Thursday, January 6, 2011

Post-Kid Kitchen: Cake for No Reason


Before Westley was born, I almost never baked anything. Rob enjoys baking, and was our resident baker. I, on the other hand, am a little freaked out by anything - like baking - that requires precise measuring. Still, the charm of fresh, home-baked desserts is hard to resist. I made a "half-year anniversary" cake when Rob and I had been married six months, and I baked for each of our birthdays, but that was about it. Certainly no random afternoon baking projects in the middle of the week. Lately however, I sometimes just want to wish Westley "Happy Thursday," and find myself breaking out the cookie sheets and cake pans.

Of course, gluten- and soy-freeing everything has made baking even more of a challenge. When I follow a recipe, I usually get pretty good results, but sometimes I'm tempted to experiment and work with what I have. The following No-Reason Cake was one of those experiments. It turned out tasty, but very, very crumbly. I didn't use any xanthan gum, and this cake probably would've benefitted from it. However, I think the xanthan gum-less version would work brilliantly as cupcakes, where structural integrity is somewhat less of an issue.


Chocolate Chip Cake for No Reason

1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 Tbsp flax seed meal
1/3 cup peanut flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
(I use Enjoy Life brand)

Preheat oven to 350 F and spray 8"x8" square baking pan with canola oil.

In a large mixing bowl combine almond milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix with an electric mixer to combine. Add tapioca flour and flax seed meal and mix until everything is nicely emulsified. Add the remaining flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix really, really throughly (a couple minutes should do it). Fold in chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted through the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.


I covered the cake with a batch of Rich Chocolate Ganache Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, substituting almond milk for the soy. I'm not sure this cake needed anything on top of it, though! The end result was very rich (and so not good for you!). The strangest thing was that the peanut flour made the cake batter smell super peanut-buttery, but the end result just tasted like rich, delicious vanilla cake!