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Let them eat cake! And cupcakes!

Being gluten and casein free gets a little complicated around holidays/special occasions… particularly birthdays. And if you’re hosting a party and have a million things to do, and you’re starting to feel old and tired (I know that saying that while still in my 20s should be forbidden — sue me!), the last thing you want is to take a full day to make some elaborate dessert that you can actually enjoy on your own birthday… right before you yell at those damn kids to get off your lawn. 😉 That is why I am, once more, grateful for Silvana Nardone’s Cooking for Isaiah. I found a couple of recipes I fell in love with: chocolate cake (to please George) and strawberry cupcakes (in true “fresita” form!). The results were absolutely delicious, so I thought I’d share the recipes. (For full size pictures, click on the images!)

First, make sure you still have some of the same all-purpose flour blend from this entry. It works for every single recipe you can think of that uses normal flour, achieving a taste that is just as good (and sometimes better!) than regular wheat flour. Next…

Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting
If you overwhip the chocolate frosting, just add water, a drizzle at a time, to make it glossy and smooth again.
SERVES 12 • PREP TIME 30 minutes (plus cooling) • BAKE TIME 30 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups water

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease two 9-inch (22.5cm) round cake pans with cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the paper. To make the cake, in a small bowl, whisk together the espresso powder and boiling water; let cool slightly. Whisk in the cold water, vanilla, oil and eggs.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.

    3. To make the frosting, in a large microwavable bowl, melt together the chocolate chops and water on high power, about 2 minutes; stir until smooth, and let cool to room temperature. With a handheld electric mixer, beat the chocolate mixture on medium-high speed until light and whipped, about 12 minutes. (Note: this has not worked for me either of the two times I’ve made this cake… but then, I live in Florida, so room temperature is pretty warm. I end up having to pop it in the fridge a few minutes before whipping.)

    4. Run a knife around the edges of the pans to release the layers. Invert one cake layer onto a cake plate, flat side facing up. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread about 2 cups of the whipped chocolate frosting evenly on top. Invert the remaining cake layer, rounded side up, onto the frosting. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before slicing. (Another note: you can add sliced strawberries in that middle layer, and it will be amazing. I also had extra frosting left over, so I just piled it on the bottom of the cake plate, like a little cake skirt, and took advantage of it being strawberry season and decorated it with strawberries all around the cake. Delish!)

    5. Roll your eyes (or blush, maybe you’re a prude) as people make inappropriate noises while they enjoy this cake and exclaim how they can’t believe it’s GFCF.

    Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
    MAKES 12 cupcakes • PREP TIME 18 minutes • BAKE TIME 20 minutes

  • 1½ cups Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup strawberry puree (about 5 ounces/150g strawberries)
  • ½ cup rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • ½ cup all-vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2¾ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup strawberry puree (about 5 ounces/150g strawberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkles, for topping

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. To make the cupcakes, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

    2. In another small bowl, combine the strawberry puree, milk, vanilla and food coloring. (Note: I used fresh strawberries and lightly pureed them in the blender. This gave the cupcakes an incredibly fresh and real strawberry flavor.)

    3. In a large bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, beat the shortening on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and the strawberry mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan until each cup is two thirds full. Bake until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

    4. To make the frosting, in a large bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, beat together the shortening, confectioners’ sugar, strawberry puree and salt on medium-high speed until fluffy. Pipe or spread over the cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles.

    I’d recommend you make two batches of the strawberry cupcakes — if you want a chance to enjoy ANY of them before they’re devoured by everyone else!

  • June 11, 2011   4 Comments

    Day 98 of being GFCF

    I’ve stopped calling it “gluten-free and dairy-free”, mostly because I’m a little tired of people telling me to just have Lactaid products. For me, it’s not lactose, it’s specifically casein, so it doesn’t really help, but good luck trying to explain that to… pretty much anyone without a food allergy. And so, GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) it is!

    I’ve also given up on not exaggerating it at restaurants and saying I just have to “avoid” those things: waiters do not care. And really, if you’d been on your feet for seven hours already and were about to get home to cook for three kids, make sure they did their homework, and bathe them before attempting to put them to bed, all for less than minimum wage, would you care?! Now I just say I’m “really, really allergic and cannot have” wheat/dairy and they’re usually pretty careful. I guess they don’t want to be responsible for someone going into anaphylactic shock in front of them? Who’da thunk?

    But… I’ve slipped. I won’t intentionally have dairy, but if there’s a little butter on my steamed veggies or a tiny bit of cheese on my hardshell taco, I’m not really going to flip out, either; in fact, I’m going to enjoy the crap out of it.


    In general, my health is ridiculously better. I’m pretty much never sick (I should probably knock on wood right about now), I have more energy (it’s a work in process, I still need more than eight hours of sleep a night, for some reason), and I’m much happier. The downside is that while before, when my blood sugar got low, I turned into a cranky mess, I now turn into Snow White’s evil stepmother… and I WILL turn you into a freaking frog if you don’t feed me… and then I’ll roast your legs and eat them.

    Another really uncomfortable downside is the whole “body reboot”. I have to have pretty small portions at meals or I feel kind of disgusting. I have to eat about every two hours, or my stomach feels like it’s going to eat the rest of my organs. The more I read about people detoxing from gluten, the more common it turns out this is… which is pretty reassuring: it indicates I’m on the homestretch! Complete detox is just around the corner!

    Now if I could just keep from getting occasionally and randomly glutened, I would be more willing to eat at other people’s houses. *sigh*

    April 12, 2011   5 Comments