Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

My mom developed an autoimmune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis almost 20 years ago. It was difficult for her to manage for the first few years, but she eventually found out that a gluten-free diet helps her manage her symptoms almost as well as her medication. It was a little devastating at first as my mom and I are huge bakers.

Gluten-free flour is different that regular flour. It changes the texture and the shelf-life. Baked products have a tendency to get hard within a day or so and can also become quite crumbly. We were so cautious about baking with it to the point where we never actually tried.

Since I’ve started ratio baking, I’ve wondered how it might enable me to bake for her. Instead of relying on recipes that are not always accurate, I have ratios and weights that I can play with so I can get closer to my intended goal. It was a bit of a winding journey to get to this particular ratio recipe, but it was well worth it.

The Long Instruction

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your desired cake or muffin tins with parchment paper or simply greased liberally.

Step 2: Decide how much fat you want to use. For my mom’s cake, I unintentionally made a 2-layer 8-inch round cake because I forgot a stick of butter is roughly equivalent to 2 large eggs and produces a 2-layer 8-inch round cake.

Step 3: Weigh the eggs. Since you want the eggs to provide structure, make sure the eggs weigh a little more than the butter. It doesn’t have to be by much, but should be within 20%. As I mentioned in my previous post, I mostly used egg yolks as I didn’t want any of the airiness that comes with egg whites. For my mom’s cake, I ended up using 5 egg yolks and 1 egg white. I very quickly learned yolks don’t actually weigh a lot.

Step 4: Weigh the sugar. Sugar provides tenderness, so it shouldn’t weigh more than twice the weight of the fat and definitely not more than twice the weight of the eggs. Since I planned on adding chocolate chips, I cut the sugar a little more than I needed to.

Step 5: Weigh the cocoa powder and flour. Start with the cocoa powder and then add the flour so, combined, they weigh about the same as twice the weight of the eggs. Add baking powder (1 tsp per cup of flour, or 2 tsp if you follow what I did for my mom’s cake), but don’t add it in to the weight.

Step 6: Weigh the liquid. It should weigh about the same as the eggs or slightly less.

Step 7: Cream the fat and sugar until light yellow and fluffy.

Step 8: Add the eggs and a splash of vanilla extract.

Step 9: Add the flour mixture and liquid alternately, mixing well after each addition.

Step 10: (Optional) Mix in chocolate chips.

Step 11: Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Step 12: Have an insanely talented sister-in-law who can make buttercream frosting and decorate to produce a beautiful cake worthy of a very beloved wife, mother, and grandmother.

The Short Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare cake or muffin tins with parchment paper or grease liberally.
  2. Weigh the eggs (more yolks than whites) and fat so they are roughly equivalent, but make sure the eggs weigh more.
  3. Weigh the sugar so it’s a little less than twice the weight of the eggs.
  4. Weigh the cocoa powder and flour so it’s roughly twice the weight of the eggs or slightly more. Add the baking powder.
  5. Weigh the liquid so it’s about the same as the eggs or slightly less.
  6. Cream the sugar and fat until it’s lightly yellow and fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs and a splash of vanilla extract.
  8. Add the dry ingredients and liquid alternately, mixing well after each.
  9. (Optional) Mix in chocolate chips.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  11. Frost and enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake”

  • I think it’s quite admirable that your patience with the process of experiment baking resulted in a recipe that your Mom can enjoy. And, I can totally appreciate step 12 of The Long Instructions. However, the insanely talented baker extraordinaire in my family happens to be my daughter. It’s so nice to be able to reap the benefits from someone else’s expertise, especially when it’s the child you birthed.:)

    • That’s wonderful! I’m hoping one of my kids takes to baking; it would certainly be nice to have someone bake for me, too. Baking is really one of those labors of love despite frustrations now and then.

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