Over the past year since my youngest was diagnosed with a wheat allergy, I have tried all sorts of gluten-free flours for baking. Although I’ve had pretty good success with almost all the gluten-free flours I’ve tried, the one flour that has stumped me is coconut flour. Coconut flour does not behave at all like grain flours or nut flours.
I’ve had plenty of coconut flour disasters…including wet and mushy muffins and sunken muffins. You all know how I hate throwing food away. I have to say I had pretty much given up on coconut flour, that is, until Bob’s Red Mill contacted me and asked if I would be interested in developing a recipe using their coconut flour. I responded that I would be interested as long as I could speak to someone in their test kitchen to help me understand how to bake with coconut flour, which they happily obliged.
On my call with Bob’s Red Mill’s test kitchen representative, I discussed all the problems I had baking with coconut flour and asked for tips on proportions for various recipes. I’m not a baker nor am I professionally trained, so it was fascinating to hear how each ingredient in a recipe impacted the final baked result. For example, eggs add structure and height, serving as leavening. Coconut flour contains a lot of fiber and absorbs lots of liquid, so it requires a lot of eggs and liquid. Although a batter using coconut flour might appear dry, at some point, coconut flour reaches its saturation point and then the batter becomes wet and dense.
Some recipes I had seen used 6 eggs to 1/2 cup of coconut flour. I was concerned about the number of eggs used for health reasons, and learned that using egg whites was more important than using the egg yolks. Egg yolks help bind the batter ingredients; however, applesauce or pumpkin puree can be used to replace the yolk (just make sure you do an equal volume substitution).
When I asked about mixing in other gluten-free flours with coconut flour in baking, I was informed that almond flour, brown rice flour and oat flour worked best. If other flours are used in conjunction with coconut flour, then the number of eggs can be reduced.
In addition, I learned that the sweetener used in a recipe counts towards the amount of liquid, so if you reduce the amount of sugar in a baking recipe, then more liquids are needed to substitute for the sugar taken out of the recipe.
In developing my recipes using coconut flour, I followed these tips from Bob’s Red Mill:
- Coconut flour can replace up to 20% of the total flour in a recipe. Liquid will need to be increased by 20% as well.
- Let the batter sit for a few minutes after mixing so the coconut flour can absorb the liquid.
- Always sift coconut flour before using.
- To store baked goods made with significant amounts of coconut flour, wrap loosely in plastic. If no air is allowed to circulate, the baked goods may become soggy.
As I was pondered about what to try making with the coconut flour, I found a recipe clipping in one of my cake cookbooks from years ago called Marbled Pound Cake. I haven’t made marbled cake in ages, but have fond memories of making it for church lunches when I was a girl.
The recipe was originally from “Spago Chocolate,” by Mary Bergin and Judy Gethers. Ms. Bergin was the head pastry chef at Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in Los Angeles, from 1987 to 1992 and is now the head pastry chef at Spago Las Vegas. So, I figured this Marbled Pound Cake recipe had to be pretty good.
I made adjustments to the recipe to make it gluten-free and dairy-free. Instead of all-purpose flour, I used a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch. And in place of buttermilk, I used a mixture of apple cider vinegar and almond milk.
The first time I tried my recipe, my flour mix consisted of coconut flour, almond flour and tapioca flour, plus an extra egg, which resulted in a chocolately cake with a bread pudding like consistency. The second time around, I added some brown rice flour to my flour mix, and cut the extra egg out, which resulted in a finer textured cake. My youngest son hovered nearby and couldn’t wait to get a taste. Eaten warm right out of the oven, these Chocolate Marble Cupcakes earned an “A+” rating from my husband, and all my kids loved them. I made these cupcakes another time for a friend of mine who is allergic to multiple foods and I also brought in some samples to our local natural foods store. My friend was thrilled to be able to eat this cakey treat, and I got a thumbs up from the owner of the natural foods store.
And now for the giveaway! THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Bob’s Red Mill is offering one of my readers a $50 gift card which can be used to purchase any of their products, which include a wide assortment of whole grain flours, cereals, meals, beans and seeds, mixes and gluten-free products. I have been buying Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flours ever since my son was discovered to be allergic to wheat and found them to be of high quality.
One winner will receive up to one (1) $50 Bob’s Red Mill gift card that can be used to purchase products on their site. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited. US Residents only. Must be over 18. Giveaway will end on March 30, 2012 at 11:59PM EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and will have up to 3 days to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
How To Enter:
Required Entry: For a chance to win, leave a comment below telling us what products you would purchase with your Bob’s Red Mill gift card. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win.
You can earn up to six additional entries by doing any of the following. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each additional entry so I know you did it:
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Disclosure: I was provided with samples of Bob’s Red Mill products in order to develop this recipe. However the opinions expressed in this post are my own.
- 1 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ cup sifted almond flour
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ¼ cup sifted coconut flour
- ¾ cup tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- ½ cup sifted cocoa
- ¼ cup dairy-free chocolate chips
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree or applesauce (or 2 egg yolks)
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes until curdled.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.
- In a large bowl, beat together olive oil and sugar until combined. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and beat until mixed in.
- Add flour mixture alternately with "buttermilk," mixing well with each addition.
- Whip egg whites until stiff. Fold into cake batter.
- Remove ⅓ of batter into a bowl. Add cocoa and mix thoroughly. Stir in chocolate chips. Mixture will be stiff and somewhat dry.
- Alternate spoonfuls of regular and chocolate batter into lined muffin tins.
- Use a knife to swirl and marbleize the batter. You can do this by twirling a butter knife in the batter.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove to rack to cool.