Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Coconut Cake - Gluten free version

Sadly, this is not a recipe I can boast of being GAPS or Paleo/Primal, but it is one that I can praise my good thinking skills on trying, and really enjoy. I've not had a coconut cake like this in years and really needed a treat for myself.

I was poking around the internet after pinning on pinterest a recipe for Coconut Poke Cake, which I am unsure if I can make gluten free or not. But, it made me think about coconut cake, which sent me in search of a recipe, and whether or not you can make cake flour gluten free, then whether or not you can freeze coconut cake or not. That became "I can do this!" and I cracked my first coconut since living overseas in the Caribbean, processed the coconut, let it stand in the fridge for three days before doing more and VOILÁ! I made coconut cake!

Look at it! Is it not glorious?  It is absolutely stinking wonderful!

I do want to let you know that if you have to make this dairy free, it will work - though I have not made this particular cake, I was making a TON of cakes dairy free last year, and it's totally possible with this recipe.  What you do need to keep in mind is that the cake might not rise as much and it may either cook faster, or need a little longer to get completely done.  It just will depend on your butter and your milk substitutes and oven temperatures.  My oven tends to run hot, so I have to keep an eye on everything, especially if I use the fan function rather than top-bottom heat.

  One thing you will find with me is that I view recipes as suggestions unless they are otherwise obvious that you cannot deviate - so you'll find a lot of kitchen chemistry in my recipes that are regular gluten free recipes. I'm still learning Paleo and GAPS, so I'm less likely to play around until I'm sure how it will turn out.

Without further ado, here are the recipes I used, and the tweaks I invented for my cake today.

I based today's recipe off of the recipe for Fresh Coconut Cake by Anna Williams at Epicurious and I found that my glass jar that holds my gluten free flour mix was mysteriously empty, so I went ahead and made new flour mix. I use something that's between Bette Hagman's All Purpose Flour Mix and Carol Fenster's General Baking Mix #1, which can be found here at CSA Celiacs Helping Celiacs.

I couldn't remember the weight measurement of an American stick of butter, so I double checked this site so I was sure not to mess that up. I used the formula at this site with my gluten free flour mix to make it into cake flour. Yes, I really did sift that stuff six times!  I added 1 teaspoon (no more than that!) of guar gum to the entire batter to ensure that it would not have a crumbly texture, but a true glutenous type cake result. If you are baking using UK measurements or EU measurements, you will need this guide for the recipe here today.

   I made a rather valiant attempt at seven minute icing (same recipe on the first link) and it just did not come out and I threw a royal tantrum (mostly tired from this being an all day production and also super hungry!) and sent myself to my room.

I do mean it by this being an all day production. I started at 11am and did not finish this cake until after 8pm.  I felt like this Pixar Chess Player during the entire production:

When I was done being all sullen and upset, I went and made a tweaked version of Wilton's Buttercream Icing.  By tweaked, I mean that I used only 200g of icing sugar, and about 4 tablespoons (I really don't measure this icing any more!) of butter that I'd cut up in tiny bits, and a good splash of milk (no idea how much - I go by sight and texture) and about a cup of dessicated coconut. (again with the guesswork!)  The result was a spreadable mess of icing, without too much trouble.

I refused to ice the whole cake, which you will see below, but it really did pay off in NOT doing so. We cut rather small pieces and will be following these directions to freeze away some of the cake. I'll call my father in law tomorrow and offer him a slice or two before we do that though.  I have more cake to make tomorrow for a birthday party at kindergarten on Thursday morning, and another on Monday. I have a feeling we will end up with a surplus of frozen cupcakes come Monday, but this could be a blessing in disguise.

Leftovers of the cake as it stands tonight:

I hope that you too will feel brave enough to try something like this and enjoy it as we've enjoyed this cake tonight, knowing that you can absolutely have something this wonderful while being gluten free!


  1. Intriguing! Iam about to take the leap into gluten free and I'm so worried about not being able to bake , I will try this! P.s what other uses do we have for guar gum?

    1. I forgot to add that people who don't like guar gum can use xanthan gum, or can try playing around with psyllium husk. The only downfall to xanthan gum is that if you have any allergies to corn, you cannot use it. There's a new version coming out in the USA that is being grown on Tapioca though - which would be OK unless you have mold allergies.

      Princess Poet, I'm still learning all the uses for guar gum, but it - like xanthan gum, is often used to give a "glutenous" type structure to things it's added to, so that it thickens and holds together. I'm finding it used quite often in now gluten free versions of salad dressing, in yoghurt, etc.

      I only use it sparingly in baking. Many recipes will say to use a teaspoon per US Cup, but I use 1 teaspoon per recipe.