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Gluten - Free

My Friend Debbie      My Betty Crocker neighbors put me to shame, but at least I'm creative in the kitchen. I've always believed that a birthday cake should make a statement about the person celebrated. Every year I make a bug, lizard, or animal cake for my zoo-keeper brother-in-law, for example. One year, I baked an elephant cake. Another year, a giraffe. But the caterpillar cake really bit the big one.

     I had iced cupcakes together in a worm-like fashion with yellow icing between and green icing outside. The final product was quite creepy, I'm afraid, in looks as well as taste. The icing tasted like soap, no matter how much almond extract I added to mask that strange flavor. Only after the party did I discover the bottle of dish soap stored in the same container as my confectioner's sugar. Oops.

     As if I didn't already have some kitchen challenges in terms of supply storage, I discovered several years ago that I have celiac disease. My Friend Debbie Some research suggests that as many as one in every 150 people have this autoimmune disorder and should maintain a diet free from wheat, rye, and barley. Unfortunately, gluten-free baking poses a challenge for even the best gourmet, and, for me, it really took the cake.

     I have several specialty cookbooks that claim how easy it is to bake delicious gluten-free treats, but despite my meticulously following the directions (okay, maybe I make a few too many creative substitutions), I always seem to end up with a different product each time I try the same recipe. Some creations are edible, some aren't. Once I produced a practically divine sweet bread. Yet the next time, I watched the same recipe bubble up, bubble down, bubble up, bubble down in a never-ending eruption of hot goo.

     Through my years of persistent experimentation, I am very proud to share the following fool-proof recipe enjoyed and endorsed by all my family and friends, regardless of dietary preferences. I concocted it from several cookbooks, and finally wrote the recipe down when it worked. It's so delicious that I do not ever think about tinkering with this recipe. Enjoy to your good health!

Julie's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake


  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegatable oil
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and lightly flour (with corn starch) muffin tins, or baking pans.
3. Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthum gum, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Whisk together sugar, eggs, oil and applesauce in a large bowl until well blended. Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla and stir well.
5. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are blended without overmixing. You can add nuts or raisins at this stage, too, if you like. The batter will look very runny, but don't worry.
6. Pour batter evenly into muffin tins and bake about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake longer for loaf or cake pans.
7. Let the muffins rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. These taste heavenly topped with vanilla icing!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Julie Strohkorb

Reader Comments...
2011-07-29 08:06:16
"Hi Julie, thanks for the recipe! I'm always on the lookout for treats to make for my 3 year old who has celiac. I'm glad to have your articles as a resource. :)"
        - Rhema

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