Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Praline and Butter Pecan Pound Cake (an experiment) (gluten free)

Ring of No Regrets
In case you hadn't figured this out, I love having the opportunity to bake birthday cakes. Twice a year, I get to design and build something more for show, because the feasting will be done, in the majority, by youthful philistines... that is, the party guests of my favorite house monkeys. ;) And so, I have created rough sculptures from flour, sugar, and butter.

This weekend is another birthday, though, for an adult in the family. No sculpture necessary. It just has to be tasty as heck and not look as though a train ran it over and it caused a derailment.

Therefore, I have the freedom to explore a variety of flavors, textures, and extra ingredients, all of which I hope will please the palates of the family. And I may have hit on one. Well, at least if the rest of the crowd isn't impressed, The Bat and I will have some extremely decadent treats.

Because…pecans and butter. What's not to love?

You know you want some of that butter and pecan bliss…

My inspiration was a recipe I found in my mailbox, but I had to adapt it to remove the wheat, and…well, once you mess with flour in a cake, there's a huge risk you're going to end up with something completely different from the original plan. I realize there are some very good gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flours on the market (I generally use Pamela's™because it's reliable & reasonably priced), but when your recipe is in volume rather than weight, textures can vary. Also, I was interested in finding out whether a cake with nut meal in its base was everything the GF sites said it was.

It is.

Seriously, even if this had come out nothing but crumbs, I'd have spent an hour licking the last crumbs off the countertop.

Try it for yourself.

I made this one using a mix of pecans, brown sugar, and butter in the bottom of the pan. The sugar hardened, & needed help coming out of the pan (hence, the crumbly lines at what would have been the ridges), but it tasted like the Elyssian Fields...And WAY too sweet for most of the family.

Praline and Butter Pecan Pound Cake (gluten free)


2 cups pecan pieces
3/4 pound unsalted butter (3 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar (plus more for pan)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups almond flour (almond meal)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablsepoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pralines (or simple pecan halves) (optional)


Set out all refrigerated ingredients at least 1/2 hour ahead of time, so that everything you work with is at room temperature.

Finely chop 2 cups of pecans (I use a tool designed expressly for the purpose). In a large frying pan, melt 2 Tablespoons butter, add in chopped pecans. Stir until butter covers the pieces completely, continue to stir until they're lightly browned (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from heat, set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 325º F (approx 165º C).

Completely coat the inside of your non-stick baking pan with non-stick spray, then "dust" it with a coating of granulated sugar (I used a bundt pan, but you might want to pull out your large tube pan). Arrange 1/2 cup pecan halves facing downward on the bottom of pan.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together granulated & brown sugars until evenly combined. Set aside.

Into a medium mixing bowl, sift together almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Using your stand mixer bowl with paddle (or a heavy-duty hand mixer, if you don't have a solid stand mixer) at low speed, mix together sugar and butter until just combined, add eggs and mix only until the yolks are broken.

With mixer continuing at low speed, begin adding in the dry ingredients a few tablespoons at a time until all combined.

Add in vanilla, mix in completely.

Add chopped pecans, stir by hand, if necessary.

Scoop batter into cake pan carefully, so as to avoid disturbing your layer of pecans.

Bake 75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely.
(If the cake sticks to the pan at this point, warm it a few minutes in the oven, to soften the sugar in the crust enough for it to release from the pan.)

Serve in small slices, perhaps with unsweetened whipped cream or with ice cream.

The Slaw Lane

Just about everybody has a version of slaw handed down from Grandma or stolen from a favorite eatery. It's an unwritten (s)law. 

Personally, I like working variations on a theme. There are the standards (simple shredded cabbage and dressing) and the fancified (mixed cabbages, finely grated fruits, nuts, wine dressings, and airs to put on), and everything in between.

Today, I opted for the "trendy" member of the cabbage family. Cauliflower. It's not because the fashion this year is all things cauliflower. We've been eating the stuff for years. 

It's because...well, just because. I like it. It's tasty, the salad is simple, and that's all.

You can buy cauliflower "rice" -- the pre-grated stuff --  if you're lazy. You can grate it by hand, if you must. Personally, I like putting a fine slicer blade into the Kitchen-Aid attachment (any food processor's fine slicer will do), so as to make pretty bites. 

And, once you have the shredded vegetable matter, the rest is simple.

Zesty Cauliflower Slaw


1 small head cauliflower, sliced or grated (about 4-5 cups sliced, 3 cups "rice" style)
2/3 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's/Best with Olive Oil, or – even better – homemade)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2-8 drops Tabasco sauce, to taste


In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and hot sauce to make dressing (you will want to use slightly less hot sauce than you think you'll need, because the cauliflower does amplify the heat of the sauce). Stir until completely mixed. 

In a medium bowl, stir the dresing into the cauliflower until evenly distributed. If you need to extend the dressing, sprinkle vinegar lightly and stir until every bit of the cauliflower is coated. 

Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

It's that simple.