June 30, 2007

Cola Cake - Gluten Free

Happy Fourth of July!

My family was together last week at my parent’s beach house. They have a home that is made for sharing family time. The type of house that is happier the more people it has in it and positively elated when filled with children squealing and laughing as they play hide and seek.

Their kitchen has enough space that we can all work at the counters together. Building memories and creating nourishment for our bodies. When we’re done we pile up at the long kitchen table to eat and share stories.

We crank up the grill for hamburgers, hot dogs and the Red Snapper a friend caught in the Gulf of Mexico the day before. Then we talk about going to the beach and what type of ice cream we bought to cool us down. The talk moves to what type of dessert we’re going to have with our ice cream and I’m nominated to do the baking as the one gluten-free member of the family. I decide on a Southern classic, the Cola Cake which makes the all the kids scream with laughter. “You can make a cake with a cola?” they cry. The adults all talk at once and agree that it’s the right dessert since none of us has had one in years.

My source of inspiration was the Coca Cola Cake recipe from Southern Living Magazine. I made my modifications to the recipe and selected which gluten free flours I was going to use. For the Cola Cake, you can use any cola from Boylan's Natural Cane Cola to the more traditional Coca Cola.

I chose to use kudzu (kuzu) powder as my binding agent. Normally, I create a slurry with one tablespoon of liquid to one tablespoon of crushed kudzu powder. This time I gelled the kuzu slurry by putting it in the microwave for ten seconds. The kuzu gel was still soft enough to be mashed and worked into cream.

As I’m working on the cake batter the children crowd around the countertop to check on my progress. Amazed at the way the cola and baking soda bubble together, just like their volcano experiments. Laughing they ask for my left over cola and take the greatest care in dividing it so each of them can have a little.


Cola Cake

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup + 1 Tb cocoa powder
1 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 Tb crushed kudzu powder
1 cup Cola
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cola Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup Cola
3 Tb cocoa powder
16 0z (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 Tb vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans for topping

Cola Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, so that the bottom and sides are covered.

2. Measure out ½ cup of milk and pour in 1 ½ tsp of white vinegar to make the sour milk. Allow the sour milk to sit until needed later. Remove 2 Tb of the sour milk and pour it into a small bowl with the 1 Tb of kudzu powder. Stir the kudzu and sour milk together. Then place the small bowl into the microwave for 10 seconds or until a soft gel forms. Remove from the microwave and stir the gel until it has a soft creamy consistency. Set the kudzu gel to one side until it is needed later.

3. In a medium sized bowl, dump in all the flours, soda, and cocoa powder. Stir together.

4. Plop the butter into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. Add the cane and Turbinado sugar and mix well. Then pour in the vanilla extract and dump in the eggs. Mix on low speed until combined with the butter and sugar.

5. Alternate between the dry ingredients and sour milk until the both are added to the mixing bowl using low speed. Plop in the kudzu gel and mix together. Slowly add the cola to the mixture and beat at low speed until it is just mixed together.

6. Pour the cake batter into the 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool before icing.

7. Turn the cake out on to a cake plate or cookie sheet and peel off the parchment paper. Then frost with the Cola Frosting.

Cola Frosting

1. Plop the butter in to a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy.

2. In a medium sized bowl, dump in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and stir together.

3. Alternating between the sugar mixture and the cola, add them to the butter mixing them together using low speed. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low speed.

4. Spread the frosting evenly over the Cola Cake and sprinkle with pecans if desired.

What did my extended family think of my gluten free Cola Cake? The cake received eight votes for being very delicious and something they would want to eat again. It had one vote for liking the cake, but not the icing from my son. My daughter rounded up the voting with two thumbs down for for the whole cake. She preferred mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The cake had a nice texture that was slightly firm and held together when it was broken off with your fork. For nibbling, it stayed together when you were holding in between your fingers.


Allergic Girl said...

what fun deliciousness [minus the pecans for me].
ive seen recipes for coca cola in baked ham i think? with the HQ in atlanta, makes sense cola would find it's way into local southern dishes.

stacy said...

where in the world would someone find kudzu powder? how difficult is it to make? It's not like I can't go and pick it just about anywhere this time of year around here...

Coke always makes me feel sick. I thought I was reacting to some sort of hidden gluten or possible cross-contamination. Maybe it's some other ingredient instead?

Sheltie Girl said...

Allergic Girl - Coca Cola is all across the south and one of the largest employers in Atlanta. You can cook with colas, diet colas and Dr. Pepper which makes a nice glaze for ham.

It was interesting to note how many of us hadn't cook with soft drinks in years. It was a fun trip down memory lane to cook this cake.

Sheltie Girl

Sheltie Girl said...

Hi Stacy - You can purchase kudzu powder/kuzu powder from Eden Foods. (www.edenfoods.com) You can also find it in the Asian section of Whole Foods or I have found it in our local Japanese Market. Kudzu powder is make from the root. It is pulverized washed and dried continuously until you get a nice powder.

I use a variety of alternative binders since I can't tolerate xanthan gum. You could try substituting 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of guar gum for the kudzu powder. The cake will hold together, but the texture will be slightly different.

The information that I have shows that the traditional Coke by Coca Cola is gluten free. You could be reacting to other ingredients in the beverage, such as the carbonated water or the preservative.

Sheltie Girl

Karen said...

Wow- I've never seen something like that before! I htink I'll have to try it sometime soon. Thanks for posting the recipe!


Dianne said...

Wow! That sounds like a whole heap of fun, worth making for the volcanic bubble effect alone. It looks good too


kbabe1968 said...

Sheltie - I'm GOING to try this cake...it looks absolutely amazing. And...well...I am a Coca Cola addict. None of that Pepsicky stuff for me! I'm Red and White or I'm blue all over! :D

Sheltie Girl said...

Karen, Dianne & kbabe1968 - Thank you for all the kind words. The volcano effect is lots of fun even for adults. I hope you enjoy the cake as much as we did.

Sheltie Girl

Megan said...

I had a sudden craving for a Coke Cake the other day and I'm so glad I found this. Before everyone (except me) in my family couldn't eat gluten I used to make a Coke Cake fairly often. I worked at Cracker Barrel in high school and this was my favorite of their desserts.

I use xanthan and gelatin for binding in my recipes (ala Bette Hagman) so I'll be giving this a try with variations really soon!