After picking too many apples, I was getting tired of the standard crisps and applesauce, so I started exploring some of my old, pre-gluten-free cookbooks looking for alternatives. For a long time I didn’t have the confidence to write my own baking recipes or convert old favorites into gluten-free alternatives, but there are ratios and patterns that make it easier to start re-inventing old favorites to fit a gluten-free diet.
One of my favorite wedding gifts was a cookbook from my grandmother. Her copy of Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook sits on my kitchen shelves just like it did on hers. I always found the book intimidating because its recipes don’t lay everything out for you, such as cooking times or pan sizes or indications of when things are done (I think you were just expected to know that).
Fannie Farmer’s book was revolutionary when it was released because it treated cooking like a science and not an art. She used measuring cups and leveled them off, bringing precision to baking and cooking. She also explains a lot about nutrition in this book (I love that her recipes for buckwheat pancakes suggest adding corn because buckwheat makes you constipated).
As I started paging through the book, I was inspired by a “lightening cake” recipe that seemed to have a better balance of flour and other ingredients than many other recipes. I used that recipe as a starting point for this one.
When I brought the test batches into my office or shared with friends, even the non-gluten-free people wanted a copy of this recipe. For them, I would say, if you are going to use regular, gluten flour, omit the guar gum and use 3 cups of regular flour instead of the almond, millet, tapioca and rice flours I use below.
If you don’t like the all spice I used in the glaze, it is easily substituted for cinnamon.
For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 t salt
2 t guar gum
3 t baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, just leave the butter on the counter overnight
3/4 cup milk
2 t vanilla extract
1 t lemon extract
1/2 cup brown sugar (optional, I recommend using the brown sugar if you don’t want to use the glaze)
3-4 medium apples
For the Glaze:
4 oz of cream cheese
1 t lemon extract
1/4 t all spice
1 cup powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a 9×9 inch square pan and line with parchment paper. Let the parchment paper hang over the edges of the pan so you can easily lift the baked cake out of the pan.
2. Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs. Slowly stream in the sugar.
3. Whisk together in a separate bowl: almond flour, millet, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, guar gum and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer (reduce the speed so your flour doesn’t go flying all over the kitchen).
4. Add in the butter, milk and extracts. Whisk on high speed two minutes more until the mixture has pulled together. The batter should not be too runny. If the batter thickens before the two minutes are up, don’t stop! The mixer is aerating the batter, which makes a huge difference between a brick and a light fluffy cake.
5. Peel and thinly slice 3-4 medium apples. Layer on top of cake. Top with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
6. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
7. After the cake cools completely, lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper.
8. Whisk together the glaze ingredients and spread over cake.