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

Cherry oatmeal cookies

Cherry oatmeal cookies

My reason for maintaining this blog is to have a place to write about some of my favorite gluten free eating and baking adventures. Today I write to procrastinate a little, too, but also to get in the writing mode, too. I am writing my Eportfolio for San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science this semester and when I complete this, and pass all the competencies, I will have earned my MLIS. Yay! I am excited and anxious at the same time. Some of the comps seem to be a bit over my head since I have focused my education on one thing, the organization of information, so I don’t necessarily have much evidence to produce on the topic of intellectual freedom. However, these competency essays seem to be very massageable, so I am forging ahead. As of this weekend, I have submitted five and passed four. I have the outline for competency H in place and plan to get this submitted in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, as I need to think about how technology tools are affecting library services, I decided it was the perfict time to bake some cookies and do some thinking. I have not eaten oats for nearly ten years, but Trader Joe’s has recently started selling gluten free oats. I picked up a bag and made a batch of oatmeal cookies from Cybele Pascal’s cookbook. I varied the recipe by adding a few chopped dried cherries to the dough. I used both a nonstick Caphalon cookie sheet and a basic aluminum cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick coating to bake the cookies. Needless to say, I was very surprised to see the difference in the cookies as they came out of the oven. I will make a note in my cookbook to use the aluminum pans only next time. My aluminum cookie sheets seem to distribute the heat evenly and the cookies came out perfect. The cookies that baked on the Caphalon nonstick pan turned out okay, but very inconsistent, and some burned around the edges, while others (on the same cookie sheet) were not cooked through. These cookies taste great and the lucky recipients of this batch will be my work buddies as we have our monthly Monday morning meeting.

 

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.