A Gluten-Free, Sugar Free Yellow Cake for the Healthy Mom

I know what you’re thinking. Gluten-free AND sugar free? For Mother’s day? Blech, no way! That can’t possibly taste good.

I’ll admit, when I began the task of making a gluten free and diabetic-friendly cake for my mom (who is trying to reduce her sugar intake), I was skeptical. I spent a month researching sugar replacements and asking my mom what she wanted in a cake that was slightly out of my realm of expertise. To the rest of the world, most people would throw in the towel, make some fruit salad and call it a day. But not me. I was determined to make this cake work. And as luck (and lots of testing!) would have it–it did!

My ‘test’ cupcakes

To begin my testing, I started with one of my favorite gluten free yellow cake recipes as my base. I first replaced the granulated sugar with raw agave (1 cup granulated sugar= 3/4 cup agave) and used coconut milk instead of regular milk to add some silkiness, and a bit of sweet. Then, to reduce the amount of white carbs (which are very unhealthy), I split the white rice flour with brown rice flour. The recipe took less than ten minutes to prepare!

You may think that in doing this I took out everything that makes a cake fluffy and sweet, moist and delicious. But even I, the queen of all sweet teeth, was surprised to find that this cake not only retained it’s fluffiness, but tasted better than a normal gluten free cake, with a lovely sweet flavor that lingered at the end of every bite. I didn’t miss the sugar! And it smelled good, too! How can you beat that?

Stay tuned for Sunday’s post, when I reveal the final product with all the icing :)

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Yellow Cake

Adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth Barbone

Dry ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup raw agave
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 8-inch round cake pans or one 9 x 13-inch pan, or line 20 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and agave until creamy, about a minute. Add the eggs and beat for 15 seconds.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Finally, stir in the milk and vanilla. Batter should be fluffy and light.

Pour batter evenly into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes (round cake pans/cupcakes) or 30 minutes (9×13-inch pan). Insert a cake tester into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Place on wire racks to cool and decorate as you please!


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A little gluten-free humor…

I thought you all might appreciate this cartoon that was sent my way…

Courtesy Alex Gregory/The New Yorker

Have a happy (and safe) May 1, everyone!

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NYC Bake Sale a HUGE success!

Quick post today to thank everyone who came out to support the NYC Food Blogger Bake Sale for Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry on Saturday at the Brooklyn Flea! (See Food Network’s doc Hunger Hits Home) Total raised was $3,400 (and counting, see below**)!!

My mom and I arrived early to help set up and and sell baked goods for a few hours with a number of other happy volunteer food bloggers! I had such a blast setting up the multitude of donated baked goods (see photos below) and enjoyed making lots of new friends!

Big shout outs to Lillian at Sweets by Sillianah and Ken at Hungry Rabbit for organizing the event! And to our wonderful sponsors, Brooklyn Flea, Joe’s Crabshack, and Fondu. Can’t wait for next year :)

**If you’d like to make a donation, there is still time! Visit www.bakesalenyc.tumblr.com/raffles by the end of today (Monday, April 30) to make your donation and enter one of our raffles!!

Photos from the event:

Setting up the tent!

The goodies my mom and I made, chocolate dipped gluten free macaroons (sitting next to Smitten Kitchen’s rice krispie treats, ahh, what an honor!)

And our blondie brownies…

Pretty Cake Pops

Pastries from Runner and Stone

Vegan cupcakes by Shana of Knifestyles of the Fit and Fabulous

Pretty Cookies by Baked Ideas

Yum, baked goods!

Me, hard at work :)


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Coconut Banana and Gluten Free Gingersnap Parfait

It is not often that I crave dessert that isn’t chocolate-infused, but today was one of those days (see the Pastry Affair’s wonderful, related post about mascarpone cheese ). When I’m not in the mood for chocolate, my dessert has to be rich and creamy. I am all about texture and flavor, and I particularly like mixing salty and tangy with sweet.

Two of my favorite flavors (ever) are ginger and coconut. I’m not sure how many of you have tried this combination, but if you haven’t yet–you should. It’s divine. I love how the sweetness of the coconut cools the zing of ginger. It makes me feel like I am sitting on some faraway island, relaxing and listening to the sounds of waves crash on the shore. Ahhh. Bliss.

Today I decided to take my quirky love of ginger and coconut and blend it into a well-loved dessert: the parfait. Parfait, which literally means perfect in french, is typically a layered dessert of cream and berries (or, if you are Rachel Green from Friends, you make it with cream and beef).

For my version, I chose to use four ingredients: vanilla pudding, gluten free gingersnap cookies, bananas and shredded coconut. The dessert is light, creamy and just sweet and cool enough for a summer or spring day. It can also be made in large batches, perfect for a party. Enjoy!

Coconut Banana and Gluten Free Gingersnap Parfait
by Emily of (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC

Serves 3

2 cups vanilla pudding (see below for recipe)
2 medium bananas, sliced into coin-size pieces
30 gluten free gingersnap cookies
1 tablespoon shredded coconut

For the pudding:

This recipe is adapted from Fresh and Fast by Marie Simmons.

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and then add the hot milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar in fully dissolved and the mixture starts to boil and thicken. This should take about 10 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until fully incorporated. When the pudding has thickened, add the salt and vanilla. Remove from heat.

Let the pudding cool completely before making the parfait, about an hour. Make sure to stir the pudding from time to time so it doesn’t become too thick. When the pudding has cooled, alternate spreading layers of the ingredients in this order: pudding, gingersnap cookies, pudding, bananas, pudding, gingersnap cookies. When it is finished, sprinkle coconut on top. (If you really love coconut, you may add it to the pudding as you layer.)

Refrigerate for an hour and serve at almost room temperature.

One Year Ago: Matzoh Brei

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No Kid Hungry Fod Blogger Bake Sale, Saturday April 28 in Brooklyn!

Hi NYC friends!

I am writing to tell you about and invite you to a wonderful program I’m doing this weekend, the NYC Blogger Bake Sale, which I got involved in through my blogger friend Lillian over at sweetsbysillianah. (Check her out!!) The bake sale (which will feature baked goods by blog bakers such as myself and NYC bakeries) supports No Kid Hungry, a great org that provides food for kids when they are not in school (summer breaks, etc). You all know how passionate I am about food, so there is no question that I am super excited to be involved in this program!!

If you’d like to come out and show your support (and buy a few treats!) please come to the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene this Saturday, April 28, located at 176 Lafayette Ave! The event will last from 10am-5pm, and if you come between 10am and 12pm, I will be there to greet you (along with my momma)!! :)

If you can’t make it, you can still be involved by making a donation (and we also have raffles!!) Visit http://bakesalenyc.tumblr.com/ for all the info or tweet us using the hashtag #NYCBakeSale.

Please spread the word so we can help these kids! No kid hungry!

Thank you!!

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Introducing the iPhone App Cheazza! (Cheap Pizza!)

Hello Blogosphere!

I wanted to take a moment to introduce my  friend (and fellow producer)’s fabulous new free iPhone app, which was released on iTunes TODAY! It’s called Cheazza, designed to help you find cheap and wonderful pizza in the NYC area! As of yet, this isn’t a “gluten free” app (one day, I hope!), but for those of my lucky readers who CAN still eat gluten, please be a pal and download the app and share it with friends!

You can read about the app here and here.

And if you LIKE the app, don’t be shy about commenting here and sharing with the group–so my friend can hear all the good words :)

Go forth, friends–download, play, eat and tweet! (and blog and facebook, too)

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Easy Fried Sweet Plantains: “Maduros”

As you all know, I am a huge fan of all things Latin. Language, culture, dance and of course, food. Recently, I was lucky enough to be taught how to make fried sweet plantains, one of my favorite Latin dishes, by a family friend who happens to be Colombian.

Plantains are produced worldwide, generally in tropical climates, but also in parts of Africa and the Northern US. They are similar to bananas in shape and color, though the fruit of the plantain is much firmer and not as sweet. Unlike the banana, which you can eat raw, plantains are generally cooked before eaten.  Two types of plantains work in this instance: the green plantain, which is an unripe, starchy and therefore savory plantain used to make chips and tostones and the overripe, yellowish-black plantains, which is what I used to make the fried sweet plantains. (I am partial to the yellow plantains, as I have a massive sweet tooth.)

Fried sweet plantains, known in Spanish as maduros, are made using only two ingredients: oil and yellow plantains. They take all of ten minutes to make, taste like candy, and are best when served warm. I will eat them as a side dish with rice, beans and/or meat, but since they are fried until golden brown, they can also be eaten as a dessert. I’ve heard tons of different ideas on what can be done with the fried sweet plantain: served with hot fudge on ice cream, stuffed in french toast, sprinked with sugar and coconut (as if they needed to be sweeter!), but for now I will leave you with the basic recipe…and then you can decide how creative you want to be! Enjoy!

Fried Sweet Plantains

Serves 2 people

1 yellowish-black overripe plantain (ask around in your grocery store if you need help)

Vegetable Oil, for frying

Prepare a large plate by covering with paper towels. This will help to reduce the oil left on the cooked plantain.

Placing the plantain on a cutting board, use a knife to cut off the top. Very carefully skin the plantain with your knife, noting that this will take a bit more time than it would if you were peeling a banana.

Slice the plantains lengthwise, about 3/4″ thick each. Set aside.

In a medium sized frypan, with high sides to prevent splattering, heat about 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetable oil. When the pan is hot enough, CAREFULLY place each plantain slice into the pan, taking care not to touch thehot oil. Use a fork to submerge the plantain fully in the oil.

Brown each side of the plantain (about 4 minutes total) or until the plantains are soft. Remove the plantains from the pan, taking care to  let any excess oil stay in the pan and not spill over, and place on the prepared plate. Gently pat the plantains dry and serve warm.

(Hooray, this is post #100!)

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Brooklyn Food Truck Rally returns for a second year this Sunday, April 15!

Photo Courtesy Prospect Park Alliance Website

Come one, come all! The NYC Food Truck Association and the Prospect Park Alliance are bringing back the fabulous Food Truck Rally. Every 3rd Sunday from April to October, New Yorkers can enjoy a sampling from some of their favorite food trucks all in one place, at Grand Army Plaza. The event begins at 11am and ends at 5pm. Be sure to bring cash for speedier lines and have fun!

(And I have to give a shoutout to CoolHaus truck, for all my GF-ers. They make the BEST gluten free ice cream sandwiches. Seriously. Heaven. Crossing my fingers to see them there again!)

UPDATE: The food truck rally will run every third sunday until October (except for May, when it will be May 27)

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Mini Easter Cupcakes, or the second round of Easter Baking

Yesterday, you may have read about how I attempted to make Easter egg cookies for my best friend’s family’s Easter celebration, and how it failed miserably.

Today, I woke up early and got back to work. I was going to attempt to make cookies once again, but was a little exhausted at the thought since I already had to go to work today. Lucky for me, we found some little chick and bunny shaped sugars from King Arthur in the cabinet, making my choice easy: mini cupcakes!

I made my own icing, dyed it green, and then carefully piped a little bit on each cupcake to represent grass.

We even got creative and made our own box! Neat, huh?

We might have had a little too much fun making the box…

I hope they like them :)

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

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An Attempt at Easter Egg Cookies

Tonight, I am a sad baker.

As Easter rapidly approached this week, I was filled with eagerness at the thought of baking cookies to bring to my best friend’s family’s house. I found a lovely little picture of slice and bake chick cookies, which I intended to replicate from scratch, and made the dough (in two colors) a day ahead. Tonight was going to be my night to slice, bake and decorate.

At 4:45pm I made it to my kitchen to begin. As I rolled out the dough and combined the two colors to shape, I realized that this wasn’t going to work. Quickly, my mom and and I dyed the rest of the dough other colors and began to braid them. Our plan was to roll out the dough, with the colors all mixed in together, and then cut them out in the shape of easter eggs.

That was the plan.

After a short dinner break we got back to baking. I tasted the first batch and discovered, ick, these cookies had no taste at all! What a bummer! But, as all great bakers know, the creative process is mostly trial and error. Even a fool-proof, tried and true recipe is prone to some mess-ups here and again. And, like all great bakers do, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off (literally) and try again.

So tomorrow morning, before work, I will get up and make a new batch of cookies, determined as ever to bring a giant tray to my best friend’s house.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday weekend,


Last Year’s Easter: Birds’ Nest Rice Krispie Treats

Last Year’s Passover: Gluten Free Matzoh and Dirty Macaroons

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