Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Share a Slice of the Inaugural Luncheon Cake, Gluten Free of Course!

Thomas Hill painting, Yosemite Valley, 1865

Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society, Gift of Charles T. Harbeck

"The backdrop for the luncheon will be this painting, chosen for occasion, and borrowed from the New York Historical Society. The painting, "View of the Yosemite Valley," by Thomas Hill, reflects the majestic landscape of the American West and the dawn of a new era. The subject of the painting, Yosemite Valley, represents an important but often overlooked event from Lincoln's presidency—his signing of the 1864 Yosemite Grant, which set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias as a public reserve."

Yosemite Valley 2006

Happy inauguration! Today's foodie treat is courtesy of the new President's luncheon. It is a complicated, only a pastry chef would love type of dessert, called Cinamon Apple Sponge Cake. Our version is a bit easier, gluten free, and you can have it ready in about an hour.

In keeping with the Abe Lincoln theme for this inauguaration, the Yosemite painting is a nice touch. This painting, on loan from the New York Historical Society is in the room where the luncheon will take place. Abe was the one who in 1864 set aside the Yosemite Valley and surrounding Mariposa Grove full of sequioas, tall then and much taller now, as a public place. Thank goodness! Yosemite is one of our favorite places to go. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a well kept secret. No one is there. Truly. It is cold, but there are no crowds anywhere. It almost seems sometimes like you are there alone with the majestic rocks. The photos that we took show Half Dome and the long stretch down the valley that is pretty much the scene in the painting, but about 160 something years later.

half dome, Yosemite 2006

Inauguration Day Apple & Pear Sponge Cakes

For our dessert, we used pears because we had them on hand, but apples are perfect too. We used gluten free waffles instead of Brioche, but both are tasty.

our gluten free easy verision

inaugcakeacast of characters

(adapted from the official inauguration luncheon

dessert, Apple Cinnamon Sponge Cake)

Serves 4

Butter and coat 4 large ramekins with white sugar, set aside

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


  • 8 gluten free waffles
  • 2lbs of apples or pears or a mix with enough leftover for the finish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • scant 1/4 sugar (less is good)
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • pinch of vanilla
  • bourbon
  • your favorite caramel sauce

Thaw the waffles and cut to fit ramekins. The remainder can be used for the sides if you wish. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and brush on the thawed waffles. Insert one disk into each ramekin butter side down.

waffle side pieces
cutting the disks and side pieces

Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the thinly sliced fruit and caramelize. Add the sugar, lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and applesauce and let it cook until most of the liquid is evaporated about 10 minutes depending on the ripeness of the fruit. You want it to be soft but not mushy. Add a touch of vanilla when you set it aside to cool.

cooking the apple pear mixture

If you are using the leftover strips of waffle, fit it in the ramekin after you brush it with butter (butter side out). Push it down to make it solid and then fill the remainder with the apple/pear mixture, heaping it a bit on top. Add the top waffle and butter it too. Grate some fresh nutmeg on top with a bit of cinnamon and bake them on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes.

spoon in the filling
festive patriotic cakes baking

Be sure to save about a half to one cup of the filling for the finish sauce!

Cool for about fifteen minutes and if you used waffle sides, then run a knife around the edge and invert on a plate. If you didn't use the waffle sides, just serve in the ramekin. Either way is just as delicious.

Patriotic Cakes, cooling

Take the remaining apple/pear mixture and reheat. Add a bit more applesauce, a dash (large dash) of bourbon and heat it up until it reduces a bit. Spoon in about a cup of your favorite caramel sauce and melt it all together. Reheat gently and top the finished cakes with the sauce.

mixing in the caramel

Bourbon is a food group

Top with the caramel topping and either add a side of vanilla ice cream or a bit of whipped cream. Or none. Your choice.

Happy Inauguration and Bon Appetite!


Apple Pear Sponge Cake Voila!

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