When the ingredients are good, fresh, and well blended, combinations like coffee and cake are a match made in culinary heaven. But when something is awry, well, you've got little to hide behind.
I guess that's why I was more than a bit nervous when my mom informed me 4 hours before we intended to leave, that instead of having a post movie discussion at a coffee shop, we were going to have it at our house - and could I whip up a nice coffee or tea cake for our company?
An on the fly gluten free Starbucks quality cake? Sure no problem...
Actually, thanks to a little planning and Internet researching, I came up with a perfect company cake. Coffee cake, with its crumbly, cinnamon sugar topping, seemed too complicated, and besides, my favorite coffee shop confections was always a slice of a simple, sugary, fruit flavored pound cake.
It didn't take long to happen upon Ina Garten's Orange Pound Cake recipe. With an orange glaze courtesy of The Amateur Gourmet, and a a few adaptions of my own, I managed to recreate what I believe is gluten-free pound cake perfection.
Beautiful, light, and with just the right amount of orange, this cake was perfect next to a cup of tangerine zinger tea and the in depth character analysis that followed our movie going experience. But don't take my word for it - my guests enjoyed three half-slices each. Not too bad for people who weren't quite sure what "gluten-free" meant mere hours earlier.
With recipes like this, my dear Celiac friends, were slowing endangering ourselves of risking having our troublesome eating restrictions and the complications they cause us be brushed away by a nonchalant hand wave. No wheat flours, huh? Well clearly coming up with good gluten-free alternatives is easy. Polio, now there's something you have to watch out for...
Sure, sharing food like this might make friends and family think you're being a little over dramatic about the impact being gluten free has had on your life. But you won't care. You'll have this cake.
Orange Almond Pound Cake
with orange vanilla syrup and an orange glaze
based on recipes by Ina Garten and The Amature Gourmet
8 Tablespoons of Earth Balance Butter (or regular butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/3rd - 1/2 cup grated orange zest**
1 cup GF flour blend
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 1/4 cup orange juice
**(I zest to the whites so it was 2 oranges for me. approximately the zest of 2 - 3 oranges, depending on how you like your orange flavor)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 /2 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 - 2 Tablespoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a loaf pan.
Combine buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.
Likewise, combine (or sift, if you're feeling fancy) flour, almond meal, xanthum gum, sa
lt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set the dry ingredient mixture aside.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter (beat with electric mixer about 3 minutes, until fluffy). Beat in eggs - one at a time - and chase it with the orange zest. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredient mixtures to the batter, starting and ending with the flour.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let stand for at least five minutes. Then, turn the pan over on a plate (or drying rack), don't worry it will slip out easily provided you've greased and floured ahead of time. While the cake cools an additional five minutes, make the orange vanilla syrup.
In a small pot, combine sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. Heat on medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes a little thick (about three minutes). Spoon some or all of the mixture on top of the cake.
When you're ready to serve, in a small bowl, mix 1 - 2 Tablespoons of orange juice with the powdered sugar to form a thick orange glaze. Drizzle some or all on top of the cake.
Eat, enjoy with friends, and watch your cake disappear.
Note: This amazing cake could be made with a tangerine, lemon, or lemon lime variation. Heck, it could be made as cranberry orange, peach orange, raspberry lemon...all depending on the kind of juice and zest you use. Experiment. It's good for the soul and the taste buds.