The Forum: Gluten-free goodies help fill void

  • By Judyrae Kruse Hera;ld Columnist
  • Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:18am
  • LifeLetters

We just had two new pies to try last Friday, so now let’s move along to a new cake.

This one’s all yummed up with cranberries, carrots and pecans and nicely spiced with cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. Best yet, it contains neither gluten nor rice.

What’s more, Marysville cook Barbara Friend tells us, “Family and friends all agree this is very good — and had they not known — would not have realized it was not made with regular gluten ingredients.’’

Explaining her enthusiasm for this treasure, Barbara says, “I’ve eaten LOTS of not-so-good bread and pastries since I was diagnosed with Celiac disease.

“Since finding a very complete cookbook, ‘1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes’ by Carol Fenster, I’ve improved my baking adventures. I thought I was too old (79) to start a whole new learning cooking-and-eating process, but I’ve managed. It’s quite challenging …’’

Barbara notes the following recipe is taken from “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy’’ by Bette Hagman.

Simply super carrot cake (gluten and rice free)

1/2cup light or dark bean flour

1/2cup cornstarch

1/2cup tapioca flour

1/2teaspoon xanthan gum

1teaspoon baking powder

1teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon cinnamon

1teaspoon vanilla

1/4teaspoon ginger

11/2teaspoons egg replacer (optional)

1/2teaspoon salt

2eggs or 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute

3/4cup sugar

1/2cup regular or light mayonnaise

11/2cups grated carrots

3tablespoons chopped pecans

3tablespoons dried cranberries

Frosting of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick coating.

In a medium bowl, blend together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, egg replacer (if used) and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light. Add the sugar and mayonnaise and beat to blend. (If using the egg substitute, just add the sugar and mayonnaise and beat to blend.) With a spoon, beat in the flour mixture. Add the carrots, nuts and cranberries and stir until blended. (The dough will be quite thick.) Spoon into the prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

For a 9-by-13-inch pan, double all ingredients and bake 45 to 50 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 17 to 20 minutes.

Let cake or cupcakes cool before frosting.

Now, gluten-free guys and gals, or anybody else with the proper know-how, Barbara has an SOS for us: “I have an unanswered question perhaps some of your readers may be able to answer,’’ she says.

“Is there a ‘blanket exchange’ for transposing my old favorites to gluten-free recipes? I’ve tried several recipes, and my gluten-free substitutions for standard ingredients have mostly been unsatisfactory.’’

If you can answer her question, please write to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.

We are always happy to receive your contributions and requests, but please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.

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