These little babies went through a number of tests before they made it onto the blog. They started out looking like this:
The original recipe had the texture of a carrot cake and was amazing! But it contained tapioca starch, and I wanted to see if I could make them starch-free.
The next batch looked like this:
Tapioca starch out. Coconut flour in! Tapioca and coconut work completely differently, but I've made a recent discovery that the two can be exchanged in small amounts in some recipes, albeit with completely unique, yet equally delicious results. I'll go into further details on this in my next post!
I loved the flavor of this second batch, but at that point I started to think I could cut down on the sugar even more. You see, I don't bake with sugar very often, but I've been allowing myself to have a little fun with it lately. But since batch one and two both contained raisins in addition to the sugar, the cake was a bit sweet for me. So I decided to try apples instead. That's when I became addicted to these snack cakes. I kept taking another bite, and another, and another... They reminded me of something from my childhood, and I finally realized they tasted like the Little Debbie Coffee Cakes my mom put in my school lunch. Now, these cakes here may have sugar in them, but I googled the Little Debbie Apple Streusel Coffee Cake ingredients, and...oh my! After looking at that list of food combined with chemicals, this recipe looked downright healthy to me!
Which of course gave me all the encouragement I needed to add a teensy bit more sugar in the form of a streusel topping. And believe me, it was worth it.
Apple Streusel Coffee Cake (Gluten-Free, Vegan) (Print-Friendly Option)
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup diced apples (no need to peel; I liked it best with a Fuji)
1/4 cup canola oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup brown rice flour (130 grams)
1/3 cup coconut flour (40 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass pan.
- In a small bowl, stir together the streusel ingredients until well mixed (brown sugar, coconut oil, brown rice flour, and cinnamon). Set aside.
- In a food processor, quickly mix the apples, oil, and milk (about 5 seconds).
- Mix the sugar, rice flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a medium sized bowl, then pour into the food processor and process until evenly mixed.
- Scoop batter (it will be thick) into the pan and press evenly. Sprinkle the streusel on top and bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Notes: Feel free to exchange both sugars in the recipe for coconut palm sugar. The flavor and texture will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious! If you prefer to limit the sugar, just keep the streusel topping off and it becomes a snack "bar" instead of coffee cake.
Wondering what other substitutions you can make? On Thursday, I'll be posting the evolution of this recipe as part of my Experiments in Gluten-Free Baking 101 Series. I'll explain the many substitution options you have, as well as posting the recipe for the original carrot cake-like version, which by the way, did not have carrots in it! I'm hoping to find time between now and Thursday to make the original recipe again with carrots so I can tell you exactly how to turn it into a carrot cake.
To blog or not to blog? I've spent the last couple of weeks debating whether I could continue with the blog. As a graduate student, money is always tight, but lately it's been tighter, and I've had to decide whether I can continue to devote the amount of time and money that I do here. My love for this hobby has been conflicting with my ability to pay the bills, and it's hard for me to be okay with the amount of time I spend here when I could be working a paying gig. Yet the thought of letting go of something I love so much has been making me really sad. I've had many a conversation with God, meditated and agonized over it for hours, and finally realized that I can't give the blog up.
There's nothing I enjoy more than having someone say to me, "I can't eat x, y and z. Can you make me something?" Yes, and happily! And I love to be able to provide you with as many substitution options as possible. But as you can imagine, all of this testing takes time and money. I like to buy quality ingredients so that a) I feel good, and b) I can make these recipes healthy for you and your families. So to test a recipe this many times means many trips to the grocery store, and a lot of time spent baking, taking photos, and writing. All things that completely feed my soul...but not so much my wallet.
I never set out to make money as a blogger. If I had, I would be pretty disappointed in myself right now! I just wanted to share my experiences and recipes, and hoped some of you would enjoy them. In full disclosure, I can tell you that I make a small amount every month through my advertising with Foodbuzz (about $25/month), but that doesn't exactly make up for the number of hours I spend blogging when I could be working. As you probably know, I also just published two cookbooks, and that was a wonderful experience. But I can honestly say I did it because I loved the idea, not because I expected to make a lot of money, nor have I (made money that is). Just like with the blog, I did it because I love the idea of sharing my knowledge with all of you out there.
This is all a long and winding way for me to say, there is now a donate button on my sidebar, right above the waffle picture. You are welcome to completely ignore it. The fact that I have readers at all makes me ridiculously happy! But if you use my recipes or find my substitution tips to be helpful, and you want to help me continue to make recipes like this one, I would be grateful. Either way, say hello every once in a while. A nice comment also puts a smile on my face.