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.