Friday, September 20, 2013

Birthday cake (the gluten-free, dairy-free edition)

It's birthday season at our house. Both of the boys were born in September, my husband in October, and my birthday is at the end of December. Since we started avoiding gluten and casein (dairy) almost two years ago, we've figured out lots of ways to eat well without these ingredients. As luck would have it, I already had an almost-flourless chocolate pudding cake in the armamentarium, and it was easy to convert it to a fully gluten free, casein free version.
"Can I lick the knife afterward?"
The kids love this dessert because (a) it's delicious, warm and gooey, and (b) you get to mix it up in the food processor, which makes a terrific racket grinding up the chocolate. I like it because (a) it comes together incredibly fast (you actually steam it in the microwave rather than baking it, so cook time is 4-5 min, rests 10 min, then eat), and (b) it makes a small-ish dessert (about 6-8 servings -- it's rich) to minimize drama over leftover cake.

I  haven't tried it but suspect you could pull off a fully paleo-fied version, substituting in almond flour and sweetener of your choice (date sugar or maple sugar might work well) for the flour and sugar.

We serve this warm with coconut milk ice cream; it would also be incredible with sorbet or just fresh fruit. If you serve it warm, you can't frost or decorate it, but if you cooled it, you could decorate it as a volcano (I'm imagining raspberry puree or strawberry jam as the lava), a turtle (maybe a banana head and legs with raisin eyes?), or anything else you could build around a hemispherical cake.

The recipe is adapted (by me) from Barbara Kafka's cookbook Microwave Gourmet. It was published in the New York Times on April 2, 2008.

Steamed Chocolate Pudding Cake, the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Version
Time: 15 min
Servings: 6-8

2 Tbsp room temperature ghee or coconut oil (original recipe: butter)
8 Tbsp chilled ghee or coconut cream (original recipe: cold butter, in pieces)
8 oz semisweet or dark chocolate
1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c full-fat coconut milk (original recipe: heavy cream)
1/3 c gluten-free baking flour, corn flour, or almond meal (original recipe: flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs

1. Use room temperature fat to grease a 4-cup microwave-safe bowl.
2. Put the chocolate in a food processor and grind it (note: LOUD!), 

then add the cold ghee/coconut oil and sugar.
Process until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

3. Pour into the greased bowl

and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 min, or until just set. Remove, pierce the plastic with the tip of a sharp knife, and cover with a heavy plate.
Let it rest for 10 min. (It keeps cooking during this time, so don't skip this step!)
4. Unmold onto a serving plate and serve warm or cold.

Cake and ice cream! Birthday ultra classic.

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