i finally got my hands on the babycakes nyc cookbook, and i was so very excited. but today i finally got to bake some of the recipes and my excitement has turned to dismay.
this beautiful cookbook features all vegan, (mostly) gluten free, (mostly) sugar free recipes. babycakes uses only spelt flour (which contains gluten) and baking mixes without gluten, including garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, bob’s gf baking mix, and brown rice flour. i spent the first day looking at the pretty pictures, and spent day two writing down an exhaustive list of new ingredients to buy, most of them very expensive and rare.
i chose three recipes (hoping that i would be giving away goodies unsuspecting friends… sorry friends, no goodies to share!): raspberry scones, apple-cinnamon ‘toastie-‘ a quick bread, and gingerbread. there are clear winners and losers on this list; i think some of the fault is mine and some is problematic recipes. i have only tried a few, and i made heaps of mistakes and substitutions along the way, but overall i am bummed!
a winner! raspberry scones….
it is never raspberry season here in honolulu, so i used some long-frozen strawberries, rinsed, drained, and chopped up to seem like raspberries. this recipe uses only a few ingredients, including whole spelt flour, coconut oil, agave nectar and the berries. i followed the recipe exactly, although i made six scones rather than eight, so ended up adding about 5 minutes to the total cooking time. they don’t look like the photo, but i was very happy with their light and fluffy texture and rich strawberry flavor. tea and scones for breaky! i can’t wait to try this recipe with bananas and mango and other locally-sourced fruits.
a loser- for now! apple-cinnamon toastie
ok ok ok… i made a major substitution for this one and i hope this is the reason it did not work. the recipe calls for garbanzo-fava bean flour, but i could not find this specific mixture. so i used only garbanzo flour; also the recipe calls for a 7 x 4 x 3 loaf pan, but i used two 6 x 2 x 3 pans and took just a few minutes off the total cooking time. AND i did forget to add the xanthan gum in the beginning, instead adding it near the end. this turned out to be a wonderfully flavored doughy mushy mess. but i will definitely try it again, and will attempt to actually do it correctly!
a loser- for real! gingerbread
i love me some fluffly gingerbread, and i bake it every xmas. i have a joy of cooking recipe that i refuse to vegan-ize, simply because it is so so good as is. but i wanted to try babycakes version, made with bob’s gf baking mix (pre-mixed! i don’t think i can mess it up!). the only change i made was to substitute safflower oil for the coconut oil, because i had already used nearly a whole, expensive jar with the other recipes. this recipe also calls for a 7 x 4 x 3 loaf pan, but i had to use a 9 x 5 pan filled less-than-halfway, and used the extra batter in smaller loaf pans. the recipe says to fill the pan halfway and then use the excess batter as muffins, but there are not any directions or baking times given, so we readers/bakers have to just wing it- i find this lack of information discomforting. the gingerbread smelled so yummy in the oven, but after the allotted time it was still gooey inside: my toothpicks were not coming out clean and it did not bounce back after touching it- for both pan sizes. i added about 15 minutes to the cooking time for both pan sizes… however! i ended up with an un-cooked gooey waste of very expensive ingredients! goodgod i am so mad! i now have pounds of icky doughy gingerbread that i need to re-purpose or just throw away! i hate throwing food away! both the small and larger loaf pans were cooked well around the edges but almost totally doughy on the insides. i don’t think that the pan size was a factor in the gooey-ness; if this was my mistake, then it seems that the small breads would have been overdone and the larger underdone. but both were grossly undercooked.
***************************************************************************************************************************** now i am rethinking the quality of the apple-cinnamon toastie, because the results were similar: doughy, undercooked, gummy flavor. i will not hate on the book until i try to cupcakes and cakes, but i am now very hesitant to waste my ingredients on gooey messes. though i am a self-taught baker just like the author of the cookbook, i find two major problems with the recipes i tried: the low temperatures (325 degrees) and the use of hot water in the quickbreads is troubling; as both had hot water and low temperatures resulting in doughy breads, if no water was added and/or the temperature was increased, would the results be better? none of the quickbread recipes i use call for water- and they come out cooked well, usually at 350 or 400 degrees! granted, this is the first time i have undertaken gluten-free baking, but it doesn’t help that the book does not offer sufficient explanations as to why certain ingredients work/don’t work. for example, i am not yet sure if the hot water somehow affects the xanthan gum or the garbanzo flour, or if gf flours require less heat… i would like to try the recipes without the water and/or at higher temperatures. and yes, my oven was at the correct temperature, i was watching the thermometer constantly.
i will venture into this cookbook again…. i am just not sure when that might happen. :(