Friday, November 30, 2012

MAKE-a-CAKE your way

First, a word about this incredible mix:

This is the most amazing gluten free cake mix you will ever come across. It's not only moist, but you can easily make it into any flavor (Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Spice, Carrot, Marble, Chili Chocolate, Mocha, Red Velvet, etc) with a few added ingredients.

SWEETENING SUGGESTIONS Did you know that most cake mixes are 50% sugar & 50% flour? 

Because this mix contains no sweetener, when a sweetener is added to this one pound mix, it becomes 2 pounds of dry mix and can make a large 2 layer cake.

     In case cane sugar does not agree with you, you have other alternatives. Below are some guidelines about the behaviors of granulated sweeteners (cane sugar, date sugar, maple sugar, etc) liquid sweeteners (agave, honey, maple syrup, etc.) and non-caloric sweeteners (Turvia, Splenda, Xylitol).

FILLING IDEAS - (See below)
I've also included some easy wholesome filling ideas for between the two cake layers.

MAKE-a-CAKE your way
Ingredients: Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Cassava Flour, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum.

Before we begin, notice that the package contains 16 oz. of flour and calls for 4 eggs. Therefore it can make a large 2 layer cake or you can easily divide this mix into 4 parts and make 4 different cakes (6" round or 5" x 6" rectangular cakes.) The entire package can make a total of 30 - 32 cupcakes.
The chocolate cake makes a bit more.
READY? Let's get creative with  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Spray cake pans cooking spray and pre-heat oven to 350º
Beat wet ingredients for one minute and add to the dry. Beat everything together for one more minute. Pour batter into cake pans and bake...30 to 35 minutes (chocolate cake needs 40 minutes) or scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before filling or frosting.

FLAVORS (The following proportions use the entire 16 oz package.)

VANILLA CAKE - 16 oz Arnel's Originals Make-a-Cake Mix
2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs  
1/2 cup oil  
1 cup milk  
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

(Shown is a berry cake with chunks of strawberry, blackberry jam filling (seedless), and TruWhip with raspberries on  top)

LEMON CAKE - 16 oz Arnel's Cake Mix
2 cups sugar  
4 large eggs  
1/2 cup oil  
1 cup liquid (2/3 cup juice from lemons + 1/3 cup milk = 1 cup)  
zest from 4 lemons   
(Variations...add some mint extract, use limes instead)

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 Tablespoons margarine or coconut oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
    Beat yolks and sugar
    Add juice and margarine
    Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  Don't Boil!
(Stores for 3 weeks in refrigerator)

BROWNIES - 16 oz Arnel's Originals Make-a-Cake Mix
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  
2 cups sugar  
2 eggs  
2/3 cup water  
1 cup oil 
(Optional - 1 cup walnuts)

CHOCOLATE CAKE - 16 oz Arnel's Originals Make-a-Cake Mix
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  
2 cups sugar  
4 large eggs 
1 cup oil  
2 cups milk   

Variations...for mocha, add 1 Tablespoon instant coffee,
....for chili chocolate add 1/2 teaspn cayenne pepper,
....for marble gently swirl half vanilla and half chocolate cake batter

1/2 cup nut butter (salted)
2 Tablespoons Agave syrup
1 Tablespoon Margarine or coconut oil (softened)

Use as a filling between the chocolate layers or as a topping (shown)

VELVET CAKE - 16 oz Arnel's Originals Make-a Cake Mix
(A red velvet cake is actually made with lots of red food coloring, vinegar, and 1/4 the amount of
chocolate you'd put in a chocolate cake. Since I don't use artificial colorings, I tried making it with pomegranate juice and natural beet color. The flavor was delicious but it didn't retain its red color once baked. For that reason I have renamed this cake, VELVET CAKE minus the RED) The photo, however, does use artificial red food coloring.

1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  
4 large eggs   
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon oil •
1 cup pomegranate juice (or 1 cup milk + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar + red food coloring)


2 cups sugar

4 large eggs 
1/2 cup oil 
1 cup milk  
 teaspoons cinnamon  
1/2 teaspoon cloves  
4 cups grated raw carrots  
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
(Variations... 4 cups raw grated zucchini instead of carrots)
(For Spice cake, leave out carrots)

FILLINGS (between the layers of cake)

Here are a few quick/easy fillings you can use between the layers of your cake.

Fresh Fruit - 1 cup of mashed or finely chopped fruit (berries, mango, banana, etc.) + 1 Tablespoon agave syrup + 1 Tablespoon non dairy gluten free margarine (like Earth Balance) or coconut oil + a dash of sea salt to taste.

Nut Butter - 1/2 cup nut butter + 2 Tablespoons agave syrup + 1 Tablespoon Margarine

Lemon Curd - (see above for recipe)

Jelly or Jam - There are deliciously natural jellies and jams that can be used right out of the jar.


Cane sugar does more than just sweeten. It helps baked goods rise with the perfect amount of air, obtain that beautiful golden crispness, and retain its moisture. Nothing else quite compares but if you are one of those people who do not handle cane sugar well, there are good alternatives but knowing how each sweetener behaves is paramount to a successful cake. Although I have given you some general guidelines, I encourage you to do your own  experimentation, and try combining cane sugar with no more than half of other sweeteners to get the benefits of both. Generally speaking, test with a toothpick about 5 to 10 minutes before the listed time for doneness.

*The sweetening amounts below are being compared to 1 cup of sugar. Please note that if you make the entire mix, you'll need 2 cups of sugar (so double what is listed.)

        In any event, here's the low-down on granulated sweeteners, liquid sweeteners, and non-caloric sweeteners.


Cane Sugar - (see paragraph above)

Date Sugar (unrefined, unprocessed, and raw) Does not melt, has a tendency to clump, sweeter than cane sugar so use 3/4 cup date sugar for one cup of cane sugar

Coconut Sugar -High in nutrients, melts easily in liquids, and has a low glycemic index (about half of what cane sugar has.) With that said, it tends to dry out your cake and adds a strong flavor of its own to your baked goods. Substitute 1 cup coconut sugar for 1 cup cane sugar.


Honey - Honey is very acidic and when cooked, it burns easily so lower the temperature to 325º and cook for about 40 minutes. Use 3/4 cup honey instead of 1 cup cane sugar and reduce the milk by 1/4 cup.

Maple syrup - use 3/4cup maple syrup + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to substitute for 1 cup cane sugar. Reduce milk by 1/4 cup. Baked goods will be denser and have a pronounced maple flavor. Reduce heat to 325º and bake 40 minutes.

Agave Syrup - Agave is a liquid sweetener from the cactus plant and has a low glycemic index (about half of what cane sugar has.) The best property of this sweetener, however, is that it helps baked goods brown, and retain its moisture. It is sweeter than cane sugar so you can use 2/3 cup agave to 1 cup sugar. Lower temperature to 325º, cook a bit longer (40 minutes) and reduce milk by 1/4 cup.

NON-CALORIC SWEETENERS - The reason why you don't find many baked goods with artificial (or non-caloric) sweeteners is because most of them either give you a foul after-taste, strong digestive upsets, or result in loosing its sweetness when heated. Because I firmly believe that most sweeteners in this category do more harm for the body than they are worth, I only experimented with the two I thought would be the gentlest: Stevia and Truvia. I will, however, give you the results of my research and experimentation:

Stevia - Most people agree that stevia, although very natural, has an strong unpleasant after taste. None the less I baked a chocolate cake with it. It turned out dry, dense, and worst of all, not sweet. Although it is the most "natural" sweetening substitute in this category, it didn't work well in baked goods.

Truvia - This is actually a combination of stevia and erythitol (which is a sugar alcohol) and although the chocolate cake I made was moister than the one with just the stevia, it still had that unpleasant after taste and questionable properties of a sugar alcohol (see below.)

Sugar Alcohols - (Xylitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Erythitol) Although these have no strong after tastes, these sugar substitutes tend to ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. If you are one of the people who have no adverse reactions to sugar alcohols, this is a great alternative. I've baked these cakes with XYLITOL and had excellent results.

Equal (asparatame) Looses sweetness when heated
Sweet One (acesulfame,) Use 12 packets = 1 cup cane sugar
Splenda (sucralose,) Use 1 cup to 1 cup,
Sweet N Low (saccharine,) 12 packets = 1 cup cane sugar

If you use these, you probably know which ones loose their sweetness when cooked, and which ones have more of a tendency to cause cancer. Before you resort to the artificial sweeteners in this category, I'd suggest you use a combination of agave syrup and coconut sugar, which both have a relatively low glycemic index.

Monday, July 30, 2012


As is with all of my recipes, this is free of gluten, dairy, corn, and soy. By using Arnel's Originals Pancake Mix for the flour, you get a marvelously moist and hardy texture which makes the zucchini bread incredibly satisfying. This recipe makes two medium sized loaves which allows you to freeze one for another day. Note: You can easily make this bread savory without SUGAR, adding onions and/or garlic. 

One package of Arnel's Originals Pancake Mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 cup oil
3 cups grated zucchini or yellow squash
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix the forst 5 dry ingredients together and set aside
In another bowl, mix the next 6 ingredients and add to the dry.

*add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts if you'd like

Pour half the mixture into two oiled or sprayed medium sized loaf pans and bake 350º for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


This deliciously decadent pie has four distinct layers  (crust, chocolate pudding, vanilla custard, and whipped topping). Because each layer is separate, it takes several hours to make but, if you are looking for a WOW after the first bite, this is the ticket. Before you begin, get a package of Arnel's Originals All Purpose Flour/Pie Crust Mix and a package of non-dairy Healthy Top whipped topping by Mimic Creme. This serves 8 to 12 people.
Allergens:  eggs, tree nuts (Healthy Top of make with almonds and cashews.)

 One Perfectly flakey 9" Pie Crust from Arnel's Originals All Purpose Flour

    ~ 1 cup of Arnel's Originals All Purpose Flour and Pie Crust Mix
    ~ 1/4 cup softened butter (salted,) or healthy margarine, or coconut oil (add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt)
          Combine with a fork so the mixture is crumbly
    ~ 1/2 lg egg slightly beaten
          Add egg to crumbly mixture. It should now hold together. If it doesn't, add 1 Tablespoon water.

• Gather the dough mixture and place it in your pie pan.
• With waxed paper on top of the dough, press into your pie pan, spreading the dough evenly on the bottom and sides and fluting the edges to make it look appealing. (As an alternative, you could roll the dough between two pieces of waxed paper, peel one piece off, carefully flip the crust into the pie tin, peel off the second piece and press the dough into the pan. Don't be concerned that the pie crust has broken into pieces. It is very forgiving in the raw state and will connect well with its parts. )

• Pierce bottom of crust with a fork, making several air holes

• Bake in a 350º oven for 12 minutes. Cool

Prepare a chocolate pudding layer as follows:
    • Melt:     ~ 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • Stir in:   ~  6 Tablespoons coconut oil or shortening
                    ~ 1/2 cup fine sugar (NOT confec. sugar)
                    ~ 4 egg whites, slightly beaten
                    ~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                    ~ 1 Tablespoon sweet liquor (Amaretto, Kahlua,)
   •  Pour into crust and refrigerate

Prepare custard layer as follows: (or use any other custard recipe you'd like)
    • Heat and stir:   ~ 1 cup of Healthy Top whipped topping
                               ~ 1/2 cup sugar
    • Mix items below and then add to the above mixture, stirring constantly until thickened:
                            ~ 4 egg yolks beaten
                            ~ 1/4 cup Healthy Top whipped topping
                            ~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Pour custard mixture into glass pie plate, set in hot water, and bake 45 minutes on 325º until it sets.
   • Cool and refrigerate. Loosen custard and slide on top of chocolate layer.
   • Whip 3/4 cup of Healthy Top according to directions and spread onto of custard mixture. Garnish with chopped up walnuts.


Sunday, February 26, 2012


Gluten Free Matzo

1/3 cup flour (half potato starch, half buckwheat flour)
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
3 Tablespoons margarine or coconut oil (Earth Balance Margarine is both GF and dairy free)
1 Tablespoon flaxmeal and 3 Tablespoons hot water
(Combine the flax meal and water, and let it sit until it looks like the texture of an egg.)

Mix all the ingredients together.

I use a tortilla press (a rolling pin works as well) with a golf-ball-sized dough sandwiched between waxed paper. I prefer to bake the matzoh on a cookie sheet for 10 min. on a 400* oven but putting the flattened matzoh on the griddle is another option. 
Feel free to experiment with flours, thinness of the dough, and baking methods.

This recipe makes six 5" round pieces of, crunchy, dark (because of the buckwheat,) pieces of matzoh with just the right flavor and texture.