Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gluten-Free Birthday

Welcome to birthday week in our household! At various days this week our good friend, my husband, and I will all be celebrating birthdays! This is always one of the busiest weeks of the year, and one of the most fun. Last year we even had a wedding to throw into this week (Happy Anniversary Mike and Kelly!) which made it even busier and even more fun.

I wanted to make our good friend something delicious for her birthday, but she has a lot of allergies and food sensitivities that make baking difficult. My challenge was to find a recipe that is gluten-free, has no nuts (except strangely peanuts are ok,) and no dairy (also no meat, but that’s not a concern for baking.) My first thought was Rice Krispy Treats, but I think I remember our friend mentioning that marshmallows are weird, so I turned to the internet for help. I searched for “gluten-free desserts” and this recipe for Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake popped right up. Sounds weird, I know, but the reviews were all very positive. Plus vegetarians need all the protein they can get, and I know she likes garbanzo beans.

The recipe starts by pulsing garbanzo beans and eggs in a food processor. I don’t have a full sized one, so I just used my mini food processor. I love it and I rarely get to use it. I got that mixture pretty smooth, but I could still see very small chunks of the beans so I kept going and going and going. It never did get completely smooth, so I just decided that there are supposed to be small chunks in the batter. I transferred that into a bowl and used a hand mixer from here on.

I melted chocolate and poured it into the bowl along with sugar and baking powder and mixed it as well as I could. Then it went in a greased and floured pan (I thought this was supposed to be gluten-free!) and into the oven to bake. It smelled just like a chocolate cake baking, not beany or anything:) It came out a little cracked on top, which made me worry that it was too dry, but after it cooled and I flipped it, it looked fine.

I then got out my handy dandy Pampered Chef powdered sugar shaker to dust the top of the cake. It was like one of those silly Jr. High pranks unfolding before me. I’m shaking away, and the whole top falls off and dumps everything onto the cake. Oops! I tried to dump the excess (I’m talking like ½ a cup of powdered sugar just sitting in a mound on my cake) onto a piece of wax paper, but the damage was already done. It’s not like gobs of powdered sugar ruined the taste of the cake, it’s just that I wanted it to look prettier. During that small disaster I neglected to take a picture as I always do when I’m flustered in the kitchen. Of course I was upset afterwards and Brett said, “Things like that just happen to you.” Funny, but not comforting. I guess that’s partially why this blog even exists. We were grateful that this happened on a cake rather than on our French toast last week. That would have been much harder to clean up.

The cake went away to work with Brett (our friend works with him) and I hope that everyone there enjoyed it today. Brett just got home as I was publishing this and he had a sliver for me to taste. It was good! Not beany at all, just like a moist chocolate cake.


Kelly said...

Happy Happy Birthday, Kim!!! :)

Emily said...

Wow this sounds really cool. My cousins have celiac disease, which means they can't eat gluten either. I first became curious about gluten-free baking when they were diagnosed and when it came time to bake one of them a wedding cake. If you are ever looking for another gluten-free recipe check out the black bean brownies at 101 Cookbooks.

Melissa said...

Peanuts are actually a legume, as opposed to tree nuts, like almonds, walnuts, etc. This would explain why your friend can have peanuts, but not tree nuts! I have the same allergy, and after 4 years, my husband STILL comments every time I eat peanuts. LOL

Kim in the Kitchen said...

Thanks for stopping by Melissa!