How to Blend Low-Calorie, Gluten-Free Flours/Starches

Recently, I got a reader comment that surprised me.

Katherine from the Kat’s Health Corner blog was remarking on my Pumpkin Currant Muffins and wrote, “I love how you combined the chickpea and quinoa flours — how creative!” What surprised me was the praise. (But thank you, Katherine, thank you!)

The truth is I’m driven, not so much by the desire to be creative, but by the search for low-calorie GF flour/starch blends for baking.

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Ever-Forgivin’ Apple Upside-Down Cake

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Is there anything better than cooking with apple and cinnamon?  (Okay, maybe chocolate.)  This cake definitely falls in the comfort food category, particularly if served warm.   Softened, slightly crunchy apples, lightly spiced, are covered with a lighter-than-expected pudding cake.  Yum.

I’ve called this cake, “Ever-Forgivin,” because when I was adapting it, I made all kinds of mistakes such as forgetting to add the salt until the end, etc.  Still, it turned out just right.

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Apple side up!

Apple side up!

Cooking tip: 

The original recipe required only ¼ cup of milk.  I found that this was insufficient for rice flour and ended up adding 1 entire cup!  I suggest adding milk in ¼ amounts until you have a thick batter that can be poured.

Flavour tip: The cake layer doesn’t have an artificial sugar aftertaste, but the apples do.  If you can handle small amounts of sugar, add 1 tbsp. of sugar to the cinnamon.  This amount of sugar spread over 8 servings isn’t going to affect a diet or alter the Weight Watcher point count.

Makes 8 servings


 Apple layer

  • 3 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (3-4 cups)
  • 1 tbsp. artificial sugar or real sugar (see note above)
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon

Cake layer

  • ⅔ cup rice flour
  • ⅓ cup artificial sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. xanthum gum
  • 1 tbsp. shortening (butter or margarine), cold
  • 1 cup soy milk, unsweetened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Cooking spray


For the apple layer: 

  • Mix artificial or real sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Add apples to cinnamon mixture and toss so that the fruit is coated.
  • Put this bowl aside until you’re ready to bake.

For the cake layer:

  1. Mix flour, artificial sugar, baking powder, xanthum gum, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut shortening into the dry ingredients with a fork, pastry blender, or a food processor until it forms small pebbles in the flour.  (If you’ve never done this before, watch the first 1.5 minutes of the video below.)
  3. Add beaten egg and mix.
  4. Add milk in ¼ cup amounts. (See note above.)
  5. Mix well until the batter is smooth.

Combining the two layers:

  1. Spray 8” x 8” pan with cooking spray.
  2. Put apples into the pan. (If you’re artistic, you can arrange them.)
  3. Pour batter over the apples and spread to coat.  
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until knife comes our smooth.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes and then turn over onto a plate. 

For Weight Watchers: Each of the 8 servings is worth 2 points in both the Points  plan and the PointsPlus plan.

 (Adapted from

Seductively, Spice Cake

A dense and delicious cake with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and cloves.  A sprinkling of icing sugar is optional but delights the sweet tooth and is pretty to boot.  I served this at an adult daughter’s birthday and it was pronounced delicious.

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  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup Splenda or other artificial sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves


  1. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl.
  2. Beat eggs until smooth.
  3. Add artificial sugar and beat.
  4. Add milk and dry ingredients alternately to the egg-mixture, blending well after each addition.
  5. Beat in olive oil until smooth.
  6. Pour into 8 x 8 pan, sprayed with no-fat spray.
  7. Bake at 350o F for 25 minutes or until sides are pulling away from the pan.

Cut into 12 pieces

Weight Watcher points: Each piece is worth 3 WW points on the Points plan and 3.5 in PointsPlus.

(adapted from a recipe given to me in the 1980s by the owner of some B&B in Port Dover, Ontario)