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.

Classic crumb cake

We’re planning to celebrate Easter Sunday with a Brunch at brother Mike’s home this year and I’ve done a little gluten-free baking for the event. This is the Classic Crumb Cake from the Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, (p. 50), a cookbook that I refer to often in my posts. I hope to make most of the recipes in this book, and try not to get fat in the process. I’m not sure if I made the crumb topping right, but it will probably taste okay. I also made the cinnamon rolls recipe from the same cookbook and drizzled a little leftover glaze on this cake–even though the recipe didn’t call for it. (Normally, just dust with powdered sugar, which is much better). Can’t wait to taste it tomorrow!

Update: As expected, this recipe exceeded my expectations. It was very moist and the crumb topping was amazingly good–and not dry. This recipe called for non-dairy vanilla “yogurt,” but I used real dairy vanilla yogurt. It was described by my beloved as very similar to a shoo-fly pie minus the molasses. So far, all of recipes in this cookbook are very easy to follow and easy to prepare.

Worth the calories? Absolutely!


Garbanzo Bean Bread

Garbanzo bean bread

I needed to take a break yesterday from my big metadata research project for LIBR 281, plus it was raining, and what better to do on a rainy day than to bake a loaf of bread? For this loaf, I followed the Basic Garbanzo bread recipe in Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes. Though some excellent gluten-free cookbooks have been published recently, Bette Hagman’s cookbooks are still the best, and I would guess that some of the best gluten-free cooks have learned a few things from her. Hagman’s flour blends can be made from scratch or purchased from Authentic Foods. After nearly eight years of gluten-free experimentation, I have only recently learned that using superfine brown rice flour makes all the difference in the texture–and in baking successfully. With lots of practice I have gone from making literal door stops to food that can be eaten. (My daughter had one of her best cross-country runs after eating one of my door stops, but that’s another story). Some creations even look appetizing! I can’t say that for this loaf. It’s pretty pathetic looking. The hole in the bottom of the loaf from the paddle annoys me, but I am more comfortable using a bread machine than not.

The cookbook

The flours used in this recipe are garbanzo bean, sorghum, tapioca and cornstarch. This is a nearly fool-proof recipe, like most of the recipes in this book, and it has good flavor. I make this bread often but occasionally it just flops. I’m not sure why, but I think it I must measure incorrectly. There are a lot of ingredients to measure and I am easily distracted. I added an extra half cup of flour blend to the bread machine for this batch. This morning I made a tasty batch of French toast using rice milk and eggs and a little vanilla powder (also from Authentic Foods). This bread was still fresh, and gluten-free breads don’t absorb as much as regular bread, so I had a lot of leftover batter.

I think my next breadmaking venture will be to try Bette’s Four Flour Bread–but it will have to wait until this huge assignment is done.