Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

Banana-Coconut Cake with Agave Frosting March 6, 2013

Gluten-free banana coconut cake

Last week I turned 30, and had one of the best carrot cakes EVER to celebrate. Made out of almond flour with raisins and walnuts, topped with coconut agave frosting, containing no gluten, dairy or refined sugar, it was deliciously satisfying and just what I wanted. Total dream cake for someone who loathes a major sugar crash and the subsequent cravings for another high. I have Elena’s Pantry to thank for posting that recipe, and for inspiring this new Banana-Coconut Cake out of a necessity to use up excess frosting which I simply couldn’t let go to waste. So if you use her frosting recipe too, scale it down if you only intend to make one cake.

You’ll notice below that my measurements for this cake are in ounces and grams because I’m trying to use my scale more often, especially when creating gluten-free baked products. It can make a big difference in the finished product, and really it makes it easier for me to record amounts when I’m eye-balling ingredients. I’ve tried to include standard cup measurements as well, but do recommend using your scale if you own one. There’s so little sweetener in this cake because the frosting provides plenty, but even on its own the cake is delicious and healthy. My 3 year old and I like it best featured at one of our frequent tea parties.

I ate my birthday cake to the tune of “Older” by They Might Be Giants, which reminds you with upbeat repetition “You’re older than you’ve ever been…and now you’re even older…now you’re even older…now you’re even older.” After I frosted my Banana Cake this week and sliced some for my little Ella she started singing the tune again, replacing “older” with “sweeter”. Hopefully it’ll make your day sweeter too.

gluten-free banana coconut cake

 Banana-Coconut Cake

Free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar

2 oz coconut oil (1/4 cup)

2 ripe bananas

2 ½ oz honey (3 ¾ Tablespoons)

2 eggs, room temperature

1 t. almond extract

95 grams oat flour (scant 1 cup)

18 grams buckwheat flour (2 ½ Tablespoons)

33 grams almond flour (5 ½ Tablespoons)

42 grams unsweetened shredded coconut (about ½ cup)

1/8 t. sea salt

1 t. baking powder

1 ½ oz chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350° and grease two 6” cake pans with coconut oil. (Or substitute with one 9” cake layer and make a few muffins if you have excess batter)

Warm coconut oil in a small saucepan until smooth and clear. Move to mixing bowl, add ripe bananas and honey and mix (hand mixer is sufficient) for 1 minute. Add the eggs and extract, mixing well.

In small bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Pour dry mix into the banana batter, mix well, then add chopped dates.

Pour into your two greased cake pans and bake 25 minutes or until skewer test is clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then place on cooling racks.

Frost after cooling completely (recipe link below) and store in refrigerator. *note that the frosting recipe will take about 2 hours to achieve the right consistency in the refrigerator, and a reminder that the Banana-Coconut Cake only requires less than half the original recipe

Agave Sweetened “Vegan Coconut Cream Frosting” Recipe from Elena’s Pantry

gf banana coconut cake

banana coconut cake

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Maple Pecan Cookies: Wheat vs. Gluten-free Oat October 16, 2012

This weekend I was baking for a small crowd coming to my house for a game of Settlers of Catan, and I wanted to make Maple Pecan Cookies to celebrate my favorite time of year. I already had a tried and true whole wheat recipe that I used a lot last year (before I went gluten-free), so I figured I’d make a batch of the wheat cookies, but also do a little experimenting to get a tasty gluten-free alternative. I made my own oat flour this time for a less refined consistency. To make your own oat flour, place gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or blender and pulse 30-60 seconds. Here’s a helpful link to making your own flours at home.

The gluten-free oat cookies were a hit, just as tasty as the wheat version, despite the fact that I cut down on the sweetness and added a salba “egg” to help the cookie hold together without xanthan gum or real eggs. So you probably have two questions right now: What the heck is salba? and What exactly is a salba “egg”?

I didn’t know what Salba seeds were until a few months ago when my dad came to Chicago for a visit and brought me a whole bag of Salba seeds to start experimenting with (Thanks Dad – perfect gift!). Salba seeds are like white Chia seeds (that’s right, the same Chia used for “hair” on the Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia pet popular in the 1980’s), which it turns out happen to be exceptionally nutritious. Salba seeds are grown under tight regulations in Peru to maintain a consistently high nutritional composition, whereas Chia seeds’ nutritional makeup are frequently diminished because they grow wild in large quantities throughout Mexico, and Central and South America, and are not subject to the same strict regulations. Don’t get me wrong though, both Chia and Salba seeds are very nutritious and, like flax seeds, super easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Read a more extensive comparison of Chia vs. Salba and all the nutritional benefits of both here.

Now to explain the Salba “egg”. At some point while browsing through blogs and recipe sites I read about a Chia egg, made by mixing 2-3 teaspoons chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and allowing the mixture to sit and congeal for about 10 minutes to use as an egg substitute. I’m all about this kind of health food magic, so I jotted the recipe down at the bottom of my notebook as a reminder to try it sometime. Even though my original whole wheat maple cookie recipe didn’t call for an egg, I know that gluten-free flours lead to cookies lacking in structure unless you add something gooey, like banana, or a gum (xanthan), or eggs. No reason to pass up a perfectly good opportunity to add lots of omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, iron and folate, so I tried the Salba egg structure in these cookies, and couldn’t be happier with the result!

I hope you’ll pick up a small bag of Salba or Chia if you come across them in a health food store and try this recipe out for yourself. The cookies are outrageously good, and something you can feel happy about sharing with your family and friends this fall…even the tikes.

More helpful links to recipes using Chia/Salba seed egg substitute:

Andrea Drugay – How to make Chia Egg Replacer

Real Food, Allergy Free

Gluten-free Maple Pecan Oat Cookies

Salba/chia “egg” recipe:

Mix 2 teaspoons Salba with 3 Tablespoons water and allow to sit and congeal at least 10 minutes.

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup maple syrup

½ t. vanilla extract

1 salba or chia egg (recipe above)

1 cup homemade oat flour

¼ t. baking powder

¼ t. sea salt

Pecan halves to place on top of cookie dough

Preheat oven to 375. Make salba/chia egg in a small bowl and allow to sit 10 minutes while assembling and mixing other ingredients. In medium bowl, use a hand mixer to cream butter, maple syrup and vanilla 30 seconds on medium speed. Add salba egg substitute, and mix until you have a smooth consistency (no visible large clumps of butter). Add oat flour, baking powder and salt and mix briefly.

Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, use about 2 teaspoons of batter to form each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1” apart and top with pecan halves.

Bake 12-15 minutes. Makes 14 cookies.

Maple Pecan Wheat Cookies

½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup maple syrup

1 t. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup white whole wheat flour

½ t. baking powder

½ t. sea salt

Pecan halves to place on top of cookie dough

Preheat oven to 375. Using a hand mixer, cream butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Add flours, baking powder and salt and mix well. Using a 2 teaspoon cookie scoop, or two spoons, form round cookies and place 1 1/2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet (these cookies spread a little). Top with pecan halves, pressing slightly into the cookie dough.
Bake 12-13 minutes or until cookies turn a light golden brown. These are delicate when warm so allow to cool on baking sheet 3-5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Makes 35 cookies.