Gluten Free Chocolate Cake-Pan Cake

gluten free chocolate cake

gluten free chocolate cake pan cake

Truth be told, there almost wasn’t any of this cake left to photograph. I had gluten free advocates around to do a taste test of my first gluten free, vegan, high altitude cake – and we nearly inhaled the entire cake within minutes of it coming out of the oven. The texture was perfectly moist, it didn’t crumble when cut, and (drumroll, please) it tasted great! We were very satisfied with this cake, eating it plain and accompanied by cashew ice cream. For all of you who have been asking me if I also bake gluten free, I can now answer with a resounding “yes!”

The recipe was adapted from one I did in a previous blog post. The only changes I made were for gluten free baking. I swapped the all-purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. I also added baking powder to give the cake some lift, as gluten free cakes often turn out overly dense. So, for those who eat gluten free and want an easy cake recipe to try, I offer you my now gluten free cake pan cake.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake-Pan Cake adapted from my Easy Chocolate Cake-Pan Cake
1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS gluten free flour
1 cup – 1 TBS vegan sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips
1/2 tsp salt
scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup + 1 TBS cold non-dairy milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure all dry ingredients into an 8″ x 8” x 2” cake pan. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a whisk and scoop out three holes. Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third. Take the milk and pour it directly over everything in the pan. Stir all ingredients together with your whisk until they are well blended. Don’t forget to stir the sides, bottom and into the corners. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan. Serve right from the pan.

Until next time, happy gluten free baking!

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Crumb Coat for Easy Cake Decorating

Crumb coat

Image courtesy of Cooking Cinderella at flickr.com

Many years ago, when I first ventured into “specialty” baking, I was given the gift of classes on cake decorating. At the time I was baking mostly cookies and brownies and wasn’t sure what I would do with the knowledge, but I knew I would have fun. I learned how to use frosting to make a basket-weave, flowers and leaves. It was pretty but didn’t seem very useful for a home baker. Until I learned some tricks.

I learned to stand a tipped decorating bag in a tall glass while you are filling it – it’s like an extra hand when yours are already busy. Another idea was to use icing as glue to cement the cake to a board so it won’t move in transport. I found out that a turning stand makes it easier to decorate a cake. A great tip was to flip the top layer of a layer cake over so you have a flat surface to frost. But my favorite trick was the crumb coat.

A crumb coat will make the surface of your meticulously decorated cake look beautiful. To crumb coat a cake you take some of your icing and thin it with water. It should be thinner than usual but not enough to tear the cake as you apply it. Spread this icing to make a thin layer on the entire exposed cake surface.

Don’t worry if there are crumbs in the icing, this is expected. The icing layer is so thin that you will see the cake and crumbs. Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry. The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on. Once the crumb coat is completely dry, you are ready to continue icing and decorating.”

The crumb coat creates a barrier to hold crumbs down so your final icing will be smooth and crumb-free. This is especially important if you are frosting a chocolate cake with white icing. Even with white icing on a white cake you don’t want to have cake bits floating around in your decorations. It may seem like it takes unnecessary extra time, but it is so worth it. It helps make any cake into the perfect cake.

Audrey’s Naked Chocolate Cake

Audrey's Naked Chocolate CakeThis baking experience began as a friend’s Facebook post. She showed a photo of a Naked Chocolate Cake and I took that as a challenge to make it high altitude and vegan. I enjoy a challenge, and it looked yummy. Also, I had some new cake pans that I needed to test.

To make the cake at altitude, I added flour and milk and reduced the baking powder. To take into account the short, layer-cake pans, I sliced the strawberries so they wouldn’t topple the cake. I baked at a lower temperature for a shorter time. And, with the small layers, I tried one to see if the cake came out. This will make four layers, or three layers and a snack.

The original recipe called for homemade whipped cream. I couldn’t achieve a thick enough cream to hold up the cake without using coconut cream, which I don’t like, so I used the vegan stuff in a can. I made up for it by making my own chocolate syrup. Feel free to use store-bought syrup, or you can make your own, too.

Audrey’s Naked Chocolate Cake adapted from The Food Network
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup + 1 TBS soy milk
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
whipped cream
chocolate syrup (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 325 F and spray four round, mini layer-cake cake pans. Pour coconut oil into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add in brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla extract, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
With mixer on low, slowly add a third of the dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture, alternating with milk. Keep alternating until dry ingredients and milk are gone. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in chopped chocolate by hand. Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until an inserted toothpick is removed clean. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
To assemble, place a cooled layer of cake on a cake plate and cover in whipped cream and some chocolate syrup. Take fruit and spread it on cake out to the edges. Pay attention to how you place fruit on the edge so it looks nice and doesn’t fall out. Once cake is covered in fruit, place next layer of cake on top. Fill in with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and fruit. Place final layer of cake on top. Place a mound of whipped cream and fruit on top. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the cake and chill.
Chocolate Syrup
1 cup dates, sliced
water
2 TBS cocoa powder
Place dates in a bowl with water to cover. Soak for 5 minutes. Put dates and their soaking water in a high speed blender. Add cocoa powder and blend until a syrup forms. Add extra water as needed. You will probably have some leftover, but that’s not a bad thing.

Until next time, happy baking!

Coffee Shop Coffee Cake

coffee shop coffee cake

So, donuts. I was going to make donuts but I had no luck. I first tried to bake them years ago in the special donut pan I bought for the occasion. They were a dense disaster and I gave away the pan to another sucker. When I recently approached the idea of making donuts I was more optimistic as I had found a recipe for donut holes. Okay, I can do this, I thought. But no, massive failure again. Hence today’s post on coffee cake. I’ll save donuts for another day when the frustration dies down.

I had never made coffee cake before but I figured I’d give it a go. I’d also never baked with gluten-free flour, but I decided to attempt that as well. I’ll just say that gluten-free baking is also something I’ll save for another day. However, the coffee cake was a success and it smelled great while it baked.

For the coffee cake, I based it on several recipes. I used the cake portion of the gluten-free recipe I tried and combined it with different topping and filling ideas. Some changes were to sour the milk with the apple cider vinegar first – this makes a “buttermilk” that works as a leavener in vegan baking. For high altitude I reduced the baking powder and increased the flour. And because I love cinnamon and wanted a delicious filling, I used a smaller cake pan so I could layer cake and filling and then cake and topping.

Coffee Shop Coffee Cake by The Decadent Vegan Baker
topping
1/2 cup organic sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 TBS ground cinnamon
3 TBS vegan margarine, melted
filling
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
cake
3/4 cup + 1 tsp soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 TBS canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Start the cake by stirring together the milk and vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Make the topping by whisking together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted margarine and stir with a fork until well combined. Make the filling by mixing together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Finish the cake by sifting together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the soured milk, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the filling. Use a knife to gently swirl the filling through the batter. Crumble the topping over the batter. Bake until it’s dark golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 33-35 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Until next time, happy baking!

What Color is Your Baking Pan?

round cake tin stack

Image courtesy of Cooks & Kitchens on flickr.com

When baking, you may find that your results seem quite different than those of the recipe developer. They describe a light, evenly-colored cookie but yours is light on top and dark on the bottom. Or your cake may look the right color but it is undercooked on the inside. Don’t despair. One possible fix is the type of pan you use. The color and material of the pan may not seem important, but they can have an impact on your baked goods.

In the Sweet Kitchen explains that “some materials conduct heat, others reflect it – each of the properties will affect your product differently. In general, shiny or pale materials reflect heat and will produce … lighter-colored pastries… (Using dark or non-stick pans) means your products will bake faster on the bottom and sides, perhaps burning until the middle is done.”

Non-stick cookie sheets are nice for clean-up but can be unreliable for the actual baking. Unless you have a pan with a light-colored non-stick coating, they aren’t the best choice because they bake unevenly. But King Arthur Flour’s website says you don’t need to get rid of your non-stick cookie sheets. “If you already have a dark-colored, non-stick cookie sheet, and it tends to burn the bottoms of your cookies, reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.”

I have used the Williams-Sonoma Nonstick Goldtouch Pans as recommended by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. The surface is light-colored and, unlike most non-stick bakeware, fairly scratch resistant. Regan Daley of In the Sweet Kitchen says that, “lighter-coloured non-stick pans are much more durable, as the finish is part of the material of the pan, not simply a coating.” They are nice to bake with when you need a cake to release easily for a picture-perfect treat.

Because dark pans retain heat, they can help a pie baker. “Dark-colored metal pie pans … transfer heat better … (and) brown crust more quickly … However, most pie pans will brown a crust thoroughly, given enough time; (just) cover the pie’s exposed edges with a crust shield to prevent burning.” Good advice from King Arthur Flour.

You don’t have to rush out and buy all new pans, but reread this article next time you are looking to purchase a bake pan.