Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cake One: Rushed Basic Sponge Cake

The thing with gluten free baking, especially if you're new to it, is that it is daunting. Here are some of my favourite excuses not to bake:

1) don't have one of the five kinds of flour I need
2) potentially disappointing results
3) don't have time to follow all the directions (letting ingredients chill or come to room temperature are the ones that get me most often)
4) so many dishes afterwards!
5) having to make some flour blend before starting

But if I am going to make thirty cakes I can't have excuses. I have to have reasons. Frankie has been sleeping poorly and I've been feeling a little worn down. Sounds like an excuse but, like the little Susie Sunshine I am, I turned that frown upside-down and made that excuse into a reason. I made a cake because I had a hard week and I would like to eat a piece of cake.

So I found the simplest recipe I could. It called for a specific flour mix - I just used all purpose/whatever I had. It called for margarine - I only had butter. It called for two eggs - I had one and a brown banana covered in fruit flies that I mashed up. It called for superfine sugar - I have literally never seen, bought, or used that stuff (has anyone?). I just used regular sugar. That's right. I just did it. Because even if you mess up a cake, you have a tasty mess that you can pour icing on.

The instructions said it would take 15 minutes to prep. It took me 17. The instructions said it would take 25 minutes to bake. It took 40. But it was good. And I did it. My first cake.

The recipe said "ice and decorate however you like." I like a little more direction than that, but I just improvised icing. I mixed some icing sugar with a little milk, vanilla extract, and some rum. Then when I went out to take a picture of it in the sun (the next morning) I found some strawberries in my strawberry patch. So I put those on top. Bippity, boppity, boop. Cake.

The recipe came from this book I found at the Book Mark. It's called Gluten-Free Baking and it's by a British fellow named Phil Vickery. He was the head chef at a fancy restaurant in England where he lost and then regained a Michelin star. I haven't made much from it but what I have made has been mixed. This recipe was simple and the cake turned out really moist with a good crumb. I can't find it on his website, but here is his recipe for cupcakes, which is quite similar.

He calls for vegetable glycerine, which I had never used. He claims that it helps gluten free baked goods retain moisture and gives it that cake-y feeling in your mouth. I found it at Planet Organic and it wasn't super expensive.

So that's my first cake. At the end of a long, kinda hard day. A rushed, improvised, barely-made cake.

I'll probably eat this whole thing today.


  1. It looks awesome and yummy...good job!!! I am impressed...truly impressed! :)

  2. i thought you meant the book mark in etobicoke and then i thought i was going to have to tell you that it's gone!

    1. I just noticed that it was gone on my last trip there. I had been going to that bookstore since I will little little and it was on one of the side streets off bloor. I would sit on the old carousel horse they had and make clip clop noises.