Blogs cover the gamut of subjects unlike any other socially collective publications. I drift toward, no surprise here, to the gluten and/or dairy free blogs. I aspire to be as relevant as one like glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. It's unquestionably my favorite for many different reasons. Mostly I am totally in love with the way she writes. Karina Allrich is gifted and she has garnered the attention she deserves. Her recipes are inspired and therefore, she inspires me to be a better baker. Another favorite, glutenfreegirl.com, was actually the first blog I discovered after changing the trajectory of my family's life with food. I devoured each and every post for the longest time. I didn't search for other blogs or even think any could come close to Shauna James' brilliance. I bought her memoir, Gluten Free Girl: How I Found The Food That Loves Me Back as soon as I knew it existed and I read it cover to cover in about three sittings. She is such an amazing story teller. I also pre-ordered the cookbook she wrote with her husband, Gluten Free Girl and The Chef. The stories in the book were absolute page turners. Also, I started following the career of Silvana Nardone, dishtoweldiaries, when she was the editor-in-chief for Everyday with Rachel Ray and she would contribute the column called "No Recipe Zone". I was hooked. ( I found out about her blog much, much later.) Ms. Nardone is so accomplished, her biography reads like a life I would create for myself if I had a do-over. She inspires me and makes me feel envious, if I am being completely honest. I was astonished when her cookbook, Cooking for Isaiah came out. I bought it immediately and absolutely loved it! How could I not? The recipes are incredibly straight-forward and the ultimate family friendly-fare. Plus, her son's name is Isaiah, just like mine, and seeing that name in print (connected to a gluten- and dairy- free cookbook) made my heart thump a little louder. It was destiny.
|Gluten- and Dairy-Free Prune Pound Cake|
For my third installation of immunity boosting treats, I have created a Gluten- and Dairy-Free Prune Pound Cake. I had to remind my kids (and my husband for that matter!) that prunes were just plums' grandparents. Everyone devoured this cake so fast that I had to make two extra so I could take some pictures. Elliot wanted me to let you all know that it's best toasted with a slathering of dairy-free cream cheese on top. This recipe is easily doubled and is even better the next day. It has the crust and denseness you anticipate with a pound cake. Pound Cake has a special place in the fabric of our little family. Andy's grandmother, Jennie Mae, used to make him loaves and Pound Cake cupcakes to his heart's content. And my man loooves Pound Cake so she turned out a lot of this batter! She was well into her 80's before she stopped baking for her special guy. When we were first married, I had tried to recreate Jennie Mae's Pound Cake with her recipe. I had envisioned Andy taking his first bite of my pound cake, lovingly passed down to me by his beloved grandmother, and giving me an approving smile laced with forever-love because it was so good. But, by then Grandma was losing some of her faculties and couldn't give me the on-point recipe because she never used a recipe and therefore never wrote anything down on paper. She had trouble remembering everything, but I thought I had gotten the basis of what she was saying. Or so I thought. I'll never forget the sheepish disappointment that floated across Andy's face, oh so briefly. At that time our home was still gluten-full. I vowed to continue to try to get it right, but I was actually relieved when we became gluten-free. Not only would we be healthier, but I could finally turn Jennie Mae's Pound Cake into my very own version. It would be free to stand on its own.
With this version, I added in the prunes because of their hefty immunity boosting properties. They are high in protein, potassium, Vitamins A and E, calcium and iron. Prunes may sound a bit goofy in a pound cake, but I can assure you, they fit. They give the cake a slight sweetness and because they are pulverized thoroughly before being blended into the batter, they don't change the texture of iconic pound cake. I'd made two changes to this recipe when I decided to add the prunes. The amazing book, Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, taught me that Kirsch is a fine pairing with prunes. Kirsch is a cherry-flavored brandy and it does give the pound cake an amazing extra flare I must say. I also thought it would need more leavening, so I incorporated whipped up egg whites to be folded in to the batter. It is worth that extra step to get the pound cake to near perfection.
Gluten- and Dairy-Free Prune Pound Cake
1/2 cup (77 g) White Rice Flour
1/4 cup (32g) Tapioca starch
1/4 cup (36g) cornstarch
1 1/2 cups (150g) sifted almond flour
2 Tbs albumen
1/2 tsp cream or tartar
1 tsp Egg Replacer
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick (4 oz) Earth Balance, softened
3/4 cup (158g) sugar
3 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs Kirschwasser brandy (optional)
1/2 cup (398g) plain soy yogurt
1/4 cup (54g) sugar
3 egg whites, room temp
1, 7 oz bag pitted, dried prunes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray or vegetable shortening.
Pour the prunes into your food processor and using the blade attachment, pulverize the prunes. You want them to be completely broken up of their shape. Create an almost preserve consistancy.
In a medium bowl whisk together white rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, almond flour, albumen, Egg Replacer, cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking powder,salt and cinnamon.
In your stand-up mixer, using paddle attachment cream the Earth Balance until it is white. Add 3/4 cup (158 g) sugar and mix until fluffy then add 3 eggs. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping sides often. Add one at a time, the vanilla, Kirsch, and soy yogurt. Next, mix in the prunes thoroughly.
In batches, add the dry ingredients to the stand-mixer. Make sure to scrape the sides and mix well. Be careful not to over-mix.
In another medium bowl, use a hand -mixer to whip up the 3 egg whites and the 1/4 cup (54 g) sugar into almost stiff peaks. (You want them to be pliable so when added to the flour mixture, it will incorporate nicely.) Fold this meringue into the batter. Take your time and really fold it, don't just stir it in. The result will be so worth your patience!
P.S., For the final step you could do what I did and dump the batter from the stand-mixer into a large bowl, clean the stand-mixer bowl, and use it and the whip attachment to make life easier when whipping up those last 3 eggs and sugar for the meringue. I did this the when I doubled the recipe.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted into the center of the cake and comes out clean. Let cake cool on rack for at least 25 minutes. Take cake out and let it completely cool. Enjoy! Let me know what you think...