So I did end up getting side-tracked by another recipe, as per usual, but this one is a winner! But I have to admit that I thought making my own dairy and gluten free sponge cake would be much easier than it actually was. I suppose because so many of the ingredients are already gluten and dairy free it looked like less of a challenge. But after the first two attempts were somewhat disastrous I learned my lesson. It was still pretty fun to do it – however, so don’t get dispirited if you find that you have to try several times to perfect a recipe like me. I found myself closer to success each time I tried until at last I achieved the balance between flavour and texture that had eluded me! It was well worth the effort when I tipped the cakes from their tins onto the cooling rack and saw that I had got the right texture, the right size and the right cooking temperature. It was a bit of a worry waiting for the cakes to cook because looking at the mixture I was certain I was either right or at least so close to it that a tiny tweak would be all I would need. But I wasn’t certain how well I could get them to cook in the new oven. It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. But I probably should have greased the pans a little more than I did.
I am a big fan of sponge cake. But as most of you know sponge cakes are generally put with cream and also generally contain self raising flour. I didn’t want to experiment with gluten free self-raising flour on something as finicky as a sponge cake so I simply took it out and replaced it with a teaspoon of baking powder. I think the cakes rose beautifully, and not to such an extent that it became a problem. I also used cocoa powder instead of chocolate pieces to get the same chocolate flavour. I am learning little by little that Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is not the best for baking. But I bought a large tub of it at Cost Co because of how much I use it in my cooking, so naturally I put it in. As a result differing cocoa powders might bring out a different taste than the Hershey’s, which is rather heavy and bitter. I also used my revised recipe for coconut cream to put on top and between the layers of cake, and according to my official taste tester – my big brother, the coconut flavour is as complimentary as I hoped it would be. I also used a raspberry jam. And I do recommend using jams that are only fifty percent fruit and fifty percent sugar on this cake, as their flavour is much more pure and you get a stronger fruity versus sugar and pectin taste. It also prevents additives and other unwanted things getting in.
Chocolate Sponge Cake with Coconut Cream (g/f, d/f)
Serves: 8-9, Prep: up to 50 mins, Cook: 10-12 mins
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/3 cup arrowroot flour/starch
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Raspberry or berry jam.
- Dairy-free whipped cream.
- Pre-heat your oven to 160°C (I used a fan forced oven) and grease two sponge pans. Place circles of baking paper on their bases and put aside.
- Sift the dry ingredients twice, as the third time you sift them will be into the eggs, put aside.
- Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat them on slow speed for one minute to combine, and then on medium speed for nine minutes until they have practically quadrupled in volume.
- Beat in the caster sugar, a little at a time, making sure each is properly dissolved before adding the next.
- Sift the flour for the third time, in small batches, into the egg mix. It’s very important to make sure each addition is properly folded through or you will get lumps. Sift gently and slowly, making sure not to stir the air out of the mix.
- Pour the batter into the two tins. Be sure not to scrape the bowl too hard or too heavily, as this will cause the dregs to loose their air.
- Cook the sponge cakes for 10-12 minutes, or until they spring back from the edges of the pan and a skewer inserted into their centres comes out clean.
- Immediately tip them out onto a wire rack, covered in baking paper, to cool.
- If you want you cakes perfectly flat cut any parts from the top you see sticking up, otherwise smear the top of one cake with jam and cream and let that be the base. Place the next cake on top, with the flat bottom facing up . Cover this in a layer of jam and cream.
- Refrigerate the cake in a cake carrier or a similar box, to prevent it from drying out and to allow the cream to harden.