Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gluten Free Carob Cake (Faux Chocolate Cake)

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UPDATE: Added a vegan version at the bottom

Years ago, carob was traditionally used as a sweetener in Lebanese baking.  To this day, many Lebanese love mixing carob molasses and sesame butter (tahini) to make a delicious sweet bite after a meal.  The molasses is made by soaking the carob pods in  water and reducing the extract to make a thick syrup.
Carob cake is a very traditional dessert made in the mountains of Lebanon, especially the area called "the District of Carob" (Iqleem el Kharoob) which is south of Beirut, in the Chouf Mountains.

 

This carob cake, however, is not the traditional recipe.  It has the reputation in my household as the other chocolate cake!  It smells and tastes quite close to chocolate, although die hard chocoholics would certainly disagree. You be the judge! The recipe has progressed from being vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free to the just the latter two.  It began as an experiment to come up with a dessert for the kids that was sugar free/grain free/chocolate free and vegan.  THAT feat was accomplished, and then in the past month was morphed to yet another great cake.  I hope you try it and let me know what you think.




Gluten Free Carob Cake (my faux chocolate cake)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup carob powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick ghee (or butter), softened
3 eggs (I used small fresh eggs) or 2 extra large eggs
1/4 cup pear purée
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp carob molasses (you can get it from any Mediterranean market) 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk the ghee (butter) and agave until they form a smooth ribbon.  Add eggs one at a time and continue mixing to completely incorporate for about a  minute. Add pear purée and almond butter and blend all together.  Sift all the dry ingredients and fold into the liquid ingredients.  Pour the batter in a cake pan ( I used a 6"x2" round).  Bake at 325˚F for 35-45 minutes depending on your oven.

Vegan Version of the Cake

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup carob powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp flax seed meal
2 tbsp lucuma powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon zest
6 tbsp apple sauce or pear purée
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/2-3/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325˚F.
Sift all dry ingredients in a large bowl and incorporate well with a whisk. In another bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients without the water.  Add wet to dry and mix until well blended. Add 1/2 cup of the hot water and whisk.  If too thick add another 1/4 cup.  Pour batter in a cake pan and bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

* If you like using xanthan gum or guar gum, you can add 1/2 teaspoon to the dry mix.



11 comments:

  1. Love this cake. I've never used carob powder as in Cyprus we get the carob syrup instead, but I've made cakes using it and I love it.

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  2. Thanks Ivy, this is really a favorite cake in our house

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  3. I've just whisked all the ingredients together and thought the batter was a bit too runny. I poured the batter into a cupcake pan and now it is running over the edge of the pan in the oven and making a BIG, smokey mess! Did this ever happened to you with this particular recipe? Does your batter also look very liquid? Maybe I shouldn't have tried cupcakes? Thank you for any suggestion you can offer.

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  4. Can you please post the vegan substitutions?

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  5. Hi Regina,

    So sorry it's taking me this long to reply. The batter should not be runny like yours was. It usually looks like a cake batter, flowing and a bit thick. Try mixing the eggs to a foamy consistency. Also the butter or ghee should not be melted, but room temperature.

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  6. HI Anonymous,

    I will post one soon. Thank you for the suggestion. :)

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  7. Could you recommend a vegan frosting for this? I am going to make this for my son's birthday but looking for something a little more traditional as far as having a frosted topping.

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  8. Hi Anonymous, I used this recipe for my kids brays and made it into cupcakes. I made a frosting using Spectrum non-hydrogenated margarine mixed with a sweet creme that I made from almond milk, agave and sweet rice flour or cornstarch to thicken it, vanilla and lemon zest. I did not write it down but here are approximated directions (although i've made a bunch of times since the bdays). For the creme: I cup almond milk, 1/2 cup agave, 1 tbsp vanilla, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour , pinch salt- blend these first in a blender, then place on medium heat until it's creamy and thick.. then in a mixer whip the creme with the margarine (1 1/2cup) until all blended. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking. Refrigerates well too.
    As another option, if you can have sugar, you can make a simple frosting by using Spectrum shortening with powdered sugar, vanilla, and a splash of almond milk following the same amounts as in a regular recipe. Good luck, let me know how it works for you. Email me if you need more help, that way I respond in a more timely manner :))

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  9. OOps... and Anonymous, if you haven't made that creme recipe yet, I forgot to add the one egg in there. That goes in there with the rest of them in the blender. Sorry :)

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  10. looks great!
    is the vegan version intentionally almond-butter-free, or is that a type-o?
    thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous. Thanks for catching that, it's a typo. The almond butter helps it emulsify better. You can also use sunflower seed butter or cashew butter.

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