I Can’t Bake: Carob Brownies? Cupcakes? Muffins?

For my sweetie’s birthday, I thought I would do us both a favor and avoid baking. You may have noticed, by now, the complete lack of sweet baked goods on my Low Amine Recipes blog. It’s because I can’t/won’t bake.

Part of my avoidance is my skill in putting on pounds simply by looking at desserts. The other, larger part of my non-baking is dictated by my ability to burn, char, and crisp most desserts into oblivion.

I started by buying an allergen-unfriendly flat cake at QFC which was (the bakery gal told me) iced and decorated by “trainees,” as you can see from the botched “32nd” and can’t see from the icing on the sides. It looks like an icing job that I would do. That should say it all.

Allergy-unfriendly flat cake for the masses, AKA backup plan #1. (photo)

Allergy-unfriendly flat cake for the masses, AKA backup plan #1.

And then decided that I would be bold and buy a box of gluten-free Betty Crocker brownie mix. I figured if I substituted the butter with butter substitute, and subbed the egg with applesauce, everything would turn out fine. It did! They are made of unhealthy boxed goodness and were tasty.

Note: No, I didn’t eat them all… just the ones that fell apart when I tried to take them out. I didn’t realize they were too warm to remove from the tins. Cut me some chocolately high-amine slack. I already told you, I don’t know how to bake.

Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies made with butter substitute and applesauce as an egg substitute. (photo)

Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies made with butter substitute and applesauce as an egg substitute. Made of high-amine crack, I tell you. AKA backup plan #2.

Halfway through baking crack, I mean, the Betty Crocker brownie things, I decided that I *CAN* bake, and that I should try my hand at a real recipe. So I used a recipe I found on the internet, made a few substitutions, and went to town: sugar for stevia, applesauce for eggs, doubled the carob chips, and made my own carob powder (see: threw a half cup of carob chips in a food processor until it was pretty powdery…).

Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownie Batter (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free) photo

Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownie Batter (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free). At this point, I still thought it would end up being brownies.

Little did I know that not only would this recipe not make brownies, but in attempting to bake, I would also break my oven. At the start of baking, I saw this soldering-like spark on the heating element.

I thought, “Wow, that’s strange. It must be burning something off that dripped on it last night.”

In 10 minutes, when I came back, it had kept going, burning and burning through the heating element. Another foot of heating element was destroyed. The burned parts were now not working, and the working parts were having to work twice as hard to keep the oven up to temperature.

Ummmmmmmmmmm…. Well……… The muffins, or cupcakes, or brownies or whatever they are were still cooking. What’s a girl to do?

A master of improvisation, I decided to let it keep going for the first muffin tin. For the second, I turned off the “bake” function and set it to broil to heat the oven back up, and checking the temperature by flipping it back to “bake.” It worked well enough. But my oven is dead.

D E A D. Dead. I think it decided that my baking days, only just begun, are over. It wasn’t having any of that nonsense. I found the whole thing so funny that I decided to post my experience with baking, my somewhat okay recipe (truth be told, you’d be better off getting your recipe from Lauren David Style – why the heck I didn’t start with a recipe from her site will forever confound me), and my photo of my now destroyed oven heating element.

On that note, for the first time in my life, I have renter’s insurance. And as of this morning, I’m really glad I have it. For a quote, talk to my awesome agent, Tracy Lake (in a previous professional life, I worked with her). She will take great care of you. Brownie points if you tell her this story (pun intended).

My oven heating filament actually soldered itself (and lost the ability to heat the part of itself that it broke) while I was cooking. (photo)

My oven heating element actually soldered itself (and lost the ability to heat the part of itself that it broke) while I was cooking. I have a suicidal oven, but at least my house didn’t burn down. I think this is why they tell you not to leave your oven unattended.

There is only 1/3 of the heating element that isn’t ruined. Final verdict? I can’t bake. My oven said so. It committed seppuku right before my very eyes.

I Can’t Bake: Low Amine Carob Brownies? Cupcakes? Muffins?

1 2/3 C Bob’s Mills Gluten-free All-purpose flour

1/2 C unsweetened carob chips, processed till powdered in food processor

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 C sugar

1/2 C soft butter (butter substitute, in my case)

1/2 C organic unsweetened applesauce

1/2 C water

1 C unsweetened carob chips

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix first six ingredients together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together.
  • Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients.
  • Grease muffin tins.
  • Fill muffin cavities till halfway full.
Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownies, hot out of the oven (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free) photo

Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownies, hot out of the oven (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free) photo

  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until they come clean with a toothpick.
  • *Optional: Break oven.
  • *Optional: Try not to burn down the house.
  • When completely cooled, carefully remove from muffin tins using magical muffin-shaped wands (seriously, folks, how are they supposed to come out?). Or do what I do. Jam a knife in there and hope you don’t scrape off too much Teflon with the muffins / cupcakes / brownies… Or whatever they are.

Guest Blog: Low Amine, Allergen-Free Chocolate Quinoa Birthday Cake

Hello! Lauren here! I’m SO excited to be with you on Michelle’s site sharing what I know about allergen free party planning from my site Lauren David Style!! My only hope is that I’m not too over the top for you. I’m crazy about food allergies and party planning so sometimes it can be a little much.

I promise we won’t get too many, “Woo Hoo’s” in here and I won’t make you do any happy dances or drink a glass of wine like I make readers on my site do before reading posts (or whiskey because as I’ve just learned, wine is on the no-no list).

Kidding! Kidding!

I have to admit, without Michelle I would still know next to nothing about amine allergies. In the past few weeks, she’s opened my world to even more allergies that are out there and this is just another challenge that I can’t wait to face head on, with a big smile of course.

My biggest thing is that I strongly believe people with all allergies should still be able to live a normal life, complete with fun parties and get togethers, and with food that doesn’t taste like cardboard!

You see, normally I deal with the top 8 allergens – soy, dairy, gluten/wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, fish, shellfish. And I can handle those. I’m a little nervous to be unveiling my very first low amine party recipe and I really hope it doesn’t disappoint.

I think what Michelle is doing is amazing… she’s helping you, whose needs aren’t being met. And here I am writing about allergies and parties and totally missing something that is so important – you!

My take is this:  you should be able to go to a party or host a party without worrying about how you’re going to feel when you leave because you ate something you shouldn’t. Or feel left out because you’re drooling over something you can’t have.

With amine allergies I’ve noticed it shouldn’t be too hard for you to come up with great party foods since you can eat all those delicious fresh veggies and fruits.

Party goers always love veggie and fruit trays and though you may think they’re boring, it’s so easy to pull together veggies nicely on a tray with a delicious hummus or bean dip.  And people will go crazy for it!

But that’s too easy for me, of course.

I did some long thinking about the party recipe I am going to unveil in today’s post. I thought about appetizers, but everything I wanted to make seemed boring and typical. I thought about dips and punch and other party foods and the only thing I kept coming back to was birthday cake.

When I first found out I couldn’t eat gluten anymore, I thought I would never eat another tasty piece of cake again. And now that I can’t eat soy, I constantly question whether I’ll ever be able to eat chocolate again.

But, being as stubborn as I am, I knew that couldn’t fly. I’m a chocolate lover and nothing’s going to stop me from eating my chocolate cake.

So today I’m sharing with you one of my most prized and most favorite recipes ever. Tweaked a little for your enjoyment – Chocolate Quinoa Cake.

Chocolate Quinoa Birthday Cake

Chocolate Quinoa Birthday Cake

This recipe is:

Low Amine

Gluten and Wheat Free

Soy Free

Nut and Tree Nut Free

Fish and Shellfish Free

Chocolate Quinoa Cake

2/3C white/golden quinoa

1 1/3c water

1/3c rice milk

4 lg eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3/4c butter, melted

1 1/2c sugar

1c carob powder

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

  • Bring the water and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25min until quinoa is cooked.
  • In a food processor, combine milk, vanilla, and eggs. Add the cooked quinoa and butter and blend.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, carob powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the contents of the blender and whisk all of the ingredients together –  you may still be able to see little bubbles of quinoa, but this is fine.
  • Divide everything into 2 greased 9” cake pans lined with parchment and greased (note: this cake is very dense and will break apart easily so make sure you line your pans with parchment paper so the cake can easily come out of the pan when cool).
  • Cook for 40-45 min at 350F or until done in the center. Sometimes I like to turn my oven off and leave the cake in there until it cools, this will ensure the cake doesn’t settle or flatten at all when you take it out (otherwise it may dip very slightly in the middle, though it’s almost unnoticeable).

Vanilla Icing

1 1/2c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3c powdered sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tbsp rice milk

  • Cream the butter until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and rice milk and mix until combined.
  • If you would like your icing to be thinner, don’t be afraid to add more rice milk, just be sure to add a little at a time.




P.S. I want to give you a very special gift for checking out this guest post… I’ve compiled an allergen free party kit that will be useful for the next get together you want to plan.

It comes with a ton of goodies including:

  • “5 Steps to the Perfect Party” report
  • My ultimate party checklist
  • “Sneaky Places Food Allergens Hide” list
  • Complimentary invitations!

Simply enter your name and email address on my website and I’ll email you the above ASAP! Fabulous meeting you and enjoy your next party!