This is our second gluten free cake in a row, intended for those observing Passover, but delicious any time of the year.
Last week, we got around using gluten by using meringue disks as the layers. This time, we used ground nuts for a flour-like substitute but counted on very well beaten eggs for volume and stability. This resulted in a cake that was at once light like an angel food but satisfying like a butter cake. In my opinion, at least.
April 1, 2010
Name of cake: I'm Calling This One Healthy
Occasion: The Grants are coming!
Constituents: pecan-coffee cake with coffee whipped cream
Joelf's family was heading out to the Oregon coast for the weekend and to break up the drive, stayed overnight at my place on Thursday. I spent most of the week frantically cleaning up (it has been a while) and then I decided to bake this cake a little early. More people to eat it!
Thankfully, this cake was very easy to put together. I was fairly pooped by the time it came around to baking.
First, pecans are toasted and ground with the sugar and instant espresso. Rose instructs you to be careful to stop before the nuts became oily, which left my nuts in bigger pieces than I wanted. In the end it was fine but in the moment, I was annoyed. I wanted a really really fine powder but it was not going to happen. Rose says to move this mixture to a medium bowl, but all that does is dirty another bowl. I say, leave it.
About seven eggs are separated and beaten wildly. I say about seven eggs, because true to the egg yolk conspiracy I needed 7.6 yolks and yet only 5.8 whites. The yolks are beaten with most of the sugar for about 5 minutes until they fall from the beater in a thick ribbon. I love the look of egg yolks falling from the beater in a thick ribbon.
Next the nut mixture is folded into the yolks in three parts. Everything was thick and sticky by the end of this step. Was that because of my oily nuts?
The whites are then beaten into a stiff meringue. I am so glad I bought that extra mixing bowl from Target a few years ago. Otherwise, I would have had to scrape the yolks into another bowl and impeccably washed the mixer.
After the meringue is created, it is folded into the yolk mixture in three parts. I was glad that by the time I was folding in the third part the batter had once again become light and fluffy. Despite how messy my fingers become, I really like using the whisk attachment to fold.
I was a little worried as my batter filled the pan more than halfway. I imagined all sorts of cascading batter disasters but luckily none of it came to fruition. The cake rose nice and high--a little over the rim of the pan, and smelled pretty tasty.
The cake needs to be cooled in the pan upside down on a rack. For some reason I thought this was pretty funny. Luckily, only a little bit stuck to the cooling rack.
Sadly, as I turned the cake out, I discovered that once again, cakes made in this pan have crispy burnt bottoms. It is a dark pan, I guess I should have turned down the oven temperature. Or I should get a new pan! (Yeah--consume!) Happily, I was able to simply slice the burnt crust right off the bottom of the cake before I flipped it over. No problem.
The coffee cream is simply whipped cream with instant espresso powder, sugar, vanilla, and a little gelatin in order to prevent it from watering out. This came together quickly and easily, and frosting the cake was a cinch.
The Grants arrived about midnight and Joelf's parents went to bed soon after. The boys (Joelf and his two brothers) and I stayed up and ate soup, then cake, and talked and laughed. I sure do love that family.
The boys were nice and told me the cake was good. I agreed. It is similar in texture to one of Rose's very moist angel food cakes, yet the coffee flavor gives it a breakfasty taste. I liked the edge of bitterness the coffee brought and thought the toasted pecans were wonderful and rounded out the cake nicely.
You know, this cake (while still being cake) can't be too unhealthy, right? No empty calories from heavily processed flour, a little fiber and Vitamin E from the nuts and protein from both the nuts and eggs. Really, in the cake world, this one is pretty good.
At least, that is what I told myself when I ate the cake for breakfast.