the secret [recipe: GF vanilla pound cake]

I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free baking for seven years, but it’s only in the past month that it’s become a regular habit.  And it’s only in the past month that I’ve started a thorough investigation of the gluten-free products that are available in stores.  What I’ve learned so far is that most of the ready-made stuff is pretty unimpressive–even the items I’ve heard other GF folks say is the best.  And most of the stuff I’ve been making is pretty delicious.  I think this is less because I am a kitchen goddess (clearly, no) and more because:

  1. The stuff I make, we’re eating fresh from the oven.  Items at the store can sit for weeks.
  2. I’m not afraid to use butter, sugar and eggs.  A lot of gluten-free manufacturers seem to want to be all things to all people.  I know that many food sensitivities go hand-in-hand, but we don’t need things to be vegan or soy-free or whatever, so I use everything except gluten (and tree nuts, to which I’m allergic).

Stabbing to see if hes done is the best part.

Both of which should perhaps be obvious factors in making baked goods tastier.  And both of which make it all the harder to stop myself from eating this pound cake.  We baked it on a whim yesterday when the boys dug up the Bob the Builder cake pan from the back of some cabinet.  It was good last night, and even better for breakfast today.  I really hope someone comes soon and takes it away from me. 

Vanilla Pound Cake (from Land O’Lakes) (Bob the Builder pan not required)

Grease and flour a bundt pan, 2 loaf pans or a Bob the Builder pan plus 6 cupcakes.

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Blend dry ingredients in a small bowl:

  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 1 c millet flour (or more brown rice flour)
  • 2/3 C potato starch
  • 1/3 C tapioca flour
  • 1 t xanthan gum
  • 2 t baking powder

Cream together until fluffy:

  • 1 C softened butter
  • 2 C granulated sugar

Then beat in:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla

At low speed, add flour blend alternately with:

1 C milk

Spread batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about an hour (depending on pan size), until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean (see above).  Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove and cool on rack.


About Lissa

I love bread, cake, cookies, pasta and all other forms of wheat. One of my twin boys has celiac disease. We'll make it work. As of spring 2011, I'm the mother of one 1-year-old and two 2-year-olds. I'm a full-time math teacher and full-time parent, a liberal feminist with a traditional streak, an above-average cook but not a foodie, a native midwesterner and happy Seattleite. I'd love to feed my family local, organic food, but I'd also like to pay the mortgage.
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2 Responses to the secret [recipe: GF vanilla pound cake]

  1. J says:

    Ever heard of the book, Ratios? Here’s a review from the NY times. I’ve heard it’s pretty good for those who are willing to experiment rather than follow a cookbook.

    Everyday Cooking Is as Easy as 3:2:1
    MICHAEL RUHLMAN says his new book, “Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking,” is “an anti-recipe book,” and even though he throws in a lot of recipes, he’s right.

    In “The Making of a Chef” (Henry Holt, 1997), Mr. Ruhlman wrote about the classical training students undergo at the Culinary Institute of America, and the rigor he witnessed there inspired him.

    Since then, he tells us, “I’ve been trying to bring both the ethos and the lessons of the professional kitchen to the home kitchen” — in other words, to teach home cooks classical technique.

    Saddened by the thought of cooks who are “chained to recipes,” he proclaims himself their liberator. He writes: “Getting your hands on a ratio is like being given a key to unlock those chains.”

    Those ratios, the ostensible subject of his new book, are simply the proportion of ingredients in a preparation or a dish.

    Pie dough = 3 parts flour: 2 parts fat : 1 part water. Roux = 3 parts flour : 2 parts fat. Sausage = 3 parts meat : 1 part fat.

    And so forth.

    Mr. Ruhlman lays out the 33 essential ratios in a two-page chart — “A Periodic Table of the Elements for the Kitchen” — at the outset.

    “Ratios free you,” he writes. “They allow you to close the book and cook as you wish.”

    It’s a lovely dream, even if it doesn’t play out quite that way at the stove.

    Ratios are like irregular verbs in a foreign language — a breeze if you use them all the time, something you’ll need to consult a book for if you don’t.

    Bread bakers who turn out a loaf every week will find Mr. Ruhlman’s 5:3 ratio of flour to water (plus yeast and salt) a handy guide. When the bread-making urge hits the rest of us, we’ll need a recipe.

    Does this catch relegate “Ratio” to the limbo of marginally useful cookbooks?

    Not at all, because ratios are just the high-concept idea on which Mr. Ruhlman, who has written for the Dining section of The New York Times, has hung an elegant book on technique, though not one for beginners.

    The ratios take up only those two initial pages. Everything else is elaboration — part science à la Harold McGee (who writes the Curious Cook column for The Times and who’s cited several times), but mostly method — “which is why this is a book and not a sheet of paper,” Mr. Ruhlman observes sensibly.

    Some of his ratios are only borderline useful anyway. (Adding 3 parts water to 2 parts bones to make stock is hardly definitive, as even he admits.)

    Others are observed mainly in the breach. His 1:2:3 ratio for standard cookie dough — 1 part sugar : 2 parts fat : 3 parts flour — “will not give you art,” he writes frankly.

    He then provides three alternative cookie recipes that presumably will, with sugar-fat-flour ratios of 4:5:6, 1:1:1 and 2:2:3 respectively.

    The basic, art-challenged ratio, he explains donnishly, is “a good recipe to do once so that you can understand what a cookie is.”

    As for the “everyday cooking” the subtitle trumpets, there are extensive discussions of pâte à choux, crepes, beurre manié, slurry, mousseline, hollandaise, crème anglaise — everyday cooking if you happen to cook in a French restaurant.

    Mr. Ruhlman is out of step with the 20-minute-meal approach of most new cookbooks, as he’s all too painfully aware.

    On the same page that he declares stock “the foundation upon which all else rests,” he concedes, rather dejectedly, that “it may be the most commonly avoided preparation in American home kitchens.”

    But he’s often inspiring. His discussion of “The Custard Continuum” moves from crème caramel and quiche at one end to ice cream and ice-cream sauces at the other, climaxing with “The Best Banana Split Ever.”

    It ought to be, because it calls for frozen crème anglaise (4 parts milk/cream : 1 part yolk: 1 part sugar) topped with homemade butterscotch sauce (1 part sugar: 1 part cream) and homemade ganache (1 part chocolate : 1 part cream), plus whipped cream and cherries.

    Make it often enough and you may even memorize the ratios.

  2. Lissa says:

    I have heard of (but not read) it, and I think he and Gluten Free Girl are working on a GF version. I cook by weight a lot, but it seems so daunting to most people.

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