Friday, December 31, 2010

GF Makeover: Nigella's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

It wasn't all that long ago that I fell in love with the perfect chocolate cake which I made more times than I can count last summer. It goes with ice cream and whipped cream and fresh berries and makes a delightful bit of breakfast if the truth be told. This was one I was really sad to think of going without once I got my gf sentence. I know there are all kind of flourless death-by-chocolate cakes but those tend to be way too intense for me. I loved this cake for being simultaneously light and dense and for its slightly chewy texture.

This is the first time I've been really happy with a gf makeover of an "old" recipe. Sometimes the recipes written specifically to be gf have been fine but I wanted to take something I loved before and see how it would fare without gluten and it turns out this was a great test subject.

I've already learned that to replicate the qualities of gluten you need to blend grain flours and starches or baked goods will be heavy, dense, and weird. GF baking books are full of complicated formulas and recipes for various flour blends and right now I am trying out as many possibilities as I can. I have already decided that even thought we love, love, love Bob's Red Mill, their all purpose gf flour is too beany and leaves a weird taste in almost everything. I have heard good things about Pamela's baking flours but they are really spendy. My friend Anhata made me some delicious holiday cookies using the all purpose flour mix from Gluten Free Cooking School and I loved the whisper of corn from the masa harina in the blend. But it wasn't what I wanted in a chocolate cake so I reached for the flour blend than is increasingly becoming my favorite: Gluten Free Mama's Almond Flour Blend. This stuff looks and feels like "real" flour and has no weird aroma or aftertaste. I have had good luck using it in muffins and quick breads and we were able to switch it out 1:1 in my son's chocolate chip cookie recipe (along with 1/2 t xanthan gum) and there was much rejoicing in our home. Just make sure to whisk all your dry ingredients together really well before adding to the wet as it does tend to get a little lumpy.

For this cake, I used the same amount of gf flour as regular flour in the original recipe plus 1 t xanthan gum which helps hold it all together. The only noticeable difference was the gf version took longer to cook (maybe 10 minutes past the original recipe) but has that same rich chocolate flavor and slightly chewy texture.
Definitely a gluten-free success! I've rewritten the recipe and I hope you'll give it a try. If you use a different flour blend, let me know what worked for you.

I've been buying my Gluten Free Mama's Almond Flour Blend through Azure Standard but they have it at as well.

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