Gluten-Free Cooking For One

Celiac And The Single Girl, Or: How To Make Food That Does Not Suck For One Person {Although I Suppose You Could Feed Other People, Too}

Sing A Song Of Frankencake

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Ok, I’m way behind on cooking posts, so here goes: the chanson geste of the Frankencake. And when I say chanson geste, I really mean it… this cake was quite a process. It started as such a simple idea, then became something quite else entirely, didn’t quite work out as planned, and then ended up as an excellent oddity that I fully intend to serve in future and pretend I husbanded the whole thing through GENIUS and common sense. Right.

So here we go.

You know that I’m not one to pretend I know what I’m doing, so I’m going to lay it all out. You may benefit from my process, or may be able to add some piece of information I’m missing. Or even just get a laugh. 😀


This was the original recipe, found on Pinterest:

Budget101 Valentines Cherry Pie Bars – delicious and easy

1 cup of butter softened
2 cups of sugar
4 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cans of cherry pie filling (can use just 1 if you need to)

Preheat Oven to 350F
In a mixing bowl, cream your butter, sugar- add eggs & extract.. beat well to mix. Add flour & Salt, Mixing Well.
Spread half of the batter in a greased 9×13 pan, Spoon the Pie Filling over the batter Randomly drop tablespoons remaining batter over the pie filling
Bake for 35 min or until your toothpick comes out clean

If you wish to add a glaze mix 1 c. Powdered sugar, 1 tsp almond extract, 2 tsp milk and drizzle
bars cool

Recipe from

The photo that went with it looked gorgeous and the recipe is simple enough.

Except that I’m lactose intolerant right now. OK, I thought, I’ll substitute for the butter. Ugh. And then I thought, this is pastry, basically, from the look of it in the photo (I didn’t save the photo to put with this, but you can go find it)… if I substitute the butter, and use gluten-free flours, this is going to be like a brick with cherry pie filling on it. Horrible!!

Hmmm. I did, however, have a box of the good gluten-free muffin mix in the cupboard, and I thought, there are worse things in life than cherry muffins!! So I figured I’d use the muffin mix instead of making up this dough. Sorted!!

I got out the box of King Arthur Gluten Free Muffin Mix and made it up according to the instructions on the back of the box, except that I needed a substitute for the milk and also one for the butter. I happened to have a can of coconut milk on hand, so I used most of that as a milk replacement. To replace the butter, I used coconut oil — it occurred to me somewhat belatedly that the cake might be very coconutty, but hey, I like coconut, and it’s better than being ill from the lactose — and I also used the coconut oil to grease the cake pan.

Once I’d mixed up the batter, I added some vanilla and almond extract just because they were in the original recipe, then poured 3/4 of the mix into a 9×9 glass cake pan (briefly considered the larger 13×9 but then thought there wasn’t enough batter), opened a can of cherry pie filling and spread it over the batter, then  dobbed the last of the batter in clumps over the cherry pie filling as directed in the original recipe, above. IMG_20140207_163705_670

A distant warning bell began to ring in my head at about this point, tolling the words “it’s going to rise, did you think about that? “… I swore a little bit, because I had not, but then ignored it, on the basis of it already being in the pan.

I put it in the oven to bake, but I did put a cookie sheet underneath it, because I was beginning to worry about the fact that muffins rise. lol



Out it came, brown and gooey and gorgeous… and delicious! The muffin mix worked a treat, although it had almost pushed the cherry pie filling right out of the pan, and it tasted good. It was actually a little too sweet for me, which is rare. However, I sucked it up and managed to have a piece with a little glass of tawny port wine. Because I can take one for the team if I have to.


It’s not easy being a non-celebrity food blogger.

So, I thought to myself, how can I improve this next time?

1) make it in the 13×9 cake pan.
2) no cherry pie filling
3) cut the coconut milk with water & the coconut oil with corn oil, to lessen the coconut taste

So I made it again, but this time tried to recreate a favorite childhood recipe: the Heath Bar coffee cake made by my mother when we were kids.

Got the King Arthur muffin mix and made it, again with coconut milk (this time cut with water) for the milk and coconut oil (this time mixed with corn oil) for the melted butter.

The add-ons this time:
* Heath Bar Bits-O-Brickle Toffee in the batter
* Kraft caramels cut in half and put between the layers of muffin mix, like the cherry pie filling last time.
* vanilla extract again, and this time added spices cinnamon (cassia) and cardamom

Looking rather dusty, it's Frankencake V2, with its covering of Brickle Bits and dusting of sugar on top. Mmmmm :D

Looking rather untidy, it’s Frankencake V2, with its covering of Brickle Bits and dusting of sugar on top. Mmmmm 😀

Under each lump of batter you see in the photo above is a half a caramel, inserted between layers of dough in hopes they would melt and be delicious gooey centers. They did, but there weren’t nearly enough of them.

IMG_20140212_200528_150You can see where the lumps of extra batter on top have melted down into the cake’s surface, and if you could get right up to the cake, you’d be able to look down through the cracks and see melted caramel. Mmmmmm. 🙂

Delicious. It needed a bit more caramel, and it could have used more toffee bits — I was a bit frugal with all of it, won’t be next time — but it was delicious. I’ll definitely be making this again, and DEFINITELY in the 13×9 pan.


MmmmmmMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm. 😀

So that’s the story of Frankencake, the cake that started out to be one thing and then ended up as something completely different. (Perhaps I should call it Pythoncake instead…)


Author: Christine Na'imah

I am a pretty bubbly person. A dancer, a prancer, and sometimes a vixen. Romantic and striving for grace, but unfortunately the emphasis is on "antic"; occasionally lunatic, trying to be demure. Probably failing.

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