Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cake

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted something and I feel really bad about that. I have been swept up in exams (biochem and plant physiology) and also prepping for my wine tasting class takes a lot of time out of my week. My Wednesdays (Winesdays, I think they should be called) are pretty much shot. I do take some time in the weekends for myself, such as going to the fair with my friends, which was a great stress reliever. There's nothing like getting on pseudo death-trap rides and screaming your head off to blow off some steam. I also went to Grape Day at a local winery, Llano Estacado, which produces some great wines. I tried their new sparkling red wine, which was amazing. I have never had sparkling red wine before, just white wines, so it was a unique experience.

I have been wanting to post a recipe for a while now, but lately I have been making easy, non blog-worthy recipes. Mainly turkey burgers without the bread piled with lettuce and tomato and just a salad and/or steamed vegetables. Not too interesting. I also ate at the fair over the weekend (giant smoked turkey legs!) and have gone out a couple of times. I decided to spend some one-on-one time with myself in the kitchen to prepare something I could snack on for the rest of the week. I am getting in a rut with the snacks, mainly nut butters with apples, some other fresh fruit, or dried fruit with unsalted nuts. Boring. I bought coconut flour a few weeks ago to try and make this recipe for coconut bread. It was pretty good, but I probably could have used more moisture. That could have been perhaps a function of the fact that I live in a very arid climate. I tried to take pictures, but the slices kept falling apart. I liked the flavor at least, so I will keep working on it. From this recipe, however, I learned that if you are working with coconut flour, you should always sift it because if you don't, the clumps won't work out in the batter.

I have been wanting to try more Paleo/Primal/gluten-free sweets. I don't usually crave sweets too often, but I do like to have people over and I want to prepare recipes for dinner that will make them feel as if they are eating a normal meal. The main course is the easy part, desserts aren't. So, I found a recipe for brownies made with coconut flour and I thought they'd be worth a try (especially since I had a canister of coconut flour I needed to use!). These aren't strictly Paleo or Primal because they do use chocolate that has sugar but if you are having a fierce chocolate craving I think these would be really helpful because they will get you through the craving without abandoning your hard work.

The recipe I adapted this cake from was derived from a recipe for coconut flour brownies from the blog Always Order Dessert. After reading the reviews from the recipe I thought it would be a nice one to try. I was so surprised how fluffy the batter became because the coconut bread I made several weeks ago had a stiff batter I had to spread in the pan. I was even more surprised that when I cut into the warm brownies, the crumb was so delicate, almost like a boxed cake mix! It was more cohesive than the bread I made a few weeks ago, too. I must admit, you can sense these brownies have more fiber in them than a can feel it when you chew...but it's completely tolerable. There's no overpowering coconut flavor, rather it melds with the vanilla rum and chocolate. They're just sweet enough, too. I did have to make a few alterations to the original recipe because 1) I was not going to buy a 9-inch pan just for one recipe, so I used my 8-inch pan, which resulted in my need to increase the cooking time, and 2) as an afterthought I saw that the recipe called for extra large eggs, and I only had sort of irregularly-sized "large" free-range eggs. So I looked up the equivalent volume of large vs. extra large and in the end added 4 large eggs, which was a cup once scrambled together. I think eggs are your friend when baking with coconut flour because it does not contain gluten protein to keep the cake together the way wheat-based cakes do.

Even with the alterations, I think this recipe worked out incredibly well. The recipe said that the texture would become fudgier once cooled, and I did not observe that; they remained cake-like, but perhaps a little more damp (in a good way). Perhaps it is because they are much thicker than if they were cooked in a smaller pan. Even with my adaptations, I think this recipe is definitely worth keeping.

Though it's not necessary, I would like to think of something to frost this cake with. I was thinking of whipping ganache (melted chocolate and cream) with the addition of a little of the vanilla rum.

Another note on coconut flour: I would store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Also, once your baked good is completely cool, store it in the fridge as well. The coconut bread I made went sour within a couple of days, which could have been delayed had I not stored it at room temperature. These are little things you learn by trial and error.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cake
Printable Recipe

1 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter (Challenge butter has become my favorite because it comes from cows not treated with hormones)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons vanilla rum
3/4 cup light agave nectar
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
3. Cut the butter into chunks and melt over medium heat. Stir in the chocolate chips until they melt and set aside to cool slightly while preparing the wet ingredients.
4. Whisk the eggs and add in the rum, agave nectar, and oil. Slowly blend in the chocolate mixture.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. The mixture may seize slightly, at which you should start adding the water in several intervals until it is all incorporated and absorbed by the dry ingredients.
6. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the outside edge is set (it will not pull away from the edge of the pan), the top is firm, and there is only the slightest hint of wobble in the center.
7. Allow the pan to cool about 10 minutes before lifting the cake out by the parchment, peel away the parchment and leave to cool until you're ready to serve. May be served warm or cold.

Labels: , , , , ,