Banana Cake

All this week, sitting on the kitchen counter, were three large bananas that were getting riper and riper with each day. Bananas are not my most favorite fruit–I think they make me fat–and my dearest was out of town for a job interview all week and this uneaten bunch of bananas grew more spotty and brown every day. Each evening when I came home from work, the smell of ripening bananas would be the first thing to greet me, and I kept thinking to myself that I’ve got to do something about this. So, today I decided to put these bananas out of their misery. Not wanting to make the standard banana bread, I looked in my favorite cookbook for some ideas and came upon a recipe for Banana Cake. I had all the ingredients in my pantry, including lemon juice.

The ingredients are simple: flour blend, bananas, brown sugar, shortening, baking soda, cinnamon, etc. and, as already mentioned, a little lemon juice. I mixed up the batter, which was quite lovely to see in the bowl. I also used for the first time a new flour blend given to me for Mother’s Day by my daughter, called Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour. It’s not much different than what I mix myself, except it contains dry milk powder and it has xanthan gum already in it. This flour is not completely allergen free due to the milk, which means a lot of people can’t use it.

This cake recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan, but I thought I would try baking in a bundt pan. I dredged the inside of the pan with flour and sugar to see if this might create a candy-like outer crust. We’ll see…

Finally, out of the oven. The bundt pan increased the cake’s cooking time by 20 minutes and the house smelled wonderful. My sweetie, who came home yesterday, called down from upstairs to tell me this while it was still in the oven. Dredging with flour and sugar made a crunchy coating, though not very discernable.

This cake is very spongy and light, and very different than banana bread. This would make an impressive dessert topped with custard, or a Bananas Foster sauce with sliced fresh bananas. I sprinkled a bit of confectioner’s sugar on top before enjoying. I highly recommend this recipe and the cookbook, Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

Recommended links:
Cup4Cup flour and recipes
Cybele Pascal’s Cookbook

Sweet Corn Cake

El Torito Restaurant’s Sweet Corn Cake garnish is one of my favorite things about this place. On nearly every entree, there is this little scoop of sweetness that just makes the meal. Check out the menu and you can see it on almost every dish. I have always eaten it not knowing whether it is entirely gluten free or not and I’ve never been able to get a straight answer about its gluten free status whenever I ask the servers. Most of the time they only hear the word flour, so they tell me they can’t guarantee the gluten free status.

Last week, as I was wandering through the grocery store on my lunch hour looking for new foods to try, I came across this new mix for Sweet Corn Cake. I usually avoid packaged foods because of the sodium and preservatives, but I found this new El Torito Sweet Corn Cake Mix and thought I’d give it a try. There are only 5 ingredients in the mix: Sugar, masa flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. To make the recipe, just add a can of cream style corn (I used the no salt added version), butter, and water. How easy is that?

The result is nearly identical in appearance and taste to what El Torito serves in its restaurant. This is a keeper, and I am sure there are many creative options to vary the recipe.  The downside is that, like most treats, it is a little high in fat and sugar, and low in nutritional value. But as a garnish on a plate, it adds a nice touch and one small scoop is not too damaging to a healthy diet.

Here’s the original recipe. My microwave recently stopped working, so to make the recipe, I put the butter in the bowl of a 2-quart double boiler. The advantage of this was that I only used one bowl to mix everything. Once the butter was melted, I added everything to the same bowl, making less work to clean up.

Sweet Corn Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer, dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A gluten free, egg free treat, can also be made dairy free as there is no milk in the cream-style corn.
Ingredients
  • 1 package El Torito Sweet Corn Cake Mix
  • ¼ cup melted butter, margarine, or butter flavored Spectrum shortening
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 can (15 oz) cream-style corn
Instructions
  1. In a double boiler, melt butter; add corn cake mix and combine.
  2. Add water and cream-style corn. Mix until ingredients are combined.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  4. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to serve sweet corn cake as a side dish or for dessert. One scoop (50g) is approximately ½ serving.

 

Cupcakes

Two cupcake recipes were tried today: Vanilla Cupcakes (p. 92) and Golden Agave Cupcakes (p. 105), both from Cybele Pascal’s The Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook (2009). The Vanilla Cupcakes recipe absolutely lives up to its claim of tasting like a “vegan Twinkie.” The batter has a really fluffy consistency and was poured into a muffin tin lined with silicone cupcake liners. Super easy! I don’t think anyone will really notice or care that they are gluten free when I bring them to work tomorrow for a birthday potluck. I decorated them party style!

The second batch of cupcakes, the Golden Agave Cupcakes, were baked in a non-stick mini muffin tin. These are definitely a golden color and the agave sweetener gives them a honeylike taste. They are sweet, but not too sugary, and the agave nectar kind of settles to the bottom giving off a gradient color inside. These cupcakes are surprisingly moist for being gluten free/allergen free. Make this recipe when you want that special agave taste, which is kind of a cross between maple syrup and honey. They are good with a cream cheese frosting.

Usually when I buy a cookbook, there are a only few recipes that I like to use regularly. This cookbook stands out as one of the most useful and foolproof cookbooks ever. Every recipe turns out great and is easy enough for the most novice baker.