Apple Cake to the Rescue. Again.
I decided to bake a cake. Because trying to wrestle gluten-free pie dough for an apple pie just seemed too fussy. Too complicated. Though in all honesty, that isn't the whole, unvarnished truth. The whole, unvarnished truth is, Yours Truly is more of a cake person than a pie person. It's true- pies have their charm. I've been known to inhale a slice or two of apple pie in my day. But here's the thing. And I'm going to be blunt.
Gluten-free pastry crust is simply not as flaky and tender and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful as wheat pastry crust. There. I said it. Fighting words, to some. And if you are among those true believers feel free to disagree. And go eat your gluten-free pie. I bless you with a thousand sprinkles of pie fairy dust. With love. And kisses. And pink ponies.
Gluten, you see, is more than a pesky protein with a bad rep. Gluten is what makes pastry dough soft, flaky and tender. Gluten is what inspired bakers to bake all those years ago, firing up their hand-hewn brick-lined ovens. Gluten was their muse. Their seductive mistress. Gluten took them beyond three ingredient pancakes and palm-tossed flatbreads. Gluten fed their imagination. Inspired tarts, baklava, cupcakes. Napoleons. And yes. Apple pie. Because gluten is a magical ingredient (despite its bad press these days). We have to admit it. She's not an easy paramour to replace.
Perhaps some day soon I'll be tempted to experiment with a gluten-free wheat-free pastry dough. I'll be lured into believing I can recreate such delicate, fragile beauty. But not today. I'll bake this 'no apology necessary' Apple Crisp or this amazing vegan Pumpkin Pie with Coconut-Pecan Crust.
For breakfast, I'll eat applesauce cake.
Right now, I can live with that.
Karina's Applesauce Crumb Cake Recipe with Cinnamon
Originally published November 2012 by Karina Allrich.We debated whether or not to add chopped nuts to this (delightful!) cinnamon-laced and apple pie spiced gluten-free coffee cake. And though we were mightily tempted, we decided to keep it simple, and skipped the nuts.
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1/2 cup hazelnut, chestnut or almond flour
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 organic free-range eggs, beaten
1/2 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 cup organic applesauce
For the topping:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sorghum flour
3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
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: sorghum flour, potato starch, hazelnut flour, brown sugar, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg.
Add in the eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat to combine.
Add in the applesauce and beat by hand to mix the batter.
Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth it out to the edges.
Make the topping combining the brown sugar, sorghum flour, coconut oil, and cinnamon. Mix with a fork until sandy textured.
Spread the crumb topping on the batter. Lightly press down.
Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, then loosely tent a piece of foil over the top to prevent the topping from over-browning. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the center of the cake is firm and a wooden pick inserted in the middle emerges clean.
Cool the cake on a wire rack.
Delicious and fragrant with spices served warm. Careful- it will be a bit fragile when warm.
This lovely cinnamon-spiced cake 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.
Yield: 10-12 slices
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