Recipe Corner: two gluten-free cakes.

by Harry on November 15, 2010

Don’t be put off by the title. I’ve been entertaining students this week — members of my current freshman seminar on Monday, who watched an episode of Freaks and Geeks on campus for which I bought healthy food (after assuring the one who was made nervous by my reference to “healthy” that it would indeed be filling), and 12 members of my 2007 seminar on Friday at my home. One of the 2007 class is now working as a teacher critic/peer mentor in the current class, so she was at both events, and suspects that she has an allergy to gluten. (I hired her to tell me what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong as a teacher, which she is even better at than I imagined, and has time left over to get to know the freshmen, participate in class discussions, etc). I planned to bake one cake for the current class, and two for the 2007 class: and thought I’d just try to do it gluten free.

Working on the principal that of the four main grains corn and rice are far inferior to wheat, it occurred to me that, since oats are superior to wheat, maybe that was the way to go. So I’d try making my cakes with oat flour. My daughter observed that without gluten the rising process might be inhibited, and suggested adding an extra egg or two, and some chemical leavening (no idea whether she’s right about the chemistry, but I thought it worth a try). So I did. Both cakes turned out absolutely delicious — definitely no less good than when made with regular flour. Honestly, if you have a gluten-allergic guest or someone gluten-allergic in the house, these are cakes you’ll be happy to serve to everyone (I was also rather surprised how good the quinoa pasta tasted — as long as you have it pretty al dente, its good). Anyway, here they are:

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