Monday, September 26, 2011

Whipped Cream Cake

I apologize for the lack of pictures - my digital camera appears to have grown legs.  Guess that just means I'll have to make this cake again later, and add pictures of the second incarnation.  Tragic!

My oldest daughter asked for a white cake for her birthday.  I let my fingers do the walking through a host of old cookbooks, and was eventually led back via All Cakes Considered to An American Woman's Cookbook, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer.  It took a little tweaking to get a working gluten free version, but it's a spectacularly light and delightful cake.


A note on gluten-free all-purpose flour:  All flours are not created equal.  This recipe really requires a cake flour, so avoid Bob's Red Mill (trust me), or anything that contains bean flour.  I like Tom Sawyer, especially in this case, though King Arthur would be a close second.  Since Tom Sawyer contains some xanthan gum, I only added a little bit.  If your flour does not contain xanthan gum, you'll need to adjust upward - probably an additional 1 1/2 tsp.



Whipped Cream Cake

2 c. heavy cream (40% is best, if you can find it.  Pure unhomogenized Jersey cream, to be truly decadent)
4 eggs plus 1 egg white
2 c. vanilla sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 c. gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

This recipe benefits from a little mise en place.  So take a moment at the start to measure the sugar into one bowl.  Measure the dry ingredients into a second bowl, and sift them together three times.  Put the bowl and whist attachment for your mixer in the freezer.   Place the eggs and the white into yet another bowl and beat them until pale and frothy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9" pans with cooking spray, place parchment paper circles in the bottoms, and spray the parchment paper.  Set aside.

By now your mixer bowl should be good and cold.  Place it on the mixer stand and snap the whisk in place.  Whip the cream until it holds it's shape - about like you'd use as a dessert topping.  Be careful whipping ultrapasteurized cream - it goes from "not quite there" to "butter" in moments.  Don't be afraid to stop the mixer and check periodically.    Pour in the eggs, then whip more.  The mixture becomes light and foamy, with larger bubbles popping as the whisk revolves.  Add the sugar and extracts and mix a few moments more.  Scrape down the bowl, add the dry ingredients, and mix at medium speed until well combined.  

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake together on the center rack of your oven until golden brown and pulling away from sides of pan.  Check with a toothpick for doneness.  Keep in mind that this cake is VERY susceptible to falling in the center if it's underdone or if you're opening and shutting the oven door too much.  So DON'T.  Don't open it at all until you can see through the little window (that's what it's there for!) that the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Cool 15 minutes in pans, invert, remove parchment, and cool completely.

This cake goes really well with a number of frostings.  I used a standard American buttercream (with almond extract instead of vanilla).  7-minute Icing or a nice milk chocolate ganache would also work well.

Enjoy!



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