This cake was inspired by a sweet email from a reader who wanted help in converting a favorite family dessert to gluten free. The recipe looked familiar, but only from old cookbooks. I never made or tasted a cake like this before. Strange, because dessert was a staple growing up.
Known by many names, the recipe was for a classic crazy cake that uses no eggs, milk, or butter. I made the cake using these tips for conversion. The result was okay, but not stellar. No cake went to waist, though. Because any cake can be transformed into something enticing:
Layered with pudding for trifle
Dried into crumbs for toppings or cookie crusts
Mixed with icing or ganache for cake balls
Onto the next step: looking up pics of crazy cakes. It helps to see the texture, after all. The wheaty version of crazy cakes look finely textured and somewhat moist and cohesive, despite having no eggs. The instructions in the variations I looked at called for stirring the batter vigorously until smooth. Makes sense – this would strengthen the gluten and aid in cohesiveness. I started thinking the technique and minimal ingredients of a traditional crazy cake are not conducive to an outstanding gluten free result.
Like I said before, sometimes you have to change a recipe drastically in order to get a similar end result. Crazy, I know. But this cake is really great and I hope it becomes a new family favorite.
A simple and satisfying recipe for chocolate cake. Love the idea of mixing everything in the pan? Go right ahead. Sure, a little cake will stick to the sides of the pan, but that just makes cleanup more palatable.
- 1 cup gluten free flour*
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk (hemp, coconut, or dairy)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup hot water (or coffee)
- Ganache icing
- 1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, combine gf flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum, and salt.
In a large cup, combine milk, vinegar, egg, oil, and vanilla.
Add liquid ingredients to dry and blend thoroughly. Stir hot water into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted is mostly clean.
Make a simple ganache by heating 1/3 cup coconut milk just to a boil. Pour hot milk over 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate). Let sit for a few minutes before stirring. Refrigerate to thicken. Top cooled cake with ganache as needed. Sprinkle extra cake crumbs on top of ganache for a Brooklyn Blackout effect.
Using ganache is the easiest way to ice a cake. Versatile, too. The photo above shows ganache poured over cake immediately after blending chocolate with heated coconut milk. Glossy and runny. I refrigerated the same batch of ganache briefly before topping cake at top of post.
Cake crumbs, cookie crumbs, nuts, and chocolate chips are just a few things you could sprinkle atop icing. Great for covering icing mistakes or accidental tastings.