There have been recent conversations in the media regarding the effect of gluten in our diet. Turning from the trend of wheat may be better and healthier; the new trend is that the gluten ingested in our diet can actually be the source of several digestive disorders and other complaints. With gluten in the majority of baked goods, it can be a challenge to find desserts that are gluten-free. Now you can enjoy baked goods that are gluten-free, look appealing and taste delicious.
What is Gluten Anyway?
While talk-show hosts and food gurus in the media talk about going gluten-free, the average person may have no idea what gluten really is and what it does. You are not alone if you do not really understand gluten. As explained by Women’s Health, “Just 10 years ago, barely anyone knew what the word gluten meant, let alone gave any thought to avoiding it.” The first real incident of jumping on the gluten-free baked goods bandwagon came when Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake was gluten-free.
I learned that gluten is in wheat when I discovered that wheat is a trigger for the leukocytoclastic vasculitis that I suffer from. What I did not know is that the protein composite is also in barley, rye and most other grains. People who suffer from autoimmune disorders often find that gluten can trigger an immune reaction that can even cause damage internally. With this knowledge, it is easy to understand how eliminating gluten, which is said to possibly contribute to sensitivities and digestive disorders, may seem challenging. But there are delicious gluten-free desserts. These are my 4 favorite gluten-free baked desserts.
Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
This recipe is so versatile! You can get creative and use your own variations on this gluten-free yellow cake recipe, from Allrecipes. Instead of just baking as the two-layer cake, consider cupcakes instead. You can top cupcakes with whipped cream and fresh fruit instead of regular cake icing. I love this as a recipe for strawberry shortcake. Consider making it a fruit-flavored coffee cake
1 ½ C white rice flour
¾ C tapioca flour
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp baking soda
3 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ C white sugar
2/3 C mayonnaise
1 C milk
2 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 round 8″ or 9″ cake pans and dust with rice flour. Mix the white rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum. Set aside. In another bowl, mix eggs, sugar and mayonnaise until fluffy. Add the flour mixture, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Spread batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when lightly touched in center or when toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cakes before frosting or slicing.
Flourless Chocolate-Raspberry Individual Cakes
The first time you make these decadent individual cakes, you will want to indulge all by yourself! There are variations that you can incorporate such as using other berries or what I do, and many others seem to as well, is to use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet chocolate chips. From comments under the Food recipe, you can see that several people indicate they substitute regular sugar for the Splenda. I used sugar, another time Splenda and find them equally delicious. I also added a few extra raspberries.
¾ C bittersweet chocolate chips
½ C trans-fat free margarine
½ C Splenda granular
½ C unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3 large eggs
½ C raspberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Heat chocolate chips and margarine in saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir to combine and remove from heat. Mix Splenda (or sugar) and cocoa. Add eggs, whisk until combined. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Scoop batter into lined muffin cups. Place 3 raspberries halfway into each one. Place muffin pan on a baking sheet and place on center oven rack. Bake 15 minutes, turning pan once during baking. Cool before serving.
Gluten-Free Chocolate-Mint Brownies-Microwave recipe
This recipe has rave reviews on the Food site, so I had to try it and the brownies were delicious! I would not have thought brownies from the microwave would taste good, let alone when using a gluten-free recipe!
1 C granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ C melted butter or canola oil
¾ C sifted rice flour
½ C sifted cocoa
½ C chopped walnuts
Peppermint Icing: 2 Tbsp butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp half-and half cream
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
Glaze: 2 Tbsp butter
¼ – 1/3 C chocolate chips
Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt for one minute. Add melted butter or canola oil. Stir well with wooden spoon making sure sugar is mixed well with butter or canola oil – do not use mixer. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa and walnuts. Lightly spray or grease 10×10″ microwave-safe baking pan. Microwave on High 5 to 6 minutes. Brownies are done when top looks dry, but springs back when touched lightly. Note: microwave time is for 1000 watt microwave; you will need to adjust if your microwave is lower-wattage. Let brownies cool before icing.
Icing – Stir icing ingredients together and carefully spread over cooled brownies.
Glaze – Melt glaze ingredients in microwave-safe glass cup for 1 minute on medium. Drizzle over peppermint icing. Chill, slice and serve these delicious brownies!
When you want something a little different for dessert, this is a great alternative to all the chocolate, cakes and cookies. I was really happy when I found this on Real Simple after searching for a gluten-free dessert alternative. These gluten-free baked apples are bursting with the perfect mix of flavors that makes it good enough to serve to the pickiest of family members or dinner guests – or to enjoy all by yourself.
4 large apples
¾ C maple syrup
½ C or 2 ounces walnut pieces
¼ cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Ice Cream (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Using a paring knife, remove core from each apple. Trim about ½ inch from bottom of apples so they will sit flat while baking. Place apples in ovenproof skillet or 8 or 9 inch baking dish. Drizzle apples with the maple syrup. Divide walnuts and raisins between apples, placing any extra in baking dish. Dot apples with butter. Bake until tender, about 40-50 minutes. If using baking dish, pour liquid from baking dish into skillet. Bring to boil over medium heat, cooking until slightly thickened – 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over warmed apples. Serve warm apples with ice cream if desired.
The need or desire to exclude gluten from your diet does not mean you cannot have foods that you enjoy. Gluten-free baked desserts are just one example of great options for a gluten-free diet.