Updated: Aug 11
For generations, our family has shown the love through baking. When my 2 kids, sister, nephew and dad were all diagnosed with celiac 10+ years ago, we were thrown for a loop. Annalise Roberts brought back the carefree joy of baking with reliable top quality results. Pages in her GF Baking Classics cookbook are worn and stained from being too close to the mixer. There are handwritten notes about slight modifications that could create a marble cake from her vanilla cake recipe, and recipe printouts from her blog stapled on the inside cover. When the kids were small, I kept her unfrosted vanilla cupcakes and a container of homemade icing in the freezer, to have on hand for birthday parties. They were so good my kids felt sad for the ones having to eat the store bought cake. Friends would call and ask me for recipes after our parties. Everything in this cookbook is amazing.
To bake with this cookbook, you need to keep some xanthan gum in your freezer and purchase Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend flour blend. I get it on Amazon and store an extra one in my freezer. We used to have to mix the Authentic Food rice flour and make the blend ourself, but Annalise got so popular, they began selling it premixed which is awesome. When your flour arrives, put it in a tupperware with some room in it and shake it up well. Keep it in your freezer so it's ready to go. Shake it before using to to bring some air to the flour. When measuring, spoon into the measuring cup instead of digging in. Annalise has a nice introduction about handling gf flour at the beginning of her book.
Annalise also has a cookbook called The Heirloom Collection which is a bit more ambitious and GF Baking Classics for the Bread Machine which requires getting some different flours. Although, I have less experience with them, I can say that all of her recipes are well tested and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Our Favorite Marble Cake
To turn Annalise's Yellow Layer Cake into our favorite marble cake, pour 2/3 of the prepared batter into your pans.
Add 2 melted Bakers chocolate squares and one tsp vanilla to the remaining batter. Drop in blobs across the cakes.
Take a fork and go bottom to top in gentle swirl to create the marble effect. Don't mix too much or will turn the whole cake light chocolate.
Shout out to my sister for this adaptation!
Grandma Pearl's Coffee Icing
One box confectionary sugar
1 stick of softened margarine/butter
About 5 TB cooled strong coffee (start with 3 TB and add one at time until desired texture)
Put aside some icing to add a little Hershey's cocoa for mocha decorating
I started going back through my pictures to revisit some of our Annalise creations. Here are some of our celebratory desserts through the last 5 years! What a fun way to track the passing of time. Annalise, if you read this, thanks so much for the baking joy you have brought back to our family!
My artistic daughter's fabulous owl cake made from 2 round Yellow Layer Cakes for her owl loving father, with coffee icing, accented with mocha. When cutting shapes, work with chilled/frozen cakes, and make extra icing to glue it together. Practice with paper cut out in pan shapes until you get the result you are looking for. and repeat it in parchment paper. Lay the parchment paper on cake to help guide cutting.
My mom baked this beautiful 60th Maple Walnut Cake for my sister. She baked three round layers and one square layer but didn't use it all. After cutting the round layers in half, she cut out the center to make "C's" and used those middle extra pieces to help make the inner circle on the 6 . The square helped her elongate the ovals. Mom doubled the icing to glue it all together and cover all those sides, and covered it with crushed walnuts. We use Trader Joe Walnuts as they have no peanut or wheat warnings. (Always recheck labels as sometimes they change). Oh, and next to the 60 cake is a yummy peach Summer Fruit Crisp.
On the left, Chocolate Fudge Cake is surrounded by Vanilla Cupcakes, using mocha and coffee icing, to give variety. You can also do this display with just one Yellow Layer Cake recipe, splitting the batter between one layer and 12 cupcakes. Just bake in separate ovens since baking times vary. I probably already had the cake layer in the freezer, but didn't think it was enough food so baked an additional 12 cupcakes. I can't imagine I would have bothered baking two types.
Annalise's Vanilla Cupcake recipe is the same as her Yellow Layer Cake but half the size. It makes one dozen cupcakes or 30 mini cupcakes. Baking time for minis is about 12-14 minutes. The above minis are from 5 years ago, but I likely separated the batter to make different flavors. I remember buying lemon extract for the lemon minis, and mint extract for the junior mints ones. For the oreo minis, I used Trader Joes GFJoe Joes, and crushed some in the icing. The s'more ones had chocolate icing and marshmallows. Wish I wrote it down, but you get the idea. Creating your own is part of the fun!
My sister had a crowd for a big combination of birthdays and graduations and baked up a gluten free storm. This looks like a combination of Yellow Layer Cakes and Chocolate Fudge Cakes, with vanilla, coffee and chocolate icings. The cake on the right was for the vegan guests and wasn't from Annalise.
And here's some of our classic birthday cakes over the years...
And then the cake for the saddest election party ever...
Some more birthdays...
Above we have Coconut Layer Cake, Sour Cream Coffee cake and birthday Brownie (ice cream toppings not shown).
And don't forget the cookies and brownies! They freeze really well if you want to bake ahead. On the right are Chocolate Chip Cookies which are fabulous. Definitely listen to Annalise about using vegetable shortening (crisco). For an amazing upgrade, try Guittard semi sweet chocolate baking chips which are labeled gluten and peanut free. Again, we use Trader Joe's walnuts since they don't have any wheat or peanut warnings. On the left are Snickerdoodles from the Heirloom Collection cookbook, yum!
In the middle are a mint version of Annalise's Brownies adapted by my brilliant sister. She cautions not to skip the multiple chilling steps.
Mint Icing (mix the following)
1/4 cup softened butter/margarine
1 1/3 cup confectionary sugar
1 TB water as needed
1/2 tsp mint extract
Green food coloring (optional)
Chocolate Topping (melt the following)
3 TB butter/margarine
1/2 cup semi-sweet gf chocolate chips
Bake and chill/freeze the Brownies
Frost with mint icing
Chill well to set
Top with Chocolate Topping
Chill well before cutting
Happy GF Baking!!