Chocolate cake Gluten free AND dairy free

I don’t usually bake without dairy but a good friend needed a birthday cake for a large event.  It is her birthday, and she is both gluten and dairy free.

This is a modification of a very basic chocolate cake recipe.  Any cake where you whip the butter, sugar, and eggs into a fluffy base will adapt well to gluten free ingredients.  I used coconut oil for this one.  The taste of it with the sugar and eggs was very similar to butter in the same recipe.  The consistency was the same as well.

No gluten free cake will be as light as one made with wheat cake flour.  This one has a nutty flavour and smooth consistency.

2 1/4 cups four bean flour.  mostly garbanzo, some sorghum, some corn starch, tapioca.  I would recommend this mix rather than any one flour.  They each make a different contribution.

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt.  Original recipe said 1/2 but without butter I though the extra was called for.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

4-6 oz good quality semi sweet chocolate.  I used a 70 % bar meant to be eaten rather than one made to be backed with.  I used 6 oz.  Original recipe called for 4.

1/2 cup hot water

Place water and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes on defrost or melt together in a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.

1 cup coconut based buttermilk.  I bough some plain coconut ‘yoghurt’ and thinned it with coconut milk.  1/4 c milk to 3/4 c yoghurt. Then I added some lemon juice because it was still very sweet and the point of it is the acidity.

1 teaspoon vanilla.  I never measure vanilla. I like a lot and buy it by the gallon in Mexico.

Mix vanilla in yoghurt mixture. Set aside.

1 cup coconut oil (or butter)

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

Mix coconut oil and sugar with whisk attachment on high until fluffy.  Oil must be room temp or warmer.  Even melted is better than too cold.  It will stiffen up as you mix it and the eggs can be cold when you add them.  Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition.  Scrape down the sides at least once before final mixing.

Add chocolate to egg mixture slowly and allow to mix thoroughly.  Mixer on medium.

Turn mixer down to low or stir. Add flour mixture alternately with yoghurt mixture in at least two additions of each.  So, half the yoghurt, half the flour, half yoghurt etc…

I really like silicone baking pans.  But you can also use glass or metal ones.  If they are not silicone, grease and flour the pans.  Either two 9 inch rounds or a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Bake at 350 for  45 minutes.    My cake on the top shelf was done at sooner.  The bottom shelf required another 10.  I have a quite small gas oven.  You can switch them around half way to avoid this problem.

“Grahm” Crackers

These are not entirely unlike gram crackers.  A little less delicate.  Still tasty.

2.5 cups 4 bean flour.  This batch of the mix was  mostly garbanzo.  Some corn starch, some sorghum.  Just a bean flour should work fine.

1.5 cups oat flour.  I use a certified gluten free oat meal and ran it in the food processor until it was a grainy flour.  This is to simulate the gram part.  Using a prepared oat flour would work just as well, if not better.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon cinnimon

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl place:

1 cup butter soft

3/4 cup brown sugar. Light or dark

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Mix with the paddle beater on medium high until light and fluffy. 3-5 minutes  Add flour mix and mix on low until blended.  It is more difficult to make a gf dough tough, so don’t worry too much about over mixing.

You will need a bit more flour for working the dough.  A cup or so. Oat or bean is fine.  I do not recommend using rice flour.  But mostly because I don’t like it.

Mix your dough by hand a bit and see if it comes into a ball easily. If it is too sticky, add flour 1/3 cup at a time until it forms a ball when stirred by hand.  Turn it out on a floured surface and divide into 4 equal parts.

Cut four or five pieces of parchment paper into roughly the size of your baking sheet.

On each piece roll one part of the dough into a rectangle about 9 x 6 inches and about 1/8th inch thick.  You can roll them between two pieces of paper if you want.  Flour the paper and the top of the dough to prevent sticking.  If you decide to trim them up neatly, use the scraps to make a fifth rectangle.

You can score them into cracker shapes at this point if you want.

Stack the papers with the rolled dough on a baking sheet and place in the freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.

Take out one at a time and bake at 350 for 11 minutes or until nicely browned.  Remove and let cool a minute on the sheet then transfer to a rack to cool completely.  Store in an air tight container.  All of this type of cookie will improve greatly after three days stored at room temperature.

I made these just to crumble for a pie crust.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  🙂

Variation on pound cake: Apple upsidedown pound cake

1 cup butter. soft

1 1/4 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat butter and sugar in mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.  Mix until sugar is dissolved and all is very fluffy.  Add almond extract and beat some more.  While beating mix flours.

2 1/4 cup total flour to include:

1 cup protein flour like Garbanzo/fava or Oat.  I used Oat.

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1/3  cup corn starch

1/3 cup sorghum  + 1/4 cup

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or other binder like arrowroot flour (optional)

Sift flours and salt  into a bowl.

once butter mix is very fluffy, with mixer on low, add flour mix alternately with:

1/2 cup milk or milk substitute.  I used coconut milk.  (Sour milk or buttermilk would also work and would add a richness.  If you use sour milk add:

1 teaspoon baking soda)

Prepare pan:

smear a large cake pan with a half stick of sort of soft butter. (10 x 15  approximately. If all you have is 9×13, use fewer apples to allow room for the batter)

Sprinkle that with 1/4 cup brown sugar

Cut up and peel 4-5 medium baking apples. I like braeburn but any baking apple is good. sprinkle them with

1-2 teaspoons good quality cinnamon, and

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar and toss all together.

Spread the apples in the bottom of the pan over the butter and sugar.

Spread the cake batter over the apples making sure no apples poke up through the batter.

bake at 350 for 1 hour

This could easily be made a spice cake by omitting the almond extract and adding to the flour:

2 teaspoons or more of pumpkin pie spice

or

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1-2 teaspoons cinnimon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

powdered ginger optional 1-2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon powdered turmeric will add a bright yellow colour, very little flavour and a lot of health benefits

Bake as before over apples or in a greased and flowered 9 x 13 cake pan

Neutral sweet glaze:

2 cups powdered Sugar

1/2 stick butter softened

1-3 tablespoons water or milk or substitute (I used a spicy tea but couldn’t taste it)

with a whisk, whip the butter until smooth. (This assumes you used a microwave to soften the butter)

Add powdered sugar slowly while mixing until it forms a ball around the whisk.  Add 1 scant tablespoon liquid and mix until smooth.  Slowly add more sugar until it is all incorporated, adding small amounts of liquid as needed. Sifting the sugar first will make mixing easier but is not necessary.

Spread on hot cake as soon as it is out of the oven.  Be gentle and patient.  Let the heat of the cake soften the glaze until it spreads easily.

Lemon pound cake

1 cup butter (2 sticks) soft
1 1/4 cups sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium high for several minutes.

While that is happening…

In a separate bowl place:
2 1/4 cups four bean flour (garbanzo fava, tapioca, corn starch, sorghum)
1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon xanthan gum or other thickener like arrow root flour (optional)
1 teaspoon egg replacer (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

whisk dry ingredients to blend

when egg butter mixture is light and fluffy add the flour mix alternately with

1/2 cup milk (or non dairy milk replacer)

Mix until just blended.

Grease and flour 1 9x5x3 loaf pan and one mini loaf pan

Pour batter into pans leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.  smooth the batter down as much as possible. It will retain the shape you leave it in now with some additional height.

bake both pans 40 minutes at 325

remove smaller pan and bake larger loaf 30 minutes more.

let sit a minute or two.  the cake will pull slightly from the sides allowing you to turn them out onto a wire rack or plate to cool

make a glaze with

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice or remaining juice from one lemon

bring these to a boil and spoon over hot loaves.  It should be absorbed by the loaf.  Mine ran off a lot.

Gingersnap pumpkin pie or custard

There is a recipe on the back of every can of pumpkin puree for pie.  The best one is libby’s.  If you want a good pumpkin pie (or custard) use that one.  It can’t be improved.

But that’s boring after a while.

Today I opened a can of off brand pumpkin to make a custard for a party and noticed it called for a half cup of brown sugar instead of 1 cup of white.  That got me thinking about viable variations on that theme and I came up with this.  I also have a party tomorrow and my best ginger snaps need three days to cure so I don’t have time for them.
This is a custard.  I haven’t worked out a good GF pie crust yet.  I bake it like any custard.  350 in a flan or casserole pan set in a larger pan with an inch of water in it.  This protects the delicate custard from over cooking on the outer part while the center cooks.

 

1 can pumpkin purée  (2 cups if you are making it yourself)

3 eggs

2/3 cup coconut milk or 1 can evaporated milk. I used coconut this time.

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnimon

1 rounded teaspoon ginger powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 -2 teaspoons vanilla extract

I used 1 tablespoon of sesamee oil to add some richness.  If you use evaporated cow milk this isn’t necessary.

1 teaspoon vinegar.  Every recipe for ginger cookies or bread has this. I have no idea why, but it is so consistent I included it too.

Mix it all up in a bowl with a whisk or electric mixer.  Make sure the eggs are well blended.

 

Bake at 350 for quite a while.  Place in a casserole or flan dish. Put that in a cake pan with an inch of hot water in the bottom.  Bake for 45 minutes or more.  The center should be set but not too firm.  Give the pan a little jiggle and see if there is anything that could be called a slosh.  If so, give it another 15 minutes and check again.  I strongly recommend getting a copy of The Joy Of Cooking and reading the section called “About Custard.”

 

Serve with whipped cream or cool whip.  I have to admit this isn’t the most attractive color.

Popovers

These actually are not popovers.  They have a French name I cannot find.  Popovers are a pastry made with egg and milk and flour in a thin batter.  They puff up when baked forming a hollow inside that can be filled with all sorts of yummy goodness, savory or sweet.  Éclairs are a type of popover.

This recipe involves boiling water and thus is a very different type of pastry.  But Americans are not usually familiar with the finer points of French cooking.  I am no exception.  It was my mother who told me about the French version.

Anyway, they turn out similar. I find this recipe more reliable than the regular American popover, which is very fussy about the baking pan and ingredients and will fail about 2 times out of 3.  I have only had these fail once out of dozens of attempts.  They are a favorite for weekend mornings at my house.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1/2 cup fat

1/3 cup rice flour, white or whole grain

1/3 cup starchy flour like potato starch, corn starch, sweet sorghum flour, tapioca

1/3 cup  protein flour like oat, garbanzo/fava, other bean flours, or more rice flour.  (I have made these with just oat and rice with good results)

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

 

Pre-heat oven to 450.  Really, that hot.

Put the water and fat into a pan and boil the water.  The type of fat depends a little on the eventual use for these.  If savory, rendered chicken or goose fat works well. If sweet, butter, lard(bacon grease), or shortening.  I have never used an oil and don’t recommend it.  But if you do, please let me know how they turn out.

While the water is heating, place the dry  ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix a little.

When the water is boiling and all the fat is melted, add it all at once to the flour and immediately stir until it forms a ball that comes away from the sides of the bowl. I like a wooden spoon for this step. If there isn’t enough rice flour, or of the water isn’t boiling this will never happen.  I have corrected too cool water by putting the whole mess in the microwave for a minute and stirring again.

Let the dough cool slightly before adding eggs.

Get out your electric hand mixer. I suppose it might be possible to do this by hand but I never tried.  You could use an electric stand mixer too.

Add the first egg to the hot dough and mix until you can’t see streaks of yellow yolk.  Add the next egg and repeat for each egg. It really does make a big difference to add them one at a time. I crack them into a cup and then check for shells before I put them in.

At this point your batter might be lumpy or smooth, thick or thin.  Don’t worry too much about that.  If you got the dough ball they will still rise.

Place into muffin cups.  Silicone works well, or greased metal muffin cups.  If you have a popover pan give that a try.  They do stick to metal a lot so I like silicone, either in the form of individual ‘papers’ that go in a regular pan or a whole silicone pan. A silicone pan is floppy and has to sit on a cookie tray.  Fill the cups about half full, maybe 2/3.  This is way less picky than in regular popovers.
Makes about 12 – 14.

Place into hot oven. make sure they have enough room.  You don’t want your pan to block circulation in there.

Cook for 20 minutes at 450 then turn it down to 350 and cook for another 20 minutes.  You don’t have to peak after the first 20 to make sure they popped, but I always do.

When they are done take them out of the oven.  What happens next depends a bit on your pan.  If silicone, turn out immediately. Just flip it over and they will all fall out.

If a metal pan, wait about 1 minute, then try to turn them out.  They might just fall, but you might have to work at it a bit.  Run a butter knife around the edges of stubborn ones.  If they cool too long they will stick like cement. It helps to grease the top of the pan as well as the insides of the cups.

As with most gluten free things, these are best when very fresh, but my son likes them even after 12 hours.

I usually serve them with butter and honey or jam for breakfast.  Or honey butter.  They would be good filled with whipped cream, or chicken, egg or salmon salad.  Or custard.  You could serve them as a dinner roll, or along side a stew.  You could make tiny ones and stuff them for appetizers. (adjust cooking times)

 

 

 

Rhubarb Crisp

Adapted from The Gluten Free Gourmet, revised.

When I have a failure of a crisp it is always that the proportion of fat to flour was off.  This one is no exception.  Best to follow a recipe all the time in my experience.  Though, my mother can do it by feel and guesswork.

The next time I make this I plan to substitute some part of the flour for GF oatmeal.  I like an oatmealy crisp.  The original recipe, which I followed faithfully the first time through, called for a GF cereal.  I didn’t like that texture at all.  The cereal got very tough from getting moistened then baked dry again.

Pre-heat oven to 350

Filling

1/4 Butter (for the pan later)

1.5 cups sugar

1-2 tbsp tapioca flour

4 cups fresh rhubarb or 1 16 oz package frozen

(I have to confess I didn’t measure my rhubarb. I used a 9x 13 inch pan and cut up enough for a medium sized bowl.)

Chop the rhubarb to your preference. I like it fairly finely chopped so the sugar is distributed evenly.  Add the sugar and flour and let sit while you make the topping.  The rhubarb will give a lot of liquid that dissolves the sugar. Butter comes later.

Topping:

3.5 cups GF mix (garbanzo/fava +tapioca, a protein and a starch)

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

Spice it up. I added a dash of five spice powder this time. I have also used cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, alone or together.  You might also like cardamom. Spice can go in the topping, or the filling, or both.

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add the butter, cold.  I found if I chop the butter the next step is easier.

Using a pastry cutter, two table knives or your hands, cut the butter and flour mix together until the lumps are the size of small peas.  This is never a uniform process.  GF flours are more forgiving of over mixing than wheat flour is.

Spread a generous layer of butter over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.  I used about 1/4  cup.

Pour the rhubarb mixture in the pan. It should be quite soupy now.  Shake the pan a little to get the actual rhubarb distributed evenly, or use the back of a spoon.

Use both hands to sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Like this:  Scoop up topping so both hands are full, cupped together.  Place your hands over the middle of the pan and pull them apart to the ends of the pan while wiggling your fingers.  Repeat until the topping is all in the pan and distributed as evenly as you can.  There should be no fruit showing through the topping. But it’s not the end of the world if it is.

Bake 1 hr at 350.

Like all crispy GF things the topping improves with time, reaching its peak at three days.  Unfortunately the fruit does not act the same way.  I mean to try freezing this recipe, baked, to see if I can overcome this problem.  I fear refrigeration would allow moisture into the topping, but I haven’t tried that either.

———————————

Followup

That went poorly.   The crisp collapsed and was gummy.  I have a few ideas about the cause.

Previously I have made this with apples.  Rhubarb is much wetter.

Previously, my GF mix included corn starch as well as tapioca and garbanzo/fava flour.  This time I was out of corn starch and used the tapioca as though it were just a starch.  It is in fact much glue-ier than corn starch.  Add that to the tapioca in the filling and what I got is a lot like chewing gum.

This is adapted from a recipe half the size.  The original called for a 9 x 9 inch pan.  I doubled the ingredients but I may have mis read or missed one altogether.

Rhubarb season is all but over but I hope I get another shot at this while it is fresh in my mind.  Meanwhile, feel free to try this, as written with apples or another fruit drier than rhubarb.  Maybe you should use cornstarch too.

It does have good flavor, so I will be eating it.  I won’t be bringing it to parties. 🙂