December: Our Three Most Popular Recipes Made Gluten-Free

Our final lesson of 2020 is a gluten-free primer, transforming three of our most popular recipes with the aid of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. Hummingbird Cake, Caramelized Banana Bread, and Gingerbread Cookie Cheesecake Bars all receive the gluten-free treatment. We’ve kept each of our recipes the same, only swapping out the original all-purpose flour with Bob’s gluten-free baking flour, a versatile substitution that will transform the baked goods without sacrificing any of the decadent flavor. In addition to three foolproof gluten-free recipes, we’re offering three helpful techniques, from how to caramelize a banana to frosting the perfect three-layer cake, expanding your skills with each one. By the end of this lesson, you’ll know firsthand that baking gluten-free is quick, easy, and, above all, delicious! Click here for a printable PDF, or scroll down for the digital version.

Also, check out our IGTV video with editor-in-chief Brian Hart Hoffman to get all the tips and tricks you need for flawless gluten-free baking. Before you get to baking, be sure to enter our Instagram giveaway to win a prize pack of baking essentials you’ll use in this lesson. The giveaway closes on December 31, 2020, so hurry to enter!

Ingredient Breakdown 

Bob’s Red Mill’s signature gluten-free blend has a lot of wonderful things going on—here’s a little info on some of the key ingredients featured in the blend 

Sweet Rice and Brown Rice Flour: These two forms of rice flour are often used in gluten-free baking because the glutinous structure of rice helps batters and doughs gel into a homogeneous mixture. Sweet rice flour is much finer than traditional white rice flour and is ground from short-grain rice, like the kind used in sushi. Sweet rice flour is, thus, more glutinous and absorbent, making it a fantastic binder. In addition, its mild sweet flavor and tender qualities make moister, sweeter baked goods. Brown rice flour has a stronger, nuttier flavor but exhibits similar binding characteristics as the sweet rice flour. A common complaint with rice flour is its gritty texture. Bob’s Red Mill sidesteps this problem by using a stone-ground milling process, which grinds the rice flour extra-fine for a smooth, powdery finish.    

Sorghum Flour: With a mild flavor that won’t overpower your baked goods and a high protein level, sorghum flour is an excellent gluten-free flour. A very nutritious grain, sorghum has around 11% protein and 8% fiber, giving your baked goods structure and stability. Griddle cake and flapjack recipes featuring sorghum flour have been around since the 1800s, so it’s not a new addition to the baking scene. Like rice flour, sorghum flour is very fine, mimicking the texture of traditional flour well. 

Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, and Xanthan Gum: The previous flours mentioned all work well in gluten-free baking, but they require a little help from starches to mimic gluten’s elasticity. A magical trio, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum all provide binding power to the gluten-free flours. While made from the potato, potato starch has a very neutral flavor and will keep your baked goods tender. Tapioca starch, made from the cassava root, has a velvety texture and helps lighten your baked goods, keeping them from getting gummy. A favorite dupe for gluten, xanthan gum is a plant-based thickener, emulsifier, and all-around texture-booster. Too much of any one of these ingredients can compromise the texture and taste of your baked goods, but a balanced blend of all three gives you the best of all worlds.  

Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake 

One of our most popular recipes of all time, our Hummingbird Cake is a classic Southern layer cake, packing pineapple, banana, and pecans under a dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting. This gluten-free version boasts the same iconic tropical flavor, tender texture, and creamy frosting. The best part? The only change to the original recipe is a simple swap of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour for all-purpose flour.  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake
 
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (444 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 1½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (57 grams) chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup (224 grams) canola oil
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200 grams) ¼-inch-chopped fresh pineapple
  • 4 cups (1,000 grams) Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Pineapple-Pecan Filling (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; stir in pecans.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together oil, banana, eggs, and vanilla. Add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in pineapple. Divide batter among prepared pans.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Place a cooled cake layer on a cake plate. Place 1 cup (250 grams) Cream Cheese Frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip. (Alternatively, cut a ½-inch opening in tip of pastry bag.) Pipe around edge of cake layer. Spread half of Pineapple-Pecan Filling (about 300 grams) on layer inside piped border. Top with second cake layer, and pipe border around edge. Spread remaining Pineapple-Pecan Filling inside piped border. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread a thin layer of Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake to create a crumb coat. Refrigerate until filling is set, 30 to 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate remaining frosting.
  6. Using a spatula, fold remaining Cream Cheese Frosting until smooth and workable. Spread frosting on top and lightly on sides of cake. Using a bench scraper, smooth edges until desired amount of frosting is left. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight before serving.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Makes about 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages (454 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1(2-pound) package (907 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add vanilla, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pineapple-Pecan Filling
 
Makes about 2½ cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (500 grams) Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe precedes)
  • ½ cup (57 grams) finely chopped toasted pecans
  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) finely chopped fresh pineapple, patted dry
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, gently stir together Cream Cheese Frosting, pecans, and pineapple until combined.

 

Do you bake by weight? 

Here’s some helpful information. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour weighs about 148 grams per 1 cup. 1 cup of all-purpose flour weighs about 125 grams. When substituting in Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour for all-purpose flour, know that the weight will be different but the volume measurement will remain the same. Don’t decrease the amount of the gluten-free blend to compensate the weight discrepancy, as it will affect the final consistency of the baked good.

Frosting 411

A straightforward look at creating the perfect frosting 

  1. Place a cooled cake layer on a cake plate. Place 1 cup (250 grams) Cream Cheese Frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip. (Alternatively, cut a ½-inch opening in tip of pastry bag.) Pipe a border around edge of cake layer. Think of this piped border as a sweet dam. This border will keep your filling from spilling out and seeping into the frosting on the outside of the cake. 
  2. Spread half of Pineapple-Pecan Filling on layer inside piped border. You want to smooth down the filling slightly so your cake layers will stack evenly. Our tools of choice? An offset spatula or a straight-sided icing spatula.  
  3. Top with second cake layer, and pipe a border around edge. Spread remaining Pineapple-Pecan Filling inside piped border. Top with remaining cake layer. As you place your second cake layer on top of the first, press down lightly to make sure everything is even and level.
  4. Spread a thin layer of Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake to create a crumb coat. A crumb coat is the baker’s term for a thin coat of frosting spread over a cake that is then refrigerated before being frosted with the final, thicker layer of frosting. The crumb coat helps keep any crumbs from getting into the final coat and fills any gaps the border missed.
  5. Refrigerate until filling is set, 30 to 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate remaining frosting. Chilling your cake allows the filling to set and helps firm up the crumb coat, making it easier to frost. You also need to refrigerate your frosting, as it will get too soft at room temperature while the cake chills.
  6. Using a spatula, fold remaining Cream Cheese Frosting until smooth and workable. This just ensures that the frosting is smooth and an even consistency before working with it on the cake.
  7. Spread frosting on top and lightly on sides of cake. Using a bench scraper, smooth edges until desired amount of frosting is left. Use an offset spatula or straight-sided icing spatula to apply the frosting in generous swaths. Then switch to a bench scraper to smooth and scrape down the sides. The bench scraper will leave the frosting in an even layer all the way around, as well as make the sides straight.
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight before serving. A last chill in the refrigerator will further set up your smooth frosting and pineapple-rich filling. 

Gluten-Free Caramelized Banana Bread 

Banana bread is always a crowd-pleaser, but this caramelized version is one of our crowning achievements. Think of this as a breakfast bread version of Bananas Foster. Topped with golden Caramelized Banana halves and offering a hint of cinnamon flavor, this loaf is all about taking the banana to the nth power of sweetness. Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, this quick bread has been transformed into a gluten-free favorite. 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten-Free Caramelized Banana Bread
 
Makes 1 (8½x4½-inch) loaf
Ingredients
  • 1⅔ cups (246 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 grams) baking powder
  • 1⅛ cups (255 grams) mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • ¾ cup (165 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 teaspoons (86 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
  • Caramelized Banana (recipe follows)
  • Softened butter, to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Lightly spray an 8½x4½-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together mashed banana, brown sugar, melted butter, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fold in flour mixture just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Place Caramelized Banana, cut sides up, on top of batter.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with softened butter.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Caramelized Banana
 
Makes 2 banana halves
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 medium banana (124 grams), halved lengthwise
Instructions
  1. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Gently press brown sugar onto each cut side of banana. Place banana halves, cut side down, in skillet; cook until golden brown and caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside until ready to use.

 

Caramelized Banana Basics 

The stunning secret to our banana bread is the Caramelized Banana. We show you how to prep and prepare the decadent topping. 

  1. As opposed to the overripe bananas you use in the batter, the banana you want for this topping should be ripe but firm so it slices easily and doesn’t break down too much when you cook it. Look for a banana that is neither green nor sporting brown spots. Using a sharp paring knife, halve the banana lengthwise.  
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. The butter acts as the smooth basting liquid that helps poach the banana halves and keep them from sticking.
  3. Gently press brown sugar onto each cut side of banana. Pressing the brown sugar into the banana halves instead of cooking it into the butter allows for peak caramelization. Instead of being coated in a caramel sauce, the bananas are seared directly with the brown sugar for a brûléed effect.
  4. Place banana halves, cut side down, in skillet; cook until golden brown and caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside until ready to use. Don’t be tempted to rush the caramelization process, as each minute of cooking creates a lovely golden seal on the exterior of the banana halves. Once the cut side is caramelized, turn them over for another, quicker caramel soak and sear. When the cooking is done, your banana halves can wait in the wings until the batter is ready.
  5. Place Caramelized Banana, cut sides up, on top of batter.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookie Cheesecake Bars 

We’re big fans of an ambitious holiday crossover, and these Gingerbread Cookie Cheesecake Bars are just that. An indulgent layer of cheesecake filling is sandwiched between chewy, delicately spiced gingerbread dough. It’s a simple formula, but when that molasses-rich gingerbread meets that vanilla-scented cheesecake, you’ll get flavor fireworks. It packs all of the richness you could want—but in a neat gluten-free package. 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookie Cheesecake Bars
 
Makes 9 bars
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (73 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (85 grams) unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 2 cups (296 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1½ tablespoons (17 grams) minced candied ginger
  • Cheesecake Layer (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add molasses, beating until no streaks remain. Add egg, beating well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Beat in candied ginger. Spread 1¾ cups (about 525 grams) dough in prepared pan. Top with Cheesecake Layer. Crumble remaining dough (about 1 cup [about 300 grams]) on top.
  4. Bake until edges are set, center jiggles just slightly, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of Cheesecake Layer registers 175°F (79°C) to 180°F (82°C), 35 to 40 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool completely in pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and cut into bars.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheesecake Layer
 
Makes about 1⅔ cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and flour, and beat until combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg, beating well. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately.

 

Batter Up 

Follow our guide to layering these two distinct batters to create one delicious whole

  1. Spread 1¾ cups (about 525 grams) dough in prepared pan. Unlike runny cake batter, the thick gingerbread dough needs to be smoothed out with an offset spatula. This helps it bake evenly and keeps the Cheesecake Layer from pooling in thinner spots.  

2. Top with Cheesecake Layer. You’ll also want to smooth the Cheesecake Layer with an offset spatula. Be gentle as you spread it, as you don’t want to accidentally swirl the gingerbread dough into the cheesecake.   

3. Crumble remaining dough (about 1 cup [about 300 grams]) on top. Much like the process where you crumble streusel on top of a coffee cake, you want to scatter generous clumps of the gingerbread dough on top of the Cheesecake Layer. Try to keep the process even so there aren’t any large cheesecake gaps showing. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I love the Baking Academy. I have learned so much from each lesson. I wish that someone could do the same prep to the recipe for the virtual class done on Paris- Brest with Almond French Buttercream. Remember, you’re the ones that spoiled us. Thank you. Nancy

  2. I have loved this yearlong class. I’ve baked most lessons with my adult daughter and we had a question. Is there a forum for comments or questions that may come up when making lesson? Sometimes we have had questions or needed clarifications and were looking for a place to ask other bakers in the class questions.

    • Hi Liz,

      What a great idea! Thank you for sharing and I will bring this concept to the team. In the meantime, we are hosting one-hour long virtual classes each month for the Bob’s Red Mill Better Baking Academy in 2021. If you are not on our email list already, please sign up and we will let you know when these classes become available! All of the regular course information will still be available and this will be an optional extension. https://www.bakefromscratch.com/better-baking-academy/

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