By and large, my way of tackling gluten-free baking is simply to exclude flour altogether. And the cakes that result make no apologies for the omission – they stand proudly in their own right and have more than earned their places in my cooking repertoire, as they should in yours.
Chocolate cakes in particular lend themselves to flourless variations – giving a melting, fudgy and damply rich texture. Both my Flourless Chocolate Brownies With Hot Chocolate Sauce and Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake With Margarita Cream are perfect for dessert – their luxuriousness being just the thing for an after-dinner treat. Likewise my Chocolate Olive Oil Cake which, despite having originally been made with a gluten and dairy intolerant dinner guest in mind, I am now proud to serve to all and sundry, especially with some fresh berries and cream alongside.
Another of my dinner party fallbacks is Chocolate Meringue Truffle Cake – very rich and very decadent – and very much gluten-free by virtue of its chewy marshmallowy meringue base.
Nutella Cake takes advantage of the richness of the cocoa and hazelnut spread that gives it its name to produce a moist but very easy-to-make gluten-free treat. And how about Chocolate Cloud Cake – a damp fallen centre filled with softly whipped orange scented cream – to make your cares float away?
Citrus flavours rightfully take centre-stage with my Clementine Cake, whose wonderful dense dampness is provided by ground almonds. Likewise Lemon Polenta Cake – which, incidentally, can be made dairy-free as well as gluten-free by substituting 150ml light and mild olive oil for the 200g of butter. Just be sure to check that your baking powder is gluten-free, please. Citrus and almonds are joined by rubied rubble in my Pomegranate Jewel Cake and even the humble apple gets a look in with Apple and Almond Cake, which tastes so buttery it is hard to believe it is in fact as dairy-free as it is gluten-free.
Dried fruit and spices make for a exquisitely squidgy and festive Gorgeously Golden Fruit Cake – a fresh, gluten-free alternative to the traditional Christmas Cake. And there’s also my Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake – think Chocolate Cloud Cake but with a seasonal twist. Though this cake is most definitely for life, not just for Christmas.