Gluten-Free Deluxe Chocolate Cake

One of my friends has recently been diagnosed as gluten intolerant which gave me the idea to try some gluten free baking as a bit of a challenge. The major baking ingredient which contains gluten is flour which alongside butter, sugar and eggs is the most common ingredient in baking; baking without it is therefore a little tricky. However, I’ve already baked without butter on a number of occasions and found the results to actually be better than with butter (see Sweet Potato Cake, Simple Petits Fours, Chocolate Orange Torte, Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake and Orange and Lemon Cupcakes).

The biggest problem with no gluten baking is getting the texture right as cakes can be dry and crumbly without gluten holding everything together. The key is to add extra liquids and moist ingredients such as fruits to develop the correct texture. Baking gluten free requires a bit more thought than normal baking but being gluten intolerant shouldn’t prevent you from getting fat, as this recipe proves…
This recipe serves 10 people.

Ingredients: (Ounce to Gram Conversion Chart)

9oz Dark Chocolate (break into small pieces)
3 ½ oz Butter (cut into small cubes)
4 Eggs
6oz Caster Sugar
3tsps Ground Ginger
3oz Ground Almonds
3oz Pecans (chop into rough pieces)
5oz Dried Cranberries
Milk
150ml Double Cream
1 Orange (just the zest needed)

Recipe:

Line two round cake tins (see Mama Molloy’s – The home of home-baking) which are preferably the same size.

One of the prepared cake tins

One of the prepared cake tins

Pre-heat the oven to 160oC (325oF, Gas Mark 3).

In a small glass bowl set over a small pan of water on a low heat, melt 7oz of the chocolate with the butter.

Improvised double-boiler for melting chocolate

Improvised double-boiler for melting chocolate

Once all of the chocolate and butter has melted, take off the heat and allow to cool and thicken.

The melted chocolate and butter mixture

The melted chocolate and butter mixture

Take each egg, crack on a flat surface and pour the contents into your hand, allowing the white to run through your fingers into a small glass bowl. Place the yolk in a large mixing bowl. Add 4oz of the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk with an electric whisk until pale, thick and double in volume.

The whisked egg yolks

The whisked egg yolks

Clean the whisk and then whisk the egg whites until thick and soft; drawing the whisk out should leave peaks in the whites that hold their shape. Add 2oz of sugar and whisk until fully incorporated – the meringue should be shiny and hold its shape.

Meringue

Meringue

Whisk the ginger into the egg yolk mixture and then fold in the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Sieve in the ground almonds and then add the cranberries and pecans; fold everything into the mixture. Add a dash of milk to loosen the mixture slightly.

The cake mixture before the egg whites are added

The cake mixture before the egg whites are added

Gently fold the meringue into the cake mixture until fully incorporated. Do not over mix as you’ll lose all of the air from the meringue and therefore the cake.

The cake mixture

The cake mixture

Split the mixture between the two cake tins. Spread the mixture evenly and then bake for 20 minutes. Take the cakes out and allow to fully cool.

One of the baked cakes

One of the baked cakes

Melt 2oz of chocolate in a small glass bowl set over a small pan of water on a low heat. Once melted, take the chocolate off the heat and allow to cool a little. Collect a muffin tray and cut out five or six rectangles of baking paper that are about as wide as the holes in the tray and a bit longer (see photograph below). Transfer the chocolate to a piping bag fit with a narrow nozzle and pipe out butterflies on the baking paper in any design that you want. Carefully place the butterflies across the holes in the baking tray as shown below and allow to set (the paper needs to bend to make the butterflies 3D rather than flat shapes).

Chocolate decorations - butterflies are in the tray and flowers are on the sheet of paper; the flowers broke when I took them off the paper so were not used in the end

Chocolate decorations – butterflies are in the tray and flowers are on the sheet of paper; the flowers broke when I took them off the paper so were not used in the end

In a glass bowl, whisk the double cream and orange zest into whipped cream.

Assemble the cake by placing one of the cakes on a flat surface. Spread most of the cream across the surface and then place the second cake on top. Place small blobs of cream on the top of the cream where the butterflies will be. Very carefully peel the paper off of the butterflies and gently press them onto the blobs of cream. Store in the fridge and enjoy.

A chocolate butterfly

A chocolate butterfly

Gluten-Free Deluxe Chocolate Cake

The cake is a little bit crumbly as expected but the texture is fine when you eat it, as I advise you to do…
The ginger clashes with the orange a little bit so you can leave the ginger out if you prefer but there is still plenty of flavour and texture from the fruit and nuts. You can’t taste the ground almonds (as intended) but they really help the texture of the cake.

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