Gluten-Free. The phrase sends shivers up and down my spine. Veganizing something is pretty easy, but gluten-free baking is a challenge that has been an epic fail in my kitchen more times than I can count.
Gluten is a sticky storage protein that is found in many grains such as wheat, rye, spelt and barley (to name a few). This protein is what gives baked goods their structure and texture, but for people with a gluten allergy, it can cause serious digestive problems and even in extreme cases, anaphylaxis. Scary right?
Gluten free baking is also scary. Textures can end up being grainy, projects crumble their way to the garbage can, not to mention that taste is usually compromised. I’m not sure what possessed me to take one of my mum’s fantastic recipes and make it gluten-free (and vegan – that part’s a given). I must have had a momentary lapse of reason, but this time instead of epic fail – we have a winner! To my all my friends with gluten allergies (I’m surprised how many there are), this one’s for you!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
1/2 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance Butter Sticks)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups organic cane sugar
3 teaspoons egg replacer with 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons xanathan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
vegan chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13 cake pan. I actually used mini loaf pans for mine, but if you do this you will need less baking time.
Cream the margarine with the vegetable oil and sugar. Add the egg replacer and vanilla.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.
Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet. The batter will be thicker than a regular cake batter. Don’t worry. This is normal. Add the grated zucchini.
Scoop the batter into the pan and spread it evenly (like I said, it will be thick, so you will need to spread it around). If you have a real sweet tooth, you can sprinkle the top of the cake with chocolate chips. I chose not to do this, but my mum usually bakes it this way.
Bake for about 40 minutes and test to make sure it’s done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cake is baked, otherwise I might need a few more minutes! If you are using muffin tins or mini loaf pans, you will only need to bake for about 20-25 minutes. Also, if you choose to use muffin tins, I recommend cupcake liners. This is definitely cake and NOT muffin!
This cake is rich and moist, and although the batter had a strong garbanzo bean flavour (the main flour used in Bob’s Red Mill is garbanzo bean) the finished product was delicious – no beans detected!