It’s been a long, cold spring. Well it certainly felt that way without the the three fires of sugar, gluten, and dairy to keep us warm. We survived and now, we celebrate. Albeit the celebration is still fairly sugar, gluten, and dairy-free around here. Or at least very light on those things. Thankfully, summer produce offers us many scrumptious dining options without much of those heavy hitters. Peaches have arrived in Central Ohio, which obviously calls for grilling those little treats and topping them with Jeni’s Pistachio and Honey ice cream. This Jeni’s variety is mildly sweet, allowing the caramelized, peach flavor to shine. Oh what a glorious time of the year! This week, our CSA grew to include 5 summer squash! Call me excited! It’s time for zucchini bread!
We had a few events this weekend that called for just such a dessert. Gaining inspiration from David Lebovitz, I tired a gluten-free and lower sugar version of his Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze.
First for the gluten-free flour mix. I ran across this recipe in the NYT recently and have used it for waffles, pancakes, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread. It seems to be up to most typical glutenous challenges. The cornmeal and oat flour offers this blend a nice texture that I have appreciated in my cooking so far. You may want consider texture when deciding how to best develop your flour blend. The NYT article further suggests that a ratio of 70% grain and/or nut flours and 30% starches will yield the best blend. The grain/nut flours include rice, cornmeal, sorghum, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, garbanzo, or almond. The starches include potato, tapioca, arrowroot, and cornstarch. With all those options, the combinations seem endless. As always, I say it’s time to play! Stop worrying about following recipes and have fun. Your stomach will likely thank you in the end!
First, oil and flour (use the GF flour) 2 bread pans, 2 round cake pans, or a bunt cake pan. Chop 1c of toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans (I used almonds for my cake). Grate 2 1/2 cups of zucchini or other summer squash. I did this by hand, but a food processor would do just fine. I often find that grating squash leads to lots of liquid. I say keep it and make sure it gets in your batter. That is the stuff of gooey, moistness. In fact, I have been known to freeze shredded squash for winter baking. The defrosted squash usually has a good layer of liquid that separates. KEEP IT!
Ok, rant complete. Now on with dessert. Next I sifted together the dry ingredients: 2c GF flour, 1t baking powder, 1/2t baking soda, 1t salt, 2t cinnamon, 1t ground ginger, and 1/2t nutmeg. In a separate mixing bowl, I creamed 3 room temperature eggs (if you want to go egg-free/vegan, use 3T ground flax and 1/2-3/4c water) with 1 1/2c sugar and 1c safflower oil. I beat these together for about 3 minutes on a medium setting. I added 2t of vanilla and began to slowly add the dry ingredients until they were all well incorporated and mixed an additional 30seconds. Stir in the nuts and zucchini. Spread into your pan(s). I made 2 bread pan-sized loafs and they baked for 50 minutes at 350. I began checking them at 40 minutes, if you opt to make a 2 cake pans, you may want to check fairly early also. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, pull the pans out and let them cool for about 10 minutes. I would suggest you place a cookie sheet or some foil under your cooling rack to collect the best part of this recipe. The glaze!
Remove the cakes from the pan and mix together 1/4c freshly squeezed lemon juice (this was about one lemon for me), 1/3c granulated sugar (that’s the regular stuff), and 1c powdered sugar. Mix until well incorporatedand brush over the top of the cake, allowing it to run gently down the sides. Allow your cake too cool at least until the glaze has hardened. The crunchy exterior is the best part! The lemony glaze is so bright and vibrant! It really makes this cake sing!
Serve on your patio to your friends/neighbors/[family members] while watching your dog attack the neighbor’s boxer puppy. Smile. That’s summer.