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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pineapple Cake Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, with Refined Sugar Free Option

PhotobucketI'll be honest- baking is probably my least strong point in cooking. I'm usually the "a little bit of this, a little bit of that, taste it and add a little bit more of this and that" type of gal in cooking and salad making, and baking... it just seems so much more finite! No messing around with the ingredients after its already cooking- you make the recipe, stick it in the oven, and finito- no more changing things, even if you discovered that- oops- you forgot to add the salt. You ruined it? Too bad. Not much way to fix it, unfortunately...
On top of that, baking is such an exact science, needing to get all the ingredients to interact with each other properly so that the texture is exactly as it should be- not too dry, not too liquidy, not too crumbly, not too gummy... and of course, not too sweet, salty, sour, bitter, or baking soda-ey...
I've shared my story before of my worst baking mishap, of my bread (wheat) that was so hard to cut that our bread knife broke when my husband was trying to cut it. That was one of just many baking stories, which made me loathe to experiment with baking, especially bread making. And then I gradually gained more confidence, and even began baking my own bread without measuring, just throwing a bunch of ingredients together, until it seemed right- and my bread came out terrific!
And then I started going gluten free.
Which was a new learning process, all over again, because gluten free baking requires all sorts of ingredients that have all sorts of different properties than regular wheat flour. At first, I stuck strictly to recipes, when I was first learning the ropes, but gradually I became more confident, and started making substitutions and changes in recipes, turning gluten recipes gluten free, and changing gluten free recipes to suit the ingredients I had at home or to make them healthier.
But the one thing I was still scared to do was to make up a recipe completely from scratch. Because I needed to have something, some ratio of flour to sweetener to oil to work with, otherwise my food would flop...
So that's why most recipes on my site, especially gluten free, will tell you what I based the recipe on. Because I didn't make the recipes up from scratch.
Eventually I gained more confidence and started making cookies from scratch, because those are usually more forgiving... At worst, they'll crumble, or be soft when you wanted hard, but they won't really be bad... (Ok, other than that cookie recipe I tried one time that nearly broke my teeth...)
But not cakes. I mean, I tried cakes and had them crumble on me or be gooey messes...

Not yesterday, though.
Yesterday, I decided to be daring, decided to be bold. I decided to make a cake entirely from scratch. And make it gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free! And a type of cake I'd never made before- pineapple cake.

Could I do it?
I had a gut feeling it would work, so I wrote down the recipe as I was making it up.
Thank God I did, because the cake was a smashing success. Everyone loved it. It tasted terrific, and I felt great about the fact that I knew it was healthy.

So, here it is- my terrific pineapple cake.
Yes, it's gluten free, but I am 100% positive it'll work with regular wheat or whole wheat flour as well. I've included both sugar free and sugar full options. This way, if you have no specific dietary needs, you can just make the cake as cheaply as possible.

Gluten Free Pineapple Cake- Vegan, Refined Sugar Free

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
1 cup potato starch, corn starch, or tapioca starch
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1- 1 1/3 cup coconut crystals, sucanat, brown sugar, or white sugar
Juice from 1 can of pineapple (1 cup)
2/3 cup oil (any mild flavored oil can work)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 can pineapple chunks (2 cups)

Instructions:
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

2. Add pineapple juice, oil, and water. Mix well, so there are no clumps.

3. Mix in the pineapple chunks.

4. Pour into a baking dish.

5. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees until a knife poked in the center comes out dry. This takes longer than for your standard cake- between 45 minutes and an hour.

Variations:
If gluten isn't an issue for you, replace white rice flour, potato starch, and ground flax seed with 2 3/4 cups wheat flour, whole wheat flour, or spelt flour and 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed to make it vegan, or 2 3/4 cups flour and 2 eggs if veganism isn't a concern for you..

Are you adventurous in the kitchen? Do you make recipes from scratch? Is there a difference to you if its a baked item or something on the stovetop? Do you usually base your recipes on others you've seen, or make them entirely from square one? What is your own, homemade recipe that you're proudest of?

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