Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes

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Pineapple cakes are one of Taiwan’s most famous desserts, and a popular gift to bring back to the US.  Since they’re not gluten free, we decided to make our own.  The filling turned out well, but the crust was on the crumbly side.  Also, you’re supposed to use special square molds, but we just used a normal muffin tin.

Original recipe

 

Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes
Adapted from Angel Wong

Yield: 9 pineapple cakes

Filling:

  • 1 (20 oz) can of crushed pineapple (about 1 1/2 cups of pineapple, drained)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar OR 1/4 cup white sugar + a dollop molasses
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Crust:

  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt, if using unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup dry, powdered milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free OR cake flour

 

  1. Drain pineapple, pressing on it gently to remove liquid.  You should end up with about 1 1/2 cups pineapple.
  2. In a saucepan, combine pineapple, sugars, and lemon juice.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the juice evaporates.  The filling should resemble jam.
  4. Transfer filling to a wide bowl or plate and let it cool to room temperature.  Then put in fridge to cool further.
  5. Preheat oven to 330ºF.  Grease a muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.
  6. In a bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy.
  7. Beat in powdered sugar.
  8. Beat in salt, baking powder, powdered milk, and egg.  The mixture will look sort of curdled, but that’s fine.
  9. Add flour and stir in as much as possible.  Then beat it in.  The mixture will be sticky.
  10. Flour a work surface.  Gather the dough into a ball and place on work surface.  You can sprinkle the dough with flour and roll it around until it no longer feels sticky.
  11. Roll the ball into a log and divide it into thirds.
  12. Roll each piece into a log and divide into thirds again.  You will now have 9 pieces.
  13. Take a piece and flatten between your palms to a circle about 4″ in diameter.  It doesn’t have to be exact, and it’s okay if the edges of the dough crack.
  14. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in a mound in the center of the dough circle.  I leave the dough circle on the palm of one hand, because it’s easier to get it off skin than a work surface.
  15. Gather the edges of the dough circle and pinch them together, completely enclosing the filling.
  16. Roll it into a smooth ball, pinching together any cracks.
  17. Put ball in a well of the muffin tin and press gently to flatten.
  18. Repeat for the other 8 pieces of dough.  You’ll have extra filling, which you can use as jam (or eat straight, as my friend did).
  19. Bake for about 19 minutes if gluten free, 15-17 minutes if not.  The tops of the pineapple cakes will still look pale.
  20. Remove pan from oven.  Put a cutting board over the top of the pan and carefully invert them so the pineapple cakes come out onto the board.  Tap the pan gently if necessary.
  21. Let the pineapple cakes cool until they are only slightly warm to the touch.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

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Even gluten free, this recipe makes a nicely domed, moist loaf of pumpkin gingerbread.  If you like, you can increase the spices.  Once I doubled all of them by accident and the loaf still turned out delicious, even if you couldn’t really taste the pumpkin anymore.

Original recipe

 

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: Two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil, and eggs until smooth.
  3. Add water and beat until well blended.
  4. Beat in pumpkin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves.
  5. Beat in baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Beat in flour.  If using normal flour, beat, just until combined.
  7. Divide batter between pans.
  8. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes if using gluten-free flour, or 1 hour if using normal flour.  A thin knife inserted near the center should come out clean.

Pumpkin Cake

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This pumpkin cake turns out to be soft and moist even when gluten free.  I personally love the combination of chocolate and pumpkin flavors, but you could also top it with cream cheese frosting.

Original recipe

 

Pumpkin Cake
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: Bundt cake

For the cake:

  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (about 15 oz.) canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the topping:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil.
  3. Beat in vanilla, pumpkin, and eggs.
  4. Beat in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in nuts, if using.
  6. Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes if gluten free OR 40-45 minutes if not.  A thin knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. 
  8. Cool cake in pan and then turn it out onto a serving plate.
  9. Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, pausing often to stir.
  10. Spoon melted chocolate over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides.

Pumpkin Pie

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It’s the fall, which means pumpkin season!  Here is our favorite pumpkin pie (we doubled all the spices from the original recipe).  You can make your own pie crust (shown above on right), or you can buy a gluten-free unbaked pie crust, such as a graham cracker one (shown above on left).  We personally preferred the homemade one.

Original pie recipe

 

Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from All Recipes and Betty Crocker

Yield: One 9″ pie

For the filling:

  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the crust:

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water (you may need to add a little more until the pastry just sticks together in a ball)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or with your fingers until the pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. If you’re using gluten-free flour and have time, cover and refrigerate the flour mixture for at least 30 minutes, or until the butter pieces harden.  This will help make the crust flakier.
  4. Sprinkle in water and toss with a fork until the pastry sticks together and you can form it into a ball.
  5. You can dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin, but the easiest thing to do with gluten-free flour is to press the dough into the pie tin.  If the butter pieces are cold and hard, they’re less likely to melt from the heat of your hands.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt until smooth.
  7. Pour into crust.  Bake 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and continue baking 35-40 minutes, or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely before serving.  Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.