Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sour Cream Coffeecake

As is probably obvious by now, I sometimes take a detour from the purely healthy, to try new baking (or other cooking, but mostly baking) projects. The aim is to expand and improve my GF-from-scratch baking repertoire, so that I know I can offer at parties - or bring to school gatherings - things that I can eat and my non-GF guests/colleagues will (and will want to) eat.

Luckily, I have the perfect taste-tester: my mother. She has been very unenthusiastic about some baked goods I've brought home in the past, so if she likes one of my creations, I know I'm on to something. It's like having an in-house Mikey.

She liked this one.

SOUR CREAM COFFEECAKE from Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly

After trying only one recipe, I can already say that I wholeheartedly recommend this cookbook to everyone I know. I won't reprint the recipe here, other than my modifications/improvisations, but I do have photos!

This was also my chance, finally to try the silicone tube pan my friend N. and her parents gave me as a housewarming gift. Here it is, all greased and floured (with GF mix) and ready to go.

Notice the old baking sheet sitting under it: a must for silicone bakeware, which is very floppy.

The recipe calls for the streusel topping to contain walnuts, shredded coconut and mini chocolate chips, in equal measure. I wasn't in the mood for coconut or chocolate in my coffeecake (although I love both!), so I substituted almond meal for the coconut and more walnuts for the chocolate chips.

The walnuts I had on-hand were raw, so I toasted them in a dry skillet after chopping.

I then set them aside on a saucer until they were cool enough, so they didn't melt the butter in the streusel. Speaking of which, I was a bit confused at first about the direction to "pinch" the butter into the streusel. I decided to try in literally, by pinching off bits of butter from the stick (with very clean hands, of course) and dropping them into the flour. It worked nicely! It also seemed to work best to use my hands sort of to massage the ingredients into each other. The finished streusel was quite well blended.

The one other change I made in the streusel was to use crystallized fructose in place of sugar, because I had some in my pantry that I was trying to use up. Fructose is sweeter than sucrose, so I had to work out the correct amount to add, relative to the amount of sugar indicated in the recipe. This made a great example to use with my math tutee a couple of days later. Try it yourself: if 1 tsp fructose = 1 1/2 tsp sugar, and the recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar, how much fructose did I use? (Answer below*.)

Next, of course, came the batter, which was pretty straightforward. Here it is, as I was just adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Have I mentioned that I love my mixer?

The batter is so dark because the only sugar in it is dark brown sugar. Yum!

Once the batter was mixed, it was time to layer it into the pan, alternated with the streusel. Partway into the second batter layer looked like this:

And then I baked it! The recipe gave different baking times for a bundt pan v. a tube pan, and I wasn't sure which way to go, especially since I'd never used silicone before. I ended up compromising, and went a little longer than the tube pan time, but not quite as long as the bundt pan time. I also did the toothpick test, and it came out clean.

The result:

Now comes the neat part about silicone bakeware, especially for gluten-free baked goods, which are often more fragile than their gluteny cousins. You can peel the pan away!

The center was a little harder, especially because the whole thing was still quite hot. In the future, I will probably wait more than the indicated 15 minutes before trying to remove the coffeecake from the pan.

Still, almost a clean getaway!

And it looked fine, once it was flipped over (impressions from the cooling rack notwithstanding).

When sliced, it looked almost perfect, imho …

… And it made for a very tasty breakfast.

I cut the cake in half and packaged up half of it to give to my friends L. and H. I then wrapped and froze one of the remaining quarters for later. The final quarter, I sliced into four pieces: ate one, gave one to Mom, and put the other two in a container in the fridge for the next two mornings' breakfasts.

* I used 1/3 cup fructose.

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