Every good cook needs to have friends who will give honest feedback about their food. I realize that people have different palates and that taste varies widely from person to person so I usually try and give out samples of the new foods that I make to a wide variety of taste testers. I have found though that the most honest tasters - are kids. They are brutally honest about whether or not they like the things they eat. Luckily for me there is no shortage of kids passing through the house on any given day. (Something that I savor every single day.)
I got an order for a gluten free cake last month and that was just the excuse that I had been waiting for to try a new gluten free chocolate cake recipe. I had been wanting to test out the claim that you can substitute Bob's Red Mill Gluten free All Purpose flour for white flour in any recipe. According to the packaging on the gluten free flour, you can use the substitute flour for regular flour and add a little xanthum gum and your recipes will taste exactly the same. Could this really be true? I put that theory to the test.
I baked my Hershey's chocolate cake recipe using Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose flour and xanthum gum in place of the all purpose flour. Since this was really just an experiment to see if it would work, I cut the recipe in half and made a mini version.
I will give you my opinion of the gluten free cake first. The cake batter had a strange smell to it and to be honest, I considered throwing the whole batch away before I even baked it. I couldn't identify the weird smell but it was definitely the same smell that came from the bag of gluten free flour. Against my better judgement, I went ahead and baked the cake and much to my surprise, the smell was not nearly as strong after the cake had baked. I let it cool on a baking rack and then I sliced a thin piece to taste. I thought that the cake had a little bit of an aftertaste but then again, it could have been because I knew that it had a funny smell when I put it into the oven. I went ahead and filled the cake layers with peanut butter filling and frosted it with a chocolate cream cheese icing. It turned out to be a beautiful cake and since I tend to be ultra-critical of my own cooking, I decided to pass it out to as many people as I could so that I could get a range of opinions.
The responses were unanimous - everyone liked the cake. (Personally, I think that the chocolate frosting and peanut butter filling masked the aftertaste of the gluten free flour.) My son and my husband really loved the cake. They were surprised to find out that it was a gluten free cake. My daughter didn't try the cake but her friend was willing to sample a piece and there were no complaints from her - just an empty plate. I gave a slice to a friend down the street and she enjoyed the cake as well. She did comment however, that the following day, she thought she tasted a slight aftertaste in the cake but that it didn't stop her from finishing her slice. (Maybe I wasn't crazy for tasting an aftertaste after all.)
The results of this trial are not definitive enough for me. I am going to have to do some more research on the gluten free flour and try it in a couple more recipes to determine whether or not it really is a good substitute for all purpose flour. Looks like more test cakes are on the way.
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Frost with buttercream and decorate with chocolate shavings.
Once I got positive reviews from the test cake, I decided to go ahead and make the gluten free, chocolate birthday cake. Pigs in the Mud for this birthday girl.
Got a gluten free cake recipe that you want me to try - send it to me.
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