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!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coffee Cake

Pineapple Coffee Cake
Scrumptious Coffee Cake. I love this old recipe for a simple coffee cake. My mom has been making this basic coffee cake since I was a young child. She got the recipe from a free mail order cookbook from Gold Medal flour. She varies the filling so she can customize the flavor. It is a nice, fluffy coffee cake that is not too sweet. It goes fantastic with a great cup of coffee. I have been able to tweak this recipe to make it gluten free since I really missed this particular coffee cake. I made it and took the gluten free version into work to see what they thought. It got thumbs up reviews and there were no leftovers! My boss also found me a bag of gluten free flour to try from Trader Joe's stores. I used my "homemade" version of gluten free flour in one batch and the Trader Joe's gluten free flour in the other batch. Both coffee cakes turned out perfect! The texture and flavor were great. I could not tell they were gluten free! I was impressed with the Trader Joe's gluten free flour because it is extremely convenient and bakes just like regular flour and the cost is about $3.99 for a one pound bag. It had a nice smooth texture (not gritty like some brands). Of course if you don't have a gluten can just make this recipe with regular flour like my mom does! 

It is a fabulous recipe for a casual brunch, holiday dessert or just treat your family or co-workers to a lovely surprise. It is so simple to make but it is delicious and impressive! I am lucky that my mom is the sharing type and doesn't get upset that I share her scrumptious recipes on my blog. :)

Scrumptious Coffee Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar (you can use raw sugar if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup margarine (make sure it is a margarine that contains at least 65% fat or it will won't work well for baking! I found that Kroger brand works well and it is cheap! It can be found at Kroger or Fry's grocery stores). Or substitute real butter (not light).
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening (I am becoming a stickler for certain brands. I used the generic store brand recently for some frosting and it turned out awful. I realized that some brands "whip" theirs with water to make it cheaper and reduced fat which does not work well in a lot of baking recipes. Sometimes it is worth the extra few cents for the real thing!
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract or baking emulsion (I prefer the baking emulsion which I find in the food section at TJ Maxx, Ross for Less, Home Goods stores or baking supply shops. But my mom uses almond extract and it works great also!) The original recipe only called for 1 tsp. but we like the rich almond flavor so we add 1 1/2 tsp. instead. 
  • 4 eggs or you can substitute egg beaters
  • 3 cups of flour (I used gluten free flour blend. I used Trader Joe's brand in one batch and my homemade version -recipe below- in the other batch. Both worked great. If you don't have a gluten allergy then you can just use regular flour. 
  • 1 tsp. Xanthan Gum if your gluten free flour blend doesn't contain it. If you are using regular flour then you don't need to add this ingredient.
  • 2 cups of pie filling, lemon curd or custard/cooked pudding (not instant pudding) or basically whatever type of filling you like. You can also make your own filling from canned or fresh fruit by cooking on the stove with approximately 3 tbs. corn starch or tapioca starch to thicken it + a little bit of sugar to sweeten if the fruit is tart. Instructions for my pineapple filling are below
Combine the sugar, margarine (or butter), shortening and almond extract or almond baking emulsion together until smooth. Add eggs and beat well. Gradually add the baking powder, salt and flour. (Dough mixture will be thick  - kind of like a brownie dough). Spread 2/3 of mixture into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Spread the pie filling on top as evenly as you can. Drop the remaining 1/3 of dough mixture by spoonfuls on top of pie filling. It will leave open gaps where you can see the pie filling. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs and top is lightly golden brown in color. (*Note: in a pinch, I have used all margarine or all Crisco instead of the combination. There are times I have either Crisco or Margarine but not both. In this recipe you can improvise a little! The only thing I would not substitute if possible is the almond flavor. It gives this recipe a rich flavor that vanilla extract can't!)

2/3 of dough spread in bottom of  greased 9x13 pan

Cherry Pie Filling spread over the 2/3 dough in 9x13 pan

Remaining 1/3 dough spooned in clumps over pie filling before baking

 I usually put a piece of foil on top of the 9x13 pan after it is removed from oven to trap in the moisture and keep the coffee cake extra moist as it cools. (I leave the foil on for about 30 minutes before removing). When the coffee cake is cool then I take about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and a splash of milk to make a light glaze to drizzle on top. It adds an extra sweetness to the recipe but it isn't required. The scrumptious coffee cake is great served warm or cold. 

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour
My Homemade Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour (I used sweet rice flour for this batch)
  • 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (made from sticky rice, gluten free)
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk, make sure it is very fine in texture
  • 1 cup corn starch or tapioca starch (I used corn starch for this batch)
  • 3 tbs. xanthan gum
Combine all ingredients together well. You can put it in the blender for an extra smooth texture if desired. I store mine in a glass container and use it in place of regular flour in all my recipes. This particular blend I really like for baked sweet goods. 

Pineapple Filling Cooking on Stove
Pineapple Coffee Cake Filling:
1 can (approx 15 oz) of crushed pineapple with juice
3 tbs. corn starch or tapioca starch
1 tbs. sugar, optional

If you are not using crushed pineapple then take whatever pineapple you have on hand (rings or chunks) and put it in the blender or food processor for a few seconds to puree it. You don't want huge chunks in your coffee cake. In a saucepan, combine the pineapple with juice, cornstarch or tapioca starch and the sugar. Cook on medium heat until the pineapple mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and spoon onto your coffee cake dough. 

Just removed the cherry coffee cake from oven. No glaze added yet!

Up close view of cherry coffee cake. See how moist it is?

Up close view of the pineapple coffee cake. Yummy!

I hope you enjoy one of our family's favorite recipes that I was able to turn into a scrumptious gluten free version. (Of course you can make it with regular flour if you don't have a gluten allergy!). We love this recipe because you can change the filling and have a different coffee cake each time! My favorites are cherry, pineapple, lemon curd or apricot. My husband prefers apple pie filling. You can use homemade or store bought filling. It all works just fine! 

I hope this inspires you to whip up a scrumptious coffee cake and sit back and relax with a cup of coffee and some friends to enjoy this recipe!

Have a great day!

Gluten Free Casually

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