One Cake, Two Ways

10 Sep

This Monday is too beautiful for me to be inside blogging–so Ima get right to it: today, we’re working with two versions of a hearty strawberry cake with buttercream icing.  One is full of sugar, flour, and deliciousness; the other is for those interested in a sugar-free, gluten-free, almost-paleo treat.  I will leave you to guess which is which:

So–why two cakes? Earlier this summer, I was honored to bake the cake for my Aunt Tina’s wedding, and though I’m sure everyone would have loved knowing their dessert qualified as “clean eating,” we decided to go the traditional flour-sugar-butter route.  My aunt and her now-husband, Larry, requested a strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream icing, and we went through several renditions before landing on this one, which turned out to be quite a keeper.  A HUGE THANK YOU to my dear friend KefiKathleen, who offered up her childhood home and adult know-how to ensure that this mama-jamma made it from inspiration to fruition.

A few weeks later (still hung over from all the gluten-filled taste tests), I decided to see if I could make a healthier version of the nuptial confection. So I spent my morning puttering about in the kitchen, and came up with the below, which is not as “pow! that’s strawberry!” as the wedding cake was, but it is a good just-sweet-enough cake that would be great for a brunch. 

Full-o-flour Strawberry Cake
Ingredients (makes two 8-inch cake layers)

  • 3 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 c pureed strawberries
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • whatever buttercream icing you like best, homemade or store-bought

1. Preheat oven to 325. In a standing mixer, combine in this order the oil, sugar, eggs (one at a time), extract, and zest. Mix on low until completely mixed.
2. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Prepare strawberry puree and have ready.
3. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and then the strawberry puree to the wet ingredients.  Begin by gradually adding about 1/2 the flour, then 1/3 of the strawberries and repeat until you have combined everything, finishing with the puree (basically: flour twice, strawberry puree three times).
4. Pour into two greased eight-inch cake rounds.  Start checking at 25 minutes–this is a dense batter, so it will almost definitely take 35-40 minutes to be completely done. They’re done when you can stick a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.
5. After cakes are removed from oven and cooled, ice ’em and eat ’em!
Gluten-free, Sugar-Free, Strawberry Breakfast Cake

  • 1 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c corn starch
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or 1/2 c shredded coconut)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of berries, cut small
  • 1/2- 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c coconut oil (NOT melted)
  • 1/4-1/3 c honey
  • 3 TBS lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 325. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Add wet ingredients–EXCEPT BERRIES AND MILK– in whatever order you’d like. Mix until well combined.
3. Add the berries and mix in gently but completely.
4. Add milk, starting with 1/2 c and adding more if you need it, until you get to “cake batter” consistency. It should be moist and liquidy but not runny.
5. Pour into one greased 9-inch cake round. Bake for 30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
6. While the cakes are cooling, beat coconut oil, honey, and lemon juice together with an electric mixer.  Apply the icing IMMEDIATELY before serving– this stuff will melt faster than you can say “holy sugar-free glaze.”

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