Hmm….you may be wondering what the title three have in common, and for that you have to take a step inside my carnival of a brain!
A few weeks ago I was watching an episode of the Gilmore Girls (which is one of my fave shows, ever…I will try not to gush too much about it here!) and they were eating and discussing Mallomars. For some reason, my brain went “Mallomars….mallowmars….yum….ohhh marshmallow, marshmallow cake, marshmallow pie, marshmallow whoopie pie! Wait, how to make marshmallow….hmm gluten free marshmallow fluff….” and you get the picture. So marshmallow became my obsession and I quickly set about trying to find a recipe to make it from scratch. After some searching I found a recipe on Cooking Channel.com from Chuck Hughes. Then I quickly pondered if I could substitute coconut sugar for white sugar. And then I decided pondering was useless and I should just get my bake on.
While I was whipping up some marshmallow on the stove, I realized I had not stopped to think what the rest of the whoopie pie was going to consist of. Since it is summer, my brain was of course swirling with the idea of something light and fruity…OH ORANGES!!!
Now I am not a huge fan of oranges. Not that I don’t like them, I just get pretty particular about their flavor. They must be sweet and crisp, anything else is dead to me. Plus I always feel that orange sweets are too artificial in flavor, and I wanted these to really pop with that citrusy sweet goodness. Enter the mandarin orange! A childhood fave from way back, I decided to incorporate them with navel orange juice and zest.
So with that all figured out, I was pretty ready to dive in and bake. Did I have a recipe? No. Was I worried? No. I was pretty confident that I could figure this all out as I went along. Taking note from a gluten free orange cake I had seen years ago online, I set to work with buttermilk, egg whites, and a mix of all purpose gf flour and sweet white rice flour. The result? Less than stellar….in fact the most epic fail I have had in the kitchen yet. The cakes were sticky and wouldn’t seem to set up, then had to be scraped from the whoopie pan and I was consistently left with a crumbled glob of undercooked cake for about three hours. Coming to the conclusion that it was not the cooking time or temperature, but the ingredients themselves, I called it a day.
That night, I awoke from some dream (which I have no recollection of!), woke up my peacefully sleeping boyfriend and informed him I had figured out what was wrong with the cakes! He kindly told me to write it down before going back to sleep, which is pretty nice for someone I had woken up in the middle of the night!
Now I am not a scientist and I am not a classically trained baker, but I am pretty sure that the issue lay in sweet white rice being a stickier flour, too much acid from both buttermilk and orange juice and egg whites being incorrect. At least that is what I garnered from my dream.
So utilizing a new mixture the cakes came out beautifully, with a delightfully sweet yet not cloying flavor. And the marshmallow buttercream frosting? Come on, when you start with something conceived during an episode of the Gilmore Girls, you know it is gonna be amazing!
ORANGE WHOOPIE PIES WITH MARSHMALLOW FROSTING
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (see earlier post)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
3/4 cup Earth Balance
1 1/2 cups Coconut Sugar
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 8oz. cans of Mandarin Oranges (drained and pulsed in blender to liquid)
2 large Navel Oranges (juice and zest of each)
Whisk together the first four ingredients and set aside.
Cream the Earth Balance, sugar and vanilla until slightly fluffy.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time. Combine after each addition.
Add the mandarin orange juice, navel orange juice, and zest.
Mix on low just to combine.
Add the dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Mix on low until just combined after each addition.
Scoop into whoopie pie pan.
Bake on 350 degrees for 6-9mins.
Let cool for 2-3 mins in the pans before trying to remove.
Cool cakes on wire racks.
For the Marshmallow:
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tblsp. water
1/2 cup coconut sugar
Mix all ingredients together
Place a double boiler on the stove (or a small saucepan filled with a little water and a bowl on top that fits in slightly!)
Over simmering water, use a hand mixer and beat the mixture until soft peaks appear (5-7mins, maybe more!)
Remove from heat and whip for 2 minutes more. Place in refrigerator to cool slightly.
For the Frosting:
1/4 cup shortening
1/8 cup Earth Balance
1/8 cup powdered sugar (I have yet to figure out a better sugar replacement in frosting)
Combine all ingredients for 30 seconds in stand mixer.
Add the marshmallow “fluff”.
Mix until combined and creamy.
Scoop frosting in between two cakes, and enjoy!