This is a very special post for this little Dusty Baker.
One year ago, I started this blog. I had been blogging on another site, which housed a wider range of aspects of the holistic health industry as I pulled out of another bout of Lyme Disease. I wanted to focus on recipes, and writing, and how baking could connect me to other aspects of my art and to the art itself that is baking.
Also one year ago, on the other side of the country, Christianna of Burwell General Store and Lindsay of Rosemarried started a recipe swap, comparing their takes on vintage recipes. That group grew into an incredible community of food bloggers who monthly change at least 3 aspects of a recipe that Christianna sends to us, and then we all post at the same time and exchange blogging love. I don’t quite remember if I found out about the swap from Lindsay or Toni over at Boulder Locavore – I found and fell in love with their blogs around the same time, in April of last year. All I know is that I feel very fortunate to be a part of this little group.
These bloggers have become teachers, inspiring me by their personal focus in the food world, their varying levels of culinary expertise and their love for what they do, both in and out of the kitchen. Through them I get to feel the seasons change all over the world (we have several overseas swappers!), and how that effects what we’re all making and how we’re nourishing our bodies. I get little glimpses into the lives of passionate, creative and sometimes exhausted people. All because of our shared love for food.
Burwell Swappers, you rock my world. Happy Birthday to Christianna, Lindsay, Toni, Chef Dennis, Sabrina, Lora, Mari, Shari, Monique, Pola, Linda, Alli, Barb, Priya, Lana, Shumalia, Claire, Jamie, Jaclyn and Alex (did I miss anyone?!!?). And welcome to the new swappers Eda, Julia and JoAnn who are contributing this month! Please click on the link at the bottom of this post to check out their contributions, read more about their blogs at the Burwell General Store and, if you’re the tweeting sort, follow our Burwell Swappers list on Twitter.
When sending us the recipe for this month, Christianna asked us to ponder where our lives have traveled this past year, what we’re thankful for and what we want to celebrate with this post.
It’s been an interesting year: at points I’ve had less money than I’ve had in my entire life and questioned my decision to not have a “boss” and to work only freelance. I took on the responsibility of managing my family business, and continue to learn just what it means to be a boss. Through this blog I’ve met some incredible people, been asked to participate in live food events, and developed the voice that brought me to writing for the NYC food blog Bromography and now doing research and writing for Easy Eats, an incredible gluten-free digital magazine that as an eater I am very excited about and am particularly thrilled to be contributing to. I did a few shows, meeting insanely talented, big-hearted people. I fell in love, then had my heart broken for the first time. I got a dog! Projects that I’ve dreamed of creating have come into reality. I’ve met teachers who are so far above me in the food world, and seem to see some glimmer of potential in what I have to contribute. I am still relatively healthy after my third bout of Lyme, and my family are all close by and well. It’s been a weird, hard year, but I have so much to be thankful for.
So in celebrating the anniversary of my blog and the birthday of the Burwell General Store swap, I’m doing a Thanks-GiveAway! For the month of November, I’ll be hosting discussions, comments, sharing the recipes of others and asking readers to follow the lovely bloggers who are the filling to my macarons. And in thanks I’ll send a few readers each two copies of some of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks, one to keep for themselves and one to give as a holiday gift to a baker they love. Along with a few of my favorite things.
For information on the giveaway, CLICK HERE.
Now, this month we were given a Maple Syrup Cake to swap, which overjoyed me as I love baking with maple syrup and go through jugs of the stuff far too often. After last month’s Millet Coconut Breakfast Pudding I decided I didn’t want to change too much of this recipe, I just wanted to make a really delicious gluten-free take on these cakes.
My first go-around I adapted the recipe by cutting the white sugar completely, substituting with my gluten-free flour blend and adding some chopped ginger. I used 3 teaspoons of soda as gluten-free flour sometimes need the extra lift. And I added some chopped candied ginger along with increased the amount of spices in the cake. The cakes were so-so. A bit to baking soda-y and not sweet enough, even for me. And a little dry.
So the second go around I added back in a bit of the sugar (palm), even more ginger, and some pumpkin, to give a little extra moisture. I also made a quick caramel sauce to serve on top.
The result? Um, yum!! These are incredibly moist little cakes. The pumpkin isn’t a feature as much as the ginger and spice, but it provides great body. The texture of the candied ginger suits the soft cake perfectly. These would be divine as a special breakfast treat, or made in regular cupcake tins and topped with pumpkin or cream cheese frosting.
Going on my list as one of my favorite cakes. Thanks, again, Burwell Swappers.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
- 1/3 cup palm sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 cup maple syrup (I used one from Vermont, which I love. Always try to keep it as close to home as possible, and luckily that’s not a problem in New England)
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour with xanthan gum (if using a mix without xanthan gum, add 1 1/4 Tbsp to the flour)
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour cake pan of choice.
In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients up to ginger.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk atatchment (or in bowl with hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and continue to beat until combined. Add maple syrup, and beat until smooth.
Alternate the flour and hot water, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing on low, until all are incorporated, occassionally wiping down the sides of bowl.
Stir in the candied ginger.
Pour equally into prepared pans. My cakes took 24 minutes to bake, a larger cake will take about 35.
For the brown butter caramel:
Brown 2 Tbsp unsalted butter on medium heat until golden. Whisk in 2 Tbsp maple syrup and 1 Tbsp light brown sugar, and whisk until smooth. Immediately pour over cakes and serve.