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!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Almond Pound Cake

German Almond Pound Cake. This is a great cake to make for just about any occasion. You can dress it up and serve it with fresh berries in place of strawberry short cake or serve it alone as dessert or on the brunch table. It even tastes better a couple days later when all the flavors have "blended". It is also great to use as a wedding cake because it is a solid cake that holds moisture and it's shape. (I just leave off the crumb topping for wedding or birthday cakes and decorate them like you would a regular cake). It is very flexible and you can bake it in a bundt pan, angel food cake pan, loaf pan, 9x13 pan or cupcake tins (just adjust the cooking times!) You can make it with the crumb topping (which is my favorite!) or leave the topping off. It is a personal preference.

This is a German recipe and a favorite with our family. This is a typical cake that is served with afternoon coffee in least with our German family. My mom is a fantastic baker and she used to improvise recipes to suit what she had on hand. The recipe calls for 2 cups of ground almonds but if she didn't have them she would substitute 2 cups of flour and add 2 tbs. of almond extract instead. If she didn't have cream cheese then she would add sour cream or Crisco + 1 tbs. vinegar to give the tartness that cream cheese or sour cream would give the cake in it's place. The recipe still always turned out great! That is what I love about pound cakes....they are very flexible and always turn out great! Be sure to let them cool completely before you start removing them from the pan or else they sometimes will want to fall apart. I have found from experience to be patient and let them cool first. I have also found that the crumb topping works best for me if you wait to add it about the last 20 minutes of cooking time. If you add it too soon then it wants to sink into the batter or it browns too quick. You only want a light golden brown color to the crumb topping.

Another baking trick I have learned over the years is to add the almond extract or baking emulsion (or any extracts like vanilla extract, peppermint extracts, etc) when you are beating the butter and sugar together. It gives the cake a better flavor. It seems to infuse the flavor more evenly and the results are better. Most recipes suggest adding the vanilla near the end of the mixing time. I disagree....add it at the beginning. I also prefer using baking emulsion in place of extracts when I can. They are a little thicker and the flavor is just a little more pronounced. You can find them at most baking supply stores or chain craft stores including Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabrics, and Michael's. Look for them in the cake supply aisle. (I always go online and print out the 40% coupons that they have so it makes it less expensive!) Sometimes you can find the baking emulsions at places like Home Goods or TJ Maxx too. You just have to look. Of course if you can't find them you can just use extract from the grocery store. It will work too.

If someone has a dairy allergy then you can substitute dairy free cream cheese (available at Trader Joe's or a specialty store like Sprouts). You can also use a dairy free margarine or Crisco in place of the real butter but just make sure it contains at least 65% fat or it won't rise correctly! You don't want to add a creamy butter spread that is too watery. For nut allergies you can just substitute flour in place of the ground almonds. The flavor and texture will not be quite the same but trust will still be a delicious pound cake! I would just add a couple extra drops of the almond extract to bring out the flavor that you are missing from the ground almonds!

German Almond Pound Cake Recipe:
  • 3/4 cup butter (you can substitute margarine that contains at least 65% fat or Crisco. DO NOT USE LIGHT BUTTER OR MARGARINE. THEY CONTAIN TOO MUCH WATER AND CAKE WILL NOT RISE PROPERLY!)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (If you do not have this you can substitute either sour cream or plain Greek yogurt + 1 tbs. of tapioca starch to make it thicker OR Crisco + 1 tbs. white vinegar to give it the tartness). I prefer using cream cheese which I did in my recipe today. You can use regular or the light....not fat free. I have also used the dairy free cream cheese available at specialty stores & Trader Joe's and it worked fine too!
  • 1 tsp. almond baking emulsion or 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (I just use traditional table salt because it has a fine texture that I like for baking)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cup sugar (I use the GMO free sugar that is not bleached white but my mom always uses the regular white sugar and it works fine)
  • 6 large eggs (I prefer using the brown eggs but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 cups finely ground almonds (sometimes called almond meal or almond flour). I bought mine at Trader Joe's because they were more affordable than the specialty stores. You can also grind your own in the food processor if you prefer. 
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I generally mix my own flour blend but for today's recipe I used King Arthur's gluten free flour blend. If your gluten free flour blend does not contain xanthan gum or guar gum then you will need to add 1/4 tsp. If you are using regular flour then you can omit the xanthan gum). I personally avoid the gluten free flour blends that contain sorghum for my sweet baked goods. I don't care for the flavor. It is fine in savory dishes but I don't like it in my sweets!
Beat the butter (or Crisco or margarine) together with the cream cheese (or sour cream or yogurt + tapioca starch or the additional Crisco + vinegar if you are substituting the cream cheese). Add the almond baking emulsion or extract and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Gradually add eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add the baking soda and salt (add xanthan gum if you are adding it). I like to add them before the flour so they get mixed in really well. Add the ground almonds along with the flour and beat until creamy and fluffy. Batter will be fairly thick. Pound cakes have a heavier texture than a cake mix!  Pour into a greased pan (I used an angel food cake pan (also called an apple cake pan). I like to use this type of a pan in place of a bundt pan if I am putting a crumb topping on it. The bundt pan is more difficult because the crumb topping will be on the bottom when you flip it over which I personally don't like! Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about 70-75 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. If you are adding the crumb topping then add it the last 20 minutes of cooking time so the topping doesn't sink into the batter. If you are baking in a large loaf pan, bake 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean, muffins 18-25 minutes and 9x13 pan, about 25-35 minutes. Check at the lowest cooking time because oven temperatures and altitudes can change the baking time at your house!

Crumb topping:
  • 1/3 cup of butter, margarine or Crisco, soft but not melted
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (if you have a gluten allergy. Otherwise use regular flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use GMO non-bleached sugar)
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds or slivered or shaved almonds)
  • a tiny drop of either almond or vanilla extract. Not much...just a drop

Mix all together until crumb texture. If it is too dry then you can add tablespoon more butter or if it is too moist then you can add a tablespoon additional flour or almonds. Taste a pinch. If you want it a touch sweeter than add a tablespoon more sugar. The texture and flavor of the crumb topping will resemble shortbread. It shouldn't be over sweet. Sprinkle on top of the pound cake during the last 20 minutes of baking time. (I just take it out of the oven and sprinkle on top. It is less messy and I don't burn myself this way! Bake until pound cake is cooked through (knife inserted should come out clean) and topping should be a light golden brown and crispy.

This cake should be cooled completely in the pan before removing it to a wire rack or plate. I find that if I run a knife along the edges and the center of the angel food cake pan then it doesn't stick and comes out much easier. It will fall apart if you remove it when it is still warm. I take a spatula if I feel I need extra support on the bottom to remove it. My mom used to flip the cake onto a plate and then flip it onto another plate to get the crumb topping on top. I find this harder for me. I just tip the pan gently to get the cake moving and then lift it with one hand an a spatula. You can drizzle a powdered sugar and milk or water glaze on the top. There isn't a recipe for that. You just mix water and powdered sugar until thin enough to drizzle over cooled cake.

This is what I prefer to use when I have it available. Look for it in the baking aisle at craft stores

Sorry that I don't have better pictures. I wasn't planning on adding this cake anytime soon to the blog but I had several people ask for the recipe lately so I just quickly added it. I will update photos the next time I make it. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Casually

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