Sunday, May 19, 2013

Banana Quinoa Cake with Cinnamon Almond Butter Icing - Gluten Free


Well this spring has been very momentous, challenging, and unique.
First there is the weather. North Carolina has had cooler temperatures for springtime, higher winds for longer periods, (March 'comes in like a lion', not May?), and pollen season has been a bit wetter. I know this may not hold up scientifically. I'm no meteorologist, but that's my take on it.

Strawberry season came in a bit later in NC, but thank goodness it is here, despite the challenges farmers have faced with bad seeds, stemming from a Canadian supply company. That said, there is still plenty of strawberry happiness to go around, as I discovered at our local farmers market, and on my 'back roads' tour via NC Hwy 64.

Also, I've been pretty well under wraps while preparing for the school cake competition. It was pretty sweet to have a silver medal to show for the challenges I overcame and all my hard work. I was equally thrilled for all of my fellow students! Many of us won medals, and surely all of us put alot of heart into it!

So I am just now really getting back into some kind of routine that is more familiar, after completing 6 classes this past semester, and edging my way steadily toward completing my degrees! Summer break is coming to a close for me, and I am ramping right back up to start a stint of management classes.
Before I do, here is a tasty little treat that is like this spring... singular and still downright enjoyable.

This gluten-free cake was easy to make and turned out to be seriously nibble-worthy nosh! The icing came about because I love almond butter and other nut butters. One could easily use peanut butter, tahini, or even a soy version if there is a nut allergy in the house. The nut butter adds an element of richness and extra nutrients.

Quinoa flour is more cream-colored, almost yellow, and has a nice nutty aroma and flavor to it. The cake is more dense, almost like a bar-style cake. It also keeps well in an air-tight container without refrigeration. Keep in mind that a slice of this dessert packs all the amino acids and a dose of protein. So this is a very whole item to snack on without as much sugar as a classic dessert!

Banana Quinoa Cake with Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Ingredients:


4 oz quinoa flour
4 oz all-purpose gluten-free flour
6 oz butter softened
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
(optional ¼ tsp nutmeg)
4-5 oz  chopped walnut or walnut pieces (optional)
2 bananas, mashed to a pulp
¼ cup maple (or agave) syrup 
1 egg
1 cup (8 oz) milk, (almond or regular)


Whisk the dry ingredients to evenly incorporate flours, spices, and baking powder.
Soften the butter and mix until fluffy. Add bananas, syrup, and egg. Mix until well combined.
Add milk and blend until batter is mostly smooth, there will be some lumps and that is ok. The consistency should be thick, but like pancake batter. Frankly, it makes tasty pancakes too!

Add nuts if using, and mix lightly. 
Pour into a well-greased and floured 9 inch pie pan or square cake pan. 
A 9x13 pan will yield bars or squares.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. 
The cake will be light in color, slightly brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted will come out clean. It should be dense and moist.
Let the cake cool completely before icing. If not icing, a nice final touch would be to cut slits and drizzle syrup over as a glaze.

Cinnamon Almond Butter Icing
¼ cup butter (2 oz) melted
2 TB or 1 oz almond butter
½ tsp cinnamon
8 oz confectioners sugar
1-2 TB milk or other liquid (I used tea!)
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter and add the nut butter. Add confectioners sugar all at once, and add cinnamon.  Stir with a spatula, whisk, or blend with mixer until moist and very thick. Add vanilla and then liquid to consistency. It will smooth right out. I used the whole 2 TB and it turned out fine. This is a matter of preference. 
Enjoy! 

Until next time...

Happy Spring Eating
from Deelish!

Strawberry Source information:
NC Cooperative Extension Service http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/021413-CSJ-Strwbry-Virus-email-public.pdf
News and Observer online article http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/07/2809392/nc-state-extensions-forecast-helps.html
News 14 Carolina online article in Google http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/693800/infected-strawberry-plants-hurting-crop-across-nc

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