Celebrate fall with a dessert stunner: layers of Gluten Free Zucchini Cake, Apple Butter Buttercream & a tart, citrusy Apple Cider Reduction drizzle.
The return of crossing guards, bus stops, flashing school zones and the SEA of children pouring from large brick buildings leaves me relishing my age. Middle school can stay thoroughly lodged in my past. At least with elementary school, the end of summer still meant plenty of recesses outdoors, but returning to middle school signaled a battle with puberty, disgruntled teachers, gym class uniforms/gym class locker rooms, and an airtight building that I swear gave me allergies.
But my scrawny best friend and I planted our flags in one bit of middle school territory and refused to surrender. We’d wear shorts until the bitter end, until our cold, goosebumped, spindly legs could barely stand it. And you better believe those shorts came past our fingertips lest we “distract the boys.”
Fall as a kid is bittersweet, but fall as an adult is cozy, comforting and full of choices- should I drink spiked hot apple cider and watch Netflix, or should I drink red wine and watch Amazon Prime (#LiveItUp)? These days, with less to prove, I surrender my shorts at the slightest hint of a chill. I am all too willing to break out the blankets, sweaters and my beloved, well worn vintage athletics sweatshirt from … my … middle school.
I’m still trying to squeeze in summer adventures, like our Beach Picnic, but I’m also celebrating fall. That’s the beauty of being an adult, and since adulthood includes hassles like taxes and laugh lines, we have to celebrate all the small victories. This Gluten Free Zucchini Cake is an ode to fall. It was the sweet conclusion of an Apple Themed Pittsburgh Blogger Potluck I hosted with Ashley of My Heart Beets (more on the menu to come!), and it’d be a stunner for your next fall gathering (or your next Netflix binge).
P.S: I LOVE this photo Isabel snapped of my cake. Check out all Isabel’s mouthwatering recipes as well. I wish I had a scoop of her Mexican Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream.
Gluten Free Zucchini Cake with Apple Butter Frosting, Apple Cider Reduction & Spiced Apple Rosettes
About this Recipe: Made from brown rice flour and honey, these gluten free zucchini cakes are practically breakfast worthy! If the layered approach is intimidating, simply make two 8-inch cakes. The apple cider reduction is citrusy and tart. Try making it with a spiced cider like R.W. Knudsen.
Gluten Free Zucchini Cake
Yield: two 8-inch cakes / 1 layer cake
3 cups organic brown rice flour (gluten free)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cardamom
4 large eggs (organic/local)
1 cup packed organic light brown sugar
1 cup local honey
1 cup melted coconut oil
finely grated zest from 2 medium lemons
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups zucchini, coarsely grated
Apple Butter Buttercream (recipe below)
Apple Cider Reduction (recipe below)
Spiced Apples for Rosettes (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 8-inch springform cake pans. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, brown sugar, honey, coconut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, until combined.
Stir in the grated zucchini.
Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely.
Using a lazy susan and a bread knife, cut each cake into two layers.
Place the bottom layer of cake on a serving plate/platter. Frost the layer of cake with a generous dollop of buttercream and smooth into an even layer. Add the next layer and repeat until all layers are in place. Frost the sides and chill to harden.
Apple Butter Buttercream Frosting
2 8-oz packages organic cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick of organic salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup apple butter
1 cup organic powdered sugar
Beat all the ingredients together until smooth.
Apple Cider Reduction
6 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon cloves
6-7 star anise pods
lemon peels from 1 organic lemon
In a large saucepan, bring the apple cider, spices and lemon peel to a boil, then simmer over medium heat. As the sauce begins to thicken, remove the spices and lemon peels. Continue to simmer until reduced to ~3/4 cup, and the sauce is the consistency of honey, 30 to 40 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.
Spiced Apples for Rosettes
1 Tablespoons butter (such as Kerry Gold)
1 pounds organic apples (about 3 apples, 6 to 7 oz. each)
1/4 cup firmly packed organic light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon organic, non-gmo cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of table salt
Cut apples into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss together apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add apple mixture, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until tender and golden. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).
Arrange sautéed apples over frosted cake.