Sunday, February 11, 2007

Adventures in Gluten-Free Baking

Lest anyone think the preceding culinary successes dictate that I am a foolproof cook, I present you with the Case of the Rubber Apple Cake.

I have never been a great baker, as this skill requires precision measurements and I’m more of a jazz improvisation cook. And then there’s all those exotic-sized baking pans, madeleine molds, pie weights and such which I never seem to have. Baking gluten-free has been even more frustrating for me as I am easily daunted by the talcum powder storms produced by all those superfine wheatless flours. However, we must all have our sweets and so I shall press on.

I tried a recipe for Wheat-Free Apple Layer Cake, courtesy of It’s a nice, homey recipe website with lots of photos of finished products and cute kids ingesting delicious-looking treats. I didn’t have soy flour and substituted tapioca flour. Also, the recipe calls for caster sugar, which is a finely ground kind of sugar which one could theoretically produce in a food processor or blender, but as that’s just another opportunity for a talcum tornado (not to mention the cleanup factor), I substituted regular granulated sugar.

How to make a Rubbery Apple Layer Cake

1-1/2 cups white rice flour
Scant cup soy flour (I used tapioca flour)
½ cup caster sugar (I used regular sugar)
1 tsp. wheat-free raising agent (I used yeast, but maybe they meant baking powder)
2 large apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup water
¼ cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
Few drops vanilla
Dash of vinegar
Brown sugar

Mix dry ingredients together. Add water, juice, oil, vanilla and mix well. Add vinegar and stir. Pour half of cake batter into a greased (9 x 9 inch) square cake tin (Another substitution: I used a 2 quart glass baking pan). Spread apple slices evenly over the batter and then top with the remaining mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake at 360 degrees for 40 minutes or until firm.

Well, it was firm alright. The taste is good, but I think the substitution for the soy flour and my misinterpretation of raising agent caused a chemical imbalance in the finished product and it was more like rubber than a delectable dessert. It was crummy instead of crumb-y. My family still ate it, and it was improved with reheating in the microwave and dousing with pure maple syrup, but I shall have to learn to be less of a deviant in my baking.

1 comment:

~M said...

Tapioca flour is really a starch. Next time, try a higher protein flour, or maybe a blend of brown rice, sorghum, and tapioca. Best of luck!