My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cookie Crumb Cake (Vanilla Wafer Cake)

I love this recipe because not only is it easy to make but it is very flexible for people with a gluten allergy or diabetics. You can tweak this recipe easily and it always turns out great. Even people that can't bake well, this cake recipe is for you! I have experimented adding & substituting ingredients and it always comes out perfect. I also like it because I can use up cookie crumbs or "recycle" cookies that I really didn't like much into a fabulous cake or muffins. How can you not like a recipe like that? It also doesn't require a mixer so you just stir ingredients together with a wooden spoon. EASY! The cake goes together quickly so it is great for a last minute cake (just make sure you have enough eggs or egg beaters to make it because it does require 6 eggs!) I make this when we have guests for brunch and want to have something sweet on the table. No one ever guesses that I make it GLUTEN FREE and I rarely have leftovers! (Leftovers do freeze great for a quick breakfast later!) You can also serve this hearty cake with berries and whipped cream to substitute for a shortcake. I save my gluten free cookie crumbs in a baggie in the freezer (either homemade or store-bought) or even gluten free cookies that I am not crazy about - then when I get 10-12oz. of cookie crumbs - I make this lovely cake with them!

I first saw the "original" version called "Vanilla Wafer Cake" on Paula Deen's cooking show. I thought it looked super easy, yummy and the wheels were turning in my head about  how I could substitute items to make it gluten free. I tried it and not only was it super easy, it was very tasty. If you don't have a gluten allergy, you can use the original recipe that calls for vanilla wafers. Since there are no added flour to this recipe, there is no mixing of flours which is nice. It also doesn't have any added butter/fat so it is moist but not heavy or greasy.

Cookie Crumb Cake Recipe:

  •   12 oz. of crushed cookie crumbs (the original recipe called for vanilla wafers) but you can use any gluten free cookie crumbs, gluten free graham cracker crumbs, gluten free animal cracker crumbs, or an assortment of leftover cookie crumbs which is what I like to do if I have a bagful!). For today's cake, I am using a bagful (10-12 oz) of assorted cookie crumbs (shortbread, crispy chocolate chip & gingersnaps were in my bag). If you do not have a gluten allergy, you can use regular crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers or cookie crumbs! If you are diabetic you can substitute sugar free cookie crumbs!
  • 6 eggs or egg beaters (or substitute for equal amount of eggs)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (if you don't like coconut you can substitute additional 1 cup of crumbs or oats or nuts or cranberries, raisins, dried cherries, etc). I happen to love coconut so this works for me! (I added both coconut and a small handful of dried cranberries today to my loaf)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or you can substitute water, orange juice, cranberry sauce, cooled coffee)
  • 1 cup of your favorite nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, etc) - If you have a nut allergy you can just leave them out. I added chopped walnuts to my cake today.
  • 1 1/2  cups of sugar (you can substitute raw sugar, coconut sugar or diabetics can substitute Stevia or Splenda according to package directions). If you don't like your cake sweet you can use 1 cup of sugar and use 1/2 cup of ground oats or ground nuts or 1 cup of gluten free flour to give it the dry ingredients it needs without all the sweetness. The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar but I felt that was just too sweet. Even 1 1/2 cups of sugar is on the sweet side for me.
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon, optional (the original recipe didn't call for this but I like to offset the sweetness with a little spicy flavor)
Mix all ingredients together with a spoon in a large bowl. Mix just until the eggs are blended into crumbs and everything looks moist. Pour into a greased tube/bundt pan or bread loaf pan (or even in a 9x9 square pan). This cake does not raise much so you can fill it pretty close to the top. If you are baking in a muffin pan, I suggest you use paper liners because these little guys tend to stick to the pan and don't come out very pretty without them. I also would not suggest using a fancy bundt pan with a design because this is a chunky cake and the design won't be noticeable. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour for a bundt/tube pan or 20-25 minutes for muffins, about 35-40 minutes for a square cake pan. Since each oven is different and depending on your altitude, I would check cake at minimal cooking times to make sure it isn't getting overcooked. Cool at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. The top has a slightly crunchy top while the center is dense and moist bursting with coconut and/or cranberries and nuts. It is fabulous with a strong cup of coffee! 

Cookie Crumb Cake baked in Loaf Pan

Cookie Crumb Cake baked in Loaf Pan (close up view)

Thick slice of cake (see the coconut, nuts, cranberries?)

Cookie Crumb Cake baked in Bundt Pan

I hope you find this to be an easy recipe and tweak it to make it work for the flavors you like and for any special dietary needs you have. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have.

Gluten Free Casually

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