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Dairy free and Gluten Free Cakes that taste good


beacheschef
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I've been asked to bake a wedding cake for a bride that has gluten and dairy allergies. Only one layer of the cake will be made for her; with the rest of the cake made with regular ingredients and recipes.

Any recipes I've made have not been good - with my most recent attempt the texture was crumbly and the cake fell apart when turned out of the pan.

Can anyone provide me with some guidance?

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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IF ... she can eat almonds and eggs ... then you might want to look at some variety of Hungarian/Viennese sponge where the yolks and whites are whipped separately, with sugar and flavorings in the case of the yolks. They are then folded together and a small amount of starch crumbs are folded in ... can be flour or cake crumbs, but it can also be almond 'flour' by itself. The resulting sponge is delightfully tasty, and can even be very, very lightly syruped.

I prefer this type of layer actually ... but in any event, it is a "real" cake that has been developed and used for a couple hundred years ... it is not a stab at 'backwards-logicking' a cake that is, in part, dependent on wheat gluten for its rise and texture.

Regards,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Have you tried any mochi cakes? These are a type of japanese cake made with sweet rice flour (mochiko).

I've included a few links below, the brownie mochi cake is definitely very good and the texture is somewhat like a genoise.

--Michelle

http://eats.pinjing.net/2010/04/05/mochi-brownie-two-bites/

http://foodlibrarian.blogspot.com/2010/03/matcha-mochi-cupcakes-happy-st-patricks.html

http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/2010/02/red-bean-mochi-loaf.html

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I'm on a gluten-free diet, and dairy free goes along right with it. I belong to a yahoo chat group called sillyyaks. you might want to join the group and search and browse their archives and/or ask questions of the group. I find gluten-free baking to be very hard and most of the cakes I have made taste like pound cakes. There are some gluten free flour mixes out there that are supposed to be very good. I can't get any in my area so have no recommendations. I have also tried some gluten-free cake mixes like Pamela's which was good for gluten-free. Betty Crocker has gluten-free cake mix that you can find in your regular grocery store. If you choose to go the gluten-free cake mix route, be careful, because some of them like BC only make a single layer.

there are also several gluten-free baking blogs out there. I think one of the best is gluten-free girl and the chef.

The sillyyaks also recommend a number of gluten-free baking books, but I don't know the names of any of the authors because I haven't invested in any of them. Your best bet may be to get a premade gluten-free flour mix like BetterBatter and use it in your cake recipe just as you would use regular flour. And then perhaps substitute almond or rice milk for the diary portion. If using such a flour mix, you may have to add xanthum gum as well.

Again, this is all out of my league as I have no been courageous enough to do any heavy duty gluten free baking.

Please also be very careful of cross-contamination when baking your gluten-free cake. I would bake the cake first thing in the morning in a clean kitchen before you start using any of your other flours. Some of us can be extremely sensitive to cross-contamination.

Good luck!

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hey, i am part of a gluten free dairy free group that i bake for all the time. For my dairy i use an herbalife product called protein drink mix. When mixed with water its like a vanilla milk but its a soy isolate. Its also 15g of protein per serving although the heat of baking denatures that so its a lude point. If you want a recipe or if you want to buy a bottle let me know. I have a couple recipes i can share. 6162937299

Omar

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I recently looked at the cookbook from NYC bakery Babycakes. It was mostly gluten-free & vegan recipes, without too many odd ingredients. You might want to check it out: http://www.amazon.com/BabyCakes-Gluten-Free-Sugar-Free-Recipes-Talked-About/dp/0307408833

I didn't bake from it, so I can't vouch for the taste, but the photos looked great & the bakery apparently has quite a following.

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Most of my family are gluten intolerant, and one of them is lactose intolerant too.

I'm curious that you have used the word 'allergy' rather than the more common term 'intolerant' - is this intentional? The majority of the world's population is lactose intolerant, so depending on geography it's very common, but a dairy allergy is quite different and potentially more serious. Are you sure it's a full allergy?

The first part- gluten. Gluten is pretty easy to work around, because gluten basically means wheat. So avoid wheat flours and you're avoiding gluten- I suggest using almond meal instead, which is very common in European cakes. Personally I prefer baking with almond meal to wheat flour anyway- I love the texture, flavour, richness and moistness that almond meal brings to a cake, although you can't do a simple 1:1 replacement with wheat flour because almond meal is much heavier. You can also use Hazelnut meal (more expensive but can give your cake a subtle nutella flavour), or even chestnut meal. Any recipe that says it's "flourless" will be gluten free, and the majority will use a nut-meal to replace the flour. A long time ago when I was working in a bakery I was accosted by an angry customer who was under the impression that gluten was a synthetic chemical that was added to bread to artificially improve it. He wanted to know why we couldn't just leave it out. I had to explain that gluten is a natural part of wheat flour and in order to leave out the gluten we would have to leave out the flour, and that there wouldn't be much left to bake...

If the bride is truly allergic to dairy then you can try simple nut-meal cakes such as this one. I made it the other day and it was delicious - although I used 8 eggs instead of 6, and added a splash of orange juice before folding in the egg whites as the mix was very dry.

As I said earlier, lactose intolerance is very common and not as serious as a full dairy allergy, it means that the body lacks the enzyme lactase (not a typo- lactase digests lactose. No lactase = lactose intolerance). You can buy liquid lactase to add to dairy products which allows lactose intolerant people to enjoy dairy foods normally. Not all dairy foods contain lactose - butter is low, hard cheese is very low and natural yoghurt is low- REAL yoghurt also contains natural lactase which means people who are lactose intolerant can usually enjoy yoghurt without any problems. So a lactose intolerant person can enjoy a cake made with butter.

Unfortunately this issue has been complicated by modern manufacturing processes. Yoghurt, butter and sour cream- made traditionally- are low in lactose. But some modern industrial techniques can make sour cream and yoghurt that are high in lactose- they don't actually use a culture, they just add a synthetic tart taste and thickeners. So look for yoghurts and sour creams that are labelled "natural" and check the ingredients for a culture.

So if the bride is not fully allergic but is lactose intolerant, then the simplest solution is to buy liquid lactase from a pharmacy and add it to any milk that you might be using. Butter should be fine but you could even look for a European style cultured butter just to be doubly sure. Or else use natural yoghurt (many devil's food cakes use yoghurt) or even try cultured buttermilk instead of normal dairy milk.

But even if the bride is fully allergic to dairy products then there are many nut-meal cake recipes around - such as the one above - that only use eggs, sugar and nut meal. Searching on Google for an almond cake or a hazelnut cake will get you started.

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Thank you all for your replys. I'm still testing recipes, as I haven't been happy with the cakes I've made so far. I'm using different non-wheat products, such as tapioca and potato starch, garbanzo flour and sorghum flour. Liquids are either soy milk or coconut milk, and fat is either oil or palm oil shortening. The idea about using kosher recipes is great - as I've made a couple of good tasting kosher cakes for customers years ago.

As for whether the bride is allergic vs intolerant - I haven't asked that specific question. I do appreciate your views, as the difference in terminology could change how I bake for her.

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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Hi there.

I bake gluten free sometimes and vegan sometimes. In fact my most recent blog entry is for a gluten-free muffin. http://eatthelove.blogspot.com/2010/05/kiwi-lime-marmalade-filled-muffins.html

Here are my recommendations: If you are looking for a cake that is suitable for a wedding, and don't want to go with anything exotic (mochi) or super european (almond meal - which IS a great alternative but might not be a traditional wedding cake that your client is looking for) use a mix of:

2 cups of superfine brown rice flour

2/3 cups potato starch (NOT potato flour - that's something different),

1/3 tapioca flour.

It super important you use a superfine brown rice flour or the cake will be gritty. I found that Bob's Red Mill brown flour is too coarse. Authentic Foods is probably ground the finest. This combination is probably the best recipe to simulate white wheat flour.

For every 1 cup of this wheat free flour that you use, add 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum for making a cake. This is SUPER important. It's why your cakes were crumbly in the beginning. You need something to bind the ingredients together (which is what the gluten is suppose to do).

I would actually stay away from both the gluten free pre-mix flours, as they often times have garbanzo bean or fava bean flour in them, both which can impart a bitter taste to the baked good. It's not so noticeable in cookies and muffins, but for a cake, they will be more pronounced.

As for substituting dairy, soy, almond, rice or hemp milk all work. Butter usually isn't a problem if they are lactose intolerant but if they are lactose allergic (as someone ChrisZ explained earlier) you'll want to avoid it. Try non-hydrogenated refined coconut oil. It has a similar mouth feel to butter. Be sure to get refined coconut oil. The unrefined oil tastes like coconut (which isn't a bad thing if you like coconut, but if you don't want that flavor - go with refined).

I highly recommend checking out the Babycakes Cookbook that Hungry C recommends, though a lot of their recipes call for spelt flour which wheat allergic people can tolerate, but gluten allergic people can not. Better yet, check out Cybele Pascal's book The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. It's probably an invaluable cookbook for baking for people with allergens of all sort. Once you create a wedding cake for someone who is gluten/dairy allergic, word will spread in the "gluten free, allergen free"community and you'll probably end up with people asking you for more. Cybele Pascal's book is an excellent resource and a good starter book for baking for people with food sensititivities.

Finally, be sure when you are making the cake that you are aware of cross contaminations. Depending on how sensitive your client is, any speck of wheat or gluten that can migrate into the batter could potentially be an issue. Basically just make sure you clean all your equipment thoroughly. Also check the label of all ingredients. For instance Trader Joe's almond meal doesn't have any gluten ingredients in it (in fact, it's labelled as such) but is processed on equipment that is shared with wheat and dairy. That could be a problem.

This could also be a problem when stacking the layers of the cake. If they are truly dairy allergic, you may want to make the entire frosting out of a dairy alternative fat, so there isn't any cake frosting cross contamination. Also be aware that gluten free cakes tend to be not rise as much (I always use more 1 1/2x the leavening agent in the original recipe to compensate) and potentially might be more delicate and fragile. In other words, you might not want to make it your bottom layer!

Gluten free Blogs and resources to check out:

http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/

http://www.cybelepascal.com/

http://www.elanaspantry.com/

http://thedaringkitchen.com/forums/daring-kitchen/alternative-baking

Good luck! I hope this helps.

My blog: http://www.eatthelove.com

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Thank you so much for such a clear, thorough post. This has been a learning experience for me, as I work with new ingredients. I was surprised to see that my baking powder had gluten in it - but it made me realize that I have to read every label carefully.

It's funny how you mentioned word getting around in the gluten-free / dairy free community. I've worked with customers who had other (sometimes major) food sensitivities and was able to experience firsthand that "word getting around" effect. If I come up with a couple of good recipes with these restrictions, I expect some new customers, and have had caterers tell me they're also interested in these products.

I've seen recipes with sweet rice flour and brown rice flour. Can you explain the difference?

Again - thanks for your information. I will check out the books you recommended, as well.

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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Can I take a vanilla butter cake recipe and modify it to make it dairy and gluten free?

Specifically:

replace the cake and AP flour with an equal amount of your non-gluten mixture

2 cups of superfine brown rice flour

2/3 cups potato starch (NOT potato flour - that's something different),

1/3 tapioca flour.

use 1 1/2 times the amount of baking powder

add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of "flour"

replace the butter with vegetable shortening in equal amounts - organic palm oil or refined coconut oil. Would this be a better substitute than margarine? (I was told margarine is OK for this bride)

Sugar,salt and vanilla would remain the same.

Egg whites would remain the same, as the bride can tolerate eggs.

Milk would be replaced with coconut milk or soy milk in equal amounts.

For the buttercream, margarine would replace butter in an Italian meringue buttercream.

If these substitutions won't produce the desired result, please let me know why!

Thanks

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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Hi there.

Sweet Rice flour, brown rice flour and white rice flour are all different. Brown rice flour and white rice flour are fairly interchangeable, but I've found that you don't necessarily need to have as fine a ground flour with the white rice flour. I used Bob's Red Mill white flour because it's very easy to find at the local grocery store, while I try to avoid using Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour as it's too coarse and tastes a bit gritty (other's might disagree, but I can tell the difference).

Both brown and white rice flour are basically uncooked rice, ground to a powder. Just as there is a difference in brown rice and white rice, you'll find a difference in the flours as well (though I don't think it's as pronounced as the whole grain rices, the brown rice flour does have a faint hint of nuttiness from the brown rice. It's very subtle though).

Sweet rice flour is made from a different rice grain, called glutinous rice. It's very starchy. If you have ever been to a Chinese dim sum brunch, the sticky rice that comes wrapped in a banana/bamboo leaf is glutinous rice. Glutinous rice flour is what you use to make mochi. I have a post on my blog where I make mochi, and talk a little bit about sweet rice flour. My linkhttp://eatthelove.blogspot.com/2010/03/mochi-mochi.htmll You can find it in Asian grocery stores for really cheap (I think my 2 lb bag was 95¢ or something like that, and that was at my expensive asian store, not the ghetto cheap one I sometimes frequent). You can use sweet rice flour (it's gluten-free) for baked goods, but only if the recipe is designed specifically for it. I wouldn't use it as substitute for the gluten free flour mixture I cite above.

As for the recipe and substitution, in theory you should be able to substitute the gluten free flour mixture that I gave you for AP flour, but I would experiment with it first. If you don't want to waste too many ingredients in making cake layers, I would cut the recipe in 1/2 or 1/4 (whatever is convenient for your recipe measurements) and make cupcakes. That way you can test the recipe without as much waste.

Keep in mind, because of the grind of the flours, one cup of the gluten free flour isn't necessarily going to equate to one cup of the AP flour. To be exact, I would substitute by weight instead of volume. That way you know you are getting an exact substitution.

Finally, I am not a personal fan of margarine, because I find the "buttery" taste too artificial (at least for the cheap supermarket margarines). That said, I think it's very much a personal thing. I have had success baking with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, but other than that, I tend to stay away from most margarines (If you go the margarine/shortening route, pick a higher end one that is trans-free and non hydrogenated like Earth Balance or Spectrum Organic). Otherwise, I've had good experiences with the refined coconut oil. I can't comment on plain palm oil, as I've never used it as is (only as part of a blend in other shortenings or margarine sticks).

And yes, make sure to read ALL the ingredients list. Wheat and gluten pop up EVERYWHERE. Once you start paying attention you realize it's quite pervasive. I baked kosher for passover recently and my jewish friend also didn't eat kitniyot which mean I couldn't use any leaveners NOR could I use any soy, rice or corn. It was a fun challenge. I ended using coconut oil and coconut milk.

In the end, have fun with the different flours. I recently have been experimenting with sorghum flour and find it's a great substitute as well for baked goods (I've only made brownies and blondies with it so far). The GF flour recipe I gave you is a really good standard mix, that a lot of people use, mostly because it's fairly neutral in flavor, and the ingredients are easy to come by. But once you start exploring different flours, you'll find your palette of flavors expand exponentially.

If you really want to start exploring alternative flours, I highly recommend a recently released book called Good to the Grain, Baking with Whole Grain Flours, by Kim Boyce. She's a former pastry baker at Spago (working under Sherry Yard, who I LOVE) and Campanile and each chapter of the book is broken down into chapters that deal with different flours (from millet to sorghum to amaranth to teff). It doesn't specifically have any recipes for gluten free baking, but it's a great resource for learning about gluten free (and alternative) flours.

And, yes, word gets around! I started baking vegan and gluten free for a few friends, and now it's pretty much expected that whenever I have an event, I will have desserts that EVERYONE can enjoy. I don't mind, but it's rather amusing how tight knit the community can be. And it's a fun challenge!

Good luck!

My linkhttp://www.eatthelove.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't forgotten about this - just have been sidetracked with weddings the past few weeks. I'll be back to experimenting this week.

I realized that I have a neighbor who is a great cook whose daughter has Celiac - and borrowed a gluten free cookbook from him. I'm going to take the information you gave me about flour substitutes and play with some recipes in his cookbook to see what I can make.

Sorghum flour has an odd, more pronounced flavor in vanilla cakes. I liked the taste of the rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch better.

Will post more once I've made more test cakes.

Again - thanks for your help!

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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My mother inlaw has been sensitive to gluten for years and she has been having great success with bread and dessert recipes from the CIA cooks gluten free cook book. She has a few books but has been having the best luck with the CIA book.

I have tried modifying a few of my recipes with oat flour with some success. If the recipe called for 1 cup AP I substitute 3/4 cup oat flour. The oat flour gives my brownies a texture that emulates extra fine coconut as well as a coconut flavour and my brownies seem to be that much better with it!

You have to be careful with oat flour as they are often milled on equipment that wheat flour is milled on and if the client is allergic it might be a concern. Luckily my mother inlaw has not been diagnosed as being allergic so she says she is fine with the oat flour. (Thank goodness :smile: )

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I'm following this post closely as my kids are allergic to eggs, wheat and soy, and one of them is also allergic to nuts and dairy... interested to know what you've been able to tinker.

I don't know if you've tried any of the mixes available but if it is only one layer and you run out of time to experiment (or to sort of know what to aim for), the ones made by Cherrybrook Kitchen work well and the only thing artificial in them is xanthan gum.

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  • 1 month later...

In the past few weeks I have made a couple of test cakes using different recipes and ingredients to see if I could find a vanilla cake that had a good taste and decent texture. These are some of the better results. The cakes I baked that were specifically written as gluten-free recipes were disappointing, so I decided to use my own recipes - modified. I used the following non-gluten mixture in place of the flour in a couple of my own recipes (gluten free flour recipe compliments of JackHonky)

MIX 1

2 cups of superfine brown rice flour

2/3 cups potato starch (NOT potato flour - that's something different),

1/3 tapioca flour.

use 1 1/2 times the amount of baking powder

add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of "flour"

MIX 2

and used this recipe as a replacement for flour in the second cake recipes (the recipe was originally credited to David Lebovitz)

33% Superfine brown rice flour

33% Tapioca Flour

33% Sweet Rice Flour

use 1 tsp. xanthan gum per cup

I baked two of my own recipes - a butter cake and a chiffon cake. Each flour substitute was used as a replacement in both recipes and compared.

For the butter cake - using MIX 1, Rice Milk for the milk and Coconut Oil in place of the butter (bride can't have dairy)

The cake tasted OK - not a lot of taste and was greasy on the bottom, with a crust on top.

For the butter cake - using MIX 1 - changing white rice flour for brown rice flour, Rice Milk for milk and Margarine for the butter.

The cake was dense and had a gummy texture, but wasn't greasy. Was the Coconut oil causing the greasy bottom?

For the chiffon cake - using MIX 2 - this cake had the densest texture, more like a bread than cake. The taste was good - less sweet than the

butter cake recipes above.

For the chiffon cake - using MIX 1 - this cake was best overall with both taste and texture.

When cake samples were given to people to taste and offer feedback, they fell into one of two groups. They either liked the butter cakes best because they were moister and sweeter or they liked the chiffon cakes better because they were lighter and not so sweet. Few people complained that the cakes tasted "weird" or "gluten free".

BUT - THERE'S A NEW TWIST IN THE SAGA - the bride cannot have potato. No potato starch, no potato flour.

So - What would be a good substitute for potato starch in the first non-gluten flour recipe? Could I use some white rice flour?

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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BUT - THERE'S A NEW TWIST IN THE SAGA - the bride cannot have potato. No potato starch, no potato flour.

So - What would be a good substitute for potato starch in the first non-gluten flour recipe? Could I use some white rice flour?

Ack!

You could try using cornstarch to replace the potato starch...

Karen Dar Woon

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The writer of Cannelle et Vanille blog was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance relatively recently, so she has a number of gluten-free recipes on her website. Including this one http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/2010/05/soaked-lemon-poppy-seed-and-olive-oil.html . It's more like a pound cake in terms of texture (at least it seems so from the picture), but it meets all your requirements--gluten-free, dairy-free, and potato-free. She made them into cupcakes, so I don't know how it would work as a square or round cake.

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