Help with my 'miracle' cake?
Hi, I have a friend that has a variety of conditions that basically means she can't eat gluten, she's also vegan, she also can't have nuts, processed sugar or white rice. (crazy eh?)
Anyway, I like to bake cakes so I took this as a bit of a challenge to make a 'miracle' cake, something that she could have as a treat that would actually taste nice (I was going to say, that was as good as anything that does contain these things, but I've long since given up on that!).
So anyway, I started with my trusty carrot cake recipe, looked up some dairy and eggless cake recipes, some gluten free recipes, some processed sugar free recipes and tried to come up with something. I've now finished my 10th attempt, and although all the results have been edible I'd say that only two of them could be described as 'nice' (it's certainly not something I'd choose to eat...)
So I thought I'd turn to you guys (and gals) for help... to see if you had any tips?
My main problem seems to be with getting the cake to rise and to keep it from either being too wet and squishy or going too dry and crumbly (the worst one just fell to pieces when you tried to cut it, although it taste ok). I think it's partly because I'm trying to create my own flour blend (I even grind my own amaranth...) to prevent the cake being too heavy, partly because I'm not used to cooking without eggs and binding the ingredients together is harder than I thought, and partly because my oven door doesn't shut properly so I'm having trouble working out ideal cooking times/temperatures.
I would love to use this flour: http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/flour-and-...
But I contacted the company and they use white rice flour in it (which I can't use...
So anyway I've tried maple syrup, honey (until I found out it wasn't vegan... Although she doesn't have a problem with it, but I thought it's probably best to try to keep it strictly vegan), millet flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, etc.
So, here's the last attempt along with my thoughts on it. I'd be really interested in hearing what you think (although I've already had enough people tell me to give up...)
0.25C Amaranth flour
0.25C Buckwheat flour
0.25C Quinoa Flour
0.25 Cornflour/corn starch
4tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 bananas mashed
1C dates (medjool)
1tsp vanilla extract/essence
1C finely grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
sift the flours, soda and spices and set to one side
blend the banana, margarine, dates, applesauce and vanilla together until smooth
add the raisins then the carrot to the wet ingredients. Then add the dry ingredients.
Pour in to a greased 7" square pan and cook in a preheated oven for 45-50 mins at Gas 6 / 190-200C / 375-400F
Forgot the vanilla...
Consistency is a lot better than last few attempts (I actually a bit too squishy...)
Top looks too burnt
Doesn't taste as good as attempt #8 (because of cornflour, or soda? Or because bananas weren't as ripe?)
Maybe cook a bit longer? (if top didn't burn...)
More soda or cornflour?
Maybe try: Tapioca flour, pureed pear, porridge oats.
Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!
I certainly can't add to the thread as far as helping you with the recipe. I am a lover of the most decadent desserts possible, and I feel for those that have restrictions.
I wanted to say that as soon as I read your post I was moved by your efforts. Your friend is very lucky and what you're doing is priceless :)
first of all, you're an insanely good friend to do this for her...or perhaps you're just insane, period ;) i'm kidding - you're really doing a wonderful thing.
okay, many issues that need to be addressed here:
- the baking soda isn't going to do much of anything since the recipe lacks acid (and regardless, 4 tsp is far too much for the amount of flour you're using, and it's definitely affecting the flavor)
- you're missing a gluten replacer, which is partly why it's turning out "squishy"
- that blend of flours isn't going to provide the right consistency or flavor for a recipe like this
- the dates, while a good sweetener, won't provide the kind of flavor and texture you need from sugar or honey
so, here's what i'd do:
- whip up a batch of gluten-free flour mix: combine 1/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 cup potato starch, and 1 and 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour (from certified GF oats) in a large bowl and whisk to distribute thoroughly
- get the following ingredients: a small container of xanthan or guar gum; a container of coconut palm sugar; a small bag of coconut flour; a box of Ener-G egg replacer OR ground flax seeds/flax meal or chia flour (to make egg replacement gel)
- if you’re going to use flax meal or chia flour instead of Ener-G to replace the eggs, see here for gel instructions: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/739597#5975931
once you've got all the ingredients, try the following recipe. BIG disclaimer here – i literally just created this recipe while i was sitting here figuring out how to help you, so i’ve never made it exactly as written. it’s an amalgamation of several recipes i’ve worked with before, plus some tweaks based on my own experience with GF, vegan, and refined sugar-free baking. i hope, hope, hope it turns out well for you!
oh, and one more VERY important note before you get started – check with your friend to be sure she can tolerate gluten-free oats/oat flour because not everyone can.
GHG’S GLUTEN-FREE, RICE-FREE, VEGAN, REFINED SUGAR-FREE CARROT CAKE
1 cup GF oat flour mix
½ cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon guar or xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 ¼ cups grated carrots
¾ cup shortening (Earth Balance for baking) or grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
¾ cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained
½ cup applesauce
½ cup mashed banana
2-egg equivalent of Ener-G egg replacer (prepared with water) or flax seed gel
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons GF vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans (use oat flour) and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together shortening or oil, applesauce, banana, egg replacer, lemon zest, vinegar and vanilla; once well blended, fold in carrots and raisins.
Add wet mixture to dry ingredients, and mix gently just until blended.
Pour batter into prepared pans, spreading with a spatula if necessary.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until top springs back when touched or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove cakes from pans and place on cooling racks.
Once layers have cooled completely, frost with coconut oil frosting. You can try one of the following recipes (either way, i’d probably add a touch of maple syrup):
Wow, I'm almost speechless... I wasn't expecting such a comprehensive response!
Thank you so much for this, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. (and I'm sure she will too! :) )
It might take me a while to track down some of these ingredients and it might have to wait until after the New Year until I get a chance to make it, but I can't wait to give this a try and see how it turns out.
Again, thank you so much!
it's absolutely my pleasure. i know how difficult it is to live with Celiac in addition to other food intolerances, so i feel for your friend. and i meant what i said in my earlier reply, this is a wonderful thing you're doing. please let me know if there's anything else i can do to help and of course, report back once you've tried the recipe :)
in the meantime, a well-stocked health food or natural food store in your area will be the best bet for tracking down the ingredients, or you can order all of them online. good luck!
Well, I finally did it. I made the cake. Pics in the link at the bottom of the post.
The only ingredient that was difficult to get hold of was the coconut palm sugar. I couldn't find it anywhere, until I found out it was also called Jaggery, then picked some up at a local Indian supermarket.
Oh, also, I used a different brand of egg replacement, but I imagine it's similar. And I used grapeseed oil for the cake because it was in the supermarket and readily available (but expensive!)
Overall the ingredients cost me over £35! (I'm not sure of the exact final figure)
But it was worth it. The cakes came out really well and had a really nice consistency, and they tasted good. (They were a bit moist for my taste [but not squishy], but only slightly and I'm guessing that's because I put them in the fridge, and used oil rather than shortening?)
I cooked them for 35mins because I tested after 25mins and they weren't that solid. But I'm putting that down to our dodgy oven where the door doesn't shut properly.
The only thing I wasn't keen on was the icing. I went with the coconut oil one, just because it seemed quicker with less ingredients to find.
It was weird because as I was trying to mix it up the lemon just wouldn't combine with the other ingredients, and as I was spreading it the lemon was beading out like sweat...
Most people said they thought it tasted ok, but the texture was kind of like eating butter/oil. Which I guess it's like a butter cream? But if I were to make it again I would try to make something more like a cheesecake topping. (more like the other recipe you suggested?)
Anyway, everyone liked it and it was judged a big success. And more importantly my friend who I was making it for liked it.
So thank you for all of your help. I really do appreciate it. :)
Here are the pics:
thanks so much for reporting back! i'm THRILLED that your friend was happy with the cake. sorry about the frosting/icing situation - i'm sure we can come up with something better - those links were really just starting points for reference.
oh, and i know the *initial* ingredient purchase was pricey, but now you have enough of the staples on hand to make another cake or two, so it's not *quite* as bad as you might have initially calculated ;)
i know i've already said this, but it bears repeating...you're a truly amazing friend to have done this.
No problem. Letting you know how it went was the least I could do.
The frosting/icing is less of a problem, I think I'll do some more research and I'm bound to find something suitable. But I'm just relieved I have a good cake recipe. :)
And you're right, I have enough of most of the ingredients to make multiple cakes. I just liked telling people that this was probably the most expensive cake they'd ever eaten. (besides wedding cakes and other professional stuff).