Thursday, May 2, 2013

3 Grain-Free Cakes, for a 3 year-old Birthday

Natasha turned 3 last month, and we celebrated a couple times. And that gave me an opportunity to try out a few grain-free cake recipes. Now, when I'm searching for grain-free dessert recipes, I have a couple main things I look for:

1.  Not a lot of coconut or almond flour. Mainly because, even though those two flours are wonderful, delicious, easy to use...they are kind of expensive. I almost treat them like gold, using them sparingly and with much love and care. Ha!
  • Therefore, for an almond-flour based recipe to fit the qualifications for consideration, it can't have more than 1 1/2-2 cups of almond flour. 
  • For a coconut-flour based recipe, it can't have more than 3/4-1 cup of coconut flour. I typically use more coconut flour, since it is a wee bit cheaper. 
So if a recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of almond flour, I basically disregard it and move on till I can find one that either, doesn't call for as much, or uses a combination of almond/coconut, or a different recipe that uses only coconut flour, and less of it.

2. If I can find a completely flourless recipe, I use it! This can be kind of rare though, since most baked goods require some kind of flour. 

So for the first birthday cake last month, I tried this Flourless Chocolate Cake. It was indeed tasty, and delicious! I even tried my hand at cake decorating. (It's a panda face, in case you aren't a pro at deciphering animal faces on a frosted cake.)

For the icing, I stuck with a traditional powdered sugar icing, made of butter, milk, a dash of vanilla and a ton of powdered sugar. (One only turns 3 once, right? Gotta celebrate!)

This recipe basically called for eggs, chocolate and sugar. It made one, 9 in. round cake, and that was plenty for our little party of 6 adults and one little girl. Even an extra piece for Great-Grandma! However, when I think of chocolate cake, I envision a more fluffy texture, and not so dense. This turned out to be more like brownies, very rich and...yummy. But not cake.

For the second party, I knew I wanted a two layer cake, and so I tried this Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake recipe. It called for 3/4 cup coconut flour, which I didn't consider too much, especially since it made a two layer cake. *Edited to add: I forgot to mention that it calls for 1 1/2 cups of honey, and I only used 3/4 cup. Turned out plenty sweet for our taste!

Instead of using my hand held mixer, I put all those 10 eggs in my KitchenAid and let it BEAT them well. I think that helped with the texture of it, added with actually having some kind of flour. It turned out just like I had hoped. Very CAKE like! I was so happy.

And it was enjoyed with gusto!

Lastly, I decided to have a vanilla cake at the same party, since I wasn't sure that a two-layer cake really would serve 14 people. This recipe is actually a 3 layer cake, and calls for 12 eggs, 3/4 cup coconut flour and 1/2 cup arrowroot powder. That still fit into my little flour-allowance-guideline, and I was quite pleased with the recipe. I made cupcakes for a change, but unfortunately I don't remember how many cupcakes it made. At least 2 dozen, and maybe a couple extra. ?  *Edited to also add: This cake calls for 1 cup of honey, and I still only used 3/4 cup.

It did call for palm shortening, which I have never used, and didn't want to order. I figured I could have substituted hardened coconut oil, but wasn't quite sure. So, at the last minute, Daniel made lard for me, and I used lard instead.

For each of the layer cakes I tried, I used parchment paper for lining the pan, and then greased and "floured" the pan. When baking with something that is to come out of the pan in one piece, I'm a firm believer that it should do exactly that. Come out, in one piece. And, parchment paper has become my best friend for that requirement.

For the chocolate icing, I made ganache for the first time! The recipe I sort of followed can be found here. You'll notice that it's actually featured on a flourless chocolate cake, and I did consider that recipe for our birthday celebrations until I did my calculations and realized it uses an extraordinary amount of chocolate!!

And...for decoration? Dried Pineapple flowers.

1 comment:

  1. How delicious! I'm especially sad I missed the party since I saw that you made pineapple flowers. :)


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