Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Accidentally gluten free: a-little-goes-a-long-way chocolate cake

I should probably begin by saying that this is an amazing cake recipe which just happens to be gluten free. It isn't, as the post title may imply, something that was actually a mistake. From a bunch of my recipe/food trivia reading, I know that a whole host of the things we take for granted now as dishes come from an accident of the dropping/spilling/leaving out too long/omitting an ingredient/having to concoct something at the last minute from the cupboard.....

The only time I've ever actually seen an "accidentally gluten free" creation, it was pretty funny but not so tasty in the end.
During my stint teaching English at three different public schools in a small Japanese town, I got involved in the significantly active and even more significantly alcohol-enjoying PTA attached to my junior high school and had a goodly number of extra-curricular adventures with my students’ mothers as a result. In my second year in the job, I hosted my own PTA event night – teaching 50 something parents how to make and then compile the various different parts of a traditional English fruit trifle. 

Our only problem was how to make the cake part of the trifle without ovens (something not used as widely in Japanese cooking as in British, and very much not in evidence at my junior high school). With the help of the school’s home economics teacher, we settled on a very simple “steamed” cake recipe: mixture of flour, eggs and sugar with very little fat added, which was then cooked as a large, cakey pancake in a covered frying pan.

Problem solved….until one group got pretty distracted mid-cook and forgot to add the flour. The result? A rather sickly, pretty unpleasant-looking, sweet omelette. A genuine gluten-free accident. Luckily there was time to re-make and recover, and everyone's finished results looked a lot like this, in miniature form:

But I digress.

The following recipe is GOOD TIMES, whether you are gluten-free, wheat-free or a voracious eater of anything and everything normally. It is originally a Jennifer Patterson (of “Two fat ladies” fame) recipe which, for me, is a recommendation in itself.

The only things to pay real attention to in this recipe are:

Whisking the eggs to get enough air into them to give some volume without flour + rising agent.

You MUST wait until the chocolate/sugar mixture is cool before folding in the eggs or…yep, you guessed it….they will start to scramble in your cake mix.

The bain marie (wee water bath for you cake tin) is also to stop the mixture separating or streaks of egg cooking faster in the middle of the mixture because of the lack of flour. It is essential but even with it, you may find that the bottom of the cooked cake feels denser/wetter than they top – but usually in a good way.

So, without further ado –

8oz/225g good plain, dark, or semisweet chocolate
1 cup/2 sticks/225g butter
280g/1 and a half cups caster sugar
5 eggs

That's all folks.
1. Grease a 22cm cake pan and preheat the oven to 180c or 355f
2.. Melt the chocolate carefully, remove from the heat and stir in the butter until they are melted together.
3. Beat in all the sugar, making sure you blend it well.
4. Beat the eggs until they are good and frothy and then, when the choc/butter/sugar mixture is cool, add them in.
5. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and then put the cake pan in any kind of larger tray or roasting dish, filled with enough water to come 1-2 inches high up the side of the cake pan.
6. Cook for one hour at 180c or 355f. When done, let it cool in the pan and stick it in the fridge (overnight if possible) before serving.

This recipe can serve a good number of people as it's very rich and at a dinner party or a pot luck, it can probably easily be split 16 ways.

This cake does puff up and the top usually cracks, too, as you can see. Although it may end up looking a little unconventional as a result, it does give a nice harder texture right on top of a gooey, almost truffley softer one underneath.

It tastes pretty good, and it looks something like this:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, looks amazing and is gluten free :) will have to give that one a go! x*x