Like a monkey with a miniature cymbal…

After my Ocado indulgence last week, this week I got down to trialling some gluten free vanilla cake recipes with the flours. In the interest of keeping the testing about the flavour and texture, I decided to bake 2 x 6 inch round cakes for each flour type. This gave a decent amount of cake to chop up and thrust at unsuspecting victims taste testers and is the same amount of batter required for 1 x 8 inch round, so is easily scaled up/down as necessary.  Each cake was split and filled with a thin layer of vanilla swiss meringue buttercream then dusted with a little icing sugar. I made some notes whilst baking then took the cakes to work for my colleagues to trial them. They were deposited in the staff room in two batches (cakes 1-4 on Tuesday and cakes 5-7 on Friday) and left with feedback sheets. Honesty was encouraged 😉

I scouted the internet for a suitable looking recipe for each flour, made any necessary alterations such as trying to scale up or down according to what I thought would be suitable for the tins and swapping out ingredients for flavour or simply because I didn’t quite have the right ones! Because the different flours have different properties such as moisture absorption and ability to form crumb structure, I decided against using one particular recipe and just swapping out the flours however I am going to tinker with the winner some more before posting my finalised version at the end of the month. Bear with me guys as I have listed the links to the original recipes, changes and feedback from each cake below so this is quite a long post. Feel free to scroll past if you just want to know the winner for the week!

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Tuesdays Cakes: 

Cake 1Coconut Flour

  • Changes to original recipe

Amount increased by half again and baked in 2 x 6 inch round, deep cake tins.

  • Thoughts on Baking

Lots of eggs, very moist, easy to determine when baked, right amount for 2 x 6inch cakes, slight fall back on cooling but no dip, pale colour, no crusting.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

Bland; odd taste and texture, too moist; moist like a muffin, tad salty; too wet; tastes OK, looks too wet; not much flavour but a nice texture; no; coconutty- quite good; looks stodgy, wet; too moist; stodgy and wet, not nice taste, smells of fish; spat out, weird/bad texture, put in bin; salty, too wet; salty but I like it; moist, looks very nice, looks moist; like it, very moist, coconutty, madeira like consistency; bit wet; not too bad, very moist; not too keen

Cake 2Yellow Cake (White Rice Flour)

  • Changes to original recipe

Used a white/brown flour mix (Doves) as I bought it thinking it was just white, used full fat milk, baked in 2 x 6 inch round, deep cake tins.

  • Thoughts on Baking

Pale colour, slight crust and slightly dry, quite domed, looks ‘cake like’, needed more mix for tin size.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

Taste not too bad, hard texture; madeira texture; too dry; a bit dry but nice flavour; dry; bit dry but good taste; dense, not as nice texture as 3; dense, nope awful; dry; not at all bad; dry, bread-like consistency, sweet, light & fluffy appearance; dry, bread like; salty, drier mixture; bit dry; dry; slightly drier; good but too dry; second best.

Cake 3White Cake (Brown Rice Flour)

  • Changes to original recipe

Halved all amounts, used half milk/half Greek yoghurt in place of buttermilk (didn’t have any buttermilk in!), replaced almond extract with extra vanilla extract, baked in 2 x 6 inch cake tins.

  • Thoughts on Baking

Darkish outer colour, very thin crust, little rise, slightly scruffy looking from the outside, soft (too soft to cover with fondant?), moist centre.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

Lovely, moist, just right; taste fine, texture nice, best one, no. 3 wins; Victoria sponge style, fave; perfect; AMAZING!! v.moist; yes, nicest; lovely; looks best; like flavour; looks nice and airy, like; nice, definitely best; very delicious; soft, not dry, flavour light; balance of 1 & 2; lovely texture, moist; Goldilocks; really light, very nice and tasty; best out of the four cakes; fantastic, would love a big piece.

Cake 4Gram Flour (Chickpea)

  • Changes to original recipe

Halved all amounts, replaced xylitol with an equal amount of caster sugar, replaced the lemon juice with full fat milk, omitted the lemon zest baked in 2 x 6 inch round cake tins.

  • Thoughts on Baking

Smelled of dried beans whilst mixing, and the batter tasted vile! (First time I’ve not licked the bowl at the end!) Smelled much better when baked, actually needed to use original quantities of mix for the size of the tins.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

Slightly salty taste; salty/soda taste; muffin texture, salty & chemically; too salty; it’s a no from me! Strange flavour; no, funny taste; bit sawdusty but OK; awful; ergh, spat out; bit rubbery, bitter; salty; odd/peculiar; heavy, like it but heavy; chapati-like! Tastes nice but too floury; odd flavour; not a nice taste; horrible, don’t make it again, left a horrible taste in my mouth; distasteful; disgusting; 0, yuk, slimy.

Out of these it was evident early on that the clear favourite was cake 3 whilst the clear loser was cake 4. With that in mind, I baked another couple from the other flours and then re-made cake 3 but bought some buttermilk this time!

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Friday’s Cakes:

Cake 5Buckwheat Cake

  • Changes to original recipe

None

  • Thoughts on Baking

Smelled delicious, a little dense, medium crust.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

OK; dry/crumbly, tastes nice; quite dense, OK, not sweet enough, funny texture, flavour OK, didn’t like texture; crumbly, 5/10; too dense, like bread; dry, not sweet enough; very reasonable; not too bad; I liked it, a bit dry; not too bad.

Cake 6Quinoa Flour

  • Changes to original recipe

Used Greek yoghurt, used 2 tsp vanilla extract and made up to 1 1/4 cups with full fat milk, swapped Stevia for 3/4 cup caster sugar, omitted butter flavour, baked in 2 x 6 inch round tins.

  • Thoughts on Baking

Pale bake, ‘smoky’ smell to both flour and finished cake.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

Yuk; heavy, tastes OK; not nice, don’t like- grassy, bad taste; sticky looking, tastes earthy, not tasty, bland; nutty; tastes like cabbage; not nice at all; didn’t like (heavy); not nice.

Cake 7White Cake (Revisited)

  • Changes to original recipe

Halved recipe and baked in 2 x 6 inch round cake tins

  • Thoughts on Baking

As before.

  • Feedback from Colleagues

Good; was spot on (taste and texture); really nice, delicious, yum, mmmmm liked a lot; is fantastic; nice looking, very sweet, dry, no. 3 was lighter and tasted better; nice, nearly there; yummy, 10/10; yummy; nice and texture’s quite lovely, can I have the recipe please; very nice; very nice; must be good it’s all gone!

Sooooo, pretty conclusive, number 3/7 was the winner in this round. Interestingly the version with half milk/yoghurt seemed to have a slight edge over the original buttermilk version. Like I said above, I’ll be revisiting the recipe again before the end of the month so I’ll probably make that one of the variables I change.

Things I learned this week:

  • Research is key! I bought the flours on a whim without having done any reading as to their suitability for cake and could definitely have done without the gram flour and the quinoa flour.
  • Planning is also key! I hadn’t prepared any feedback sheets and I wrote my notes about each cake on scraps of paper that then kept getting lost around the house.  I scrawled out a feedback sheet as I put the cakes in the staff room from a refill pad I picked up as I was flying out of the house on Tuesday morning and the notes all turned up eventually so it was OK in the end but could have been better with a bit of forethought.
  • Preparation is also key! I was hoping to bake 6 cakes on the Monday so the taste test could have been run in full on the Tuesday. Poor set up the night before meant I didn’t actually get anything in the oven until after lunch so it limited the amount of cakes I managed to bake on that day. Hence the 2 days for the trialling.

Next week is all about basic chocolate sponge. I’ve decided against trying each of the flours this time, some are clearly not suitable for any type of cake (looking at YOU gram flour!), whilst others might be better in denser style cakes (I really liked the buckwheat flour but it was definitely out of place in a lightish sponge) so I’ll find something else to bake them in further down the line. Work people, make sure you’re hungry on Tuesday 😉

Cheryl

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‘I’m British, so obviously I repress any powerful emotions of any kind in relation to anything.’

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Author: ACakeAMonth

A long time amateur baker who dreams of being skilled enough to make it a viable job!

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