If you entertain regularly, I think it’s a smart move to master a few so-called special diet recipes out of respect for friends and family who may join you for a meal. I find it empowering to comfortably accommodate even the smallest dietary need or request. There are a few vegan recipes in my toolkit– I even made an entire vegan Thanksgiving dinner one year– and I can cook an array of dairy-free and meatless dishes confidently. Gluten-free options are no trouble when I’m making a savory meal plan, but I admit to being tripped up when considering dessert options. Panna cotta and ice cream are great, but I really wanted to learn to bake gluten-free goods beyond the flourless chocolate cake that has been my default setting. (Because it is SO delicious, with hints of cardamom and orange– no one has ever been upset when I make this cake.) It’s satisfying to set new goals in the kitchen, or anywhere, and work toward mastering them through research and experimentation.
In order to learn more about gluten-free baking, I have been seeking out recipes with gluten-free flours; I felt like this would be a good first step for me. There is so much information out there: two of my favorite sites to read have been Art of Gluten-Free Baking and Apothecarista. With so many recipes I hoped to try, I was discouraged by the expense of some non-wheat baking flours, especially those that must be used in combination with other flours or ingredients. I wanted the option to experiment without buying large amounts of specialty items I might not use often, or ever. Angela’s apple bundt is made with a pre-mixed gluten-free baking blend that can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio for the wheat flour in a recipe. There’s no need to add potato starch or xantham gum. I purchased and used the Bob’s Red Mill version and it couldn’t have been easier. (If you are more comfortable with gluten-free baking, by all means use your customary baking blend.) The blend, with a good proportion of brown and white rice flour, lends a delicate, crumbly texture to the bundt that my husband and I love. The flavor is what you might expect from an apple cake; it’s sweet from brown sugar and pieces of apple, warmly spiced with cinnamon and cloves. It is moist and light at the same time, with the sugar-crisped crust I love on baked goods. I hope I am doing it justice. My husband declared it his new favorite cake and loves the texture so much he wants me to bake everything gluten-free from now on. I am only barely exaggerating.
So who is Angela? In my recent post about savory bread pudding, I talked about the barter group I’m involved in and all the treasures I get from our monthly events. Earlier this month, we received four pieces of apple cake in exchange for a couple jars of jam and had to exercise extraordinary willpower not to sit and devour them all. Angela, the lovely lady who made the cake to barter and subsequently shared the recipe, upped the adorable factor by using a Nordic Ware honeycomb pan; she should seriously get a commission from Nordic Ware, as at least two pans were purchased within the week as a direct result of her cake. (Several more went on to wishlists, as was the case in my house.) On the list of “best barters ever”, those four pieces of cake rank solidly in the top ten. The fact that I also got a recipe was an unexpected bonus.
I purposefully did not refer to Angela’s apple bundt as a gluten-free cake in the header of this post because it can just as easily be made with wheat flour. My husband’s coworker made one last weekend with white flour and it is just as pretty and delicious as this one. The beauty is having a recipe that can be flexibly made to suit a range of tastes and needs. I guess we can thank Bob’s Red Mill for making a product like the 1:1 gluten-free flour blend that can be so easily substituted, and I also thank Angela for inspiring me to give it a try. I’d like to make other cakes and cookies with the gluten-free blend, particularly as we head toward Holiday Baking Season. I will continue to expand my repertoire of gluten-free baked goods, with promises not to forget about that lovely flourless cake. But for now, I only have eyes for Angela’s apple bundt.
Angela’s Apple Bundt
- 3 c. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour, or 3 c. white flour
- 1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 c. white sugar
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. canola oil
- 1 ripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 c.)
- 2 eggs
- 2 medium apples, cored and diced (about 2 c.)*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 10 c. bundt pan, going over each nook and cranny on the outside and the center several times to be safe, and set aside. Bundt cakes have a tendency to stick to the pan and you don’t want that.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar and oil and stir until smooth. Stir in the mashed banana, then beat in the eggs. (If you see a few lumps of banana, that’s not a problem.) Fold in the flour mixture until it’s almost incorporated, then add the diced apples and fold the batter until the apples, and any remaining dry ingredients, are evenly mixed in. Stop when the last of the dry ingredients is wet. Dollop your batter evenly in the prepared bundt pan and tap the pan gently to distribute. Bake for one hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 mins. before inverting the cake onto a plate. Serve Angela’s apple bundt warm or at room temperature. This cake does not last in my house, but if I cover it tightly, I could probably keep it for up to a week. (Maybe.)
*I used 2 Pink Lady apples and had about 10 cubes more than 2 c., which went right in. Don’t be worried if you have a little bit more than 2 c., though I suppose you could just eat the extra pieces. I did not peel the apples because the skin was not tough, but you can if you want.