Before the holidays, I was sent a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free by Anne Byrn. (She is the mastermind behind The Cake Mix Doctor as well) While there was a time when I was a big boxed cake mix fan, I typically ignore them nowadays, choosing instead to try to create something original (and sometimes healthier) in my own kitchen. However, I have seen that gluten-free boxed mixes are increasing in popularity, so I figured that this would be a great opportunity to try one, and at the same time try out some interesting and unique recipes from this new book!
This book has a lot of unique recipes – some I would have never thought to make using cake mixes, including muffins, wedding cakes, and even brownies, bars, and cookies. I would love to try her carrot cake recipe and her hummingbird cake – they both sound great. I opted to try the Fresh Orange Bundt cake. It was easy to put together, and not as sweet as some of the other frosting-laden cakes. After the over-indulgence of the holidays, I can appreciate that.
Simple, fresh, and lightly sweet, this cake was definitely a hit in our house. Our kids loved it. It would be perfect as an “everyday” cake (okay, so cake is most definitely NOT in my house every day, but you know what I mean!) to enjoy with a cup of tea or after a nice light dinner.
This book reminds me that the humble boxed cake mix isn’t to be cast aside, at least not in all occasions. And if you’re new to gluten-free baking, this is a great way to still have your cake and eat it too! (groan…bad joke, I know) She even gives some dairy-free options, if you’re a dairy-free baker as well. One note of caution on that – make sure you’re knowledgeable about what dairy-free margarines and milks you can have. Anne doesn’t specify, and a dairy-free newbie might assume that all margarine is dairy-free, etc. (it’s not) But this book does take away the biggest headache out of gluten-free baking – the need to own a dozen gluten-free flours. For many, that’s a saving grace!
Gluten-Free Fresh Orange Bundt Cake, from The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free, reprinted with permission, copywright 2010 from Workman Publishing
For the cake:
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan
1 T rice flour, for dusting the pan
1 medium-size orange
1 package (15 oz) yellow gluten-free cake mix
1/4 c granulated sugar
8 T unsalted butter at room temperature (I used Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks)
3 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1 c confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 T orange juice
1. Make the cake: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust it with the rice flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.
2. Rinse and pat the orange dry with paper towels, then grate enough orange zest to measure 2 teaspoons. Place the orange zest in a large mixing bowl. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Add enough freshly squeezed orange juice or orange juice from a carton to measure 2/3 cup.
3. Add the orange juice, cake mix, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl with the orange zest and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan into the oven.
4. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 35 to 40 minutes (mine was done at 30). Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake, shake the pan gently, and invert the cake onto a wire rack.
5. Meanwhile, make the glaze, if using: Place the confectioner’s sugar and the 3 tablespoons of orange juice in a small bowl and whisk until the glaze is smooth. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke a dozen holes in the top of the cake. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake so that it soaks into the holes and dribbles down the side of the cake. Or omit the glaze and sift some confectioner’s sugar over the top of the cake. Let the cake cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes longer, before slicing and serving.