March 26, 2011

Penny is One! (gluten-free chiffon cake)

Today was all about Penny.  We woke up in bed together and almost immediately Alex, her older brother, came bounding in.  After a little snuggling Alex snuck off to help John/daddy wrap a present.  Once her gift was opened we rounded out our day with a lot of play time, some picture taking, dress-up, a little baking, a nap (which I also took) and of course singing and the cake ceremony.  Penny was eager to have tastes of frosting and nibbles of cake all morning.  After the actual singing she carefully tasted icing and a little more cake but wanted out of the chair so that she could play once more.  The rest of the cupcake fell to the ground and was quickly devoured by Karmal, our beagle mutt. 
I struggled with choosing a cake to make today but in the end decided to go ahead and give her a little white sugar.  The frosting was decent but nothing to write home about but this chiffon cake came out perfectly.  Ethereally light, just sweet enough and by no means compromised by not having wheat flour in it.  It is a keeper recipe. I plan on making them again for strawberry shortcakes when Michigan finally gets fresh strawberries.  Or maybe I don't have to wait that long and could serve them with rhubarb instead!

Gluten-free Chiffon Cake
This was good frosted but I think it would be best with a fruit compote or sauce or even plain.  Based on the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, please take a look there for a wheat flour version.
 Makes 7 cupcakes

4 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 tablespoons potato starch, not flour
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
a pinch of fine salt
3 eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted but not hot*
2 tablespoons water

*Many coconut oils will give a strong flavor.  I like the expeller pressed oils from Tree of Life and Wilderness Family Naturals, both will give you richness but no strong coconut flavor.

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Set 7 cups on a baking sheet.  You can choose to use oven-safe mugs lined with parchment or unwaxed paper cups to tear away.
-Sift the brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder and salt.  Sift twice more and set aside.
-Separate your eggs.  The yolks should go into a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment and the whites into a clean medium-sized mixing bowl.
-Add three tablespoons of sugar to the yolks and beat with the mixer until pale yellow in color, scrape the sides as needed.
-Beat the whites until they reach soft peaks and then start adding your remaining sugar (3T) bit by bit whisking in between each addition.  This can be done by hand with a balloon whisk or with an electric hand mixer.
-Add the vanilla, water and oil to your beaten yolks and sugar and beat to blend together.  Then add in your sifted dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
-Fold in a third of the beaten egg whites and then after they are incorporated fold in the rest of the whites.  Carefully pour the batter into your prepared cups. 
-Bake for 25-30 minutes, until they pass the toothpick test.  Cooking time may vary depending on your choice of cup.
-After removing the cups from the oven invert them on a cooling rack.  When they are cool run a knife around the inside of the cup and give them a shake to release the cakes.

Penny's perfect lips
Lots of attention from Big Bro today

*More 1st birthday photos on this Flickr set
**To see my chiffon cake history check out these Mead Chiffon Cupcakes. I missed the honey flavor but liked the richer cake that the above recipe had. Perhaps a combination of the two is in order?