A few weeks ago, Workman Publishing sent me a copy of Anne Byrn‘s new cookbook to review: The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free. I’ll be honest. Before I even opened the book, I was a bit skeptical as to what in the world I would make from it. If you’ve been around Daily Bites for a while, you know that I’m not one to make baked goods heavy on sugar or gluten free starches. And I never—and I mean never—bake from a mix.
After flipping through the first few pages of Anne’s book, however, my doubts were laid to rest. Anne’s books—including titles such as Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor, The Dinner Doctor, and Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor—are, not surprisingly, all about doctoring up baking mixes, frozen foods, and canned goods and transforming them into something nothing short of gourmet. Anne is all about switching things up in a recipe to meet the needs and desires of the people eating it.
The Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Doctor
Because I bake without sugar and dairy, I knew from the get-go that there would be some doctoring of my own done to Anne’s recipes. The dairy? No problem. Nearly all of the recipes in the book have dairy-free options and several of the recipes are naturally dairy-free with no adjustments required. As for the sugar, I was hard-pressed to find a gluten-free cake mix without it in some form, so I ended up making my own 15-ounce blend of sorghum flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, and leavening. I’ve already used it in several of her recipes and it’s worked perfectly.
Along with each recipe there are boxes in the margins of the book titled “Recipe Reminders.” They offer a convenient place for recipe-remixers like me to scribble down notes detailing the alterations made to the original recipe. Anne also offers plenty of need-t0-know baking tips throughout the book, like how to tell when a bundt cake is done or how to make chocolate curls and other garnishes.
I tagged a handful of recipes right away to add to my “to make” list, including New-Fashioned Banana Muffins and Lunchbox Applesauce Cake. The banana muffins—made with my homemade cake mix blend in place of storebought, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, and without the brown sugar topping—were the perfect accompaniment my daily green smoothie at breakfast. Not only were they a snap to make, but I imagine they would freeze wonderfully as well.
I ended up reworking the applesauce cake recipe quite significantly, so I thought I’d share my take on it with you here. I cut the recipe in half to yield an 8×8-inch pan, changed up the spices, used my own flour blend, swapped in coconut oil for vegetable, and left off the frosting to keep it dairy-free. The result? Perfection! A slice of this moist and fruity cake makes for the most comforting afternoon snack with a cup of tea.
Even if you’re a from-scratch baker like me, I still urge you to check out The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free. It’s packed with loads of gluten-free inspiration. I’m already eager to put my spin on the Hawaiian Cupcakes, Fresh Apple and Pear Skillet Cake, and Snickerdoodle Cookies.
Applesauce Snack Cake - serves 16
Inspired by the Lunchbox Applesauce Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 heaping cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
- Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil and set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld electric mixer fitted with the beaters), stir together all of the dry ingredients.
- Add applesauce, melted coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat for 1-2 minutes to combine, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula once or twice.
- Fold in the currants or raisins. Transfer batter to the oiled baking dish.
- Bake cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
- Cool completely, then cut into 16 squares and serve.
Store cake in the pan, covered with plastic wrap or lid, at room temperature for up to three days.
Boring full disclosure: The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free was provided to me free of charge for review. However, I was not paid by the author, publisher, or any other party to write this review. The opinions expressed within are strictly my own. This is not a sponsored post.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.