Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chocolate Cake Two Ways

What do you prefer? Sheet cake or cupcakes? Both are moist and delicious in their own special way. Both are delectably gluten-free and made with some of the best ingredients I can gather. Both will leave you oooing and ahhhhing and wanting more. You can eat them, dear gluten-free friend, and these recipes are just for you!
My wonderful mom is the mastermind behind the following chocolate sheet cake recipe. She and I go back and forth with sharing ideas with recipes and this one she has made again and again without fail. I caught on and have been making a version of this cake of my own. She has even made this recipe into other versions of pumpkin and banana cakes. I guess you now know where I get my creativity and determination at making good gluten-free baked goods. I truly believe there is something healing in making gluten-free baked goods for the gluten-free soul. It reminds you that you CAN eat something yummy and have not LOST it all when it comes to treats and desserts.

If you are new to the gluten-free baking world. My only advice is to "NOT GIVE UP!" It is not an easy transition. In fact it kind be somewhat traumatic. Or in the least it is a reminder of your health issues and what you have lost. I know. I've been there. But I have also been here where I am now, 9 years later. It gets easier. I promise. A good place to start is experimenting. If you find one or two good recipes that you and your family like then stick with those and don't try to go overboard. Keep it simple. This cake recipe is one of those recipes for me. It is a go-to, learn-it-well, and make-again-and-again recipe.  Thanks Mom for the recipe and well, for life :)

Mom's Chocolate Cake Recipe
1 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour blend (Mom uses NAMASTE perfect flour blend, but I have also used 1/2 cup of each rice flour, sorghum flour, and a tapioca or potato starch flour too.) Mixing your own flour omits the xanthan gum, and to be honest it is one of preference. If you dislike the "gummy-ness" of some gluten-free baked goods, then I would advise to mix your own GF flour blend without. But the Namaste flour mix is a good one for this cake because it is quite simple (and can be found at Costco!)

1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder (I use HAIN brand so there is no corn product in it)
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of baking soda

1 cup of baking oil (warmed coconut oil or grapeseed or light olive oil)
1 3/4 unsweetened applesauce (homemade or store bought both work)
1 TB of pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup of pure maple syrup
4 room temperature fresh eggs

In a large large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and slowly add the mixed dry ingredients until all is mixed well with no lumps. Then pour cake batter into a well coconut-oil greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Make sure the cake is done by testing the middles of the cake with a toothpick. Let cool for a few hours before frosting.
Second way to make cake is by cupcakes of course! A fun and cute way to get everyone a slice without using a knife. This recipe was a conversion of a regular gluten recipe that turned out wonderfully and recently had the honor of making them for a baby shower.

This recipe would be easier to convert the real eggs for chia-seed gel "eggs" instead. The above sheet cake recipe is pretty dependent on the eggs for a good cake. But cupcakes are a little easier to switch to a vegan cake version. So I would suggest that if you are looking for a vegan chocolate cake recipe to so with cupcakes first few times around before you get better with baking without eggs and gluten.
This recipe is a little more complicated with a few different mixing bowls, but that is the nature of GF baking sometimes... like a science lab, except you can lick the spoon :)

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup of cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup of GF flour blend (Namaste blend works here too) But I like to mix 3/4 cup of rice flour, 3/4 cup of sweet sorghum flour and 1/4-1/3 cup of tapioca (or potato) starch flour.
1 ts. of baking soda
2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of sea salt

2 cups of coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup of melted Enjoy Life chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of coconut cream from the can
1 cup of coconut milk beverage mixed with 1 TB of apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil
2 TB of pure vanilla
4 fresh eggs (or grind chia seeds and mix 4 TB ground chia seeds with 1 cup of water and let sit for a few minutes to make a gel)

So first, you will mix all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, set aside. Then put the chocolate chips and coconut cream in a small saucepan and melt until a chocolate sauce has formed. Then in a separate mixing bowl, let the coconut milk beverage and apple cider vinegar mix together and make a buttermilk mixture. Lastly, if you are attempting a vegan cupcake, then mix the finely ground chia seeds with water and let that sit as well for a few minutes to make a chia-gel. Then you are ready to pour in all together. First mix the sugar and the rest of the wet ingredients together... then add the flour mixture slowly. You should end up with a frothy and creamy cake batter to pour into cupcake papers. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 way full. This recipe makes 18 cupcakes and then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes. Cool for at least an hour before frosting. 

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup of pure local honey
1/2 cup of cocoa powder

You can also sub the shortening for grass-fed butter or your favorite vegan butter. You can easily double or half this recipe if needed. I have made this recipe a few times with vegan butter and it works fine, but if you use the shortening then you have a version that is more stiff and easier to use for transporting cakes if need be. I used this frosting recipe on both of the above cake recipes. Perfect every time. ENJOY!

Much love to you and may you find hope in the kitchen. xo