I used to love baking. And then 2 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. The only cure for this auto-immune disease is to eliminate all sources of wheat and gluten from your diet. Forever. End of. Boo. While the world of gluten-free eating and products has come a long way, baking for me remains a source of frustration. There are good flour blends that are available in the stores that do the best they can. The key, for most baking, is capturing a good rise and bake. Without gluten (strands as Paul Hollywood bangs on about) rise and lightness in bakes is difficult. Difficult but not impossible.
About a year and a half ago I baked the recipe of a good friend. Nick Coffer of My Daddy Cooks had blogged his Muddy Flourless Chocolate Cake and featured the same recipe in his first cookbook. I baked it with a bit of trepidation the first time. I hadn’t really worked with ground almonds before but biting into that first slice of this fudgy, delightful piece of heaven convinced me that it was a brilliant replacement for standard GF flour. Ground almonds aren’t the answer for everything but they most definitely are for this cake.
This past week saw the return of The Great British Bake Off on the BBC. GBBO has achieved a cult-like status. Twitter and Facebook are awash in conversation about the bakes and the hairstyles and the tears. Everyone has started polishing their piping nozzles in anticipation of the next Technical Challenge from Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. I wish I had 1/8 of the talent of the contestants on these shows but I don’t so I will enjoy watching the shows every week and will repeatedly wipe the drool from my chin as I gaze in admiration at the bakers creations.
Some very talented blogger friends of mine are hoping to bring out the baker in all of us by starting up the Great Bloggers Bake Off in our happy little community. Jenny Paulin and Helen Jessup are our very own Jenny Berry and Helen Hollywood and are inspiring us to get in our kitchens and commence to baking! Saturday I did just that! I can’t claim credit for the recipe as it comes from Nick (link above) so it’s not really fair for me to publish his recipe here but pop on over to his site for the ingredients and method and even a brilliant video to see how it’s done! Here is how it went in my kitchen, however. Suffice it to say, the result was pretty damn awesome!
After I had taken the cakes out of the oven I worried that I had over-baked it. This recipe is best slightly under-baked if possible. I chose to add fresh strawberries and homemade ganache to drench the sandwich halves and hopefully retain some of the moisture. My method worked! The layers were fudgy and lovely just as before. The strawberries added that extra panache to bring the whole thing together.
It’s definitely not your conventional sponge sandwich cake but it is pretty damn tasty and rather decadent which is good enough in my book. Please peruse Nick Coffer’s My Daddy Cooks for ingredients and method. This cake is one of my “go to” cakes that is both a crowd pleaser and easy bake all while remaining gluten-free! Wish me luck on next week’s challenge…it’s the Coeliac Holy Grail…bread!
Oh and after tasting a few bites of my cake, Ella declared me the best “maker caker” in the world. That’s praise enough for me!