Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BakingLove: Gluten free chocolate cake

Before yesterday, all I knew about buckwheat is that beekeepers like to site their hives next to buckwheat fields so their bees can produce the dark, molasses-like honey that comes from the buckwheat flower.
The name Buckwheat is in itself a little misleading. Buckwheat is not at all related to wheat and is in no way even a grass. The plant is more closely related to rhubarb and sorrel, and is cultivated for it's seeds, which can be milled into flour. Buckwheat is high in magnesium, copper and zinc, which is great for the immune system, and is also a good choice for those with diabetes as it seems to slow the rate at which glucose is absorbed into our systems.
Buckwheat plant
Because Buckwheat is not a grass, the seed or kernel does not contain the gluten protein that some people are allergic to, so I thought I would try it in one of my favorite baked treats: chocolate cake. The recipe on the bag of Buckwheat flour uses peanut butter, but since many folks have nut allergies (and I didn't have any in my cupboard), I scrounged around and came upon a lone can of pumpkin- left over from Thanksgiving- huddling in the corner of my vintage cabinet. Perfect. Pumpkin is full of nutrition and fiber and works well as a fat substitute in baked goods. Here is the recipe I ended up with:

Winter'Rest Farm Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

1 15- 16 ounce can pumpkin puree
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 cups sugar (I used white, but brown would also be fine)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 whole eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup Buckwheat flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the first 4 ingredients and blend well. Add the baking powder, cocoa powder and Buckwheat flour (be careful here, the cocoa and the Buckwheat flour are very powdery, so you may want to cover your mixer for the first few seconds of mixing). Add the chocolate chips and finish mixing, scraping down the sides of the mixer. Pour into an 8" cake pan that has been prepared with pan spray. Bake at 325 for 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. This batter does not rise very much.

I frosted this cake with vanilla buttercream (also gluten-free, obviously):

1   2 pound  bag of 10X sugar
4 oz. salted butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Beat the butter til soft. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix til crumbly, then add the milk. If the buttercream is too stiff, add more milk in small increments. Continue to beat for an additional 5-7 minutes til the buttercream is pale in color.

Try playing around with buckwheat and see what you can do with this very interesting and healthy food product. Substitute all-purpose flour with Buckwheat flour and see what happens! Have fun!

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