If you've never tried grain-free baking, good luck. It is a real challenge!
Lately at work (I work in a bakery at a farm store called Moulton Farm, best place, I love it!) and we have started the process of transitioning into fall. Between fall decorations and fall items, like pumpkin muffins and cider, the Autumn mood really sets in. I love fall and I couldn't wait for it to come. All this excitement over the new season, therefore, inspired me to bake something fall-y. :)
Thinking about fall, made me think of apple picking.
I love apples and apple picking. It is one of my favorite pastimes.
I had been wanting to attempt a cake recipe, so I thought, why not use apples? That's what I was in the mood for.
But it had to be healthy, vegan, and gluten free.
My mum recently went gluten free to see whether or not it would help her allergies and skin, and I hated that I kept baking things she couldn't try.
We do not have many gluten free flours in our house at the moment, but I did have some coconut flour, which I had read that it could be used on its own without any added starches or xanthan gum.
I also had a bunch of dates leftover from my experimentations with black bean brownies.
So I decided to use those.
It would be a gluten/grain-free, naturally sweetened, vegan apple cake.
But making this cake taste like, well, cake, was a whole lot harder than I anticipated.
My first attempt looked fine when I checked it in the oven after about 10 minutes. I knew it would take longer to bake, but I wanted to see how it was coming along. It looked good.
10 minutes later, however, it had completely sunk in.
Needs more baking powder, I thought.
Wrong. It sunk again.
Needs more water? Coconut flour is very absorbent.
Nope. Not only did it sink, but it would not bake through no matter how long I left it in the oven for. Unless of course I wanted to burn the whole thing.
Success! I discovered that if this cake batter did not resemble normal cake batter, it would bake through in a reasonable amount of time.
I will tell you, however, that it does not taste exactly like normal cake. It is more moist and less sweet, but that is perfect for a crisp Fall dessert.
- 2 flax eggs (2 Tbs flax meal + 6 Tbs water)
- 2 Tbs unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 Tbs unsweetened cinnamon applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 4 pitted dates
- 1/4 cup (more or less) chopped macintosh apples
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash baking soda
- pinch of salt
- Prior to baking, soak dates for at least a couple of hours.
- Preheat oven to 375º F.
- In a food processor, add in 2 flax eggs and pulse a few times.
- Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Add in the dates and process until combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together dry ingredients (coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).
- Add in the flax-date mixture.
- Stir until combined.
- Add in remaining ingredients (milk, applesauce, vanilla, maple syrup, and apples).
- Grease a fairly small baking pan with coconut oil.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes depending on your pan size/oven.
- You can eat this cake warm, but it will solidify more after cooling completely.
This is not like a typical cake. It is small, and can end up being a bit soggy if not baked for long enough, but it is still very good and perfect for fall. :)