Gluten-Free Pumpkin Crumb Cake
Cinnamon Pumpkin Coffee Cake.
The Winter Solstice will be here soon. The holiday frenzy of gift buying and light stringing and cookie making is officially upon us. Everywhere I cast my gaze I am pummeled with messages. SHOP! BAKE! SPARKLE!
And that's okay.
Because I understand the hoopla. I know where this urge comes from. The itch to make a ruckus in the dark. To sing, brave and clear, cupping our tiny flames against Midwinter's long night.
The California sun hangs soft and low in the sky, as pale as ice cream. Hours feel clipped. Afternoons are shorter and shorter. Night creeps ever closer. Darkness will soon reign over light.
But only for a moment. One single, solitary, longest night of the year.
No wonder we gather to celebrate. The rebirth of light is no small thing. And a brand new year awaits. Front loaded with promise, and changes hoped for.
I had hoped to finally conquer gluten-free sugar cookies. But after tasting more than one middling batch (I also have to bake without butter, remember) I became more interested in reading a new book than wrestling with sugar cookie dough. Yes, I miss rolling out sugar cookies. And yes, I would be (more than!) thrilled to sign on here today and boast about the best gluten-free sugar cookie ever. But. It's not gonna happen. This week anyway.
I had two sad, cracked (and complaining) teeth yanked this week. (Celiac disease is not kind to teeth and bones. My childhood was riddled with amalgam and the torture inducing whine of belt-driven drills, cementing a lifelong terror of dentists.)
So that gave me the perfect excuse to nap. And read in bed.
I am reading Carolyn G. Heilbrun- The Last Gift of Time. I read a chapter on memory- and the seduction of nostalgia (a favorite subject of mine, you may remember). And I read this...
"Every time those of us in our last decades allow a memory to occur, we forget to look at what is in front of us, at the new ideas and pleasures we might, if firmly in the present, encounter and enjoy."
Carolyn (in her seventies when she wrote this book) urges us to stay present in the here and now as we age, and not drift into the mental trap of nostalgia and memories. I wholeheartedly agree. I love learning something new- every day- turning not to an assumption, a belief or a habit, but toward the thrill of a new skill, and new technologies (iphoneography is a new passion of mine- an art form in its infancy). Keeping myself open, engaged in the here and now means keeping things fresh. Letting go of the old, the stale past, the so-called good old days. Because as good as they were, they are not now. And as bad as some days may have been, today can be different.
Now is new.
And in this spirit, Steve and I baked a pumpkin crumb cake instead of recreating cookies. A new Christmas tradition, perhaps? Why not?
Cake for breakfast.
Karina's Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Pumpkin Crumb Cake Recipe
Originally published December 2011.This pumpkin flavored coffee cake is light and tender, topped with a cinnamon laced streusel crumb topping. A perfect cake to bake the night before Christmas. It is also divine served warm from the oven.
1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
3/4 cup almond or hazelnut flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
For streusel topping:
1/3 cup organic light brown sugar
3 tablespoons brown rice flour or sorghum flour
3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans (may omit)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9-inch deep cake pan or baking dish with a piece of parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients: light brown sugar, brown rice or sorghum flour, almond or hazelnut flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Add in the pumpkin, beaten eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract. Beat to combine.
The batter at this point will be smooth and sticky, and not too thin. Humidity affects flours, so you may need more liquid, depending upon your locale. If so, add 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk.
Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth it out to the edges. Use wet hands if you need to.
Make the streusel topping, combining the brown sugar, brown rice or sorghum flour, coconut oil, chopped walnuts or pecans (if using), and cinnamon. Mix until sandy.
Spread the streusel topping on the cake. Lightly press down to even it out.
Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 minutes, then loosely tent a piece of foil over the top to prevent the streusel from browning too much. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the center of the cake is firm and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.
Cool the coffee cake on a wire rack.
Delicious served slightly warm.
May be baked the night before, cooled, and wrapped for the next morning. Slice, wrap in foil, and freeze uneaten cake slices in a freezer bag.
Cook time: 55 minutes Yield: 10-12 slices
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The pumpkin and the eggs are the moisture in this cake recipe. It is not a thin batter, in fact it resembles muffin batter more than standard cake batter. If your better ends up too stiff because you live in a drier climate, you may add a tablespoon or two of soy milk or rice milk.
I made this cake with fresh organic eggs, but I have always had wonderful luck baking with Ener-G Egg Replacer (mix up the equivalent of three eggs).
I am experimenting with a blend of starches now, so I used a blend of tapioca starch and cornstarch. I think it created a lighter cake.
This is a gluten-free and dairy-free recipe.