Gluten-free, Vegan Cake Experiment #1

So, I am by no means a “healthy” baker by nature.

My mom is gluten, dairy & soy free, so I have to give props here to the woman.  She is CREATIVE with her recipes.  She has been healthy/alternative baking for years now, and I get to reap the fruits of her past experiments & failures.  She’s a pro with things like Xanthan gum, chia eggs, potato starch and rice milk and has spent countless hours trying to make her recipes appeal to those with “normal” tastes.

From my own limited experiences, gluten free means heavy, dense, grainy or crumbly.  Not ideal for my kind of baking or decorating.  My mom though, she’s taken recipes and tweaked them to the point where they are actually TASTY, and has come up with her own secret mix of gluten free flour that is waaaaay better than the store bought stuff.

She’s taken recipes that I’ve known all my life and experimented with them, changes them to fit her needs, and last year she took my favorite Toba Garret chocolate cake recipe and started changing it.  The result after multiple tries (mom, if you’re reading this, how many WAS it?) became the one I tried this week.

So first, let me tell you about the grody chia egg. Shudder.  Chia seeds have always skeeved me out at the bottom of kombucha drinks.  They remind me of frog eggs.  Dry, they seem OK:

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To make a chia egg, you have to soak them.  Then they look like toad eggs:

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But, I admit, the toad eggs don’t taste like anything, and they provide the “egg” in this recipe.  I think that next time, I need to puree the “egg” so that it’s less seedy, but it worked out fine.

Instead of buttermilk, I used almond milk with a little vinegar to curdle it and make it look chunky.  The fat in it was solidified coconut oil.  Sugar was brown sugar and coconut sugar.  I honestly prefer using coconut sugar in place of white sugar in my chocolate cake recipes–I think that the coconut sugar brings out the chocolate flavor better than even coffee does.  It’s also less sweet, so it brings out the flavor and bitterness off the cocoa.

The batter turned out just fine– exactly what you think cake batter should look like, and the baked product (while not as puffy and round as my regular recipe)  looked and smelled fantastic:



It was a flat, rich, moist layer and I made 3 of them to make up for the flatness of it.  I didn’t need to level off, I didn’t need to cut it down or remove the dry edges like a normal cake.  When I frosted it (with a butter cream made out of vegan butter and vegetable shortening, sugar and chocolate), it may have been the easiest cake to frost ever.  The frosting was a bit melty so I refrigerated it between frostings and I smoothed it out with a damp paper towel while it was still cold.

Since it was meant to be vegan, I avoided my normal decorating tactics since fondant contains gelatin in some cases and I have no idea what’s in gum paste… I settled on a simple border and sprinkled pure chocolate sprinkles on top:





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