Homage to Donna Washburn and Heather Butt

Recently I purged my cookbooks. I find I have to do this every few years or they just get out of control. I toss the things I just don’t use, thus making room for new cookbooks, of course.

So, there I was, trading my old cookbooks at Powell’s. I was all set to march to the cookbook section to pick up Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert, which I think is fantastic (I rented it from the library before committing to buying it). But a funny thing happened on the way to Alice. I stopped, just to look, of course, in the gluten-free section. To my surprise and delight, I found Donna Washburn and Heather Butt’s latest cookbook, Complete Gluten-free Cookbook. Even better, many recipes feature dairy and egg-free versions. Wow! As I stood thumbing through it, I knew it had to come home with me. I have Washburn & Butt’s two other books and they are among my favorite GF cookbooks. These gals know their breads, for one thing, and just about everything else I’ve made from their books has been pretty good. So for them to create dairy- and egg-free recipes is a real gift, particularly bread recipes for a bread machine.

And you know, some days I don’t want to root around in cookbooks and blogs to then go off and experiment with substitutions. That’s fun for me, but sometimes I just want a darn recipe I know is going to work. So this cookbook came at a great time. And I’m sure the guys I work with will be happy tomorrow because I’ll be bringing in this little gem (so that I don’t eat it all myself):

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Cake in a pan


So, having gushed about this cookbook, I do have to say that I couldn’t help but modify the very first recipe I tried from it! I’m still me, after all. And I like to experiment. This started out as Washburn & Butt’s Chocolate Banana Snacking Cake, but morphed into my Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Cake.

(Vegan) Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Cake


2/3 c sorghum flour

1/4 c quinoa flour

2 tbs tapioca starch

1.5 tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp egg replacer

3/4 c chopped walnuts

3/4 c chocolate chips


2 overripe mashed bananas

3/4 c sugar

1/3 c vegetable oil

1/3 c water

1 tsp vanilla

Mix drys. Mix wets with a boat motor (hand mixer). Mix both together by hand. Spread into an 8×8″ square pan greased and lined with parchment. Bake at 350F for 30 mins. Toothpick check. If you’re using a convection oven, timing may get tricky. Towards the end I had to tent with foil to keep the top from browning too much. In my convection oven, this cake took about 30-35 mins.

This was a teaser. Now go buy the cookbook!

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Cake slice on a plate


Filed under Cooking, food, Food allergies, Glorious Food, Gluten-free vegan, Recipes

14 responses to “Homage to Donna Washburn and Heather Butt

  1. Oh my gosh, Emily is going to flip over this! I don’t have any quinoa flour, do you think I could sub amaranth flour?
    Oh, I have to tell you too, I told my mom about your problem with sulfites and she said ” I don’t have SEVERE reactions to sulfites…it’s sulpher”. Who knew?! So anyway, I looked it up and sulfites do have sulpher in them…blah, blah, blah…it comes down to this, just pay attention to how you feel when you eat it. My mother also said, though, that if it contained sulfites it would have to be listed.

  2. mjennings26

    Yes, I think you could substitute the flour. Let me know how it goes! I just had one for breakfast.

    Thanks for the new sulfur/sulfites info. If anyone else is following this, I think this guy’s site about sulfites is excellent: http://members.aol.com/nosulfites/naming.htm I believe you only have to label for sulfites when the amount reaches a certain level of parts per million. Otherwise, you can add sulfites up to that level and not label. Kind of a bummer.

    The good news is that I have lived through eating the egg replacer, so it’s ALL GOOD!

  3. I am embarrassed that we have been having this ongoing conversation and I JUST NOW noticed this…
    On the side of the EnerG egg replacer box, on the very very bottom under all the nutritional info it says “Does not contain sulfites”. So, there ya go. I’m going to make this cake tomorrow, yummy, I’m excited 🙂

  4. mjennings26

    Well, jeesh! Who knew?!

  5. mjennings26

    Allergy Mom,
    I think I somehow deleted your comment. The answer to your question is that yes, just use regular old egg replacer, dry, out of the box in this recipe.

    Let me know how it goes!

  6. I’m back. It’s in the oven…again. I started at 30 min. and now I’m up to 60 min and it’s still raw in the middle. On the upside, raw or not I couldn’t stand the waiting anymore (it smells sooo good!) so I took a nibble off the corner and it is delicious!!!

  7. OK, final result, it’s “done” but it’s still doughy in the middle. I may have used a smidge too much oil or it could just be that when measuring bananas by number instead of cups results can vary. I think too much oil or too much banana can both cause gooeyness. Anyway, it is perfectly edible and absolutely yummy! Thank you again for this recipe and for the book suggestion. I’m always looking for good cookbooks.

  8. mjennings26

    I’m so glad you liked them!

    You are right. The original recipe called for 1 cup of mashed banana; of course, I ignored that and just used two small mashed bananas. Also, I like a bit of gooey. But clearly results can vary since it took your batch an hour and you still have goo in the middle. Curious, how would you do it next time to correct this?

  9. This cake keeps well too, thank goodness! Emily came home from school today and asked for a sunbutter and jelly sandwich and I realized I had forgotten to make her bread which we are all out of. I took out the last square of this cake (which I made over a week ago), sliced it down the middle, and made her sandwich out of it. I get such a kick out of improvising! 🙂
    Thanks again for the recipe…you saved me.

  10. mjennings26

    Nice! What a great story.

  11. I was just at the Canadian Celiac Conference and both Washburn and Butt were there selling their books as well as giving bread and baking tips. They were wonderful.

    The book you’re talking about is one of my favourites! I just bought their first 2 books this weekend and can’t wait to start cooking/baking. In their most recent one, I love the sunflower flax bread recipe.


  12. mjennings26

    Hi M-Elle,
    Thanks so much for the comment and reading this blog! It’s always great to hear from readers.

    Wow! I’m so glad to hear that my GF heroines are out there hustling their books and making their marks on the GF world! They are awesome! I hope they sell tons and spread their gospel in the process.

    I will have to try that sunflower flax bread recipe!

    Take care!

  13. wanda

    love the bread cookbook but wondering what is the differience between the american verision and the canadian one?????????

  14. mjennings26

    Hmmmmmm. That is a great question. I don’t have the answer. Anyone? Anyone?

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