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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!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cranberry Upside-down Cake. A real jewel!

Just look at the color! This cake is really beautiful. It's adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali and is on my list of regular winter bakes. I'm offering the recipe in time for Christmas and other winter holidays. It's a treat without being overly sweet, and the perfect ending to a family dinner or for guests who drop in for coffee. Serve it with whipped cream, rum added or not, or a rich, vanilla ice cream.

For the topping:
4 TB unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 bag of cranberries (3/4 pound)
berries, butter, and brown sugar
on stove top

For the cake:
1 cup GF flour*
1/2 c corn flour or quick cooking polenta or corn grits
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar or xanthan gum, or 1 tsp psyllium seed husk powder
1/2 tsp salt

8 TB room temp unsalted butter (Needs to be softened but not melted.)
1 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated, whites whipped (with pinch of cream of tartar) to stiff peaks with an electric hand-held mixer, yolks reserved. If you're short on time, skip the separating and whipping of whites and add whole eggs.
whipping the egg whites

1 cup of whole milk
1 tsp vanilla

Butter bottom and sides of an 8 inch metal cake pan.
Over medium low heat, melt the 4 TB butter together with the 3/4 cup of brown sugar and the (cleaned and picked-over) berries. Heat until bubbly and the brown sugar and butter are combined and hot. There may be some sugar granules. Set aside.

If you haven't yet beaten the egg whites, do it now unless you're taking the time-saving approach.

Sift or stir together the first five (dry) ingredients.

combining flour mixture and butter
Cream together the 8 TB butter with the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the yolks (or whole eggs if now separating) one at a time.
Alternate adding the milk and flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture in two or three additions.

With a silicone spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter, but do not over mix. Skip if using whole eggs.
folding whites into dough

Turn this mixture out into the cake pan into which you've melted the topping. Spread out and smooth to cover entire top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes, checking at 50. When done, cool on rack for five minutes, run a sharp knife around the edge, then invert on a pretty serving plate.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream, flavored with rum or an orange liquor, or vanilla ice cream.

* ATK flour blend, this is what I always use:
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.
out of the oven
It was delicious!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Banana Muffins

Sweet, moist, banana muffins! Always a treat and so many ways to make them. I don't worry too much about how many bananas I have to use and I don't go out and buy bananas with muffins in mind. The muffins are usually a result of having bananas on hand that need to be used. Try to come close to the measurement called for, but don't give up the idea is you don't have enough. You can always add some apple sauce, grated apple, a little yogurt, or milk instead. And a little more banana than called for is OK, too.

Please see the notes near the end of the post.

Preheat oven to 375
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers

Sift, whisk, or stir together:
1 1/2 Cups GF flour mix (or sorghum, rice, or mixture)
1/2 C sorghum flour (or more of your favorite GF flour mix)
2 tsp baking powder
1 TB psyllium seed husk powder (or 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Chopped walnuts

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts, stirred into the dry ingredients
Mashing the bananas

Beat together:
2 eggs
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/3 C mashed bananas (2 - 3 bananas)
1/4 C veg oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mix thoroughly. Cover (to allow the flour to absorb the liquid) and let stand for 30 minutes. Divide among 12 muffin cups lined with muffin papers. Bake at 375 18 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven.

Notes: I've made these with a combination of a regular flour mix (resembling a "regular" white flour) and sorghum. If you prefer baking with different, high-protein, high-fiber flour, feel free to substitute sorghum or your favorite mixture. This batter will be thick and airy after the rest time. It's OK. If it feels dry, stir in some whole milk or water, even yogurt or extra oil. The walnuts are optional; I like to add raisins or coconut or both to my banana muffins, the ones here just have walnuts. As usual, I use the America's Test Kitchen formula* (I recommend buying their GF cookbook!) for my flour blend using Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Flour. These have 1/2 cup of sugar. My usual amount of sugar is 1/4 to 1/3. Lately I've been using 1/4 to 1/3 cup of maple syrup. Go with what you like. I don't happen to like overly-sweet muffins; I don't want them to be cupcakes.

*ATK flour blend:
Hot out of the oven
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!