FOOD! apple skillet cake

It’s Sunday, which means I’m being a lazy-bones.  It started last night, with a Fellini film I’ve had on loan from the Hennepin County Library for the better part of the past 4 months.  The extended borrowing period wasn’t intentional; rather, it was an item I “lost” while packing, and which has recently resurfaced.  [Side note: I just have to say, for the record, I don’t resonate with Fellini films.  This particular oeuvre, 8-1/2, is hailed as one of the greatest films of all time.  Interesting, perhaps, but life would have been just as well had I not seen it.]  I slept on the couch, which always feels like a slumber party to me.  I awoke at 6, then fell back asleep at 7 until approximately 8:30 (ok, 9).

This caught my eye whilst checking my social media sites, and, though I initially poo-poo’d the idea of making it, I changed my mind once I realized all the ingredients* were in my kitchen.  The recipe is pretty forgiving, so improvise as needed!

Apple Skillet Cake:

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, or your preferred type of milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup Domata Gluten Free Recipe Ready Flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 3 sweet apples cored, and sliced (sweet or tart, depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar (brown, if preferred)
  • thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk warm water and flour together, ensuring few to no lumps.  Add eggs, milk, and salt, and set aside. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ginger and apples; stirring occasionally, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the top of apples, cooking until caramelized, 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in batter, distributing evenly throughout skillet.  Transfer to oven and bake until cake puffs and knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with 2 teaspoons sugar and return to oven until brown on top, 5 minutes. Or, place under high-heat broiler for 1-2 minutes (watching closely!) until brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8 (Calories: 187 / Carbs: 29g / Fat: 7g / Protein: 3 g)

*Before you go telling me how awesome this is, and what a great cook I am, I have to give credit where it’s due.  This recipe was adapted from a little something I spied in my FB feed this morning, from Whole Living.  I adapted it to exclude dairy and wheat, but if these things are of no concern to you, just follow that recipe instead!

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FOOD! Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake

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Several years ago, I worked at a funny little place in Minneapolis, right on the shores of Lake Calhoun.  A “museum of electricity in life,” The Bakken was filled with unique characters of all manner of philosophy and background.  In fact, looking back on it now with the perspective of a novelist, this place was rife with quirky personalities ready-made for fictionalization.Anyhoo, one of my favorite people there was the archivist/ research librarian.  She was a total foodie, but had recently diagnosed with diabetes, and so was largely deprived of her favorite pastime, cooking.  She had a large collection of old cookbooks, and when she found out I was gluten-free, she dug up a ton of recipes for my perusal.  One of these was a recipe for a type of cake originally made by Sephardic Jews.  I suppose this was a first realization that there were wheat-averse traditions out there, and that there were ways of eating GF that aren’t simply about substituting regular flour for GF, but looking at it in a completely different way.

Today is the first time I’m trying this particular recipe, though I’ve made a similar cake multiple times.  The two things about this recipe which are a bit putzy are: 1. the springform cake pan (easy to find, but perhaps not something found in the average kitchen), and 2. pulverizing the almonds (I like to mix the almonds with the sugar in the food processor, that way the almond doesn’t get too sticky in the container).


  • Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake
  • TOTAL TIME: 3 hours (2 hours unattended)
  • COOK TIME: 1 hour
  • PREP TIME: 2 hour


Ingredients:

2 large oranges
6 eggs
1/2 pound ground almonds
1/2 pound sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preparation:
1.  Wash the oranges and simmer them, unpeeled, in water to cover for 2 hours. Cool, cut them open and remove the seeds. Puree the oranges in a food processor.
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3.  Beat the eggs in a food processor or large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including the orange puree, and mix thoroughly. Pour into a buttered and floured cake tin, with a removable base if possible.
4.  Bake for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the tin before turning out.

YIELD:10 servings

NOTE: This is a very moist cake and goes especially well with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines.

FOOD! Pinched Orange Macaroons

After several years of eating around the wheat so common in my Italian/Midwestern family’s diet, a few members of the clan have started to accommodate my eating restrictions at larger family gatherings.  This has been both unexpected, and lovely.  My 85-year-old Gram has even taken to making me a batch of GF pasta at Sunday dinners, my mother routinely makes GF banana breads for my consumption.  My aunt Annette, a registered Dietitian, likes to share recipes and resources she comes across.  Just today, in fact, she called to see if I was coming for Easter dinner, and was visiting the GF bakery near her home to ensure I could indulge in end-of-feast sweets.This is a recipe Annette shared during Christmas, as an alternative to cookies.  I’ve only made it once, and it was pretty straight forward.  The challenge can be finding the ingredients- make sure you’re using almond paste, not filling! (click the Read More button for recipe.)

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart.

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pinched orange macaroons, a la Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 LB almond paste
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 oz. (1 TBSP) Grand Marnier or other orange liquor
  • 1.5 tsp grated orange zest

Preparation:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.    Beat 1 egg white, almond paste, sugar, almond extract until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add liquor and orange zest and mix for 1 min.

Put dough on clean surface dusted with confectioners sugar.  Roll dough into two 3/4 inch thick logs, about 18 long.  Cut each log crosswise into thirty 1/2 inch pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.   Lightly beat other egg white.  Brush onto each dough ball, and roll in sugar, tapping to remove excess.  Transfer to prepared baking sheets.  LET STAND FOR 30 MINUTES.

Preheat oven to 350.  Pinch each dough ball with 3 fingers to form pyramid shape.  Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown   Cool.

FOOD! Flourless Chocolate-Orange Almond Cake, via Epicurious/Bon Appetit

I made this a few weeks ago, for a dinner party with friends (no one to impress = a great opportunity to step outside the cooking comfort zone!).  We were having raclette, which is a snacky-grazing sort of meal, so a little heavier dessert seemed in order (side note, raclette is actually very filling, and a nice sorbetor something light and fruity would probably have been a better choice!).The cake turned out really nicely, if a little crumbly.  I would possibly alter in a little, perhaps less baking time, or more orange juiceor maybe add some margarine to the recipe itself. The preparation was really putzy, though it will most likely be a lot more efficient the second time around.  My advice is to read through the directions a few times, and mentally prepare it in advance- otherwise you’ll find yourself with an overflowing dishwasher!The recipe suggests serving with sorbet, I just sprinkled it with powdered sugar, though a drizzle would have added a perfect bit of tartness.

Ingredients:

  • Pareve kosher-for-Passover margarine, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups whole almonds (6 to 7 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush bottom of 10-inch-diameter springform pan generously with margarine. Blend almonds and 1/4 cup sugar in processor until almonds are finely ground. Add chocolate; blend until chocolate is finely ground, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally.

Whisk cocoa, orange juice, and orange peel in small bowl until smooth. Combine egg yolks and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Using electric mixer, beat until yolk mixture is very thick, about 4 minutes. Beat in cocoa mixture. Fold in ground-almond mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until whites are stiff but not dry. Fold whites into chocolate batter in 3 additions. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil; store at room temperature.)

Cut around cake in pan; release sides. Cut cake into wedges. Transfer to plates. Place scoop of sorbet alongside.

Check out the site for a picture and helpful comments from others who’ve made this recipe.