Loaded with vanilla whipped cream and berries, this Gluten-Free Vanilla Butter Cake is perfect for casual summer gatherings and celebrations alike.
“I get to” versus “I have to.”
This switch is something I’ve been trying to internalize lately. It’s a subtle shift in semantics, but it’s a profound shift in mindset.
“I get to” have some down time even though I want more money. “I get to” make a car payment because I’m driving my “Birdie,” a black Forester that I adore! Even something as absurd as, “I get to pick up this stray sock by the couch because I fell in love with a handsome, funny, thoughtful man who couldn’t be bothered by clutter” changes my urge to fume into something more amusing.
I’ve been practicing this “I get to” approach because I’ve been waking up sluggish, feeling overwhelmed and constantly feeling like I’m behind. I’ve been critical of my work, judged my accomplishments harshly and overall just felt like I’m not “enough,” whatever “enough” is, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
And if that weren’t enough, I had a jarring reminder from the universe that every single day is precious. I found out, via Facebook, the great life updater of lost high school connections, that someone I was friends with long ago, a fellow honor roll nerd and Big Red teammate, passed away of cancer.
She wasn’t a reckless person. She wasn’t, I imagine, an unhealthy person. She was always nice, polite and respectful in the time I knew her, and for her to die just seems unfair. It makes the world, which already seems to be spiraling out of control, feel all the more spiraly, unpredictable and uncontrollable.
So I’ve practiced saying “I get to” instead of “I have to.” I’ve re-prioritized those forgotten (and expensive!) vitamins. Kyle has gently nudged me to be more active, to just get up and go to the park with my fur baby and not fill every waking minute with screens and unrealistic expectations. I’ve turned to my phone to guide me in mindfulness instead of mindless scrolling.
I’m trying to remind myself to choose gratitude and excitement over negativity and fear because after all, I get to make and play with food. I get to share recipes with you and with those I love. In the case of this berry beauty, a Gluten-Free Vanilla Butter Cake, I shared it in celebration of the moms in my life.
So here’s to actively trying to slow down, to savor and enjoy the sweeter side of life! We get to do that, you know?
Vanilla Butter Cake with Whipped Cream & Berries
Recipe adapted ever so slightly from the cookbook, Alternative Baker, which I can’t recommend enough. Alanna’s recipes defy whole grain, gluten-free baking.
8 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tsp for the pan
3/4 cup organic granulated raw cane sugar or coconut sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sweet white rice flour
1/2 cup Gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs millet flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (try homemade vanilla)
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1-2 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
1-2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract
2-3 cups fresh summer berries, rinsed, hulled & halved if large
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
powdered sugar, for garnish
To Make The Gluten-Free Vanilla Butter Cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 325°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch (preferably a springform pan) sides with the teaspoon of softened butter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 8 Tablespoons of butter, sugar, and vanilla seeds together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scarping down the sides of the bowl as needed. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the sweet rice, oat and millet flours with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla, mixing until just combined, then beat in the remaining flour mixture, beating until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir with a flexible silicone spatula to make sure the batter is homogenous. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake the cake until the top springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, 1-2 hours.
To Make the Whipped Cream:
Place the cream in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip/whisk attachment. Whip until soft peaks form, then add the sweetener of choice and vanilla extract. Whip until your desired consistency (I like to use a stiffer consistency when topping a cake.
To Assemble & Garnish:
Remove the cake from the pan, and transfer to your serving plate. Top the cake with whipped cream, and use an offset spatula to spread evenly across the surface. Top with berries, sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Garnish with a small sprig of thyme.