Saturday, June 18, 2011



***Scroll Down To Enter Free Book Giveaway***

Have you noticed desserts are getting smaller these days. Although the classic small dessert, the "Petit Four", has been in style for a few centuries, the cupcake has really taken off as the dessert of choice in the last half of the 20th century. The 21st century has gone even smaller with the cake pop sensation that is sweeping the nation. Angie Dudley, a blogger that goes by the name "Bakerella", has popularized these cute little cake balls on a stick. And, she bumped them up a notch, by designing pops that look like everything from owls to mini-cupcakes. Her book "Cake Pops" gives step by step instructions for pops for just about every occasion you can imagine.
The new trend may be a good thing health wise as you're able to get your dessert in a couple of bites of cake instead of a big piece. I like the idea of the cake pops not only because they are visually stunning, but because you can have a bite of fudge cake, a bite of red velvet and a bite of vanilla without investing in the calorie count of three slices!

But how do these cakes work out for the gluten free baker? I wasn't sure at first as gluten free cake tends to be crumbly, but the secret to the cake pops actually works out very well with gluten free cake. The process involves crumbling cake (with GF cake you are halfway there out of the oven), mixing in prepared frosting, which acts like a glue for the crumbs, then encasing them in candy coating. The pops can then be dipped in sprinkles, nuts, coconut, crushed cookies, or decorated according to the instructions in the book. I suggest watching Dudley's how-to video on

My first attempt is pictured here. I dipped green pops in flower sprinkles and stuck them in Styrofoam inserted in a flower pot. The effect was springy and fun, and needless to say the kids loved them! I used Shufra brand gourmet baking bar for the candy coating as I needed a non-dairy alternative for the Candy Melts (Wilton brand), which seem to be the candy coating of choice in the book. They worked beautifully. Regular chocolate chips would work too, but they tend to be thicker than candy coating, and so you may need to add a teaspoon or two of solid vegetable shortening before melting to achieve a glossy coating and silkier consistency for dipping.

I wanted to use a boxed cake for added convenience in this project, but the eggs required in the boxed mix are a problem for Rosie. On the Internet I found a number of recipes using a can of soda and pudding as a substitute for the eggs and fat in boxed cake mixes. I tinkered around and came up with the recipe below. Link to to use this cake or anyone of your choosing in a variety of eye catching cake balls and pops.

Enter to win a copy of "Cake Pops" (which was generously supplied by Chronicle Books). Leave a post below with your e-mail address (in case you win), and tell me what you like about cake pops. The contest ends July 31st, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be randomly selected from all posts. Good luck!

Check back in August, as I will continue the theme of small desserts with a review and giveaway of the just released Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Kelli and Peter Bronski.

You can make this recipe with any flavor soda or plain seltzer. The soda flavor should compliment your cake, like cherry with chocolate cake or lemon-lime with yellow cake, etc.

Instantly Vegan Cake

1-15 ounce box Gluten Free cake mix
1-1.7 ounce box instant pudding (any flavor), or 1/2 -3.4 ounce box instant pudding
1-12 ounce can soda (any flavor) or seltzer (additional as needed)
1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8 or 9-inch round baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, and line with parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan, or line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until well blended, or vigorously mix by hand with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended and smooth. Additional seltzer or soda may be needed to achieve a cake batter consistency. Add a couple of tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake according to package instructions, but check 10 minutes before the end of the suggested cooking time, as this cake generally needs less cooking time than that indicated on box.

Place on wire rack to cool completely. The top of the cake may crack as it cools. Store covered.

Yield: One 8 or 9-inch cake layer

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Snap, Crackle, Gluten Free!


Well, it's official, Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal is here! I heard a rumor that the cereal was in the works, and I mentally ran through the ingredients, realizing that the only thing they really had to get rid of from the original was malt flavoring. Yet, I figured this was under tight wraps in a super secret food lab in Battle Creek, and would be made public perhaps in the next few years. So, what a great surprise when I went to to see an ad for Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal. It sells for just under $4 a box. In our house gluten free crisp rice cereal has been a luxury in recent years. Ringing up at about $5 a box at the health food store, I reserved the precious puffs for our favorite confection Chunk-a-Chews and other specialty recipes. I would cringe when the kids would request it for breakfast, pour a big bowl and they would take 2 bites then abandon the cereal for playtime. The Kellogg's website has printable coupons for $1 off any Rice Krispies, so that certainly sways me to buy their brand over the brand I could only buy at the health food store.

It's just nice knowing that more and more brands are available on our supermarket shelves with "gluten free" emblazoned over already familiar logos. I literally did a double when I walked past the Tasteekake display recently and saw "Gluten Free Cookies". "No, can't be" I thought. Maybe I just need another cup of coffee. But when I backed up my cart and stared at the boxes among the squishy snack cakes we've known and loved for years, I saw it was true.

Even thought these items are a bit pricier than their glutenny counterparts, and I don't expect sales on them anytime soon, it's comforting to know they are there and we now have options.

Have you been missing that classic childhood treat Rice Krispie Squares? Well you can have it again made with the genuine article. I use eggless marshmallows to accommodate Rosie, they are also know as "vegan marshmallows". I like Lieber's brand and stock up at Passover time when I find them in abundance.

Gluten-Free Treats®

3 tablespoons butter or margarine*
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows*
- or - 4 cups miniature marshmallows*
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® Gluten Free cereal

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES Gluten Free cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS: In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.
Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.