July 2007

In an effort to satisfy both my sweet tooth and my need to bake, I have been experimenting with making some of my favourite recipes Gluten-Free.

I have had AMAZING success with the following Ponderosa Cake recipe – this is actually a banana cake with chocolate and brown sugar that is apparently quite popular and well known at UBC. Having never attended UBC, I first experienced it at a BBQ and instantly felt the need to find the recipe and try it out.

I only had a chance to make it once before learning I had to try out the Gluten-Free Life. I made it (in addition to carrot cake) for my office this morning and already had requests for the recipe…and now that my substitutions are typed out I figured I might as well post it here.

Here’s the original recipe I found at: http://members.shaw.ca/amyfong/recipes/ponderosa-cake.html

UBC Ponderosa Cake
This is a delicious moist, chocolate chip banana cake.
Makes one 8″ square cake. Double the recipe for a larger cake (9″x13″).

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar (recipe calls for 1 cup)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 bananas)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and granulated sugar. Add egg, then vanilla and bananas. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to banana mixture alternately with sour cream. Pour half of batter into greased 8″ square pan. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar together. Sprinkle half on top of batter, then half of chocolate chips. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until cake tester in middle comes out clean.

To make it GLUTEN FREE I made the following substitutions:

  • Substitute 1/2 cup of butter with 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of applesauce (you could do this to decrease your fat regardless whether you make it gluten free)
  • Add a little bit of extra banana (I use 3 bananas and don’t both measuring the amount)
  • Substitute regular (wheat) flour for 1- 1/2 cups of a rice flour blend

    (I mix these in larger quantities so I can just substitute it for wheat flour – i.e. the quantities below are ratios – use 1-1/2 cup of one of the mixes below)

      • 3/4 cup of rice flour & 1/4 cup of cornstarch (this is the minimum substitution – it worked pretty well)


      • 3/4 cup of rice flour & 1/8 cup of cornstarch and 1/8 cup of tapioca starch/flour (this was very good)


      • 3/4 cup of rice flour & 3/4 cup of sweet (glutinous) rice flour and 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of tapioca starch/flour (This is my most recent and successful mix)
      • Increase the baking soda to 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda

Final hints:
When layering the chocolate and brown sugar mix – layer chocolate first then brown sugar to get that yummy crumbly topping!

I purchase the rice flour and tapioca starch at the Chinese Grocery (they have it at T & T in the mall) and they are under $1 for a small bag that will allow you to make 2-3 batches of gluten free treats. Much cheaper than purchasing it at a specialty or health food store!

Mmmmm Delicious!

Hmm…if this Gluten this is for real, then I’m going to want some of these cards.


Other cards stop at “no wheat, rye, barley, or oats.” Our cards are different because we don’t assume a chef can immediately intuit the things it took us Celiacs months to learn. We clearly list hidden sources of gluten, where they might be found, and other subtleties, like the dangers of cross-contamination.

We also understand that every cuisine is different. For example, the most common hidden source of gluten in Chinese food is soy sauce, in Thai food it’s fish sauce, and in Indian food it’s a spice called hing. We’ve created dining cards for six global cuisines, and each card is different, calling out the hidden sources of gluten unknown even to many native chefs!

Wow for the internet!