Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts have been on my mind the last few weeks. I’ve been a little stressed about coming up with gluten-free foods that will taste good, look good and meet the dietary restrictions of my son this Thanksgiving, and through the holidays. This is the first holiday season since we discovered my youngest son was allergic to wheat and dairy. Although he seems to be tolerating some dairy, I am trying to make everything I serve gluten-free and dairy-free. This Cranberry Ginger Upside-Down Cake is one of the recipes I tested out for Thanksgiving, and boy am I glad I did – it is an elegant dessert with gingerbread flavor tones, light in texture despite its dark crumb.
Baking gluten-free has become easier for me now that I’ve been doing it for nearly a year, but I haven’t really made too many gluten-free cakes. With Thanksgiving coming up in a few weeks, I wanted to try making a festive looking cake that was gluten-free and dairy-free. Cranberries immediately make me think of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Although tart on their own, cranberries soften up nicely when cooked and go well with ginger, cinnamon and orange.
This upside-down cake recipe features cranberries on top, complimented by a gingerbread spiced cake. The cranberry topping is cooked in a cast iron skillet, with the batter poured on top, and baked right in the skillet. After it comes out of the oven, you just flip the pan over, and voila, you have a a beautiful cake for entertaining or just for your own enjoyment.
This week, a group of bloggers is celebrating Nancy Silverton, one of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food. To be honest, I didn’t know who Nancy Silverton was. That’s why I like this weekly event – I’m getting to know bits and details about so many successful women, plus taste the food they like to make. Nancy Silverton is an American chef, baker, and author of seven cookbooks (and an 8th coming out). She is credited with revitalizing sourdough and artisan breads in the United States. Nancy was also a co-founder of La Brea Bakery, which she sold in 2001 (but remains a consultant). I’ve actually bought La Brea Bakery natural artisan bread in our local supermarkets, but never realized Nancy Silverton was the mastermind behind bringing artisan bread to the general public. La Brea Bakery bread is now sold 17 countries.
Sadly, she lost her hard earned $5 million profit in the 2008 Madoff Ponzi scheme. However, Nancy Silverton has always been a fighter, and has moved on, expanding her food empire and writing a new cookbook. As her dad says, “That’s my Nancy—never a quitter.”
This Cranberry Ginger Upside-Down Cake is Nancy Silverton’s recipe, revamped to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. My gluten-free flour mix of choice was the one I used for my Pumpkin Spice Donuts, made with brown rice flour, almond flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. To make this dairy-free, I used coconut yogurt in place of the sour cream (or creme fraiche), as well as coconut oil and Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks instead of butter. I also cooked the cranberries in orange juice instead of white wine as I think oranges compliment cranberries.
Since I made this cake in the morning, my little guy had a taste for breakfast – this is kid-approved! If you like gingerbread, you’ll enjoy this cake, which is perfectly festive for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
- 3-inch knob of ginger, peeled
- 8 ounces cranberries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1½ cups orange juice
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons ground jaggery or other unrefined sugar
- 6 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- ¼ cup ground jaggery or other unrefined sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 cup gluten-free flour mix
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 3 tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Yogurt or other non-dairy yogurt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoon unrefined coconut sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice ginger into ¼-inch disks. Combine with cinnamon and orange juice; bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add cranberries and allow cranberries to soak in this mixture until liquid cools. Cranberries should be slightly soft but not mushy. Drain.
- Heat coconut oil with jaggery in a 10-inch cast iron pan or other oven-proof pan. Stir mixture until sugar melts. Tilt pan to coat the bottom evenly; cool.
- When coconut oil-jaggery mixture is at room temperature, arrange drained cranberries in concentric circles in pan, starting in the middle. There should be a single layer of cranberries. Set aside.
- Cream Earth Balance and jaggery until well mixed. Stir in yolks and molasses.
- Sift together all dry ingredients except baking soda.
- Add dry ingredients and yolk mixture alternately to Earth Balance-jaggery mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
- Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Stir into batter. Stir in yogurt.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add coconut sugar, beating until stiff. Whisk a third of the whites into batter; fold in remaining whites.
- Spread batter in an even layer over cranberries, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit a minute or so. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and invert it onto a flat serving platter.
- Best served warm.
If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from One Perfect Bite.