By Sheri Silver
(The Nosher via JTA) – To be a gluten-free baker (and eater) years ago was to be a disappointed baker (and eater). Delicious, high-quality gluten-free products were virtually impossible to find, and trying to make gluten-free goods from scratch was equally frustrating since there was little information out there to instruct the home baker.
But today is quite a different story. Blogs, websites, and cookbooks solely devoted to gluten-free baking abound, with no end of tips, recipes, and suggestions for alternative flours, creating flour blends, and duplicate GF (it even has an abbreviation now!) versions of every cookie, bread, and cake imaginable.
No one in my family has celiac disease, or even a gluten sensitivity. But I have found, over the years, that we ALL tend to feel better if we reduce the amount of white and wheat flours in our diet. And while I “could” make my own flour blends for baking, I am a huge fan of what I call the “cup-for-cup” packaged blends that are widely available. These commercially produced blends are meant to be used as an exact substitute for flour in any recipe, and for the most part, you’d never know the difference.
I say “for the most part” because I’ve found the greatest success when using these flours in sturdier baked goods – cookies, quick breads, and denser cakes. Like coffee cake!
Unlike an angel food or layer cake, coffee cake made with a gluten-free blend is virtually undetectable. A generous addition of sour cream provides incredible moistness and you can never go wrong adding in chocolate chips. Instant espresso puts the “coffee” in this cake, and the chocolate streusel topping and cinnamon-sugar is simply a traditional must.
Be sure to make this at least a day in advance to allow the flavors and texture to settle and develop. (You can even make it a month in advance and freeze it!)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 3/4 cups cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant espresso
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.; line a 9-by-9-inch pan with parchment paper (or grease and flour).
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; remove from heat and add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend, the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Stir with a fork, breaking up any large clumps, and spread out onto a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
- Beat the remaining 8 tablespoons butter with the remaining 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream and beat again. Add the remaining 2 cups gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, instant espresso, and a pinch of salt and beat again.
- Spread half the batter into your prepared pan – use a small angled spatula to spread evenly. Top with the cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle with half the chocolate chips. Top with the remaining batter; use a small angled spatula to spread evenly. Top with the streusel and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.
- Bake cake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester tests clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Serves 8-10.
(Sheri Silver is writer of the blog Donuts, Dresses and Dirt (http://sherisilver.com/) – where she shares all of her passions, including baking and cooking, gardening and shopping, and her adventures in and around New York City with her husband and three kids. She is also a regular contributor to Babble Food, Buttoned Up and VRAI Magazine.)
The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.