Apple Butter Breakfast Cake (Gluten Free)
Grey winter mornings. A hike through the woods. Wet leaves, the river pulsing on. A deer looks briefly over at me from a far hill. The path is tamped down. Lots of pleasure hikers press through these trees, over the sturdy, vibrant green moss, carving footprints into the ground. My coat swings around me. Five birds flit out of a patch of tall grass into a leafless tree, like live shadows. Walks in the cold like this revive me, take me away from my routine. My worries -- which pile up inside of me -- lessen in importance. I become more aware of my breath, my pulse, my gait. There's that phrase "clearing your head." Which, to me, means slowing the thoughts. Getting to touch those moments when I'm free of the thoughts that constantly bubble up, those clear, pristine moments like a cold glass of water quenching my thirst. The world becomes more of what it is -- more intense, alive. The quiet shuffling of my feet, the sloshing and gurgle of the river, the quick upward flight of a bird: music. Clacking bare branches are dancers. Just half a second of experiencing reality like this is like a dose of the best, freeing medicine.
And then I walk to the parking lot and feel the overcast sky like a soft flannel sheet taking over the horizon.
When the grey gets to be too much I brew coffee, make cake. Flour flies up into the air, filling my workspace with hanging dust. I fold in eggs and apple butter and milk. A warming breakfast can stave off cold for a day or more.
There's something that feels so nourishing about a warm breakfast. I don't regularly make myself cake or sweets for breakfast. I usually go with gluten free avocado toast topped with an egg and some salt (the most perfect meal). But every so often, I feel like the only thing that will do is something sweet, cinnamon-laced, and hot out of the oven.
I made the apple butter for this cake using winesap apples that graced the tables at my wedding. You can use just about any apple butter, but I do so highly recommend making your own. I now know winesaps make an incredible apple butter (so much better than store-bought). But I'm sure there are tons of varieties of apples that turn out a brilliant butter.
- (3/4 cup) sorghum flour
- 70 g (1/2 cup) white rice flour
- 40 g (1/3 cup) almond meal
- 40 g (1/2 cup) arrowroot starch
- 2 tablespoons psyllium (whole or powdered)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 100 g (1 cup) coconut sugar
- 1 & ¼ cups almond milk
- ½ cup melted coconut oil or ghee
- 1 & ½ cup apple butter + 1/2 cup
- 2 organic or farm fresh eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 apple sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
- For icing drizzle (optional):
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 325F. Line two loaf pans (or 9″ circular cake pans) with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: sorghum flour, white rice flour, almond meal, arrowroot starch, psyllium, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and coconut sugar.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients: almond milk, 1.5 cups apple butter, eggs, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until you have a relatively uniform mix.
- Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and fold the mixture together gently. Add the second half of the wet mix to the dry mix and stir gently to combine. Let rest 20 minutes.
- Fill your loaf tins ¼ of the way full with batter.
- Spoon 1/4 cup of apple butter into each tin.
- Fill each tin to ¾ full with the remaining batter.
- Bake on the upper middle rack for 55 minutes, until golden brown and a sharp knife inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean.
- Let cool 20 minutes before removing from your tin, or serving.
- Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice, stirring to create an even mix. You want a thick icing, but it should be spreadable. If it seems too thick, add 1/8 teaspoon of lemon juice at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Using a spoon, drip lines of icing over your cake to create a pretty pattern (I dip my spoon half way into the icing and then slowly draw even lines across the top, holding the spoon about 2 inches over the cake).