My little brother turned 18 on Sunday, and when asked what he wanted for his special dessert, he picked fruit salad. For myself and the rest of the family, who was counting on an excuse to eat something decadent, we decided to make a pound cake.
Flash forward to post-Happy-Birthday-song-and-candles moment when we start digging into the cake and fruit salad. The flavor of the pound cake is delicious; it tastes exactly how I remember a pound cake tasting. There’s almost a sugary crust to the outside, and the flavor of vanilla is strong but not overpowering. Now my sister, who is already prone to choking on small morsels of food almost every time she eats, is sitting next to me. All of a sudden, she starts coughing, like serious coughing fit. My dad shoves a glass of water at her, while the rest of us continue to eat and stare (this happens often, honestly). She claims a piece of cake had lodged itself into her lungs. I’m not entirely sure that that can really happen, but I do believe the dryness of the cake had something to do with the whole episode.
The recipe, which is posted below, calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour. We have an over-abundance of Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour in our pantry (long story), so instead of mixing together our own all-purpose flour, I used Bob’s instead. In my haste to bake a cake at 7:00 on the eve of my brother’s birthday, my mom and I forgot that this flour mixture tends to make baked goods a little drier than normal.
As I watched my sister’s breathing return to normal (and really chewed my pieces of cake so as not to mimic her reaction), I made the connection between the dry cake and the baking flour.
The moral of this story is: The gluten-free kitchen is full of trial and error where baking is concerned. The flour combination you use for cookies may be totally different than for cakes or brownies or muffins. I absolutely love the convenience factor that Bob’s Red Mill (and any premade gluten-free all-purpose flour) provides, but it’s important to remember the science behind baking so you don’t end up choking on your slice of pound cake.
I talked to my mom about what she would recommend using instead of a premade flour mixture, and this was her suggestion: 1 ¾ cup brown rice flour, ¾ cup tapioca flour, and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum.
THE RECIPE: Pound Cake*
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature**
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour desired pan (I used a bundt cake pan).
2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs in one at a time.
4. Add vanilla and salt.
5. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add in flour. You might need to put the electric mixer away (like I did) and use your muscle power so you don’t overmix the batter.
6. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
*Minus the use of gluten-free AP flour, this recipe comes from Martha Stewart.
**Or at least melted and cooled (so as not to scramble the eggs).