Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gluten-Free Youth Fair Cake


As a parent there are moments when you see your child develop.
Moments that replay in your memories forever.
Like their first steps, first foods, first day at kindergarten.
Add to that the body changes, from unformed softness to well muscled growth.
Leggy and lean, coltish is the current description of my girls.
The hint of a waist, blossoming of hips and underneath it all the strength.
I love to watch them grow, love to see their minds develop and search for new challenges.

Realizing that they want to do what I do. What a shock. They love to cook and nurture. This was spring break week, for most kids a time of relaxation, travel perhaps, down time for sure.

My girls- they volunteered to train to be playground mediators at school. They spent 3 mornings of their spring break with fellow 4th and 5th graders learning how to facilitate playground conflicts for kinders and 1st graders.
Not because they had to, there isn't a requirement to participate. They chose to participate because they love to help people solve problems.

Then they spent the afternoons like lots of siblings, bickering and moaning that they were bored. At least till I let them play Club Penguin. That stopped the bickering.

And we did travel a bit, up to Vancouver BC to visit the Newton Wave pool with a friend for an afternoon.
That is a bit of work to keep swimming in the waves.

But most of all for the girls, spring break means Whatcom County Youth Fair.
This is their 3rd year attending.
This volunteer led program put on by the 4H, FFA and who knows who else is a milestone for them each year.
They eagerly await the release of the information in early March.
What groups will they want this year?
Dog agility training? No, Katie did that one first year.
Woolcrafts? Nope, Fiona did that last year.
Photography?Entrepreneurship? been there, done that.

No, this year, the choices were Horses for Fiona and Homemaking for Kate.
Fiona chose a mini horse named Rosie that really made her work to get the routine down.
But she loved every minute of it, right down to the consistent brushing and hoof care. She came home each night tired but so happy and dusty.

Katie loved her homemaking too. She had a bit of a problem getting my mothers sewing machine to work at a sedate pace but the apron she made for me was just lovely.

Equally lovely was the cake she decorated. Got to admit that when I read the material list for the class and saw
"3-4 cake layers overfilled and warm" to be delivered with her on Saturday morning.
9AM and the drive up is 40 minutes. I really wondered about it. But the teacher explained that she wanted the cakes warm so the glaze would soak in properly, and overfilled so it was tall and stately.

Of course, there is the minor problem of being gluten-free. and the not as easy problem of not knowing about the quality of the icing. But I can be a game player in most situations. I checked out the icing and it was fine.

I set up the night before as much as I could,
Had the cake pans ready with circles of parchment in the bottoms, foil collars around the rim,
organic spray oil at the ready.
Created the flour mixture, measured the dry and wet ingredients and left the eggs out to come to our cool house temperature.
Pulled out both of my mixing bowls so I could go from the first batch to the second without pause.

So I got up at 6AM and started baking the cakes.

Thank goodness I am a morning person, give me a dark cup of tea and I am all set.

The cakes turned out amazingly wonderful. Moist, buttery and tender.
The teacher couldn't believe it was gluten-free.
And Katie was so proud and not at all disappointed that she didn't bake the cakes. She was happy to sleep till 7.

So thanks for letting me crow a bit about my amazing daughters. Enjoy the cakes.

my inspiration for the flour blend was Annalise Roberts Brown Rice Flour mix from her book Gluten-Free Baking Classics
I had tried this mix and liked it before, but I wanted to enhance it a bit since all I had for brown rice flour was the coarser grained Bob's Red Mill not the powdery fine Authentic Foods flour.

I wanted it to be a bit tender with a lovely crumb, and to use a bit of sweet rice flour as well to create some structure.
So here is my flour mix:
6 cups Bob's brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch (not flour)
2 cups tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup millet flour

Then I used Annalise's Yellow Cake recipe with a few tweaks as well.
Since our family does ok with dairy, I used some butter to enhance the flavor.
I used organic sugar which is a bit coarser than granulated and has a bit of molasses still and I used my flour mix instead of hers.

Katie's Youth Fair Cake

for 2 overfilled 9 inch rounds
First create a collar around your pans using foil doubled over and molded to the side. Spray heavily with organic spray oil including bottom of pan. place parchment circle into pan and spray that as well with the oil
Preheat oven to 350.
1/2 cup butter
3 cups organic sugar
6 large eggs
3 1/4 cups flour mix (above)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup milk
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat butter till fluffy and add in sugar gradually. Beat for 2-3 minutes till all the sugar is coated in butter and the mixture is slightly lighter in color. Add in each egg, beating well after each addition.
Stir in all the other ingredients till combined and then beat for 1 minute.

Pour into prepared pans and place in oven. Bake 35-45 minutes till the center springs back when touched, rotating pans midway.

Grab children and dash to Youth fair.

Let your daughter have a blast decorating!

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