Best Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever


The secret to the Best Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever is the coffee and chocolate combo that adds a delicious depth of flavor. Mama's High Strung

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t eat coffee cake because I thought it was made from coffee… (what kid likes coffee?)

Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?The secret to the Best Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever is the coffee and chocolate combo that adds a delicious depth of flavor. Mama's High Strung

Well, after 17 years as a journalist, five kids and too many late nights, you’ve got to believe I love coffee. And to drive home the point, here’s a recipe for coffee cake actually MADE with coffee.

And it is amazing.

The coffee and chocolate combo offers a delicious depth of flavor. I also used sour cream in this recipe, which makes for a rich, dense cake, perfect for holding the pecan and brown sugar swirl in the middle.

Even better… this is a totally gluten free recipe, made with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour. I also tested it using All-Purpose flour, so you’ll get the same perfect results with either type of flour.

Hamilton Beach® FlexBrew® 2-Way CoffemakerOne other thing… this recipe calls for a ½ cup of brewed coffee, so I used the Single-Serve side of my Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew® Coffeemaker. When I was ready to serve the cake, I brewed a large pot of coffee on the Carafe Side. My pals at Hamilton Beach sent me the FlexBrew® Coffeemaker to try out… it’s great being able to make a big old pot of coffee OR a just a cup!

So here’s my recipe for the Best Gluten Free Coffee Cake Ever… made with coffee. Funny how things sometimes come full circle.


Simple Irish Soda Bread


Simple Irish Soda Bread

Recipes for real honest-to-goodness Irish Soda Bread (like those you’d find in an Irish cookbook) have only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.

Irish Soda Bread in this country tends to have all kinds of fancy stuff thrown in, like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and even chocolate chips (I’m not kidding). I’m not judging, but that’s a quick bread, not Irish Soda Bread.

This Irish Soda Bread leans more toward the classic recipe, but with a little brown sugar thrown in. Buying the right flour helps, too, which keeps the bread tender inside the very crunchy crust.

If you leave out the add-ins, this makes a terrific all-purpose bread. Smear it with jam and butter or use it to make deliciously hearty sandwiches.

As in life, keeping it simple and honest is the best recipe.

Kitchen Think: Don’t Believe It’s “The Real Thing”


One thing you can say about the folks at Coca-Cola—they’ve always been brilliant at marketing.

The second thing you can now say—I hope no one believes they’re really offering “solutions” to the obesity epidemic.

In case you missed it, here’s one of the ads that Coke is running to distance themselves from criticism that their sugary drinks are closely related to the national epidemic of child and adult obesity.


Coca Cola wants us to believe that they are really, really trying to help our national health crisis by:

  1. Offering zero-calorie and low-calorie soda.
  2. Replacing normal sodas in school with less caloric options.
  3. Donating millions of dollars to charitable fitness programs.
  4. Discovering Truvia, an alternative sugar.
  5. Oh, and uh, by marketing their products a little differently.

The sad part is that the health advocates who have been pushing for an act of contrition from the big soda companies, just don’t have the money to launch a major and truly effective anti-obesity, anti-junk food campaign (despite making significant progress like pushing New York City to enact a 16 oz. soda ban).

Coca Cola says obesity is an issue that “concerns all of us,” and if we all just “come together,” we can make a difference.

Our country is facing its biggest health crisis EVER because of companies like Coca Cola and other junk-food vendors. For years we’ve been inundated with all kinds of propaganda telling us that we will be happier! and have a better life! with a frosty bottle of sugar in our hand!

But the reality is that until we (and the Obama administration) put real money and action behind the anti-obesity, anti-junk food advocates, we’re going to be stuck with disingenuous commercials… even as more of us die with that frosty bottle of sugar in our hand.



Kitchen Think: This Week’s Food News You Need To Know


Time for a round up of the food headlines of the week… the really important ones, like the eating habits of movie stars and gadgets that will keep your coffee hot.

(Mama likes taking the low road every now and then—it’s waaayy more fun, and a lot dang easier to write!)

This was a short week, what with the holiday and all. Here’s a quick quiz: What’s the Fourth of July really about? Freedom, course. Which means Americans are free to gorge themselves in ridiculous food eating contests. God Bless the U.S. of A.



You know how much Mama loves gadgets. Well here’s a great one to keep your java hot: a cup that reheats without electricity.

Good News for Sharks everywhere (no, I’m not talking about lawyers). China has banned the tasty soup at official receptions!

Love Taco Bell’s “Breakfast Cocktail?” (For the uninitiated that’s Moutain Dew and OJ.) Well, looks like other fast food joints are going to be pushing soda in the morning, too.

I hate when I read things like this: Movie star Blake Lively eats tons of cupcakes and doesn’t work out. It. Just. Isn’t. Fair.

Have a great weekend… and have no fear, next week, it’s back on the high road! Maybe.


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: