Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

I had the day off today and was wandering a little aimlessly when I discovered that my finicky oven was functioning again. Wanting to take advantage of the opportunity, I set to baking.

I was given a number of GF (gluten-free) cookbooks for my birthday and had purchased the many flours and ingredients required. GF baking is very tricky because you must not use wheat, barley or rye. The chemistry completely changes when gluten is removed and the results are often poor substitutes for the real thing. However, I heard that it was possible to bake tasty GF things.

I started with Pumpkin-Pecan Bundt Cake from The Gluten Free Gourmet Makes Dessert by Bette Hagman. To duplicate the taste and texture of wheat based baking, Hagman uses combinations of flours and xantham gum. This cake used a mix of garbanzo and fava bean flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour and cornstarch.

I followed the recipe pretty closely. I didn't use dried orange peel and substituted walnuts for pecans. I also used coconut milk instead of cow milk.

The batter had a normal consistency and the cake baked well. The texture was perfect, moist and springy. I didn't put the glaze on the cake and without it, the cake is not very sweet. Great for afternoon tea.

I also made a batch of carrot cupcakes from the same book. The cupcakes used rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and soy flour. They are similar to the cake and not too sweet. I'm very pleased with Hagman's recipes and can't wait to try her cinnamon rolls come Christmas.

I love Martha Stewart

There's my confession, in bold. I do. I love Martha. It's hard to admit it though. Why is not really clear. Maybe I think it's nerdy or old-fashioned or not "smart" to be interested in cooking and crafting and decorating. And let's face it, Martha has not always been popular.
I remember the first time I ever saw a Martha Stewart Living magazine. I was probably 12 or 13. I believe it was a Wal-Mart. My mom bought the issue for us to share. The cover featured a lovely bouquet of purple flowers, violets, I think. I remember Martha's editorial addressed a reader's question of why Martha was always pictured on the cover. Martha explained that she had been a teen model and besides this issue has flowers on the cover and no Martha. (Isn't that
so Martha?)
After that first issue, I discovered that Martha was on tv for half an hour on Saturday mornings. I really loved those shows the most. The content was perfectly edited to only the best and most interesting. I had a subscription to Martha Stewart Living for many years. I tore out the recipes, articles and photos that I liked and saved them. Pasted on construction paper. In binders. (That was a painful admission.) But a few years ago I tired of the magazine (and the archiving) and canceled my subscription. Martha Stewart Living is and always has been a beautifully photographed and designed magazine that I believe inspired many of the magazines we now have today.

Before all of her legal trouble people mostly complained that Martha set the standards too high for the average person. This never really bothered me. I never felt that Martha would admonish me for not doing everything the best way. She made suggestions on how we could live a little better, how to make the everyday a little finer, a little more enjoyable, not unlike the Arts and Crafts Movement.
In Martha's world of haricots verts, I'm happy to munch on green beans and I think she'd understand.

So what's the point of this confession anyway? Well a few months back, I decided to start a cooking blog. I could have just posted here about food but that wasn't the point of this blog. Plus, I'd be a little too much like Martha if I tried to do everything and I didn't want the comparison. (Who was comparing? I don't know.) So I did both blogs. But it got to be too much. And I realized how silly I was being, Martha is fabulous and I shouldn't be ashamed of my adoration. So here is my first cooking related post on the LulaLouise blog.


I really love pancakes. I've gone through some pancake phases where I make all different kinds (corn, buckwheat) and eat them for every meal. Crepes and dutch babies are equally delicious.

Shockingly, some people don't know how to make pancakes. I discovered this one morning after a high school slumber party. Fortunately, my Dad taught me to pancakes at a pretty young age and breakfast was saved. There are two crucial steps.

1. To check that the griddle is hot, sprinkle with a little water. If it sizzles, it's ready.

2. Flip the pancake after the bubbles start to pop. See the photo below. The timing depends on the thickness of the batter and the temperature of the skillet.

That's really all you need to know.
There's nothing better than perfect pancakes and strawberries.

P.S. Martha has some nice tips in her Pancakes 101 for you novices.