Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just in the nick of time...


Today was Hubby's birthday, and I was tired last night. I wasn't in the mood to measure out the ingredients for the great cake recipe I recently discovered (see "Cake Walk"). Earlier in the day when I was in the supermarket, I eyed the enticing Passover layer cakes on display. I was willing to shell out the nearly $20 asking price for one of these bakery creations that was as attractive as any gluten cake I ever ate, with butter cream swirls and artfully arranged chocolate curls. But I sighed, I would still have to make Rosie an egg less cake, and she would probably complain about not having a store bought one as well. I went home cake less.

In my pantry, I had one last box of cake mix from last year's post Passover half-price buying spree, and contemplated how I can successfully make this gluten-free mix egg less as well. I looked at a recipe in Simply Tempting, which called for using applesauce instead of eggs in the boxed mix. That seemed promising, until I read through the recipe and it said "the cake is crumbly and should be served with a spoon, topped with ice cream or whipped topping". That just wouldn't do for a birthday cake. Then I decided to take my "mad food scientist" pose and just dive in with different ideas from different recipes. The worst that would happen is I would ruin a $2 box of cake mix. So I set to work. The result looked good, it seemed moist and not crumbly, as is the texture of many potato starch cakes. The girls and I frosted the cake with reckless abandon (see pic.). When Hubby bit into it I got the biggest compliment I could hope for, "It tastes like a regular cake." And, basically it did. I believe the baby food fruit is responsible for the nice moist texture.

(blown sideways through cake)

The Ener-G egg substitute is not kosher for Passover, so I tried using potato starch and water as an egg substitute instead. The texture wasn't as moist and was a bit crumbly. But if you need a gluten-free and egg less cake for Passover, along with ease of prep., this is quite a decent option.

Make sure to buy Passover cake mix that is made with potato starch, or says "non-gebrokts". Some companies make their Passover mixes with cake meal, which is finely ground wheat matzo. A lot of companies have caught on to the fact that their passover products appeal to the gluten-free community all year, as such they put the phrase "Gluten-Free" on their product. These items, of course, are o.k. to buy. The recipe below is intended for chocolate or vanilla cake, not for sponge or angel food style cakes.

Moist- from-Mix Gluten-Free and Egg Less Cake

1 box Passover cake mix (made with potato starch) for a 9x9 single layer cake*
water as per package instructions
oil as per package instructions
egg substitute (such as Ener-G) for amount of eggs called for on package*
1- 4 ounce jar baby food apricots, pears or prunes (pears and prunes lend a more neutral flavor, apricots give a slight tang to the cake)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix according to package directions. Bake as directed on box. Cool and frost as desired.

To make a 2 layer cake, use a sharp knife or dental floss to divide cake in two. Using unwaxed, unflavored dental floss, wrap a piece around the cake, directly in the center of the layer. Cross ends over each other, and pull in opposite directions. This splits the cake in two layers perfectly evenly. Fishing wire works well too.

*For use on Passover, substitute 2 teaspoons potato starch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons of water, for each egg called for in recipe.

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