Friends are for Experimentingby Jennifer Higgins on 10/28/10
Sunday, May 30, 2010
It might have been easy for me to go Paleo because I've never really liked baking. I did the whole homemade wholegrain bread thing and mountains of "healthy" muffins for play groups. I never liked it. Didn't like all the stirring, the messy flour everywhere and the sticky dough in the bowl that has to be washed out. Give me vegetables to chop and meat to roast and I'll cook all day, but baking? Nahh. At this point though, it is really important for my household to remain grain-free (and potato starch-free and rice flour-free and free of all the other crap in gluten-free mixes). I also like to keep my troops happy (when appropriate) and I love to use food to celebrate important moments in life, SO baking delicious things has a place in my world.
If you read advice on cooking for others or hosting dinners I think it is generally accepted that busting out an experimental concoction is not recommended. I do get the good sense in that, having made some pretty disgusting stuff in my time. But I feel like it is a test of your friends and families' character to use them as guinea pigs. I feel as though if you have someone in your life that seems like "good folks" then they will tolerate and perhaps, on occasion, benefit from kitchen experiments.
Last week it was Crandall's birthday. Crandall absolutely qualifies as good folks, so I though it was safe to experiment on a birthday cake. Plus I had extra insurance because I knew he'd be worn out from lifting a whole bunch of heavy weights beforehand, so there was a chance his judgement would be impaired. Plus, Crandall then qualifies as a Power Athlete so full-fat dairy is in his Paleo cupboard which makes desserts a reasonable undertaking.
Experimental, Chocolate-Coconut Birthday Cake
1/4c coconut oil
1/4c coconut butter (I use half oil and half butter to cut the noticeable after-taste of straight coconut oil)
1 1/2T vanilla
1 1/4c Rapadura (this is a specific sweetener. It is dehydrated crushed sugar cane. Sucanat is NOT THE SAME.)
3/8 cup RAW (I used Vivapura brand) cacao powder
1/4c coconut milk
scant 3/4c SIFTED coconut flour
3/4t aluminum-free baking powder
Melt coconut butter and oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cacao powder, Rapadura and coconut milk and mix together. Remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl, mix together eggs and salt. Stir in cocoa mixture. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and whisk into batter until there are no lumps. Pour batter into greased 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
This time when I made the cake I topped it with hard-whipped heavy cream (I add 1T Dr. Bernard Jensen's gelatin dissolved in 2T hot water to the cream) mixed with shredded coconut, and 6T maple syrup. However, it turns out this cake, because of all the eggs and coconut flour, is like a firm sponge cake. It is a little bit on the dry side (sorry Crandall). It has a firm, even texture and is not at all crumbly like a cake. Next time I will make a hot cherry or raspberry fruit compote. Then I will slice the cake thinly and pour the hot fruit sauce over the cake and then put a little whipped cream on top. This will make it more like a traditional trifle and this cake recipe will hold up perfectly for it.