I love being amazed. Amazed at mountain grandeur, fiery sunsets, and breath-taking images from space. I revel in the majesty of creation and take joy from its beauty.
How much more will I be amazed at the grandeur, glory, and beautiful glory of the Creator when I stand in his presence? How much more can I now revel in the joy that His love for me never ends? The Creator of the mountains calls me friend. The Creator of the sunset calls me beloved child. The Creator of a supernova died for me and yet is with me always.
Mountains can be explained. So can sunsets and supernovas. Amazing grace. Amazing love. How can it be? Because He is.
And can it be that I should gainAn int’rest in the Savior’s blood?Died He for me, who caused His pain—For me, who Him to death pursued?Amazing love! How can it be,That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:Who can explore His strange design?In vain the firstborn seraph triesTo sound the depths of love divine.’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,Let angel minds inquire no more.
He left His Father’s throne above—So free, so infinite His grace—Emptied Himself of all but love,And bled for Adam’s helpless race:’Tis mercy all, immense and free,For, O my God, it found out me!
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;My chains fell off, my heart was free,I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
No condemnation now I dread;Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;Alive in Him, my living Head,And clothed in righteousness divine,Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
The latest in adventures of gluten-free baking involved experimenting with various vanilla cupcake recipes. After much tweaking and several trials (see this post), the cupcakes tasted good, but the consistency was strange. I figured this was the result of trying to make a thick cake without eggs or gluten. I tried using my chocolate cake recipe, but modified slightly to make a vanilla cake.
Several things I discovered:
Gluten, dairy, and egg- free baking lends itself more to thinner goods… cookies and thin cakes.
Chocolate covers up the “gluten-free” taste of the chocolate cake, which means I had several tries just to get the taste “vanilla cake” tasting.
Notes for this cake in particular (read before making):
Do not over mix. Unless you want a cake with the consistency of rubber. Seriously. And don’t use a mixer. Wooden spoon works the best.
Clear vanilla extract might help make the cake less yellow… just make sure it is gluten-free.
Lemon juice helps give the cake a crisp flavor and mask the coconut oil.
Use pure cane sugar. The taste is remarkable. Refined sugar works, but pure cane sugar is the best.
All dry ingredients need to be sifted to have a lighter texture. My sifter has been contaminated with wheat flour, so I used a metal mesh strainer similar to this one.
After a couple trials, this is the deliciously addictive result! (especially paired with this coconut-vanilla icing!)
Coconut Vanilla Cake
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a round cake pan with coconut oil. (Or put liners in a 12-cupcake pan.)
In a small bowl, measure out:
1 3/4 c. general purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Baking Flour)
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1 c. pure cane sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Sift these ingredients into the mixing bowl. Pour in:
1/3 c. melted coconut oil (not hot)
2 Tablespoons French Vanilla flavored coconut milk creamer (note: this is the only ingredient I used that is manufactured in the same factory as tree nuts, otherwise this recipe is nut-free)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
1 c. cold water
Stir these ingredients until just blended. Seriously, if you want to leave a few lumps, that will be OK.
Pour into pan and bake 30-38 minutes. (Note: This cake takes longer to bake than the chocolate version and is more moist. I started checking the cake at 30 minutes. I waited until the top was browning and my finger did not leave any indentation when testing it. See the picture below. It is mostly done, but 5-7 more minutes would make it even better (notice the finger indentation).
Let the cake sit in the pan at least 1 hour. Remove from pan and ice with this delicious coconut-vanilla icing. Or eat it plain. It’s really that yummy. I keep this cake in the refrigerator. It is delicious served room temperature or cold!
After coming up with a delicious gluten-free vanilla cake (see post here), I needed an equally delicious dairy and egg free icing to go on it. This is it. And I don’t even like the taste of coconut all that much. I sure do with this icing though. Maybe it’s all the sugar. Seriously, it’s sweet. And so, so good.
1/4 c. coconut oil
3 Tbs. french vanilla coconut milk creamer
2 Tbs. coconut milk
1 tsp gluten-free vanilla (Clear extract could help keep the color of the icing lighter. I did use regular and I really didn’t notice.)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Mix the coconut oil until there are absolutely, positively no clumps of oil left. Don’t melt it at all. Just cream it while you ponder the meaning of the words strength and patience. ;) Just kidding. Sort of.
Add in the vanilla and coconut milk. Sift in 1 cup powdered sugar. Using a hand-mixer, mix until well-blended. Add in creamer and sift in anther cup powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add in lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar (again, sifted). Mix until all is completely blended. The consistency should be smooth, but not runny. (I forgot to take a picture). If too runny or sticky, add in coconut milk or sifted powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency.
This makes enough icing for two 8×8 or a double layer cake.
The first cake I iced when it had cooled and before the frosting went in the refrigerator. It was good, but ran a little, then firmed back up.
The second cake was iced a couple days later, after the icing had been refrigerated. I let it warm up to room temperature before icing. It was a tad bit more difficult to ice with, but it kept it’s shaped and was worth the extra effort. If you want to pipe the icing (which I can’t vouch for), I would recommend refrigerating it over night first.