Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More holiday baking: Chocolate cake (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free)

I made another recipe from Rebecca Reilly's awesome cookbook Gluten-free Baking -- her recipes ALWAYS work.  This time, it was a Chocolate Applesauce cake -- I wanted something closer to a "normal" cake, light and fluffy, to bring to a group who are not foodies so I didn't want to go too far off the reservation, if you will.  :)

This cake turned out wonderfully.  It tasted great, with a nice texture that was moist, light, fluffy -- my only complaint was that it didn't look as nice as it tasted.  I suck at decorating cakes!  (For this version, I made a fake "mousse" for the middle filling layer from Cool Whip and a few tablespoons of cocoa.  NOTE: Cool Whip is not 100% dairy-free, but the label says it's less than 2%...a filling is totally optional, especially if you want to keep this purely dairy-free.  You could also use a raspberry jam or other filling, I just happened to have this handy.)  I get lots of requests for gluten-free cakes for birthdays, this would be a good one.  I'm still working to find a good recipe with this kind of texture without using eggs and will let you know when I find one.

This recipe calls for Rebecca's gluten-free flour mix, you have a few different ways to put it together:

Option 1:   2 c. brown rice flour or garbanzo flour, 2/3 c. potato starch and 1/3 c. tapioca starch; OR
Option 2:   1 c. garbanzo flour or garfava flour, 1 c. brown rice flour, 2/3 c. potato starch, 1/3 c. tapioca starch; OR
Option 3:  Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour mix

Double this recipe for a two-layer 9" cake like the one I made!

Chocolate Applesauce Cake (Makes 1 (11x7-square or 9x2 round) cake)
From Rebecca Reilly's Gluten-Free Baking

3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/3 c. cornstarch
1 tsp baking gluten-free powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. warm milk of your choice (I used almond milk)
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla

2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 Tbsp. milk of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease baking pan and line with parchment paper.  Lightly grease the paper. (Don't used waxed paper if you don't have parchment.  Just be sure to grease and flour the pan well instead!)

Mix togther the gluten-free mix, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.  Sift cocoa powder into bowl.  Whisk until blended.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the sugar slowly.  Pour in the milk, corn syrup, applesauce, and vanilla. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until done when cake pulls away from the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let rest 10 minutes in pan before inverting onto a cooling rack.  Let cake completely cool before icing.

To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa, adding just enough milk to make an icing thin enough to spread over the cake.  It dries quickly and loses its shine, so make this right before you are ready to frost the cake.

I cut a pattern out of paper to make the flower design on my cake, and used mini candy canes I broke up for the bottom of the cake -- mostly to hide my bad frosting skills!

Happy holidays!


Susan Huber said...

I see you are allergic to many of the items my daughter is, such as rice and potatoes, in addition to wheat, barley, etc. I was wondering how you eat this cake, if you are using Brown rice flour? Also, do you know if a potato allergy is the same for red or white. Her chart specifies potato (white) but on the foods that were ok, there was only sweet potato, not potato (red) on either. Breakfast is the hardest to find variety to eat. She is allergic to wheat, barley, buckwheat, oats, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapple, eggplant, dairy, eggs...etc. Any help would be so appreciated.

Maggie said...

Cakes looks sooo good. Could I replace the tapioca starch with potato starch? (I'm trying to minimize using tapioca)

Also, is there any way of buying somewhat larger quantities (in the LA/OC area) of potato starch than the Bob's Red Mill 24oz. bags? I seem to be going thru those pretty quick (a couple recipes or so & they're done).
Thanks so much.

Unknown said...

Hi Susan, thanks for your comment. If you see some of the options for flour, you can use Bob's Red Mill gluten free mix, which is what I used. No rice! :)

As far as a potato allergy, I would imagine both red and white contain the same protein that triggers your allergy.

I'm sorry I don't have any breakfast recipes to share with you right now that avoid all your daughter's allergens. I could possibly come up with a custom recipe for you but would need to charge you for my time (which I also did for catering clients). Let me know if you want to discuss further by emailing me at



Food Allergy Queen said...

Maggie, I just looked up substitutions in Rebecca Reilly's book....if you want to substitute out the tapioca, she suggests sweet rice flour instead. Since tapioca is from a root, it most likely has a little more structure to it. You can however switch out potato starch and cornstarch.

Hope that helps!

Food Allergy Queen said...

PS to Maggie. Hm, I am looking for that myself...I've found large sizes of cornstarch at Smart and Final, but not potato starch. I'll look at Costco next time I'm there -- I know Surfas doesn't carry large quantities, but will look into other places in LA since I'm baking a lot lately too.

Maggie said...

If I may volunteer some breakfast ideas for Susan: How about cooked quinoa as a hot breakfast cereal? you can cook it and add fruits, chia seeds (high in omega-3), ground flax, or coconut, that is whatever items that your daughter can tolerate.

If she can eat corn, use corn tortillas to wrap cooked meat, beans, veggies.

For FAQ: Thanks! I will also continue to check around. There might be an ethnic cuisine out there that uses large quantities of potato starch in their recipes.

Food Allergy Queen said...

Maggie, thanks so much for the great quinoa suggestion -- I have not tried using it for hot cereal, but don't see why you couldn't (I've made a baked quinoa pudding (like rice pudding) with it, and it works great)!

Susan, if you've never cooked with quinoa before, be sure to rinse the quinoa really well before cooking -- it tastes very bitter if you don't. And duh, it occurred to me that you could make these corn muffins and use all cornstarch instead of the potato starch. If you have tapioca starch, that would probably add a little more structure but either should work ok. They freeze well too, so you can make a batch ahead and just toast them in the a.m.

I'm working on reorganizing my blog so that the recipes are easier to reference. Whew.

Thanks again Maggie, I so appreciate the extra brains right now! I'm also going to try Asian and Indian stores, let me know if you have any luck. I'm also going to add a discussion board so we can share this info with others.

Maggie said...

By the way, about Bob's Red Mill GF Flour, I heard some Costco's in Phoenix, Arizona area carry 5 lb. bags. Have to check the So Calif. Costco's around here, maybe if we ask alot, they'll stock it for us too.

Devi said...


For breakfast can you use cornflakes for your daughter?


TK said...

I am seeking recipes or suggestions for my household, my eldest daughter is allergic to eggs (whole egg) and my youngest daughter is gluten intolerant. Any clue where I can locate recipes or alternatives that will not have me making two separate full meals for them?

Food Allergy Queen said...

Hi TK, thanks for your note. There are lots of resources for gf recipes out there, here are some places to start. In no particular order:
Robin Ryberg
Karina Allrich Gluten free Goddess
Carol Kicinski
Elana Amsterdam (bases hers on almond flour)
For online shopping:

For the eggs, you can use Ener-G egg replacer, or try 1 TBSP of unsweetened applesauce, or flax seed soaked in water (I'm allergic to flax so don't know the proportions, but vegans use this a lot. I'm sure someone posted a recipe.) Don't be discouraged, there's lots of info out there. Good luck! The FAQ