Yes I’m still alive, and here’s a recipe! (Gluten-free lemon layer cake)

Oh my, how the weeks fly by when you are busy. Sometimes it’s a blessing, other times… not so much. I haven’t had a day with nothing to do in quite awhile. But on a happier note, good things are going around and it’s nice to be employed and living in a beautiful place. And since I moved last weekend, I now have a new kitchen to play with – if I ever have the time! For now, here’s a recipe from a month or so ago…

~* Gluten-Free Lemon Layer Cake *~

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

 This recipe has a lot of steps, but it’s completely worth it. It works best if you make the cake and lemon curd the night before so everything has time to cool. Freezing the cakes overnight will help keep them from crumbling or falling apart during assembly (as some gf cakes tend to do). You don’t have to use greek yogurt here, but it adds tangy moisture to the cake. The lemon curd is absolutely fantastic- use it in any recipe for lemon tarts or with fresh scones! (put in link)

For the filling:

  • Zest from two lemons
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks (reserve whites for the cake)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen

For the cake:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour, plus more for dusting cake pans
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter substitute) cut into tablespoons, softened

For the icing (“seven-minute” recipe):

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Tip: when working with lemons, always use non-reactive cookware and utensils!

 For the filling: Soften gelatin by measuring 1 tbsp lemon juice into small bowl and sprinkling gelatin over top. Heat remaining lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high hear, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolved and mixture is hot but not boiling.

Separate 6 large eggs, saving whites for the cake. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolks together, temper the mixture by slowly pouring hot lemon-sugar mixture into eggs, and then return the mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with heat-proof spatula until mixture reaches 170 degrees. It should be thick enough to leave a trail on the spoon and across the bottom of the saucepan. Watch out for sputters once the curd gets hot!

Quickly remove pan from heat and stir in frozen butter until melted; continue to stir until smooth. Pour filling though a fine-mesh strainer into a non-reactive bowl – definitely don’t skip this step! A smooth curd is especially important when you’re using it as cake filling. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate till its firm enough to spread; at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour two nine-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper (trust me, with a sticky gf cake you do not want to skip this step!)

Whisk together Greek yogurt, egg whites, and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixture, mix flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt at low speed with the paddle attachment. With the mixer running at low speed, add butter one chunk at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs with no large butter pieces (like a scone or biscuit dough). Add all but ½ cup yogurt mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed till batter is pale and fluffy, about 1 ½ minutes. With mixer running at low speed, add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture; increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds
longer. Divide batter evenly between cake pans, even out tops.

Bake on center rake, rotating cakes halfway through, until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto greased wire rack; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again; cool completely on rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze overnight if desired. (Freezing often improves gf texture)


Now, the fun part! To assemble: Mix chilled curd with spoon until spread-able. With a serrated knife, cut each cake into 2 even layers, taking care not to break layers. Brush off crumbs. Place bottom cake on cake plate/cardboard, and spread 1 cup lemon filling evenly on cake, leaving a ½ inch border around the edge. Gently add second layer, spread 1 cup filling on top. Repeat with third layer. Place fourth layer on top, smooth out any filling that has leaked out from the layers. Refrigerate while making icing.

For the icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl of standing mixer or large heatproof bowl and set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 160 degrees, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until mixture has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes longer. Using a spatula, spread frosting on cake, starting with the top layer, working icing down the sides.

Cake can be refrigerated up to one day before serving, and be aware that once the marshmallow-y icing sets, you won’t be able to smooth out any nicks.

A perfect Spring-y birthday cake!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Coconut Cake!

DSCN6999

When I came across this recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess, I knew I had to make it. So I put in in my Recipe Folder until Easter came along, and it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment for the holiday!

While in the past I’ve used a GF all-purpose flour mix, I’ve recently started to mix my own flours, and the result is pleasing, I must say. This recipe has more flours than I usually combine. I left out the xanthan gum (it’s so expensive!) so the texture of the cake may have been a bit more crumbly, but frankly that doesn’t bother me – it was delicious!

* Gluten-Free Coconut Cake Recipe *

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Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 free-range organic eggs, beaten,
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 14-oz coconut milk (I used So Delicious Original)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DSCN6989Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Beat eggs together with wet ingredients and add into dry mix.

Beat until smooth – battery should be thick and shiny.

Divide cake mix into two cake pans and spread out evenly. Batter may appear low in cake pans, but it will rise!

Bake in preheated oven side-by-side for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

DSCN6993 Cool completely on a wire rack. You may want to stick cakes in fridge for a bit before frosting.

Ingredients for the Frosting:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance or butter-substitute
  • 1 teaspoon pure coconut or vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Flaked Coconut for topping (sweetened works best, it’s less stale)

In the bowl of a mixer (I used a stand-mixer, but you could use a hand one) beat the Earth Balance and extract till combined. Add in the powdered sugar and half the coconut milk, and beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Once mixed, beat on high speed until desired texture (the more air you beat in, the easier it will be to spread). Add the remaining coconut milk if you need it (I didn’t).

DSCN6996 Before frosting cakes, brush off crumbs. Center the first later top-down on a cake stand. place parchment clippings underneath edges to keep plate clean. Frost the layer with about 3/4 cup of the icing with a spatula.

Trim the top of the second layer, if you like, and place on top of first layer. Scoop most of the remaining frosting on top of second layer, and begin to work it out towards the edges, beginning to move frosting down sides of the cake. Use remaining frosting to fill in side-spaces between layers.

DSCN7001  Tip: If you go for the “artistic” look of frosting instead of the perfectly-smooth fondant look, you will make life easier!

Sprinkle with coconut.

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 Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Dreaming Copyright 2011.