Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gluten Free Brown Sugar Coffee Cake Recipe

Thank you to all for your good wishes (to my alter ego Daryl Wood Gerber) regarding the Agatha Award nomination for best short story in  FISH TALES. She is (I am) very excited.

And congratulations to all the others on our blog with nominations: Krista for best novel and best short story and Lucy for best short story. We're having a ball writing, aren't we?!!!

Thank you, too, to all the readers who bought Clobbered by Camembert. It's been out a week and has done very well on the national scale. I'm thrilled (and so are the characters in the book...they get to have more tales.)

And now...

Do you love brown sugar? I do. It's like syrup (and/or bacon, depending on your mood). It makes everything taste better. It's a comfort food. I know I shouldn't over-indulge in refined sugar, but truly, I need to have my sweets. [This might be a gluten-free girl thing. We don't get very many carbs on a regular basis, so those sweets...]  Whenever I'm writing, around 10:30 in the morning, I need a "fix" of sweets and a cup of coffee. It takes me to the next level and tides me over until lunch.  [By the way, just checked out this phrase to make sure I was right. A site says: The idea is that of the swelling tide, which will carry you over some obstacle, with the implication that it won’t require effort on your part.]

Back to sweets.  One of my favorite all-time coffee cakes is a Bisquick coffee cake [on the box]. I remember a time when I was, well, (breathing deeply) anorexic. Before it was "chic." It was a real problem and one that my parents didn't know how to address (nor did I; I was 14 and struggling with emotional issues, Type A issues, and a sister who was going astray issues). I stopped eating for about 2 months, other than the basics: a piece of white fish (yeah, I like white fish), a cup of tea, a piece of toast, a frozen malted for lunch (because I could buy those at school and they cooled me down).  Terrible diet!!! I know!!! But I didn't know what else to do, and nobody knew I was doing this. Let's just say some people were having their own issues.

Anyway, I was at my dad's house (yep, product of divorce but my parents were both good people and raised me right) and Dad had made a Bisquick coffee cake. I woke up, inhaled the aroma, and wow! He and my stepmother were out gardening, so I sat down at the table and started to read the comics and do a crossword puzzle--still two of my favorite pastimes. At the same time, I nibbled. By the end, I ate the whole 9x9 coffee cake and a drank a quart of milk. I didn't realize I had. Honestly. My dad and stepmom came into the house and jumped with joy. I was eating again!

Thus sprouted my great love of sweets. Comfort foods. [I've learned a little self-discipline since them. After all, I am a Type A. Argh!]

But brown sugar is the key. It's not just any sweet. Brown sugar is key for me.

Now, I can't use Bisquick any longer, and though Bisquick makes a gluten-free mix (which is great), I wanted to tweak. You know me. :)

So here it is. My mishmash of a great coffee cake adding ricotta cheese and bananas. Oh, wow. The extra moistness is super.



2 cups mixed gluten-free flours (*tapioca starch, potato starch, sweet rice flour - your choice)
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, large
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp. cider vinegar


1/2 cup brown sugar
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. cinnamon

4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the filling ingredients of sugar, banana and cinnamon, and set aside.

For the batter:  Mix melted butter and sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs and beat on low.  Still beating on low, add ricotta cheese and vinegar.  Then add flours, baking powder and xanthan gum.

Spoon half of the batter into a greased loaf pan.  Layer all of the brown sugar-banana filling on top of that.  Spread the rest of the batter over the filling. Cut the batter with a knife, in a swirling fashion.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, when inserted a toothpick comes out clean.  When cool, remove the cake from the pan and sprinkle with a generous amount of brown sugar.  [You could serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or more of the banana and brown sugar mixture.]

By the way, if you know (or suspect) any of your loved ones are anorexic, please check out this site. You could be saving a life!

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  1. This sounds wonderful. You said Bisquick makes a Gluten free mix. If I were to use that would it just take the place of the flours? I have a hard time finding gluten free products. But I do like to try baking gluten free recipes from time to time. My principal's daughter has celiac's so I'm always looking for recipes to share with her. Can't wait to read the new book. I'm behind on my reading - why can't someone just pay me to stay home and read? Oh, yeah, I get paid to sit in a room full of books all day - I guess that's close.

    Congratulations on the nominations!

    Beverly aka Booklady

    1. Beverly, yes, the Bisquick takes the place of flours, the baking powder, and the Xanthan gum. (Dry things added to make the flour hold together and/or rise). Bisquick has those things in its mixture. Otherwise, use the rest of the ingredients.

      What fun for you to get paid sitting by books. Even if you can't read every one of them, you get to smell them, see them, drink in their possibilities. Did you ever see the movie Pagemaster, with Maccauley Caulkin, where he was drawn into the story? It was so much fun.


  2. Avery, the recipe looks wonderful as always!

    And thanks for having the courage to mention anorexia. Since in my other life I worked as a clinical psychologist on a young adult inpatient unit, I know just how tough that can be to beat. Don't fool around with it--get professional help!

  3. Avery - Your story is so moving and I must chime in with Lucy to applaud your bravery for talking about eating disorders. Brava! Cheers also for the Agatha nomination for best short story! You go, girl! I'm so proud to be blogging with you.

    ~ Cleo

  4. Lucy and Cleo, thanks so much. This many years after the phase of my life, it's much easier to talk about. It explains a lot about me, BTW. I am a Type A and there's not much I can do about it (yes, I know I can and have, but I try to be perfect most of the time and that's something an anorexic often tries to achieve.) Sigh...Just so you know, perfection is NOT achievable. It's merely a goal. :)

    Best to all of you!


  5. This sounds great, Avery. I can see why you would want to take a mid-morning break for a snack. I think brown sugar always kicks things up just a notch.

    ~ Krista

  6. I can NOT wait to make this cake. It sounds great and is up my ally. Thanks for posting :)

    1. Thrilled to hear from you a few weeks after the post. Hope you enjoy. I adore this cake.


  7. Avery - I made this cake to take to school to share with my co-workers, but especially my principal whose daughter has to have a gluten free diet. Neither my principal or I got a bite of it. The staff liked it so much it disappeared in no time. I wiill have to make it again.