One of the things I detest about moving – other than the whole, you know, being without most of your things for months, welcome to life in the Foreign Service – is realizing just how much stuff I have. Pretty bowls, plates, too many wine glasses (especially now since a glass of wine pretty much puts me to sleep, welcome to life with a 16-month-old. Why do we have so many wine glasses???), clothes, and on and on. And while every move allows me to downsize – one of the things I do like about moving – I find it difficult to give up the little things I’ve collected along the way despite a strange wish to get rid of everything I own. Case in point these blue and white saucers that show up on this blog often. I bought two, plus matching cups and a teapot, at a store in Old Town Alexandria probably in 2004 or 2005 when my brother lived there. So they’ve come a long way in their lifespan and there’s no way I’ll be giving them away any time soon. After all they make my cakes and muffins look so very pretty and when I’ve come up with a recipe as delectable as this gluten-free/naturally flourless cinnamon-sugar cake I want to show it off as much as I possibly can.
I’m doing a flourless baking talk/demo later this week with some ladies of the Casa expat community and will be featuring some desserts from my cookbook. Right now I’m thinking the oat-flour chocolate cake with milk chocolate butter cream, a batch of chewy molasses cookies, some coconut-lemon macaroons, and this cake, though I developed the recipe last week and long after the book went to print. But it’s so good I want to make it again to share even though it’s not included in flourless.
This lovely thing is a simple butter and buttermilk cake kissed with a bit of cinnamon and infused with raw sugar (still sugar, yes, but I like the deeper, more caramelly note the raw sugar imparts). It comes together in a flash, perfect for whipping up during baby’s nap or when you have a pile of moving-related organizing ahead of you (groan). I brought mine to a bowling afternoon party last weekend and it went quickly, plus it received one of the highest compliments you yearn for when making gluten-free treats: “I can’t even tell this is gluten-free!” But it is: just a combo of (gluten-free) oat flour, sweet white rice flour, and cornmeal that creates a not-too-sweet cake with a lovely firm crumb perfect with morning coffee, afternoon tea, or dressed up with fruit and whipped cream to make an easy and enticing dessert.
I tucked away a few squares for myself and thought they looked particularly fetching on my old plates. Regardless of how you serve it, however, it’s a sure thing.
Again, if you don’t need to keep gluten-free, substitute 2 cups all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flours. I cut my cake into little squares, but you can also bake it in an 8 or 9-inch pan for a more traditional cake-like feel. I like to serve this with strawberries in season, and maaaaaybe a bit of whipped cream too. Cake will keep in a tightly-sealed tupperware for 2-3 days.
Makes 8+ servings.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups raw sugar + 2 tablespoons
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup (gluten-free) oat flour
1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 x 8 square pan.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.
Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the butter/etc., in three additions, starting with 1/2 cup of flour and 1/3 of the milk, and ending with the remaining flour. Stir well after each addition.
Spoon the batter into the cake pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the 2 addtional tablespoons of sugar and the 1 teaspoon cinnamon evenly across the top. Place pan in oven and bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.