March 21, 2007

Chocolate Chestnut Cake - Gluten Free

My daughter is turning eight and I've been gearing up for the big event. The birthday party with party favors and the all important birthday cake. For my children, their cake is thought about and planned months ahead of time.

What shape shall my daughter challenge me with this year? I've done the space shuttle, G.I. Joe strategically placed behind a tree, Spirit and Rain (from the movie, Spirit), a fairy garden, a knight's castle and many others. When I asked my daughter what she wanted her cake to be like, she said a dolphin. Okay, I can do it...however I need a recipe for the cake first.

Pen in hand and my lovely sheltie note paper in front of me, I got to work on a draft recipe. I consulted a couple of recipe books for more information on leavening agents (The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and the Fanny Farmer Cookbook). The Cake Bible has a "Special Section" that discusses the various leavening agents, liquids, and cocoa versus chocolate in cakes. Then I double checked my choices and made recipe #1. After the taste test, I went back to Rose's book to read more. Recipe #2 was crafted, baked and was promptly deemed in need of work by my trusty crew of taste testers.

I tweaked the recipe again and while it baked, we watched a movie. All of us patiently waiting for the all important taste test. When the timer went off, I pulled the cake out of the oven and the aroma was simply lovely.


2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup chestnut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup + 1 Tb buttermilk or sour milk*
1/4 cup +1 Tb cocoa powder
2/3 cup cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp kudzu/kuzu powder, dissolved in 1 Tb of buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, softened

*To make sour milk - add 1 1/2 tsp of white vinegar to a 1/2 cup of milk or cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 6" spring form pan with parchment paper.

Place the softened butter into the bowl of your mixer and beat until fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and blend. Slowly add the eggs, buttermilk and the dissolved kudzu and blend. In a separate bowl, place all of the dry ingredients and mix. Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Scrape down the sides and blend again. Pour the cake batter into the parchment paper lined spring form pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a bamboo skewer comes out clean.

The cake came out beautifully. I topped it off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. How did it taste? My son and I thought it was wonderful. My daughter wasn't so thrilled with the powdered sugar, but she thought the cake tasted pretty good.

Now, to plan out that dolphin....

If you'd like to learn more about Rose Levy Beranbaum, visit her websites, and