Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free

I was excited to see that Anne Byrn has written a version of her Cake Mix Doctor series for gluten free cake mixes.

The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free, Classic Cakes, Cookies, Brownies, Bundts, and Bars, by Anne Byrn, retails for $14.95, and is a 308 page paperback.

My review copy arrived in early December. The first cake I made was the Banana Bread Cake with Caramel Glaze (page 117). I had bananas that needed to be used in banana bread or thrown away. I found my bundt pan and got to work. Check out the pictures I took of my very first GFCF bundt cake.

I love the convenience. Baking gluten-free from scratch means I have ten thousand ingredients (slight exaggeration) to make a recipe. Using a GF white cake mix from Whole Foods and a few "regular" ingredients from my kitchen had me making one of the quicker GFCF batters I've ever made.

Author Byrn includes suggestions to make most recipes dairy free. Occasionally, there is a recipe that can not be made dairy free, but the majority of recipes in the cookbook have GFCF versions. I made the caramel glaze for the Banana Bread Cake using coconut milk in place of the cream. The texture and crumb were excellent - no gummy blob in place of cake, here.

(Penny's notes: 1) We rotate eggs in baked goods at my house, and I made this first cake with eggs instead of egg replacer. I wanted to see what the original recipe made. Next time, I'll try it w/ egg replacer and have something to compare. 2) I use real butter. (Some people use ghee or clarified butter.) I used real butter in the cake pictured here. When my daughter was two and had been on the GFCF diet for eight months, our DAN! doctor recommended we try real butter. He suggested that there is not enough casein in it to cause problems for some children. I refused to try it for about a month because I had seen a four-day regression when my daughter ate one cheerio that I was unable to remove from her mouth before she swallowed it. Based on our doctor's medical advice, we did try butter on GFCF toast with no signs of infraction, and while I do use it sparingly, I did use it in this recipe. Consult with your doctor before trying any dairy if you are sensitive to it in any way. This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor and do not play one on this blog.)

This is not an allergen-free cookbook. If you (like me) are baking for someone with more sensitivities than simply gluten and dairy, you'll need to know how to make substitutions in some of the recipes (particularly for eggs; eggs are the most challenging item to substitute from this cookbook). Additionally, Byrn uses cream cheese in some of the recipes; for those of us baking soy-free as well as GFCF, I have not found a dairy-free, soy-free substitute for cream cheese. Still, there are lots of recipes in this book that I can use.

I don't like the fact that a recipe sometimes begins on the right side of the page and I have to turn the page to read the rest of the recipe.

I do like the place in the margins for my own notes as I bake through this cookbook.

The ingredient lists and directions are big enough for me to read w/ my reading glasses on.

The cookbook features recipes for cakes, cookies, desserts for any occasion, from dessert with a family dinner, to potlucks, to birthdays, to weddings.

Bottom line, The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free is a must have in a GFCF kitchen.

Workman Publishing sent me a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free in exchange for a review. I am not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.


Cristi said...

What did the non-food allergic people in your family think of the cake? I like to bake gluten-free things for myself, but I hate having too many leftovers when the picky eaters don't want to help me eat it.

Penny said...

They ate it up - you could not tell the difference.

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