Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

...or, as it is known around these parts, Annmarie's Birthday/Goodbye Cake.

Sigh. I don't even know where to begin. Annmarie and I met our first year of acupuncture school, back in 1998. Many study groups were forming and meeting over the weekends to practice point location and structural anatomy (and ask ourselves, what have we gotten ourselves into?), and I sweet talked my way into the group Annmarie was a part of. It turned out to be the best thing I ever sweet talked my way into, as many of the ladies became not only my best support during school but also some of my greatest friends. Two of them discovered they were celiacs within months of each other, and when we were all living in Portland again, became my very own Gluten Free girls.

Annmarie moved to Arizona a couple of years after we graduated from school, then she moved to Santa Barbara, then she moved to Spain, then Korea, and then finally came back to Portland for a few years. These past 3 years with Annmarie have been great fun for me, as I got back my friend who likes to go to the movies, and laugh at everything, and enjoy sweet treats.

Annmarie's love of the sweet treat is really why I started experimenting in gluten free baking. We were both dismayed at her lack of choices in the treat world and I was determined she wouldn't have to miss out.

January 23, 2010
Name of Cake: Tangy Chocolate Cake
Occasion: Annmarie's Birthday, and her Goodbye Party
Constituents: Two layers gluten free chocolate cake filled and frosted with tangy cream cheese frosting

the birthday cake

A couple of days before her birthday party, I asked Annmarie if I was baking her a birthday cake. I guess it had kind of slipped our minds. She usually likes the coffee and chocolate combination, but this year chose a moist chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Okay, can do.

the cake, cooling

I used the chocolate cake recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics, which turns out a fine and basic chocolate cake. I would like to improve on it a bit to make it even more chocolaty and moist, but in this instance I didn't have the time to experiment. I think the answer lies in using a percentage of coconut flour as it is very absorbent and can handle a cake with a lot of moisture. I made one once with 100% coconut flour and although moist and delicious, it was a bit too fibrous. But I digress.

The recipe calls for finely ground brown rice flour, which I didn't have and thought would be okay. In my opinion, although no one else said anything, the cake was a bit gritty. Bob, can you get a finer mill for your rice flours? I would like that.

Annmarie decided she wanted a true party cake with the 2 layers split and filled. I needed to multiply the frosting recipe by 1.5, which thankfully was no problem. I tried to make nice swirls but it wasn't working, so I made a nice pattern on top and then Joelf and I coated the sides in hot pink sanding sugar. Fun!

make those wishes come true

Unfortunately, most of this cake was done in a little bit of a hurry, so there aren't many photos of it. We sang to Annmarie, toasted to her New Zealand adventures, and served the cake while singing along to "Any Way You Want It" by Journey.

Later that night, after the party had ended and we were back home, I shoved the remainder of her cake, in the cake carrier, in the refrigerator. I didn't do the best job of making sure the carrier was securely placed as it tumbled out onto the floor about an hour later when Annmarie went to get some juice. The cake must have tumbled around the inside of the carrier as the frosting that was on the side of the cake was now stuck to the inside lid, the top layer of cake with the frosting had stuck upside down to the plate, and the other three layers were together, but upside down. We fixed it as best we could, and then ate it. Still good!

and then we dropped the cake

Happy Birthday Annmarie! May your new life in New Zealand be filled with adventure, love, and fun! I can't wait to come visit you!

And to be nice, I've included the recipe for the cake and a link to the recipe for the frosting. Why not.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free milk (I used 2% and it seemed to be okay)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Position rack in lower 1/3 of oven. Line two round 9 inch baking pans with parchment and grease.
    2. Melt chocolate in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm.
    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum. Set aside.
    4. Place canola oil and milk in a liquid measuring cup and whisk until thoroughly combined. Remove 2 tbsp of liquid and discard. (This weird instruction makes me wish she had included gram measurements for her ingredients.) Set aside.
    5. Beat sugar and eggs in a large bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Add dry and wet ingredients in two additions at low speed, then mix at medium speed for one more minute.
    6. Pour batter into prepared pans and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
    7. Cool cakes in the pans on a rack for five minutes. Use a small spatula or butter knife to run around the outsides of the cakes, invert, peel off parchment, invert again so that the tops of the cakes are up, and cool completely.
    8. Frost, or wrap airtight.

    Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting
    This frosting has been posted to the site many, many times. Scroll on down to the bottom of this post, but in order to have enough for this cake please multiply all the ingredients by 1.5, and omit the orange zest. I used blue agave syrup to sweeten, and I think in total I used about 1 liquid cup. To be honest I just add, stir, and taste until I feel it is right--sweet but tangy.
rocking out the journey
rocking out with the birthday girl

happy birthday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake

I made this cake and this post with haste, so both look pretty rough.

This past weekend, my old roommate, Joelf (who moved out to go to the Dominican Republic for 2 months), came to visit in order to celebrate my current roommate's, Annmarie's, birthday. Her birthday party was also her Bon Voyage party as she is moving to New Zealand on Thursday. Hmm. Why have my roommates felt the need to move to foreign countries after living with me?

Anyhoots, with Joelf being here for only a few days and Annmarie being here for only a few days more, this weekend was jam packed with errands and social calls and one awesome birthday/goodbye party (more on that in my next post). I really wanted to try this cake, especially with more people around to eat it, so last night I busted out the cake and this morning I did the same with the frosting and put it all together in time for us to have it with brunch. We were all in a hurry today, as Joelf needed to get to the train station in time, so my usual care in putting a cake together was thrown out the window.

Oh well, it still tasted good!

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake
the way i swirled the frosting makes it look like it's circling the drain

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake
as you can see I didn't bother trying to level the cake

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake
Cake innards. It looks a bit like whole wheat bread, doesn't it?

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake
This is how we chose to serve the cake. Mmmm, bacon.

The verdict? The angel food cake was deliciously tender, moist, and not too sweet. I think I like the Chocolate Angel Food Cake from The Cake Bible better, but this is a close second. The frosting was also delicious, but all in all it was a bit too rich. I would have preferred to skip layering the cake and just frosted it, or served the whipped cream frosting on the side. Or skipping the frosting altogether. I really want to fill and frost a chocolate cake with this frosting. Not that we won't eat this cake exactly as it is, 'cause we have, and we will.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What to Do With Leftover 7 Minute Frosting

i found this languishing as a draft and thought it was entertaining. i remember being really excited about discovering seven minute frosting. this was written in april 2008.

seven minute frosting

1. smear on spicy gingersnap cookies, and toast the fluff with your new butane torch

2. smear on your roommate's box brownies that he frosted with one of your frozen tubs of egg white chocolate buttercream

3. eat straight out of the tub--not too much though

4. toasted fluffer nutter sandwiches! (my personal favorite, so far)

5. use as a topper to your ibarra hot chocolate

6. wonder when this stuff goes bad

homemade fluffer nutter

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chocolate Streusel Cupcakes

I was on the fence about making the Chocolate Streusel Cake up until 8 pm tonight, when I checked in and many HCB had already posted their cakes which everyone seemed so far to love. How could I say no when so many said yes?
Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cupcakes

January 10, 2010
Name of Cupcakes: A Mouthful of Awesome!
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: Sour cream coffee cake, with a layer of chocolate-cinnamon streusel

Marie has mentioned a few cakes that she would request for her birthday cake, and if I had to request one I think a sour cream coffee cake would be it. I love this thick, fluffy, vanilla batter like I love Muscovado sugar. In this cake, incidentally, both of those things are present. Heavenly! I'm as happy as Larry!

The batter makes one 6-cup bundt cake plus two cupcakes, or twelve cupcakes. I decided if I was going to make 2 cupcakes I might as well make 12. Also, I only have the one 10-cup bundt pan, and although Raymond made his quite nicely in his 10-cup bundt, I came back to if I am making two cupcakes...well, you get the point.

It is kind of nice to wait until the last minute to bake, as I was able to read the posts of those who are not procrastinators and I learned from Kristina that the cupcake cups would be full but wouldn't overflow, and there would be extra chocolate streusel. She sprinkled her extra over the tops, which I decided to do as well. I also had enough batter and streusel to make a tiny little bundt. I found that pan in my baking cupboard when I was looking for my silicone cups--cute isn't it? That was a gift from Cookie; thank you Cookie!

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cupcakes

Actually, I would have to say "ditto" to much of what Kristina says in her post. I also used my new Beater Blade for this batter, and after beating together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla things did look unusually light and fluffy, too.

I am bummed that it is past midnight and thus no natural light with which to photograph these babies. They are really very adorable, and thus deserve to be shot in the best light possible.

By the way, they are also amazingly delicious. Like I said, I love a sour cream coffee cake--dense, moist, rich. The cinnamon in the streusel is a welcome addition, adding warmth and spice to the chocolate layer. In the little bundt, the layer is a little crunchy in places which is a nice surprise. I think the muscovado sugar in the streusel adds a depth and roundness that regular brown sugar just couldn't provide, which is why I love it so much. In fact, I am 100% in love with this whole cake--it is definitely going on my birthday wish list!

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cupcakes

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

The Gluten-Free Girl has been working tirelessly trying to create a good and satisfying GF cinnamon roll. She finally posted her recipe on December 22 and when Annmarie and I came back from our Christmas trips we got right on it. (recipe at end of post)

GF cinnamon rolls!!

December 31, 2009
Name of pastry: GF Cinnamon Rolls!!!
Occasion: New Year's Eve!
Constituents: cinnamon rolls, with the cream cheese frosting

Annmarie was worried these would be complicated since there were so many steps, but once we broke them down it turned out baking cinnamon rolls is easy-peasy.

Shauna, the Gluten-Free Girl, chose to use almond flour as part of the flour make-up. Is almond flour the same as almond meal? I decided it wasn't and substituted sorghum flour. Thankfully, Shauna has hopped on the weighing train and substituting flours was simple. My only complaint is that she uses the avoirdupois system which I think is much lamer than the metric. Go metric!

Neither of us went out for New Year's Eve, which was fine by me since I was sick. I thought, if I spent the whole evening baking then that is a evening well spent.

First, yeast is activated in hot water and sugar. That part was fun.

GF cinnamon rolls!!

The dry ingredients are whirled together in the stand mixer for a little bit to combine. This isn't exactly what the recipe suggests; but this is a good short cut that saves another bowl and a whisk from getting dirty. Some more water is added to the dry ingredients, plus the yeasty water and a couple of eggs. Shauna warns that the dough will not resemble a gluteny bread dough, but be more like cookie dough. That was good to know.

GF cinnamon rolls!!

At this point the dough gets to hang out and double in bulk.

Half the dough is rolled out at a time between plastic wrap and a silpat like sheet. I think all GF doughs that need to be rolled out really ought to be done between plastic or silicone as they tend to be a bit sticky and prone to tearing.

Then, the cinnamon-brown sugar filling goes down. We skipped the raisins, and added only half the walnuts. I lobbied for no walnuts, but Annmarie needed some nut to feel they were proper cinnamon rolls.

GF cinnamon rolls!!

This gets rolled up, sliced and placed in a buttered pie pan, and left to rise one more time. We slid them into the refrigerator and went to bed.

The next morning I let the rolls come up to room temperature as I preheated the oven. They were cute and little puffier, but not much. Off into the oven they went, and soon the smells of yeasty dough and cinnamon began to fill the apartment. It was hard not to eat them all when they came out of the oven, they smelled so lovely!

GF cinnamon rolls!!

The cream cheese frosting that Shauna posted didn't look so good to us, mainly because it contained so much sugar. So we made one up on our own, and it was perfectly tangy and lightly sweet, and the right topping for these little beauties.

In search of a proper cinnamon roll:
The allergen-free version
Getting closer...
Drumroll please.... the recipe for Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls!!

And in case you were curious about our cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 tbsp room temp butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 brick cream cheese, room temp
  • blue agave syrup, to taste
  • pinch of salt
Beat the butter until soft and light. Add the cream cheese and beat until well blended, soft, and spreadable. With a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, beat in the agave by hand until lightly sweetened. Frost the cinnamon rolls while still warm and gooey.
GF cinnamon rolls!!GF cinnamon rolls!!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Whipped Cream Cake

Whipped Cream Cake is a name that fits in with my perception of Home Ec in the 1950's. I can picture milk glass bowls, formica tabletops, and this cake, with marascino cherries on the side. I don't know why. But there you go.

whipped cream cake

January 3, 2010
(WOW, that's the first time I've written down the year and it is odd)
Name of cake: Whipped Cream Cake
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: a tender light yellow cake made with whipped cream

This cake is a winner. It is so feathery light in texture, moist yet not dense with a lovely vanilla flavor. Not only that, but it is a snap to put together. Heavy whipping cream is beaten to stiff peaks, to which eggs and vanilla are added. Next comes the sugar, and then the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) are folded in. Done!

whipped cream cake

There was only one minor snag. I was sick last week and the lingering congestion has impaired my sense of smell, and yet as I began beating the cream I noticed it smelled a bit sour. I was over at Cookie's house and she told me she also had heavy cream, so I dumped out mine and measured out hers. 40 grams short! Nobody was interested in leaving the house so I added in a couple of tablespoons of butter with the eggs. There is no butter or oil in this recipe because it is supplied by the milk fat in the cream, so I decided that adding butter could make up for the missing grams of cream. A gamble, but it seems to have paid off!

whipped cream cake

Cookie was so impressed by the lightness of this cake. She said that it would be a good substitute--nay, an even better option--than an angel food cake.

We served the cake initially with a little bit of defrosted berries, but I think that the berries detract from the cake. It is really nice plain, with a little powdered sugar and maybe a cup of tea.

whipped cream cake

I really don't have much else to say about this cake, it was so simple and straightforward. Cookie, her husband, her brother-in-law's brother and I ate the cake while playing the Harry Potter edition of Clue--which is so much fun--and a good time was had by all. In between games we watched the movie 9 and I worked on the first pair of Olympic mittens. A good Sunday, spent with the best of friends and a delicious cake.