Thursday, October 23, 2014

Julie Surprise: Namaste Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Layer and Coconut Sugar Glaze

I doubt I will ever grow tired of pumpkin and thus I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the canned pumpkin puree at my local Costco.

We've only purchased our first pack, but I have already enjoyed making a myriad of delicious favorites from those three 15 oz cans as well as discovering and inventing some delectable new concoctions. (More on those later . . . I hope.)

Today I used the last of the coveted pumpkin puree. I had two cups left, just enough to make a nice double batch of Namaste's Pumpkin Cake recipe, which I have been intending to try since I bought the pumpkin puree earlier this month.

Since having to go gluten free I've been experimenting a lot with coconut flour and other gluten free alternatives but since I really have enjoyed their allergen free cake mix in the past, I was excited to see that my Costco began carrying Namaste's Perfect Flour Blend.

At first I wasn't sure if I liked it better than the coconut flour. Both can be tricky to bake with if you aren't used to how different they are from wheat flour, but finally I took the advice on the back of the bag and looked up some recipes on their website.

I adore their Best Banana Bread! I have even adapted it into zucchini bread by simply replacing the mashed bananas with some pureed zucchini and adding some cinnamon. Both ventures were a great success.

Also, following a recipe designed for the gluten free flour helped to to realize what I had been doing wrong in my previous attempts. The batter for a gluten free cake or bread is a lot thicker than you would expect, and that's okay. I kept adding water before, when I was trying to use it as a substitute for regular baking recipes and the results were always doughy and gooey. I have realized that adding more liquid wasn't the answer. I just had to be okay with the idea that when you bake with this gluten free flour, the consistency is simply going to be a lot thicker.

Of course, being who I am, I usually find it extremely difficult to follow a recipe exactly. While I did follow the basics of this pumpkin cake recipe, I couldn't help being inspired by some other recipes I found on pinterest, and thought it would be fun to spruce this one up a bit.

So while this is the Namaste recipe from their website, the one intended for their gluten free perfect flour blend, I also was inspired by this cream cheese filled pumpkin bread and this pumpkin coffee cake with the brown sugar glaze.

Thus we have a gluten free pumpkin cake with a cream cheese layer and served with a brown sugar glaze.

Actually, because I doubled Namaste's recipe I did two different cakes; one with the cream cheese filling and for the other, I sort of took inspiration from this Snickerdoodle Bread and sifted some cinnamon coconut sugar mixture in between layers of the cake batter. Then, after it was baked, I poked holes in the top and poured the brown sugar glaze over it like in the coffee cake recipe. Of course, I probably should have cut the glaze recipe in half. It was a bit too much for my 8x8 pan, so we ended up scooping a lot of the excess glaze off the top of the second cake and drizzling it over the one with the cream cheese filling.


So here is how I made the recipe. Which is basically Namaste's but doubled and with a few slight substitutions. Oh, except there was one little thing that I want to improve on the original recipe. The original calls for one 1/8 tsp of salt, which doubled is still only a measly 1/4 tsp.
(Now I'm not one to be afraid of salt. Salt is actually extremely important to your health. Of course processed salts and sodiums are gross but good old regular sea salt is awesome for keeping your iodine levels up.) Anyways, too me this cake was just a tad bit on the bland side, and if you've made bread and forgotten the salt, you will know what I mean. So I'm going to increase the salt to at least 1 tsp next time because the I actually used 1/2 a tsp and it wasn't enough.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake 
with a Cream Cheese Layer and a Coconut Sugar Glaze

2 Cups Namaste Perfect Flour
2 Cups Coconut Sugar (Or raw Stevia or other sweetener of your choice)
1 Cup + 4 TBS Oil of your choice (I did half coconut oil and half organic pastured butter)
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Pumpkin Puree
4 Eggs
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp (or maybe 1 1/2 tsp) Salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8 X 8 inch baking pan. 
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. 
In a large bowl combine sugar and oil. (Melt the oil in the preheating oven first if you need too) 
With a wire whisk blend in vanilla and pumpkin, then beat in eggs one at a time. 
Gradually beat in flour mixture. (You might need to switch to stronger beaters if your wire whisk is not strong enough for the super thick batter.)
Spread batter into prepared 8 X 8 inch pan. 

~If you want to try the snickerdoodle version, spread a shallow layer of the batter on the bottom of your pan, then add a few extra glops on top of that. Then mix about 1 TBS of coconut sugar and about 1 tsp of ground cinnamon together , maybe add in a few sprinkles of salt as well, and then sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan. Then add some more dollops of batter in between the sugar dusted ones and then cover it all with a final thin layer of batter. This will create a sort of cinnamon swirl effect when baked.

~If you want to do the cream cheese layer mix together 4 oz of softened cream cheese with 1 large egg and 1/4 cup of sweetener of your choice (I used raw Stevia to keep things white, but I almost wish I'd used honey.) 
I also added in a dash of grass fed gelatin because, honestly, I throw it into everything.
Anyway, whip that together until smooth and then carefully spread over a layer of pumpkin batter. Then top with another layer of pumpkin batter. It's pretty thick, so you might need to add little dollops at a time and then smooth them together with a rubber spatuala. Honestly, I almost didn't have enough batter left to cover my cream cheese cake after doing the cinnamon swirl one so I had to skim some of the batter off the top of that one to get the cream cheese covered up. Next time I'll want to make my first layers thinner and perhaps I'll even double the cream cheese filling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 

Allow to cool.

~If you want to try the coconut sugar glaze soaked version:
Mix together 1/4 cup coconut milk or raw heavy cream in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup  coconut sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Once the sugar is melted and the sauce looks smooth, poke holes into your now cooled pumpkin cake and drizzle the glaze on top of it, allowing it to soak in. 
Serve immediately, or keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

~Alternately you can simply pour it over slices of cake. 

P.s. This cake is also good with butter melted on top.