Today the occasion is a celebration of a friend's new job, so it's complete with blueberries and glaze.


In our eagerness to get the celebration under way, I forgot to take a photo of the cake, ready for slicing. So this photo is from another occasion for celebration; it fits right in! This time I added a tablespoon of poppy seeds. Still delicious!

Here's the recipe!
Whisking dry ingredients

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cups butter, softened but not melted
4 large eggs

3 cups (13 3/4 ounces) GF flour, my favorite is at the end*
1 TB baking powder
1 1/2 tsp guar or xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup of sour cream
milk, enough to bring the measurement in the measuring cup with sour cream to measure 3/4 cup
1/3 cup lemon juice (this varies by the size and juiciness of the lemons, from 1 1/2 to 3 lemons). Reserve 1 TB for the glaze.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract or my preference, Fiori di Sicilia
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (optional but delicious)

Optional glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 TB half and half, cream, or whole milk
1 TB fresh lemon juice

Method:
Heat your oven to 350 degrees
Butter and flour a bundt pan, set aside

Juice the lemons and set aside

Folding in dry ingredients
In a large bowl, cream, but do not beat, the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, one or two at a time.
Set aside

Sift or stir together the GF flour, baking powder, guar or xanthan gum, soda, and salt together to completely mix. If you're using the blueberries, stir them into these dry ingredients now. Set aside.

Combine the sour cream/milk mixture, lemon juice, and extracts, and whisk.

Alternating the flour mixture with the wet ingredients, begin mixing them into the butter/sugar mixture. If you're using the blueberries, do not use an electric mixer. Instead, fold the ingredients together using a silicone spatula or the cake will be purple-ish with bits of berry juice. On the other hand, you may like the lavender look!
 Please do not over beat.

Turn the batter, which will be very thick, into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes, checking for doneness at the 50 minute point.
When done:
Cool on a wire rack for about ten minutes, then loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a sharp knife. Put the wire rack on top of the bundt pan and flip, so the cake comes to rest right side up to finish cooling.
When cool, glaze with the lemon juice, powdered sugar mixture.
Cooling

Glaze:
Sift 1 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl
Stir in 1 TB cream, half and half, or whole milk and 1 TB of lemon juice
Stir until completely combined, adding more liquid if it's too stiff to drizzle or more sifted powdered sugar of the glace is too thin.

I think you could use whole-milk yogurt for this cake, but I would not recommend Greek style. The batter tends to be quite thick and the Greek yogurt would make it too thick and dry.

Thank you, I'd love a slice!

* I always use Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Flour for all of the flour in the formula for GF baking flour from America's Test Kitchen.
Here is their formula for the ATK flour blend:
24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup)
7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
7 ounces (3/4 cup) potato starch
3/4 ounces (3 TB powdered milk
If you want to understand the science of why this works, please buy the ATK GF cookbook.

Ready to flip

Flipped!
Cooling

They say half a cake is better than none!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Plum Torte

It's not too late this fall to pick up a basket of purple plums from your favorite market. If you don't find the dark purple, or as my family calls them, Italian Plums, you may use any other kind. This cake is moist and dense, not overly-sweet, and bakes up quickly.

This is adapted from the New York Times, the article describing this as their most requested recipe! Smitten Kitchen has a similar recipe (also adapted from the times?). I used plums of various ripeness, from overly ripe to not quite ripe, and it's accepting of both.

It is delicious as soon as cooled but the flavor deepens if you can leave it alone, covered overnight. The flavor and juices from the plums will be absorbed by the cake. It's perfect for breakfast, too.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Grease a 9 inch springform pan, flour it and set aside.



Sift together and set aside:
1 cup Gluten-free flour or your favorite blend.*
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp psyllium seed husk powder or 1/2 tsp guar or xanthan gum
Sifting the ingredients
1/4 tsp salt

Cream together with a mixer:
1/2 cup (8TB) butter, softened but not melted
3/4 cup sugar. If your plums are not quite ripe enough, increase sugar to 1 cup

Beat in, one at a time
2 large eggs
Scrape down sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and then
Mix in the flour in two batches making sure it's thoroughly incorporated. (You may use your mixer for this step.)

You'll need
12 plums
Juice of half a lemon
Cinnamon sugar

Creaming butter and sugar.

While the batter rests:
Split and pit approximately 12 plums and set aside.
Sprinkling with cinnamon sugar mixture
Ready for a fork
Push your batter into the prepared pan with a silicone spatula and smooth out the top.
Place the plums cut side down on the batter.
Squeeze or sprinkle the juice of half a lemon over batter and plums, then give the top a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Bake in your 350 degree oven for approximately one hour, checking at around 50 minutes.

Cool for ten minutes, loosen sides of cake from pan by running a sharp knife around it, then release from the spring form. When the cake is cool, slide it on to a plate.

Finished cake, cooling





This is my favorite, all-purpose baking mix.

*ATK flour blend:
24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup white rice flour
7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
7 ounces (3/4 cup) potato starch
3/4 ounce (3 TB) nonfat milk powder
If you want to understand the science behind why this works, please buy the ATK cookbook. Having said that, I use only Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Flour for both types of rice flour in this formula. This is a wonderful company and deserves supporting and this flour makes the absolutely best baked goods.