Ok, wheat’s not bad, it’s an amazing grain for sure, but lately, has not been agreeing with me. After being pretty sick in May, I stopped eating wheat gluten. I stopped for a few days, then had a slice of pizza and was sick for days. That’s it. Truth be told, I feel so much better. My allergies are 100 times better, I’m not bloated and my blood sugar isn’t dropping out the bottom. Crazy right? Maybe not.
So, my dear, sweet family has been eating less wheat too. They are awesome. We’ve found some excellent rice noodles, and they still taste great with pesto and spaghetti sauce. I’ve got a small stash of flours for baking and I’ve been experimenting (insert mad scientist laugh here) on friends and family. So far so good, ok well there was that one pie crust that was DISGUSTING, and I made brownies from the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix (I thought they were horrible, but I know a few who have tried and LOVE them), but some things have really turned out well.
Then, the big challenge. Rob’s birthday. And Rob feeling a little put out by the no-wheat food in the house. You know, it’s just not the same (that’s right honey, it’s BETTER!). So I researched for a while, I read a LOT of recipes. Rob wanted something with chocolate and coconut.
What started out as this:
Ended with this:
Rob had asked me, “Is it?” again, “Is it?”. He saw me eating it and I smiled. “It is.”
1/2 cup millet flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
5 tsp brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature *separated see my note
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup very warm water
*About 30 minutes before you start, get the eggs out of the fridge and separate them. Cover them either with a lid or clear plastic wrap so they don’t get filmy. They are easier to separate when they are cold.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 the sides of each pan. Put a parchment circle in the bottom, grease the parchment. (This is worth the time for success. The parchment ensures no cake will be left behind, ugh hate that, and greasing up only 1/2 the pan, let’s the cake rise to it’s fullest. Some will suggest only greasing the bottom, but I’ve had success with greasing 1/2 way.)
Combine all flours, xantham gum, cocoa, baking soda, baking power, salt and sugar. Sift together in a large bowl. (I did it 2x, sifting adds air to the mix, helping to keep the cake light and helps in preventing the dreaded cake falling in the middle.)
Combine egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and very warm water in another bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, mix into the dry mix bowl, until combined, do not over mix, you want to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. (also helps to keep cake light and airy and prevent the dreaded fall) Gently fold these into the mixture. Again, don’t over mix, the air in the mix is crucial, and over mixing eliminates the air in the mix.
Pour 1/2 the batter in each pan, bake for 30-35 minutes (mine was done at 30,), until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let the cake cool completely on a rack (if you have one). While cooling you can prepare the frosting.
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (for sprinkling on the cake)
Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom to make sure it is mixed thoroughly. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream. Continue scraping the bowl to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add additional confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin. Stir in the coconut. Sprinkle coconut over the cake.
Assembling the Cake
After your cake is completely, totally and wholly cool you may remove it from the pan. Run a knife along the edge, remove cake from pan and place on cake plate. Spread the frosting over the first layer, sprinkle a bit of coconut on top. Place second layer on top of first layer. Spread frosting over top and sides. Sprinkle with coconut. Put in fridge to set if you have time, don’t leave out in the heat, butter and cream cheese will run if too warm.
Enjoy. This has to be one of the best cakes I’ve made so far. And the best part, it doesn’t taste like one of those gluten-free bricks.