Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Hanging out on a Fall Sunday and baking is where it's at!  
When the weather is windy, rainy and cold, what better way to enjoy your day than to create something sweet to eat.  I like to get a big cup of coffee with creamer and just focus in on what I am doing.  This is when I let the kids keep themselves busy and we enjoy some free time.

We live in the Pacific Northwest and this time of year is simply beautiful.  The trees have started to turn and the rain comes and goes.  We still have some blue skies here and there which makes it  perfect for some fall outdoor time.  
The apples this time of year are amazing!  It almost makes it hard to narrow down what you want to make with them since cooking with them can be savory or sweet.  Of course, I went with sweet.....

I finally was able to get to a store that carried the new Daiya Cream Cheese spread.  I have been wanting to try it since it came out.  With my daughters food allergies there is nothing close she can experience to a "cream cheese" likeness.  She is highly allergic to soy and most nuts, so creating something close has been impossible.  And anytime I can get her to try something different I am thrilled.  She has such a limited diet, and with her Autism trying new textures and tastes are a huge undertaking for her.  I usually have better luck making new foods sweet instead of savory, she is a kid after all!

I ended up making this cake with more of a rustic look and not icing the whole thing.  The apple (and pumpkin) in this recipe add a sweet subtle flavor and a lot of moisture to this recipe.  It wont be as "tall" as a regular baked cake with that much produce, but it's a welcome change.  After experimenting with the "cream cheese" and making it into a icing, it does turn out quite sweet!  So less is actually more with this icing.....  and the toasted coconut on top adds a nice crunch and flavor.  

You could certainly use this cake for the upcoming holiday season, it is quite versatile.  It would also make a great dessert for guests you have who aren't "allergy free" since they could never guess it is missing so many "normal" ingredients!  Just delicious.  You could even switch it up and add in dried cranberries or raisins if you wish.   It would also make a lovely sheet cake if you are rushed for time.  

I hope you are enjoying the start of Fall as much as we are, if not,  perhaps making a Apple Spice Cake, will put you into the mood!  


Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing:
oven: 350
(2)  9 inch round baking pans, lined with parchment

1 Cup  Brown Rice Flour
1/4 Cup  White Rice Flour (plain or sweet)
1/4 Cup  Potato Starch
1 tsp.  Xantham Gum
2 tsp.  Baking Powder
1 tsp.  Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp.  Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp.  Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp.  Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp.  Fine Sea Salt
1 Cup  Organic Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup  Oil     ( I used canola)
1 1/2 tsp.  Egg Substitute mixed with 2 TB warm water
1 1/2 tsp.  Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cups  Organic Pumpkin Puree
2 Cups  Peeled and Chopped Apples, of choice ( I used 2 large Gala)
1/2 Cup  Toasted Pecans (optional)
1/3 Cup  Coconut (plain or sweetened)   plus:  1 Cup Toasted Coconut for top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking pans with parchment paper, set aside.
In small separate bowl:  whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sea salt.  Set aside.
In large mixing bowl with paddle attachment:  add brown sugar, oil, egg substitute, vanilla and pumpkin and mix on medium speed 2-3 minutes until well combined.  Add in apples and mix on medium about 3 minutes to "break down" a bit.  Slowly, on low speed, add in dry mixture scraping down with a spatula when needed.  When just combined add in pecans and coconut and mix in.  Scrape mixture evenly into baking pans and bake 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.  Cool completely before icing.

"Cream Cheese" Icing:

4 oz.  Daiya plain cream cheese spread
1/4 Cup  Butter Substitute (I use Earth Balance, soy free)
3 Cups  Organic Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp.  Pure Vanilla Extract
1 TB.  Coconut Milk (carton)  or milk substitute of choice
dash of salt

In mixing bowl with paddle attachment:  add in cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, coconut milk, powdered sugar and dash of salt.  Mix until well  until combined and spreadable.
Once cake is completely cooled, assemble cake with icing and top with toasted coconut.  Enjoy!

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Also shared at:Slightly Indulgent Tuesday,Tasteful Tuesday Party,Fat Tuesday,Allergy Free Wednesday,Gluten Free Wednesdays,Gluten Free Fridays,Simple Meals Friday,Healing With Food Friday,Wellness Weekend

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Donuts

Here are some Sunday morning Fall donuts!  

A touch of pumpkin with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.  You don't have to feel guilty about enjoying one (or two) of these donuts since they are allergy free, baked and don't contain any refined sugar!         
(o.k., minus the icing.....:)   )
I made these very simple, but please feel free to kick them up a notch with adding in extras, like dried cranberries, chocolate chips, nuts etc.  
So grab your morning java or hot apple cider and celebrate the coming of Fall!

gluten free/vegan

Pumpkin Donuts:
Oven: 350 degrees
1 donut pan- greased
Makes: 6 regular size donuts or 12 mini donuts

1/3 Cup  Brown Rice Flour
1/3 Cup  White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup  Potato Starch
1/4 Cup  Tapioca Starch
1/2 tsp.  Xantham Gum
2 tsp.  Baking Powder
1/8 tsp.  Fine Sea Salt
1/8 tsp.  Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp.  Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Cup  Coconut Palm (sugar)
1/2 Cup  Organic Canned Pumpkin
1/4 Cup  Milk Substitute (I use Rice)
1/4 Cup  Coconut Oil (or oil of choice)
1 1/2 tsp.  Egg Replacer mixed with 2 TB warm water
1/2 tsp.  Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare donut pan and set aside.
In separate small bowl mix together; brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xantham gum, baking powder, sea salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Whisking by hand, so well combined.  Set aside.
In large mixing bowl with paddle attachment;  add coconut palm, pumpkin, milk substitute, oil (my coconut oil was soft enough not to melt), egg replacer and vanilla.  Mix on medium speed until well combined, scraping down with a spatula when needed.  With mixer on low speed, slowly add in premixed dry ingredients.  Mix on medium until well mixed, scraping down when needed (about 2-4 minutes).
Once blended together scrape batter into heavy duty ziplock bag.  Snip a tiny portion of the tip off and squeeze batter into donut pan filling 1/2 to 3/4 full.  You can smooth the top of batter with a wet spoon if lumpy.  Bake regular sized donuts 8-10 minutes and mini donuts 6 minutes.  Toothpick should come out clean when tested.  Let cool and remove from pan.

Spider Web Chocolate Icing:

1/4 Cup  Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
1/2 TB  Coconut Oil

Once donuts have cooled.
In a small microwave safe bowl add the chocolate chips and coconut oil and melt on high, checking every 15-30 seconds.  Stir mixture after each "check" until melted completely.  Add melted mixture to a small ziplock baggie and snip a tiny portion of the end off.  Drizzle two circles on the donut.  One around the hole and one near the edge.  Using a toothpick, "pull" the chocolate outwards making a cobweb design.

Spooky delicious!

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Also shared at:Slightly Indulgent Tuesday,Tasteful Tuesday Party,Fat Tuesday,Allergy Free Wednesday,Gluten Free Wednesdays,Waste Not Want Not Wednesday,Gluten Free Fridays,Wellness Weekend

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The "Hair Bean"....

The Hair Bean!
You have probably by now seen this "As Seen On TV" product.  Let me tell's the bomb!  If you have a kid with sensory issues you have to check this out.
My daughter, because of her Autism, wakes up each and every morning with a mass of tangles.  She has very fine hair, but a ton.   We have had many days where I would just let it go to give us both a break!  She would cry and scream and dread every hair comb-out session.  And I'm not kidding when I say "session".  I would use detangler spray, a brush and a pick.  And as gentle as I tried to be, it of course pulled and hurt.  
I struggled with making the decision of cutting her hair.  But then having sensory issues, getting it cut was another battle.  And her hair is beautiful....and she loves it long.  
My wonderful Mom (and amazing Grandma...) saw it at one of her favorite stores and ended up buying us 2 to try.  It looked odd, but we were willing to try anything at this point.  When we used it the next morning I was amazed!  It gently brushes through the hair.  It doesn't yank the hair, as the bristles are a soft plastic, and very small.  
It was almost funny to watch her just look glazed into the mirror as I first brushed because it actually felt good.  (A lot of people actually like having their hair brushed!)  She hasn't felt that since before her Autism.  It's been a long time!
And the best part is she said it made her "happy"!   She even uses it herself, which is HUGE for a kid with Autism.   
When her hair gets really bad (way worse than these pictures) I will still spray it with her detangler and sometimes use her small pick with the Hair Bean.  
My only complaints with it is that the shape of it (a bean) is hard to hold onto.  I drop that darn thing often while brushing.  And it could be a lot sturdier.  Ours hasn't broke, but it seems like it could easily.  My mom picked us up several more just in case they broke or wore out and we couldn't find them in the future.  She luckily found them for cheap!  
I hope this review of the Hair Bean is helpful.  I think anything that gives our kids a "break" is a good thing and we should spread the word! 

This is a mild "hair morning" for her.  Her hair is  
usually much worse than this.


This is after using the Hair Bean.  I didn't need to 
use her detangler spray this morning, but after
I brushed it I ran some water over the top of 
the brush to "smooth" her hair down a bit.
(her top is different because she spilled on it
and had to change, but this is right after
I was done brushing it)


This is what the package looks like without the brush in it.
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture with it in it!

This is what the brush bristles look like.  They are a soft plastic
tip.  But not poky by any means.  There is a small case that
it fits into with a tiny mirror inside.  

*note:   This is my own personal review and wasn't asked to do it by any company.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I promised myself I wasn't going to do another pumpkin recipe until summer was officially over.....but I guess since technically it's only a few weeks away....what the heck! 
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls make a special treat for a (pre) fall morning.  My family loves them and since I don't make them very often, they are eaten quickly.  
This is a pretty basic recipe, minus the gluten, dairy, eggs, soy etc. (ha!)  But simple enough.  It would be wonderful for the holiday season ahead.  The pumpkin ends up adding a nice moisture to this batch, which is hard to do when you aren't using eggs.  
If you have trouble with nuts, leave them out.  You could always add in raisins, apples or cranberries instead.  Whatever you desire!  
Keep in mind with most all allergy free baking, baked good tend to dry out very quickly, so if you have leftovers feel free to pop them into the microwave and warm them up for a few seconds to soften them back up.   So grab a cup of warm cider and enjoy!

gluten free/vegan

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing:
parchment lined baking dish, 9x9

3/4 Cup  Coconut Milk (carton)
1 1/8 tsp  Rapid Rise Yeast
1/4 Cup  Organic Sugar
1/4 Cup  Organic Pumpkin Puree (canned)
1/4 Cup  Butter substitute, melted  (we use Earth Balance-soy free)

3/4 Cup  Brown Rice Flour
1/2 Cup  White Rice Flour
3/4 Cup  Potato Starch
1/2 Cup  Corn Starch
1 1/8 tsp.  Xantham Gum
1/4 tsp.  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp.  Baking Soda
1/2 tsp.  Fine Sea Salt

1/2 Cup  Butter substitute, melted (we use Earth Balance-soy free)
1/2 Cup  Organic Brown Sugar
1 1/2 TB  Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp.  Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Cup  Pecans (toasted) (save 1 TB to sprinkle on top once done).........*optional

Maple Icing:
1/2 Cup  Organic Powdered Sugar
1 TB  Butter, melted (we use Earth Balance-soy free)
1 TB  Pure Maple Syrup
1 TB  Coconut Milk (carton)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Turn off.  Prepare baking pan with parchment.  Set aside.
In a small bowl, heat coconut milk to 110 degrees.  Add yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar to warmed milk, whisk together.  Let sit 5-10 minutes.  In large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, add pumpkin puree and 1/4 cup melted butter.  Mix well.  Add yeast mixture and mix on low until combined.  Next, add brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.  Mix until well combined, scraping down when needed.  Remove bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place into warmed oven and let rise 1 hour.  Once risen, remove from oven and roll dough out on floured (I use white rice) surface with rolling pin. Roll out into a large rectangle (as thick or thin as you like).  Preheat oven to 200 degrees for next rise.  Turn off once at 200 degrees.  Next, spread filling ingredients onto rolled out dough.  Spread on melted butter, top with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and toasted pecans.  Using a metal scraper, roll dough into tube and slice into even "rolls".  Place into prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes in warmed oven.  Once the 2nd rise in done, remove from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 15 - 17 minutes.  While baking, make icing.  In small bowl mix together, powdered sugar, melted butter, maple syrup and coconut milk.  Whisk until combined.  Pour over freshly baked rolls and serve immediately!  Enjoy!

Time to roll up!

Glazed and waiting......

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Also shared at:
Fat Tuesday ,Tasteful Tuesday Party,Allergy Free Wednesday,Gluten Free Wednesdays,Waste Not Want Not Wednesday,Healthy 2Day Wednesday,Gluten Free Fridays,Healing With Food Friday,Slightly Indulgent Tuesday