As all good things, my tea cake came out of a moment of desperation.
Those of us special tea drinkers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance (termed coeliac disease in Britain) cannot simply run down to the corner bakery for something to go with our cuppa, or grab a delectable fresh package off the shelf. Well, actually, many of us in New York and Chicago and a few other fortunate large cities with great gluten-free bakeries can do that. But for the vast majority of us living out in small-town America, pickings are as slim as really good tea. We must settle for scarce variety locally, (often old and not starting out as anything good anyway), in packages on shelves or in freezer cases of small health food stores, provided we even have a health food store within a comfortable driving distance. We can order a wide range of cookies and cakes for mail delivery, and mostly have it all come squished and broken, or we can bake it from scratch, provided we have the time and ability to cook.
Thus it was that one day I was facing my afternoon teatime with what I often have—gluten free toast and jam—when I happened to be at the Winn-Dixie and saw the box of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake mix on the shelf. Yes, dear tea-drinkers, Betty Crocker is making gluten-free mixes!
I admit that a plain vanilla box cake does not customarily serve as a tea cake. However, a few simple alterations resulted in a delicious and very easy-to-make tea cake.
- 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake mix
- 2/3 cup orange juice, instead of water
- 1/2 cup butter, or substitute with Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened
- 1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
- 3 eggs
- Approximately 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- Cinnamon-sugar to taste
- Note: I omitted the vanilla
Using the above substitutions, mix according to package directions. Pour batter into a greased baking pan. Scatter the sliced almonds across the top of the batter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake according to directions.
I brewed a pot of Ntingwe Kwazulu tea, sat blissfully on the porch, and enjoyed, well, two pieces of fresh and scrumptious tea cake, courtesy of dear Betty.
Just a note ~ the Betty Crocker mix, and others on the market, are based on rice flour, which has long been used to produce delicate textured cakes. Even wheat-eaters will enjoy them.
Aside from making delicious cakes and steaming pots of tea, CurtissAnn also writes novels. Visit her Web site, CurtissAnnMatlock.com, to learn more!!
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