Spice Cake from Silvana’s Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kitchen

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This gorgeous cake is from Silvana Nardone’s most recent cookbook, Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen. She has created incredible recipes for those who are sensitive to wheat and dairy, using her own gluten-free AP flour mix and a simple recipe for homemade almond milk.  Of course, I headed straight to the dessert section and was seduced by this spice cake. It is super easy to put together and you’ll never know it’s GF and DF. Silvana suggests using a blow torch to toast the frosting. There is no tool I love more, so I whipped it out and threw some light flame on the top. It adds a caramel flavor to the already wonderful cake, so I highly recommend it.

Makes: One 8-inch 3-layer cake (as you can see from my picture I baked the cake in two extra deep pans and then split them, so I ended up with 4 layers)

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

 

FOR THE PRALINE

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup pecan halves (about 8 ounces)

 

FOR THE CAKE

2½ cups Silvana’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

Grated zest of 1 orange

4 large eggs, at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons Homemade Cashew or Almond Milk, or store-bought

One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree

 

FOR THE FROSTING

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of cream of tartar

1. Make the praline:

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large skillet, melt the granulated sugar over medium-high heat until light amber, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the pecans and quickly stir to coat. Transfer the pecans to the baking sheet and, using a metal spatula, spread in a single layer; cool completely. Place the praline in a sturdy resealable plastic bag and crush into pieces.

2. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F with racks in the middle and upper third. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Flour the pans.

3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium- high speed, beat together the shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until just combined.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the three pans. Bake, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cake layers to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans, invert and peel off the parchment paper. Invert again and let the cakes cool completely on the rack, about 45 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Combine the egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and, with the mixer on high speed, beat until stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes.

6. Assemble the cake:

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Trim the tops of the cooled cake layers with a long serrated knife to make them flat and level if necessary. Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Evenly spread one third of the frosting on top. Sprinkle with about ½ cup crushed pecan praline.

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Repeat with the remaining cake layers.

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Toast the meringue with a blow torch and serve.