Gluten-Free Wackiness…

Well, as I mentioned yesterday my latest wheat-free baking was inedible.  I tried a classic wacky cake recipe.  If you’ve never baked Wacky Cake (and can have wheat) google the recipe and give it a go!  I grew up on Wacky Cake and it’s great.  Traditionally it’s chocolate, and the recipe was apparently developed in the Depression during food rationing.  Wacky Cake requires no eggs, no milk, and no butter.  It’s great for vegetarians, people allergic to eggs, lactose intolerance…. great cake.  Also, there’s no dirty dishes!  You put all the ingredients directly into the cake pan and stir it with a fork, so it’s perfect for kids.

I checked out a few websites and decided to substitute sorghum flour, potato flour and tapioca starch for the flour.  I also added 1/2 a teaspoon of xanthan gum to “capture” the air from the leavening.

They came out very flat.  I think part of the problem is I was TOO CONFIDENT since I’d baked this so many times before.  Traditional wheat Wacky Cake is VERY forgiving – I’ve even made it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (because I was out of veggie oil), Hot Chocolate Mix (because I was out of cocoa) and Malt Vinegar (because I had no white vinegar)..AND..I baked it in a loaf pan.  It still tasted good!  As a result I threw in a couple of handfuls of ground hazelnuts – I think this made the texture too course and allowed the air to escape.

I think I also need more xanthan gum, to capture the air.  The chocolate chips I threw in sank right to the bottom, the texture of the cupcakes was very crumbly and the bottoms were oily.  Everything separated.  The nice thing is, Wacky Cake is very cheap to make!

I picked up the America’s Test Kitchen Annual cooking magazine – a “best of” thing and there was a great recipe for Guinness Beef Stew.  I going to christen our slow cooker with it – though I can’t get hold of one bottle of Guinness!  I have to buy a whole six-pack and neither myself nor my sweetie are beer drinkers.  Also, I don’t know if Guiness has wheat.  I picked up a single large bottle of an English Ale – St. Peter’s Organic – which is apparently wheat-free, so I’ll try that.

I should get off the computer now, as I start my new job at the hardware store in the morning!




6 responses to “Gluten-Free Wackiness…

  1. Oh no! I’m sorry they didn’t work out 😦 Did you stir them much? I’ve discovered with vegan baking that you can only really stir until things are just mixed or they can get flat and a bit tough. Also, if you toss your choc chips in some (rice or other GF) flour first it helps them stick to batter so they don’t sink.

    Keep the experiments coming! As disheartening as it can get, it’s always wonderful when you finally crack it!

  2. Ah! Nice tip about the chips!

    It is possible I stirred to much – I’m still used to wheat flour.
    Fortunately, Wacky Cake is cheap so I think I’ll throw together another batch tomorrow as I have a day off. I think I’ll skip the chips just so that if it doesn’t work I know it isn’t the chips wrecking it. I’ll put them on top when the cakes are baked and still hot – they should melt enough to spread! 😀

    I will eliminate the hazelnuts and up the xanthan gum to one teaspoon.
    Should I stick with the sorghum/potato/tapioca blend?


  3. Good luck! I hope it goes well. Not sure on the GF blend, I haven’t done much GF baking. I think potato flour though is quite fine and might make things pasty (maybe,lol).

  4. Hmmmm… that sounds logical. I’m trying to do without Bob’s Red Mill GF baking flour because it’s main ingredient is chickpea flour – which gives everything a gren-bean aftertaste.
    The only other mix I’ve found in my area is a brand called Celimix, and almost all their mixes have Hydroxy Methylcellulose. It is a heart medication that is sometimes used in foods for texture (it’s in ALL freeze pops, for example). My heart is quite sensitive to it and I get severe bouts of palapatations. So – gonna stay away from that!


  5. Wow! That sounds like a scary ingredient! I think I’d be staying away from it too.

  6. AAaah! Actually an update on that: the ingredient in the freezepops (I double-checked) is CARBoxy methylcellulose. The Celimix has HYDRoxy methylcellulose.

    Not really sure what the difference is, but the only Celimix I bought idn’t have it in – playing it safe until I find out the difference.

    Those sorts of things CAN be the difference between night and day, though. I do nail extensions and nail art as a hobby, and ethyl methacrylate is the industry standard and is totally safe. Methyl methacrylate is as good as BANNED – VERY dangerous.

    Gotta get more info

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