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Imposter Syndrome: Gluten Free Cherry Cake

Like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie; I love everything cherry.



IF I were a Vulgarian kiddy winky, I would've been snatched up that day by The Child Catcher. He was employeed by the Baron and Baroness Bomburst (in the classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) to snatch and imprison children on the streets of Vulgaria- when he offered up cherry pies to the children. Especially because they were "all free today".





White House cherry ice cream tops my list of favorites. Cherry Pie from the late Fratangelo's Italian Market in Moon where I could get Soergel's cherry pies a very close second. I'm a sucker for New York style cheesecake with cherry 🍒 toppings.


Yes, I will splurge for the fresh Bing cherries in the produce section of the market, and I'll take my Old Fashioned with a few skewers of Luxardo cherries. After all, we all need to eat more fruit. Right?



So, it was easy to say yes when my new friend Elizabeth Perry, reporter for the hyper local news source Gazette 2.0 asked if we could make vintage cherry cake together. Of course!

But she threw a twist at me. "I eat gluten free". I'll bring the flour.


What? Make a cherry cake from scratch using gluten free flour.? This is something I've never done. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with gluten free flour. I felt like an imposter. She was counting on me to lead this cooking class. I had to learn.


Making cakes for special occasions, e.g., my kids' birthdays always scared me. So, I would purchase them from local bakeries. Just a few times I have attempted to make them; spending hours perfecting the icing, fondant, and decorations. It's exhausting.


Everyone was always very appreciative for the effort. That validated my hard work. But was it really good enough or were they just saying that?


Hi! My name is Carol, and I suffer from imposter syndrome.


That doesn't mean I don't do things I set my mind to, it just means I do with a lot of doubt and fear of failure.


Imposter syndrome refers to an internal psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their accomplishments, abilities, or skills and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud or impostor. Despite evidence of their competence and success, people experiencing imposter syndrome tend to believe that they are inadequate and attribute their achievements to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities.


Imposter syndrome often affects high-achieving individuals, including professionals, students, artists, and entrepreneurs, who find it difficult to internalize their accomplishments and attribute them to their own capabilities. They may constantly worry about being "found out" or fear that others will realize they are not as skilled or knowledgeable as they appear to be.


Common characteristics of imposter syndrome include feelings of

1. self-doubt

2. a fear of failure

3. a tendency to downplay one's achievements,

4. a need for perfectionism,

5. an excessive focus on external validation.


These individuals often compare themselves to others and believe that their successes are a result of luck rather than their own efforts or competence.


Check

Check

Check

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I tend to blame my zodiac sign. Yeah, that's it! I am just an over organized perfectionist.


Gluten-free cakes, if having a brain, would also suffer from imposter syndrome. They may always compare themselves to their gluten rich cake counterparts. They may not realize just how great they really are. People may have to reassure them that they are as every bit good, if not better (or at least better for you) than the cakes made with regular flour. And still, they may not realize their authenticity, ability for those who suffer from gluten intolerance and well-rounded balance makes them just as if not better.


(It's important to note that imposter syndrome is not a recognized mental disorder but rather a psychological phenomenon that can impact a person's self-esteem, confidence, and overall well-being. It can be influenced by various factors such as personality traits, upbringing, cultural expectations, and societal pressures. And, gluten free cakes do not have a brain, therefore do not suffer from imposter syndrome)


Cooking Class with Carol

Gluten Free

Gluten-free baking refers to the process of preparing baked goods without using ingredients that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains, and it provides elasticity and structure to baked goods. However, individuals with gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or wheat allergies must avoid gluten to prevent adverse health effects.

When it comes to gluten-free baking, it's important to find alternative flours and binders that can replicate the texture and structure typically provided by gluten. Here are some common gluten-free ingredients used in baking:

  1. Gluten-Free Flours: There are numerous gluten-free flours available that can be used in various combinations to replace wheat flour. Some popular options include:

    • Rice Flour: Made from finely milled rice grains, it is a versatile and widely used gluten-free flour.

    • Almond Flour: Ground almonds create a moist and nutty flour suitable for cakes, cookies, and muffins.

    • Coconut Flour: Made from dried and ground coconut meat, it adds moisture and flavor to baked goods.

    • Quinoa Flour: Ground quinoa seeds provide a protein-rich and slightly nutty flavor.

    • Buckwheat Flour: Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and can be used to create hearty baked goods.

    • Potato Starch and Tapioca Flour: These starches are often used as binders in gluten-free recipes and help improve texture.


  1. Binders and Thickeners: Gluten-free baked goods often require additional binders to replace the function of gluten. Common options include:

    • Xanthan Gum: A common binder that adds elasticity and structure to gluten-free baked goods.

    • Guar Gum: Similar to xanthan gum, it helps bind ingredients and improve texture.

    • Psyllium Husk: Ground psyllium husk can act as a binder and is often used in bread recipes.


  1. Leavening Agents: Gluten-free flours may require additional leavening agents to help the baked goods rise. Common leavening agents include:

    • Baking Powder: A mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and a starch, which helps baked goods rise.

    • Baking Soda: Used in combination with acidic ingredients like lemon juice or buttermilk to create carbon dioxide bubbles, resulting in a rise.


  1. Egg Replacers: Eggs are often used in baking to provide moisture and structure. For vegan or egg-free options, you can use alternatives such as:

    • Unsweetened Applesauce: Adds moisture and acts as a binder.

    • Mashed Bananas: Adds moisture and sweetness.

    • Flaxseed or Chia Seeds: When mixed with water, they form a gel-like consistency that can be used as an egg substitute.


It's essential to note that gluten-free baking can be a bit trickier than traditional baking due to the absence of gluten. Experimentation and adapting recipes may be necessary to achieve the desired texture and taste. Many gluten-free baking recipes and resources are available online and in cookbooks to help guide you through the process.



King Arthur Baking Company (flour) took all of the guesswork out of gluten-free flour concoctions and added all the ingredients needed to imposter wheat flour. There's no guess work. It's a 1 : 1 ratio to regular wheat flour.


Lastly, cross-contamination is crucial to avoid when baking gluten-free. Ensure your baking tools, surfaces, and ingredients are free from any traces of gluten to prevent unintentional exposure.







Cherries

A maraschino cherry is a type of cherry that has been preserved in a flavored syrup. The name "maraschino" refers to a liqueur made from Marasca cherries, which are native to Croatia. However, the maraschino cherries commonly found today are typically made from a different variety of cherries, such as Royal Ann cherries.

The process of making maraschino cherries involves pitting and then immersing the cherries in a solution of sugar syrup and various additives, such as food coloring and flavorings. The cherries are then soaked in the syrup for a period of time, allowing them to absorb the flavors and colors.


The resulting maraschino cherries have a bright red color and a sweet flavor. They are commonly used as a garnish for cocktails, desserts, and ice cream sundaes. The syrup in which they are preserved is also often used as an ingredient in various drinks and recipes.


A Luxardo cherry is a type of maraschino cherry, which is a preserved cherry typically used as a cocktail garnish. Luxardo cherries are made from a specific variety of sour marasca cherries that are grown in Croatia and Italy. These cherries are dark red, firm, and slightly tart in flavor.

What sets Luxardo cherries apart from conventional maraschino cherries is the process used to make them. The cherries are harvested, pitted, and then soaked in a syrup made from Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, which is a clear cherry liqueur produced by the Luxardo family distillery. The cherries are then aged in the syrup for a period of time, allowing them to develop a rich, complex flavor.


Luxardo cherries are known for their deep red color, firm texture, and natural taste. They have a distinct sweetness balanced by a pleasant tartness. The syrup in which they are preserved is also highly prized and can be used in cocktails and other recipes.

Luxardo cherries are often used as a premium garnish in cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and various other classic drinks. They are popular among mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts who appreciate their superior taste and quality compared to conventional maraschino cherries.


Vintage Cherry Cake


Let's begin to indulge your taste buds in a delectable experience as we embark on a culinary journey with the irresistible cherry cake. Bursting with vibrant flavors, this moist and fruity dessert is a true symbol of summertime bliss. Whether you're a cherry aficionado or simply looking to tantalize your senses, this food blog will guide you through the enchanting world of cherry cake, from its origins to the art of baking it to perfection.

Cherry cake has a rich history that can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where cherries were regarded as a luxurious delicacy. It was during this period that the concept of incorporating cherries into cake batter was born. Over the centuries, this delightful dessert has evolved into countless variations, each one with its own unique charm.


The key to a heavenly cherry cake lies in the flavor profile. The tartness of the cherries complements the sweetness of the cake, resulting in a harmonious blend that is sure to please any palate. The bright red cherries not only add a burst of color but also infuse the cake with their natural juices, creating a luscious and moist texture.


Creating the perfect cherry cake requires finesse and attention to detail. The batter should be light and airy, allowing the cherries to distribute evenly throughout the cake. Whether you prefer a classic butter cake or a fluffy sponge cake, the addition of fresh cherries or cherry preserves will elevate your creation to new heights.

  • Dust the cherries with a bit of flour before adding them to the batter to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

  • Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan to avoid any crumbling.

  • For an added touch, garnish your cake with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a drizzle of cherry glaze.

Gluten Free Cherry Cake


Recipe

Cake 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300g)

¾ cup salted butter (170g)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup sour cream (180g)

1 egg

4 egg whites

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (313g)

4 teaspoons baking powder

¼ cup milk

½ cup maraschino cherry juice

¾ cup chopped maraschino cherries

Frosting 1 ½ cups salted butter, softened

1 ½ cups shortening

12 cups powdered sugar

5-6 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice

Additional maraschino cherries with stems for decorating

What to Do Cake

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by lining the bottoms with circles of parchment paper and spraying the sides with cooking spray.

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix well to combine.



  • Add the egg and egg whites in two batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing well between each addition.

  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the maraschino cherry juice and milk, starting with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then adding half of the juice and milk, then repeating with another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining juice and milk, and ending with the final ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape the bowl between additions, and only mix just until everything is combined without overmixing.

  • Stir in the chopped maraschino cherries.

  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, then bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only a few crumbs.

  • Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting

  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and shortening and beat on medium speed until smooth.

  • Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and beat well until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of the maraschino cherry juice and beat again to completely incorporate.

  • Repeat with another 4 cups of the powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice, mixing well between additions.

  • Add remaining 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, adding an additional tablespoon of cherry juice, if necessary, to make a thick frosting that is just slightly sticky to the touch.

Assembly

  • Level each cooled cake round by slicing off any domed tops.

  • Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate and carefully spread 1 ½ cups of the frosting over it in an even layer. Repeat with the second layer of cake and another 1 ½ cups of frosting.

  • Top with the remaining cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with most of the remaining frosting, reserving about 1 cup for piping onto the top of the cake. Decorate with extra maraschino cherries with stems, then slice and serve!



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