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, March 1, 2015

Spanish Spice Bars

Spanish Spice Bars. This is a very old fashioned recipe. Most people remember it from the old grocery stores like A&P. It is a very moist spice cake recipe that has a fluffy butter cream frosting. It resembles a carrot cake but it is much easier to prepare and I think the flavors are much more intense. The flavor gets better after a day or two!

This isn't a lame spice cake mix version! There are a lot of recipes out there for Spanish Spice bars and some of them call for cocoa powder to get the intense dark color. Actually, the dark color isn't from is from raisin puree. Yep, it gives the depth to this cake that can't be substituted! Even if you hate raisins, you will love this cake! You can also add nuts and a handful of raisins for a chunky cake but my family always preferred it without the chunks. I wanted to re-create this cake in a gluten free version and the results were fantastic. It kept the moist texture and the flavor was just as I remembered it. If you don't have cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice separate but you have either apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice then you can just substitute 2 1/2 - 3tsp. of that instead.

Spanish Spice Bar Recipe:
  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I used the Pillsbury gluten free flour blend today since my hubby went shopping and came home with it. Mine already had xanthan gum in it so I didn't need to add any. If you are using a gluten free flour that doesn't contain guar gum or xanthum gum then please add 1/2 tsp. If you are using regular flour then you can omit it).
  • 1/4 cup of gluten free oats, finely ground into a flour (I measure after I grind it in my blender)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used the GMO free sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg (if using freshly ground nutmeg, reduce to 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water (I use the water I have leftover from plumping up my raisins)
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins (I like to use the assorted raisins but traditional raisins will work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the raisins in about 2 cups of boiling water and let them plump up for about 5 minutes. Mix the sugar, oil, shortening and eggs until fluffy and smooth.  Beat in the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and allspice. Take the raisins with a couple tablespoons of the liquid and put in a blender or food processor (if you don't have one then just mash the best you can with a fork) until it is puree. Add the flour and puree alternately with the 1 cup water (I use the water from the raisins). At this point if you want to add a handful of nuts or additional raisins for a chunky cake then add then now. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan for thicker bars (like a cake) or a 11x15 jelly roll pan for thinner cake bars. Bake 9x13 pan for approx 30-35 minutes & 11x15 pan 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool & frost with butter cream frosting.

Butter Cream Frosting:
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
  • 1 cup real butter or margarine (don't use margarine with less than 65% fat or it contains too much water)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (be sure it is gluten free)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract or almond baking emulsion
  • 1 tsp. butter flavor extract or baking emulsion (if you have it on gives extra flavor!)

Beat the shortening and butter or margarine with extracts. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Frost cooled cake.

Butter Cream Frosting

These are the raisins I used today. They are my favorite!

I put the plumped up raisins in my mini food processor. (You can mash with a fork if you don't have one)

This is what the raisins look like after they are pureed

This is the cake batter before baking it

See how dark and rich the cake turned out?

It is moist and has a depth of flavor!


Up close view of the moist cake!

Results? Yummy! Glad I converted to gluten free (you can make it with regular flour too!)

I am glad I reached into my old recipe box and decided to make this delicious, moist cake with a depth of flavor. This is one of my oldest son's favorite cakes. I haven't made it for years and since it was his birthday, I decided to attempt to make it gluten free. I am glad that I was able to recycle an old favorite and share this version of Spanish Spice Bar with people that have always wanted to make it. This recipe gives carrot cake a run for it's money! ;)

Gluten Free Casually

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