Friday, 21 September 2012

Seriously Evil Devil's Food Cake (not gluten free)

Nigella Lawson is a goddess.
I have adapted this recipe from her Devil's Food Cake recipe and replaced the eggs and dairy and my goodness it's been a success!
This is the kind of cake that makes chocolate lovers drool. It's so rich the end of a second slice will make you wish you hadn't so soon, but every crumb takes you to a new level eurphoria. 

This cake is super-rich so when making for children I suggest serving it with vanilla icecream, and for adults offering greek yogurt, double cream or creme fraiche (I offered all three at our afternoon tea). But for those of us who can't delve into these dairy-filled delights, I find a good strong cup of tea (or three) accompany it superbly.

I've made it twice now: it worked well as a shaped pirate cake for my nephew's 4th birthday (I added powdered sugar to the icing to stiffen it), 

and a fantastically rich afternoon tea cake beside French Earl Grey tea** for my Grandmother's 75th birthday (a great way for me to use my new cake stand). Unfortunately I have no photos of this occasion... Obviously that means I'll need to bake it again - oh no! :D

Devil's Food Cake
For the cake
- 2.5 tsp psyllium husk
- 7 tbsp boiling water
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100g dark brown sugar
- 250mL boiling water
- 125g dairy, soy free margarine (I use Nuttelex Original)
- 150g caster sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bi-carb (baking soda)
- 2 tsp vanilla

For the frosting
- 125ml water (from your pre-boiled jug is fine)
- 30g dark brown sugar
- 175g dairy, soy-free margarine (again, Nuttelex Original is my preference)
- 300g dark chocolate, chopped (I prefer 85% Lindt Excellence, or 70% if you're after something a little lighter)

1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
2. Prepare your egg substitute: mix 2.5 tsp psyllium husk with 7tbsp boiling water and set aside until needed, stirring every now and again.
3. Use a hand whisk to mix cocoa and brown sugar together, then add boiling water. Set aside.
4. Cream butter substitute and caster sugar (I use my Breville MixMaster so I can start the next few steps while this is happening).
5. Mix together flour, baking powder and bi-carb.
6. When the butter and sugar is pale and fluffy add vanilla whilst still mixing. Add half the egg mixture, and immediately add 1 spoonful of the flour mix. When this is combined, repeat with remaining egg mix and flour.
7. Once combined, gradually add the cocoa mixture.
8. Scrape your bowl with a rubber spatula (I think the most satisfying sensation when cooking is scraping that last little bit out of the bowl - am I crazy?) into TWO baking paper lined cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Leave your cakes for 10-15 before removing from the cake tins and let them cool before icing.

As soon as you bung them in the oven get onto that delicious icing!

1. Place the water, sugar and butter in a small saucepan over low heat to melt, stirring every now and again to combine.
2. Once the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, stirring slowly to all the chocolate to melt. 
3. When melted, hand-whisk your mixture until smooth. Set aside to let cool for an hour (the time it will take for your cake to cook and cool), whisking every now and again.
The icing will be quite runny to begin with, but after the hour will thicken surprisingly.

4. When your cake is cool and your icing is thick smother one half of the cake with about a third of the icing, place the other half on top and cover the whole thing! 


**French Earl Grey is my latest discovery from the new T2 store that's opened in Hobart. All the ladies in my family - except me - love Earl Grey tea, and this is a compromise that both the Earl Grey lovers and haters both adored. It's more fruity than traditional Earl Grey, but less perfumed. 

Bread (not gluten free.. yet)

The week I found out I was dairy, egg and soy intolerant I visited the supermarket on my way home from a very long day. Trying to figure out what I could possibly buy to eat the following morning for breakfast (I was dreading cereal without soy or cows milk - I now use almond milk and love it) I thought fruit toast would make it all better. Until I found soy flour was used to make it. All the brands. So I shrugged it off and went to choose my favourite farm-style bread to toast with honey. Checked the  ingredients just to make sure: soy flour.
Every single bread in this major chain supermarket contained soy flour. ARGGHHHHHH. I just about spat the dummy and had a trantrum my nephews would be proud of with fists waving and feet stomping then and there in isle 1.

BREATHE. I called my mother instead.
And what became of that? The darling woman bought me a bread maker!
A recipe and instruction book came with it with recipes for plain white, wholewheat, fruit loaves and all sorts. Unfortunately many of these contain dairy/egg/soy so they needed to be adapted - but the only one I've tried from there was a big flop so I've left the book for now and done my own hunting.
Ultimately I wanted a bread that was packed with protein and could make a healthy snack on its own. I've found this great Flax and Sunflower Seed recipe that tastes amazing and works every time.

I want to alter this to make a gluten free loaf as well. I've had one go at this so far using hazelnuts and different protein flours but none have yet been successful. I WILL keep trying and will pass on any successes (which will come!).

Flax and Seed Bread
Makes 14 slices (153cal per slice)
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 cup plain four
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup protein flour (Sorghum works great, you can also experiment with others or just halve this between plain and whole wheat flour)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds (I use a coffee grinder but you can buy pre-ground)
- 1/2 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, pepitas, poppy or a blend of any you like!)

Place all ingredients except the whole seeds into your bread maker, give them a mix (my bread maker doesn't mix particularly well) and select a basic cycle for a 0.75kg loaf. Place the seeds in your fruit/nut depositor or add them just before the rising stage begins.