Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fresh from the oven - Cranberry Coffee Cake & Chocolate Carrot Cake

Happy Birthday to Me!  Saturday was my birthday.  My boys woke up early to make me breakfast, all by themselves - coffee cake, hash browns, scrambled eggs and orange juice.  When I came downstairs around 7:30, the coffee cake was already coming out of the oven and filled the house with its deliciousness.  J & K were bustling around the kitchen, grating potatoes for the hash browns and carrots for my cake.  So efficient!  (Usually when they make breakfast, it's a leisure affair, with the meal arriving on the table around 11:00.)

Cranberry-Plus Coffee Cake
from Bette Hagman's Gluten-Free Gourmet
Makes 9 servings

2 large eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. mayonnaise (we use Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise)
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 c. chopped fruit or grated vegetable (we use chopped apples)
1/2 c. chopped pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x9-inch cake pan and dust with rice flour.  

In a mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and mayonnaise.

Whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, spice, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir into the egg mixture, blending well.  Stir in the whole cranberries, chopped fruit and nuts.

Spread batter into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until cake feels firm when touched in the center and edges begin to pull from pan, about 45 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve either warm or cool.  Can be make ahead and kept covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. 

Cook's note: We like to sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on the top before baking.  For a birthday treat, the boys sprinkled a few chocolate chips instead.

Now, the above picture was actually the coffeecake that my children made.  They really are getting pretty good at cooking and baking.  However, they're still learning (they're only 10, 8, and 4, after all).  The cake gave them a bit of trouble as it was uncharted territory for them.  However, they still managed, all by themselves, to bake and decorate a cake for me, which makes me very happy and proud.

Although I admit to a bit of trepidation in trying the cake, it actually tasted great despite it's looks.  The boys had stacked the layers together before it had cooled, then tried to split them apart, which caused a complete disaster for the top layer.  Then, they tried a new icing recipe, which clearly did not congeal properly.  Really, though, the cake tasted great.  If the picture didn't scare you off, here's the recipe for the cake.

Chocolate Carrot Cake
from Bette Hagman's The Gluten-Free Gourmet Makes Dessert

A new and exciting carrot cake and a very good keeper.  This is as moist and tender as the others but made especially for chocolate lovers.  It can be made in a bundt pan and drizzled with a simple icing of powdered sugar and orange juice.  Or make the large 2-layer cake and create a masterpiece by filling and topping with either a cream cheese frosting or my Baker's Secret Icing (page 131).

1 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. Egg Replacer
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil (canola)
4 eggs
2 c. finely grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
One 11-oz. can mandarin oranges drained, cut into 1/2" sections

Preheat oven to 375 degrees for bundt pan, 350 degrees for two 8" or 9" round cake pans.  Spray chosen pan(s) with vegetable oil spray and dust lightly with rice flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, Egg Replacer, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and sugar.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the oil and eggs on medium high until well blended and thick (about 2 minutes).  Add the dry ingredients and beat on low to blend.  Increase the speed and beat 1 minute longer (the batter will seem very thick).  With a spoon, stir in the carrots, nuts and orange peel.  Stir in the orange pieces.

Spoon into the pan(s).  Bake the bundt cake at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes longer or until a tester inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.  If using the round cake pans, bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.

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