Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Coffee Cake- and a love story

Snow in New Mexico
Winter in Northern New Mexico- my view.

First, the love part.


It's been snowy, windy, cold- you name it. From all the tweets I've been reading over on Twitter lately, I'm not alone. Far from it. This has been one crazy snowy month. So what does a gluten-free goddess do when she gets stuck in the middle of the desert with no buckwheat flour, no sorghum, and no four-wheel drive? (Note to self- if you're going to live in rural Northern New Mexico, Darling, a cute and thrifty little Honda Fit won't cut it.)

Snowed in and hungry she does the only sensible thing.

She scans the pantry and pulls out a Whole Foods gluten-free cake mix and starts stirring things up. She starts imagining dirt bombs. And bakes up a coffee cake worthy of the winter holidays.

The love part of the story?

When Steve and I first started dating- back in those golden carefree pre-celiac days- we would do what any couple falling in love does. We would find any excuse to meet up for coffee and dirt bombs (you know, those hefty crumb-topped bakery muffins conjured from who knows how many sticks of creamy butter and mounds of sugar and crowned with sweet and bumpy cinnamon topping). We'd use painting plein air as our excuse for this caffeine-and-sugar fortification.

After packing up our paints and brushes, a stack of toned 9x12-inch panels, and two beat up, spattered French easels, off to The Cottage Street Bakery we would motor, Crowded House on the cassette deck, early morning sea breeze in our faces, lust in our hearts. I mean, love in our hearts.

True love, Gentle Reader. Big love. The kind of love you hope through your bad marriage for, sneaking any extra cash you make designing greeting cards and t-shirts into the grubby old pair of boots in the back of the closet just in case you need a lawyer for. 

That kind of love.

Because if you know it exists- and it does, my Sweet, it does- that kind of patient, informed waiting can save your life. That blood throbbing belief in a kindred heart- out there, somewhere. Looking up at the same moon. Same star. Same midnight. It can get you through. It can give you courage.

It can fuel your maternal instinct when a father snarls the words stupid and retarded and every hair on the back of your neck stands up as you turn to look at your beautiful son tugging off his Little League cap in a sunlit frustration so clean and pure you can taste it, and even though you have, maybe, only four hundred dollars stuffed away in that boot, you know the time is now.

You know you have to dig deep and bury the fear of poverty and failure and familial disapproval, and you growl from your gut that this matrimonial death is a choice for life. Three lives, in fact.

Because once the dream of a love that is true takes hold, you understand that its impostor will never be more than less.



Now- the recipe.



Sweet potato coffee cake
Sweet potato coffee cake with crumb topping.


So Easy Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Coffee Cake Recipe

Posted December 2008.

After remembering the cinnamon-sugar dirt bombs of our courtship I had a craving for a coffee cake with similar attributes. But I had no gluten-free flours on hand. What I did have is a cake mix. A Whole Foods Gluten-Free White Cake Mix. So I slipped into the role of Cake Doctor and whipped up a coffee cake that was tantalizingly different. You know, not your usual boring coffee cake. It pays to keep a few mixes on hand. Just in case.

Ingredients:

1 box Gluten-Free White Cake Mix* 14 oz. box makes one 8 or 9-inch cake
1/2 cup pureed sweet potato
4 tablespoons light olive oil or coconut oil
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer (made with 1/4 cup warm water)
1/2 cup vanilla hemp milk- or non-dairy milk or orange juice
1 teaspoon mild vinegar or lemon juice
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger, or 2 teaspoons fresh grated, if you prefer

For the "dirt bomb" topping:

2 tablespoons Organic Spectrum Shortening or coconut oil
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon gluten-free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions:

Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl; rub and crumble it between palms to create a sandy texture.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with shortening and dust lightly with gluten-free flour.

Pour the cake mix into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients- sweet potato through ginger. Beat until a smooth batter forms; beat an additional minute.

Pour into the prepared cake pan; shake a bit to distribute the batter evenly. Crumble the topping all over the cake batter.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until firm and tender- about 30 minutes or so. I bake at high altitude, so your mileage may vary.

Cool on a wire rack.

Place a large plate on the cake pan; quickly turn over and release the cake; repeat onto a clean cake plate.

Makes 8 to 10 slices.

Notes:


This cake is lovely a little bit warm, but also delicious slightly chilled from the freezer (I wrap separate pieces in foil, then freeze for quick on-the-go treats).

I imagine any favorite gluten-free vanilla cake mix will work. Just make sure it's for a 9-inch pan; and the wet to dry ratio called for is the same.

I made this vegan and egg-free, however, if you prefer using eggs, use 2 large happy organic eggs, beaten till fluffy.

I made this cake nut-free but adding some chopped walnuts or pecans to the topping would also be yummy.

This Whole Foods gluten-free cake mix was purchased by me unbeknownst to Whole Foods; it was not given to me in exchange for reviewing the product.

Gluten-Free Pantry Vanilla Cake Mix will also work.

And speaking of Whole Foods check out this fabulous Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Recipe list over at the Whole Foods Market Holiday Guide 2008.


Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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xox Karina