Saturday, March 16, 2013

Best Vegan Banana Snack Cake - Without Gluten and Soy Too

      When I first learned about my children's food allergies, I didn't worry much about regular meals.  Since our family are big rice and stew eaters, I know the changes will not be as drastic. My head started spinning however, on how will I replace their favorite baked goods. 

       I am not from the South but I always have some baked goods on hand.  Snack cakes in particular are a mainstay in our kitchen.  Sounds unhealthy?  Not really! In fact, I bake those little treats to make my kids especially Child #2 and Child #4 eat more veggies and fruits.  

       Before their food allergy diagnosis, I make snack bars loaded with zucchini, carrots, apples, or whatever vegetable or fruit purees I can get my hands on.  We even came up with weird names such as Z bar and Monkey bar just to hide what's inside that treat from my pickiest vegetable/fruit eater.  Call me crazy but I did that just to give the kids their recommended amount of the healthy stuff without much fight.

       When the doctor told me to remove Wheat, Egg, Dairy, Peanut, Nut and Soy in our diet,  I was like "Are you kidding me?  How can I possibly bake something without those ingredients?" After a few months of trial and error, I'm slowly learning to bake again. 

      So far, this recipe for a Banana Snack Cake is hands down the best we've had since our diet change.  Texture wise, it's soft and moist, you wouldn't even think it's free of eggs and gluten.  Just frost it and decorate, you'll have a yummy allergy friendly birthday cake in no time.  You can even make regular cupcakes using the same batter by adjusting the baking time to 16 - 18 minutes.

       Please take note that I specifically use a certain flour mix for this recipe.  Though there are so many ready made gluten free  flour mixes available out there, some great, not so great and some meltdown worthy, especially if you can't use eggs, I decided to take the guess work out for you.

       Food allergies or not, I hope you'll give this one a try.  If you do, just don't forget to let me know. 

      Have a great weekend!

- Roz

3 Tbs flax meal
9 Tbs lukewarm water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 3/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas
1 Tbs mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise Soy free)
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups Gluten free flour mix (See below)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup flax milk
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
extra oil to grease the pans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 9-inch pans with aluminum foil and lightly grease with oil.
2. Combine flax meal and water in a small bowl to make flax goo. Set aside.
3. In a separate container, mix vinegar and milk. Set aside.
4. Sift the gluten free flour mix, baking powder, salt and baking soda in another bowl.
5. Using an electric mixer, cream the oil and sugar for about 2 minutes.
6. Add the flax goo, mashed bananas, mayonnaise and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
7. With the mixer running on low, alternately add the flour mix and milk mix.  Start with 1/3 of the flour and 1/2 of the milk.  Make sure to end with the flour mix. 
8. Divide the batter to fill the two pans.
9. Bake in the oven for 25 - 28 minutes.  Use the toothpick test to check if it is done.  (Poke the middle of the cake with a toothpick.  When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready.)
10. Transfer to a rack and let it stand for 5 minutes before lifting it from the pans.
11. Let it cool completely before frosting or cutting into bars.

Gluten free Flour Mix c/o Connie Sarros
2 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup mung bean flour
2 Tbs. xanthan gum

Sift together, transfer in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place.  Above measurements will give you 5 cups of GF Flour mix.
* Except for the xanthan gum, all these flours are individually available at your local Asian store.  They are very affordable ($1 -$3 a bag and watch out for sale too) and you'll have more than enough to use for other recipes. 

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