A Glorious Gluten Free Easter

By Leanne Overlander | Recipes

Apr 01

Lemon poppyseed cakeIt is that time of year, Easter.  Many are celebrating this holiday in various ways, Easter egg hunts, parties, or dinners.  All of these are social gatherings of friends and family.  Great times and at the same time scary times for those who have food allergies.  You may be thinking in the back of your mind, “Will I accidentally eat something that will make me feel sick and lessen the enjoyment  of the day?”

Eating gluten free has its challenges and social gatherings can be one of them.  It is my goal to help others avoid these challenges and hopefully make them even more enjoyable.  Today I am going to provide some gluten fee ideas for an Easter dinner and provide the recipe for one of my families favorite desserts.

First of all the colored Easter Egg.  Thankfully, eggs are naturally gluten free.  I am a very big supporter of pastured and organic eggs and would recommend using these over eggs from commercial farms. However, some would disagree and that is OK.  If you have a farmers market which sells eggs, that is perfect.  Help support local farmers.  Now about the food dye.  There is a lot of research about how food dyes are contributing to behavior problems and perhaps linked to increase in food allergies.  So for those colored eggs, I personally would use nature food dyes. colored eggsYou can use ordinary food items such as purple cabbage,red and yellow onion skins, turmeric, beets, and red zinger tea. You can find out how to use these to create the beautiful eggs pictured to the right, here

Another traditional Easter food is hot crossed buns.  These are a spiced sweet yeast bun with raisinhot cross bunss or currents and a cross made with icing across the top.  Originally they were reserved for Good Friday only.  The true origin of this tradition is not known, but if you want to know some of the theories you can find them here.  These can easily be made gluten free by replacing the flour with gluten free all purpose flours.  You can find gluten free hot cross bun recipes here.

The main dish served is either ham or  roast lamb.  These should both be naturally gluten free, but as always, check the packaging for ingredients which may have been added to the meat that may not be gluten free.  Many of the hams I have found in grocery stores have been labeled gluten free.  The lambs tradition is based on the Passover meals of the Old Testament. The lamb was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs hamin hopes of the Angel of Death passing over their home.  Ham became a tradition in the early years of the United states when refrigeration was not available yet and meats were salted and cured to preserve them through the winter months. The curing process took a long time and the first hams were ready to eat around Easter.

The most popular Easter treats are of the chocolates and candies that fill the Easter baskets.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, this is not always cut and dry.  there are many candies that seem like they would be gluten free which in fact are not.  Don't worry though, there are still plenty of options available as the awareness of gluten increases. Check out the safe candy list here.chocolate bunnies

If you are not one who like candy but would like to have something sweet for Easter, this lovely Lemon Poppy Seed cake fits the bill.  The citrus of the lemons reminds me of summer and it has a light and refreshing aroma that brings energy to the room.  This combined with the creaminess of the cream cheese and the crunch of the poppy seeds gives your mouth a variety of textures to experience.  The cake itself is not overly sweet, put it is topped off with a lemony glaze which complements the cake and makes the experience complete.  I have been told our gluten free version is better than its gluten counterpart.  It has even been compared to those served in coffee shops, like Caribou, and found to be more delicate in texture, without being dry, more flavorful, and more satisfying.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
Serves 16
A citrus blend of lemons and poppy seed that makes your mouth feel alive and satisfies the senses.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 C butter, room temperature
  2. 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 6 eggs, room temperature
  4. 3 C gluten free all purpose flour
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 2 1/4 C sugar
  8. 1/4 C poppy seeds
  9. 2 tsp vanilla
Lemon Glaze
  1. 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  2. 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  3. 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Prepare either a bread pan or a tube pan by greasing and flouring.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and cream cheese on high for about 30 seconds or until softened.
  4. Gradually add sugar 2 Tbsp at a time, beating on medium about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.(It is important the sugar is fully incorporated or you will get crunchy areas in your cake)
  5. Add poppy seeds and vanilla.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium for 1 minute after each addition.Scrape down the side of the bowl often.
  7. Gradually add in flour, baking powder, and salt; beating on low until just combined.
  8. Pour batter into pan.
  9. Bake for 1 1/4 hours if using tube pan, and about 1 hour if using a bread pan. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean when it is done.
  10. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Drizzle with lemon glaze.
Lemon Glaze
  1. in a small bowl combine together powdered sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice. it should be drizzling consistency, keep adding lemon juice 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches this.
BE Gluten Free http://be-gluten-free.com/

About the Author

Classically trained in Biology and Genetics at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Biological Sciences campus. Gluten free for more than 5 years.