Upside Down Cake with Fruit

One of my mother’s favorite cakes was pineapple upside down cake. Since I can’t eat pineapple anymore, I used a different fruit for my upside down cake – pears. Turned out quite delicious and moist since pears are full of liquid which drained pineapple doesn’t have. Any fruit can be used for this cake and can be arranged decoratively – I just tossed mine in the bottom of the spring form pan but feel free to make one that’s prettier.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup aquafaba

Let sit while you get the baking pan ready. Using a 10″ spring form pan, or if authenticity is desired, a cast iron Dutch oven, spray the bottom with non-stick spray and add a round to fit of parchment paper. In a small sauce pan melt:

1/4 cup vegan margarine

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with:

1/2 cup fine date sugar (the courser sugar doesn’t work as well here – you could use the date syrup squeeze bottle to squeeze 1/2 cup of syrup over the melted margarine instead)

Peel (if desired) 2 large pears, 2-3 apples. Also could use 1 1/2 cups mixed berries or pineapple rings. I also shaved a fresh piece of ginger and grated about 2 teaspoons on top of the pears. Cinnamon or allspice could also be sprinkled over the fruit in the pan.

Arrange the fruit on top of this mixture and set aside. In a medium bowl mix:

1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum

In the smaller bowl, add to the flax gel:

3/4 cup date sugar

1 cup dairy free milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk until well mixed and then add to the flour mixture and either mix with a hand mixer or a spoon until combined. Do not over mix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring over the fruit (or pour over the fruit and let sit). Bake for 30-40 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before removing from pan onto plate. Remove parchment paper.

Quick and Easy Orange Spice Coffee Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free, nut-free, vegan)

It’s difficult to find recipes for desserts that are delicious along with being allergy free. Here’s a light, delicious cake that’s quick to mix and bake. Takes longer to get all the ingredients together than to make. And nobody will believe you that it is gluten-free or egg-free, never mind that there’s no refined cane sugar in it. I used a “Honey Bee Glaze” topping but it would also work well with the standard coffee cake streusel topping. The honey bee glaze made a gooey sticky cake best served hot while the caramel like goo is still pliant. And would work well with any kind of non-dairy frozen vanilla or orange “cream”.

I’m allergic to nuts so I used hemp hulls in the topping but any nut if you can have them would work, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds would even work well.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Generously grease an 8×8″ baking dish. Here’s what you’ll need for the cake:

In a 2-cup bowl mix together:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon aquafaba powder and 2 tablespoons water

Let sit several minutes while you,

Mix in a medium mixing bowl:

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2/3 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (feel free to substitute the cinnamon and allspice for whatever spices your family likes such as nutmeg, mace, ginger, or cloves)

Mix until combined.

Now back to the smaller bowl add:

1/2 cup oil (I used avocado oil because of its light flavor but any oil would work)

1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt (my 5.5 ounce container was exactly a 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons grated rind (rind from one large orange)

1 tablespoon vinegar

3/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, currents, etc. (Optional)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Don’t worry if there are dry spots but you don’t want too many. The batter is like a biscuit or scone batter when combined.

Spread the batter in the greased pan and top with Honey Bee Glaze or coffee cake streusel (the cinnamon mixture used in the Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread would work here, just double the recipe). Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Here’s the recipe for Honey Bee Glaze adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey or date syrup

1/2 cup crushed nuts, seeds, or hemp hulls

Pour over coffee cake batter before baking.

Yule Log (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

One of my favorite desserts when I was younger was a rolled cake. That’s all a Yule Log is — a rolled cake that’s made to look like a tree log.  I remember when I first made them in the 1960s, we used almonds to make the bark; today, one just uses a fork or toothpick to make the frosting look like bark, much easier than lining up all those almonds slices!  I struggled a long time to develop a recipe for a sponge cake that doesn’t use any eggs but I finally came up with this one.  It makes a small roll so if you want something bigger, make the recipe twice (I don’t recommend doubling it, instead just make 2 batches).  This will serve 8 normal people (in my family my two brothers would have demolished it all by themselves!).  

Preheat oven to 400 degree.  Grease a small cookie sheet with sides.  Place a piece of parchment paper on top and grease the paper.

In a large mixing bowl add:

  • 3/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat on medium speed until peaks start to form and then increase speed to high.  Add, a few tablespoons at a time:

  • 2/3 cup date sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

When the sugar is completely combined, fold in by hand:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour

Again, add the flour slowly, a few tablespoons at a time.  Fold in gently just until combined.  If your merengue falls, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to the mixture. [You can go ahead and use it but it will make a tougher sponge.] Spread in the prepared pan – makes about a 6″x8″ cake.

Obviously, if you’re doubling the recipe, you’ll want to use a larger pan and it will spread to approximately 12″x16″.  Bake 10 minutes in preheated oven.  When done, turn out onto a CLEAN dish towel (doesn’t matter what fabric towel it is as long as it isn’t too thick and its clean).  Let sit for about 1 minute and then roll long side to long side including the towel.  Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

I used the Carob Buttercream frosting but any brown frosting would work including a Nut butter and cream cheese (or tahini and cream cheese) frosting.  

Spice Cake with Parsnips (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar free, vegan)

My mother always made a spice cake for my sister’s birthday.  It was her favorite and she would have loved this one.  Its light and moist texture will make even the pickiest cake eater happy.  Topped with a spiced cream cheese frosting, its a delight.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You’ll need:

  • 9×13 baking dish, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup cooked and pureed parsnips (steam the parsnips until tender; blend in food processor with a little water, up to 1/4 cup, to make puree; you’ll need approximately 1 pound of parsnips to make a cup of puree)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice or nutmeg (I don’t like nutmeg so I usually use allspice but if you do like nutmeg, feel free to use it instead of the allspice)
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax combined with 1/3 cup hot water, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts (or if you can eat them, chopped walnuts)

Before beginning anything else, combine the ground flax and hot water so that it can stand for about 5 minutes and cool for later use.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk to aerate and set aside.  Combine the parsnips, oil, date sugar, lucuma, vanilla, baking powder and flax gel and beat to combine with a hand or stand mixer.  Add to the dry ingredients along with the milk and club soda and beat until well combined.  

Spoon into the prepared baking dish.  Mixture is quite thick so needs to be spread evenly in the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove and let cool on the counter for an hour before frosting.

To make the frosting, combine:

  • 1/4 cup of vegan margarine
  • 10 ounces of non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice

Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth and ingredients well combined.  Frost the cake and top with hemp hearts or chopped nuts.  

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Swiss Butter Cream Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined cane sugar-free, vegan)

This is a fairly easy cake to make if you have a hand mixer.  Using the coconut sugar makes it look a little funky since coconut sugar is brown, it certainly can’t be called a “yellow” cake which is what one would think a vanilla cake should be.  However, I tried it out on four different people and they all said it was vvvveeerrrryyyy tasty!  Its versatile as well — the batter can be used as a bundt cake, layer cake, sheet cake, cupcakes, or as the base for a coffee cake.  In fact, that’s what tasters said it tasted more like, coffeecake, than a yellow cake.  Unfortunately, I’m allergic to coconut so I couldn’t taste it myself although it smelled REALLY good.  I’ll be trying this again with different sweeteners to see how it works so stay tuned.  It would also be very delicious with the strawberry cream cheese frosting already posted on my blog.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour whatever baking pan used (I only had the jumbo cupcake pans and those were really too big for these cupcakes so if you want to make cupcakes, I would suggest using smaller tins).

With an electric mixer in a large bowl, combine:

  • 2 cups coconut sugar (or date sugar)
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Mix until blended (the coconut sugar will stay granular at this point.  Add:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

Mix until blended and then add:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Gluten-free flour
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup club soda

Again, mix until well blended.  I had to use a scraper to keep the batter from climbing the mixer blades.  Pour into prepared pan(s).  It will make three 8″ or 9″ cake layers, a 10×14″ sheet cake, 10-12 jumbo cupcakes, or a bundt cake.  Baking times will differ depending on what pan you choose to use.  My jumbo cupcakes took 30 minutes; a bundt cake will probably take 50-60 minutes.  Layers I would think would take around 20 minutes.  I used the toothpick into the center of the cake to be sure it was done and I could see it was pulling away from the sides of the baking pan.  Cool in pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  This is a very moist cake so I suggest that you don’t put these cupcakes into a plastic bag (I made that mistake and they all stuck together the next day when I went to frost them).

Chocolate Swiss Butter Cream Frosting

Combine in a small pan:

  • 1 1/2 cups date sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (or a couple of dashes)

Using a candy thermometer, heat mixture to soft ball stage (220 degrees).  Stir frequently. Date sugar doesn’t dissolve like regular white cane sugar so expect it to take quite awhile to get to 220 degrees (like a half hour; I actually gave up after about 20 minutes when it finally reached 200 degrees and my frosting turned out a little softer than it should). While the sugar syrup is cooking, beat:

  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat at medium speed until stiff peaks form and then continue beating for another 3-5 minutes at high speed.  Slowly add the sugar mixture and beat on high for another 3-5 minutes.  Add:

  • 2 ounces melted baking chocolate OR 2 tablespoons carob powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon olive oil

When well combined, slowly add in small pieces:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan margarine (the amount depends on how buttery and fluffy you want the frosting; I use Earth Balance Soy Free)

Continue beating until the margarine is well combined (you can tell from the picture that I didn’t quite achieve this task and that was mainly because I forgot it in the original beating so adding it later using a whisk and you can see how well that worked!).

Tahini Cheesecake with Chewy Brownie Crust

What a wonderful combination!  Who can resist a rich, decadent, chewy fudge brownie topped with a nutty creamy cheesecake.  This is not one of my quick, easy desserts; it takes some doing but not a great deal of skill, other than folding the brownie dry ingredients into the meringue.  Well worth the trouble.

First make the brownies.  Heat oven to 350 degrees; grease 8×8″ pan.  In a medium size bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (bean water)*
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whip the aquafaba and cream of tartar to stiff peaks and then continue whipping for several more minutes.  Slowly beat in the monk fruit powder and then the date sugar and continue beating for 2-3 more minutes.

  • 3/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1/3 cup date sugar

Sift:

  • 3/4 cup carob powder (or cocoa if you can use it)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt

Pour into the meringue.  Add on top of the dry ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons hemp milk (or soy or rice milk) [If you use almond butter in the cheesecake, you could use almond milk here]
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using a folding mix technique (using a spatula, bring the meringue from the bottom middle out to the edge in a sweeping motion; turn the bowl 1/4 of the bowl and repeat until the mixture is well mixed) mix the dry and wet ingredients into the meringue.  It will deflate somewhat.  Pour into the baking dish and spread out in an even layer.  Bake 12-15 minutes, remove from oven and top with the cheesecake mixture.

For the cheesecake mixture, combine in your food processor:

  • 12 ounces non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup tahini (or nut butter if you can have one)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder, or 1/2 cup date sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Blend until smooth.  Pour over brownie in an even layer.  Return to oven and bake an additional 25-40 minutes depending on your oven.  If you have some sugar free chocolate or carob chips, you can sprinkle them on top of the cheesecake mixture before baking.  Turn off oven and open door and let cool for a half hour before removing from the oven.  Cool on draft-free counter for an hour before placing in the refrigerator.  This will keep the cheesecake layer from splitting.  Serve ice-cold, if you can keep your family from eating them sooner!

*Aquafaba is the liquid you drain from a can of beans and usually discard.  It is a great substitute for eggs.  Usually used is garbanzo bean liquid.

Decadent Carob Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

This cake is so moist and fudgy that it doesn’t need any frosting.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t put some strawberry cream cheese frosting on it if you want, or even serve it with some non-dairy whipped cream or “ice cream”.  I simply serve mine with some of my strawberry jam or some fresh raspberries.  So satisfying for those with a sweet tooth.

Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan.  In a medium size bowl mix:

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup carob powder (if you want, you can use cocoa)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a second bowl mix:

  • 1 cup pureed stewed prunes
  • 1/2 cup apple or pear sauce
  • 1 tablespoon stevia, 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar, or 1/2 cup maple syrup (if you add the liquids, be sure to reduce the club soda by an equivalent amount)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups club soda

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Be sure to mix thoroughly and then keep mixing for several more minutes (gluten-free flour needs more mixing than regular wheat flour).  Pour into the prepared pan and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your pan and your oven.  Its done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack and then onto a serving plate.

You could also add some chopped dates, hemp hulls, coconut, or if you can eat them, even some chopped walnuts.

Carrot Cake (dairy, gluten, egg, and refined sugar free)

My husband’s favorite cake is carrot cake, so moist and flavorful.  One of my favorites as well since it has so little sweetener because of the sweetness of the carrots.  This recipe allows you to add some granulated fructose, stevia, or chopped dates in place of the sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Lightly grease a large 12-cup bundt pan.

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (one 12 ounce bag of baby carrots)
  • 1/4 cup fructose or chopped dates (or 2 teaspoons of stevia)
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/4 cup oil or 1/4 cup applesauce (or pear sauce)

Mix well to combine.  Add:

  • 1 3/4 cups Bobs 1 for 1 gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup Bobs Sweet Sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup raisins, cranberries, currents, etc. (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, hemp hulls, etc. (optional)

Mix while adding  1 1/2 cup club soda.  If the batter is too thick, add more club soda until batter is the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

Bake 60-75 minutes depending on how hot your oven runs.  Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before turning out of the pan.  Cool completely before frosting.

Frost with plain cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 8-ounce package of non-dairy cream cheese
  • 1-3 tablespoons of agave nectar, depending on how sweet your family likes frosting (you can also use honey or coconut nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix using a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.

Easy Maple Walnut Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free)

If your family likes a gooey, nutty, sweet dessert, but you don’t have a lot of time to make desserts and they’re hungry for a sweet right now, this one is a great one to try.  My husband loved it with the sugar-free vanilla ice cream on top but I’m sure a non-dairy frozen dessert would work just as well.  Very easy and quick to make.  It took me less than ten minutes to get it in the oven.  Should be served hot.  Serves 4-6 depending on portion size.  Doubles well if you need more servings.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Liberally grease a 5×8″ baking pan.  If you don’t have a 5×8″ baking pan, you could make individual cakes in a muffin tin.

Heat in a small saucepan until it boils:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used my husband’s Maple Grove Sugar-Free syrup)

Mix in a medium sized bowl:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1for1)
  • 1/8 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sweetener such as granulated fructose (or you could use stevia but of course not as much, probably 1 tablespoon would be more than enough since this is just to add a little sweetness to the cake); or agave or coconut nectar but then decrease the amount of milk to adjust for the liquid sweetener.
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice

Mix well and then add:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon softened margarine of choice
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice or enough to make it the consistence of soft mashed potatoes

Mix well until margarine is well combined.  Pour the hot syrup into the bottom of the baking dish and pour the mixture (or spoon if easier but be sure to cover as much of the syrup as possible).  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  If you’re using the muffin pan, check them after 10 minutes.

Place on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes; loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and then turn out onto a serving plate.  Sprinkle the top liberally with chopped or ground walnuts.  If you want it nut free, use hemp hulls, sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead of the walnuts.  Serve with some non-dairy frozen dessert, whipped topping, or sugar-free ice cream.