Recipe 39: Amazing chocolate cake

December 31, 2010 at 11:12 am | Posted in baking, puddings | Leave a comment
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Do you have any food allergies or intolerances? A question I ask whenever I invite someone for dinner  because when trying to be good host  I try to avoid poisoning people.  Feeding people something that will make them at best feel ill or at worst send them to hospital seems like a bad idea! I believe in accommodating food issues so that people with the issue are not singled out to feel like the odd one out, so I will always try to find something that everyone who is coming for dinner can eat. But on occasions this can be challenging – in early December I cooked dinner for a gang of friends one of whom is avoiding dairy, gluten/wheat and eggs – my general rule is that avoiding one difficult food group is relatively easy… but three gets tricky!

But a challenge is a good thing… and I had the perfect pudding up my sleeve: a chocolate cake that is egg and dairy free and I adapted it to use Doves gluten and wheat free flour. This chocolate cake came to me from my sister (albeit from a book that I had recommended to her) as my littlest niece is allergic to eggs: this book Allergy-Free Cookbook by Alice Sherwood is brilliant – full of recipes that exclude eggs, dairy and gluten/wheat but still taste normal.

Making it: The cake is a relatively simple oil based chocolate cake: it is held together using lots of sugar with vinegar and milk (soya milk if you are making it dairy free) and the chocolate boost is from cocoa – so that avoids the difficulties of finding dairy free chocolate. I used the special flour – just slightly increasing the liquid to account for the additional absorption from the flour. As I was serving this as a pudding I made it in one large tin instead of making it as a layer cake with icing. (The other pudding was a crumble made with gluten-free oats and dairy free margarine.)

Eating it: Nicola had not eaten chocolate cake for a year (since she was told to avoid eggs, dairy, gluten and wheat)  and she was delighted to be able eat the cake (served with swedish glace – a slightly mysterious vegan ice-cream). When I said she could take the remaining cake home with her at the end of the night – it was as if I had given her the best present ever! The cake has a distinctive texture, but it is moist (from the oil) and unless you were told it was allergy free you would not guess – it even rises (unlike many cakes made without the usual ingredients!)

Next time: There will most certainly be a next time – as this cake is amazing! It is brilliant to feed cake to people who can’t normally enjoy cake. In other circumstances its great to ice it with chocolate buttercream icing (and makes a great birthday cake that way). I might think about adding in some additional flavourings to it – perhaps some cinnamon/cardamom to make it even more yummy.

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