Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes with dairy-free and egg-free variation
This month I adopted Kim of the Cook it Allergy Free blog and app because I could not believe that after meeting this dynamic, sweet and hospitable fireball at a previous BlogHer food bloggers conference I had not actually made any of her recipes DESPITE absolutely swooning over her photos. There was no time like the present, so I adopted her and then started trying to decide what recipes to make from her blog.
First up was her Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I think I’ve had this cake once or twice… in my lifetime. I was not that impressed by previous versions. I’m pretty sure they used canned pineapple and ye old white starchy gluten-free flour blend, and tasted like it too. But THIS cake was a different thing altogether. It called for fresh pineapple, which made a huge difference, and also used a brown rice flour blend with almond flour for protein and elasticity. I love almond flour baked goods but somehow when almond flour is the only flour, I can get almond overload. I found that Kim’s blend was the perfect compromise, with a silky, fluffy texture and all the positives of almond flour with the mild flavor of brown rice flour. Toddler Yum approved of this cake, although she is not much for carbs and mostly wanted to peel off the pineapple in coconut sugar and gobble up the fruit off the top. The DH and I just plain loved the cake, and gobbled up the whole thing, pineapples, fluffy cake and all. Because we are doing dairy now, I actually didn’t make any of the allergy mods and made it pretty much straight. I ran out of coconut sugar as well, so had to do part regular brown sugar and half coconut. (I recommend that combo, actually, it was perfectly lovely). We’ll be making this recipe again. Oh yes. And my hips may never be the same, mini ramekins or no. I doubled the recipe, using all the ramekins I had. This included 4 oz ramekins, 7 oz ramekins, and then two larger mystery-size ramekins. I had the perfect amount of batter, somehow or other. And best of all- there is one mini cake left on the counter so that I can eat it after I finish writing this post!
Being me I had to try something savory from Kim’s web site and the Gluten-free Dairy-free Fingerling Potato Surprise with a spicy srirachi mayonnaise topping appealed to me. I loved the idea of an un-cheese topping on fingerling potatoes, especially since the DH and Toddler Yum had just harvested the heirloom potatoes we grew in 15 gallon pots this year. Kim’s recipe was delicious, and everyone in our house loved it. Who needs the dairy in traditional twice baked potatoes? These are so much more interesting. The first time I made it with Trader Joe’s canola mayonnaise that is soy-free but contains eggs, and the seasonings were perfect. The second time I made it (yes, it was that good) I used vegannaise with soy but no eggs, and I noticed that it was a little more tart, so I would probably use less lemon juice with the vegan mayonnaise. The second time around I also microwaved the potatoes, sliced lengthwise, and then broiled them with the mayonnaise-srirachi topping. It was a lot faster, but the texture was best when the potatoes were baked according to Kim’s directions.
The DH and Toddler Yum harvesting our potatoes in the garden. Toddler Yum had so much fun digging the potatoes out of the dirt and rinsing them. We just had to keep her from biting into the raw potatoes- she just loves potatoes!
The third recipe I chose was Kim’s Gluten-free Chai Spiced Apple Bread with Chai Chia Streusel. As you may recall from my long-ago post for Chai Muffins, I have a weakness for chai. I’d never had Chai apple bread and was intrigued by the promise of Chai Chia Streusel. I was so intrigued I went out and bought the chia for the recipe. I decided to test the recipe in its egg-free variation. We do eggs in our household now, but I wanted to try Kim’s suggestion for a chia-gel un-egg. As I suspected, this recipe worked well. I did adjust the seasonings a bit for my taste, adding nutmeg and cutting out the powdered ginger. The one thing I missed was the fun of using black tea in a recipe, but I could add that next time. I liked the streusel, but I think I’d like it with a bit of texture, so I might try quinoa flakes or nuts in the topping next time. Or, I might even leave the topping off, as I liked the bread all by itself. The DH enjoyed the bread as is, and pronounced it a success. He didn’t even know it was “missing” the eggs, or that I’d used chia. I would call that a clear recipe substitution success!
Toddler Yum was eager to steal some, and pronounced it “really yummy.” She has been confusing cake and cupcakes lately due to having cupcakes at her birthday party. So, when I wasn’t looking she stole the cinnamon sticks I was trying to use for styling the photo and stuck them in the bread like candles. I turned around to see her earnestly trying to blow the cinnamon stick “candles” out. “What are you doing, honey?” I asked. “Birthday cupcake, mommy, birthday cupcake,” she puffed, turning a little red as she tried to blow out the nonexistent flame. Taking photos is more challenging with an energetic toddler around, but it is also a lot more entertaining.
I also made Kim’s Dairy-free Mochachino, a frappucino like beverage made with coconut yogurt, ground chia, cocoa powder, and banana. The texture was intriguing, and new to me as I hadn’t tried using chia powder in beverages before. I think I may have erred by using very finely ground coffee that I made in a french press, as the drink was a little bitter. I also couldn’t find the vanilla stevia and left that out. This recipe is probably best for those looking for a healthy smoothie-like coffee drink that like coconut yogurt.
Although I don’t have a photo, I have Kim’s Gluten-free and Egg-free Cinnamon Icebox Shortbread Cookies baking in the oven right now and the entire house smells divine.
As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed adopting Kim of Cook it Allergy Free. Thanks to her blog I enjoyed experimenting with some new ingredients such as Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Chia Seeds, and re-visiting an old favorite, Almond Meal Flour. I’ve also found what I think will be a favorite family recipe that I can see myself making in the years ahead, an absolutely divine pineapple upside down cake. I hope you’ll explore Kim’s blog, but that isn’t all she has to share with the gluten-free world!
Besides having a wonderful, inspiring blog, Kim also has an app for the Iphone or Ipad with hundreds and hundreds of gluten-free, allergy-friendly recipes that she has created along with a very impressive cast of gluten-free baker contributors. You can create a shopping list for ingredients to make the recipes and customize recipes by clicking on allergens to open a list of suggested substitutions. I like the visual feel to the app, with its bright and cheerful photos of recipes, and the friendly, easy-to-use interarface. Kim shared a copy for review so that I could tell you all about it! I am pretty new to the whole app thing, with the DH mostly just sharing his work Ipad with me and toddler Yum on long plane rides, so I’d never used a recipe app before. Let me tell you, this thing would be a godsend for someone newly diagnosed and/or someone navigating some new allergies. And- I may be an old hand at being gluten-free but I loved being able to browse all the recipes. This app is perfect for a recipe junkie like me. Among many others, there was a dairy-free custard that called my name especially loudly.
Kim has given me permission to host a giveaway of her Iphone/Ipad app here. If you would like a chance to win a copy of her app, leave a comment here and tell me what your favorite recipe is at Cook it Allergy Free. If you don’t have an ipad or Iphone, no worries, I’d still love to hear from you. Just mention “no giveaway” in the comments so I won’t include you in the automatic raffle. I’ll announce the winner on 10/15.