GF/CF Crazy Cake


An updated blast from the past.

Crazy cake, (aka Wacky Cake), is one of those desserts from the 60s that always turned up at potlucks and picnics. I am not sure why it is called Crazy. Maybe because of the way it is mixed up in the baking pan. Maybe because the recipe doesn't require eggs. Maybe because it is crazy good. 

My sisters and I loved Crazy Cake when we were little. It's one of the first recipes we could very proudly make by ourselves. The recipe is very simple both in ingredients and preparation - perfect for aspiring young bakers.

This cake is so moist and chocolatey that it doesn't really need a frosting. I topped the cake pictured with a simple chocolate icing and some toasted and chopped hazelnuts. You can top it with your favorite chocolate frosting, a fruit sauce, or with ice cream. Or just enjoy it au naturale. (the cake, that is).

GF Crazy Cake (vegan)
This chocolate cake is surprisingly moist and so easy!

Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
Into an ungreased 8"x8" cake pan, sift:
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt

Make three holes in the dry ingredients - one larger in the center and two smaller holes on either side to hold the following:
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 Tbsp light olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Add the vanilla, oil, and vinegar to the holes, then pour 1 1/4 cup water over the whole thing. Mix well with a fork until all the dry ingredients are incorporated with the wet ingredients. Bake 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Enjoy this gluten-free version of an old classic!


The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a coffee talk with the very charming Mireille Guiliano, author of the hugely successful French Women Don't Get Fat, and the newly released The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook.The event was organized by the amazing Keren Brown of Frantic Foodie, and held at Muse, a great little coffee shop on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.

Mireille dishes sensible dining advice, like eating in moderation, cooking with fresh ingredients, and drinking lots of water. Her main message is "get in the kitchen and cook!" 

In our fast-paced society our connection with food has faded, and our consumption of processed food has grown. Mirielle stresses that we need to re-gain that connection with our food, enjoy preparing it, enjoy eating it, allowing it to nourish our body and souls. We need to follow dining rituals and learn to enjoy our meals leisurely without racing to the finish line.

I have been cooking out of this book for the last few days, and the recipes are simple and good. (I am now addicted to Magical Breakfast Cream, a combination of plain yogurt, lemon juice, honey, flax oil, nuts and cereal.) Converting her recipes to gluten and diary free is easy. Where she uses butter, use Earth Balance Vegan Spread, where she uses pasta, substitute quinoa pasta (or your favorite GF pasta). Where she uses wheat flour, just substitute your favorite GF flour blend.

This is a great cookbook, not only for the recipes but for the advice on eating well without gaining weight. Here's what the jacket says, and I can't say it better: 

"Filled with stories from Mireille's childhood in France, her life in Paris, Provence, and New York, and her extensive travels and meals for business and enjoyment, The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook is a beautiful, practical lifestyle guide to living well, eating wonderfully, and getting the most out of life with the least amount of stress."

Sounds good to me.

Here are three of the recipes I tried from the cookbook this week:

Apple Compote with Pistachios
The pistachios are wonderful with the apples. I can think of so many ways to use this.

Quinoa with Almonds, Hazelnuts, and Apricots
This is a delicious breakfast. I sort of added extra nuts and apricots, so you can't really see the quinoa, but it's there.

Madeleines au Chocolat
I will tell you why French women don't get fat. They don't eat cookies! Seriously, there are no cookie recipes in this book. This is close. Madeleines are scrumptious little cookie/cakes, and this one in particular is wonderful. So soft and chocolately, and it must be eaten warm.


Just Beet It!

Have you ever really explored a spice market? I did recently. World Spice Merchants in Seattle has the most wonderful selection of interesting and unusual spices and weird ingredients. This one came home with me. The vivid color attracted me first. It is absolutely beautiful. 

My imagination went wild with what I could turn pink. Cookies, muffins, scones, biscuits, pie crust, frosting, etc. (of course my mind would go to desserts). You get the idea.

When I want to experiment with new ingredients, I usually go to my go-to cookie recipe - GF/CF Drop Sugar Cookies. They are just a simple sweet cookie, like an empty canvas ready to be played with. The flavor of the powder on its own is a little beety but mostly just super sweet. I whisked in four tablespoons of the beet powder to the dry ingredients. The vivid color became a little lighter during baking but is still pretty. After baking, the beet flavor becomes indistinguishable. 

Bottom line:  A little beet powder will make anything naturally pink without adding beet flavor. And who doesn't want pink food?
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