Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coconut flour yellow cake - great for birthday cakes! Gluten and grain free.

My husband's birthday was several weeks ago and one dessert item he's had a hankering for is good old fashion yellow birthday cake. The only problem is our son can't have wheat, so that nixes the majority of recipes out there. I know that I could have used a gluten-free flour to make a close substitute, but to be honest I'm not a huge fan of the GF flours on the market. They are often filled with ingredients that I'd prefer to avoid in our diet. So, instead I made a very delicious version using coconut flour.

I've messed with this recipe over the last year on and off again, playing around with different ingredients. This time because I wanted to provide something more similar to a traditional birthday cake I went with more traditional ingredients, like organic white sugar instead of honey and butter instead of coconut oil. I have shared a coconut flour chocolate cake recipe we use all the time. You can get away with a different variety of ingredients with chocolate cake, because the chocolate masks some of the flavors, but with a white cake a flavor like honey or coconut oil will be much more pronounced.



Now, with that said, you can really experiment with this recipe. This cake is on the sweet side, sweeter than I typically make my desserts, but the extra sweetness makes it more similar to a traditional birthday cake. If you prefer less sugar I think you could easily reduce the sugar by half and not suffer any issues with the overall texture of the cake. You can also try honey, but use less, starting with a half cup, instead of a full cup. I personally feel like honey tends to sweeten things more than sugar does. You can also use coconut oil instead of butter, but use it in it's solid form and still whipping it with the sugar. The nice thing about butter is it does create some extra lightness to the cake when whipped, which is especially needed with coconut flour.  I also use baking powder instead of baking soda in this recipe (I use baking soda in the chocolate cake). You can actually use either, but the leavening will be just a bit less with only the baking soda, but the end texture of the cake is still moist and not overly dense.

In the end, do play around with the recipe and use what I've included below as a launching board. This cake is going to be more resilient than a traditional white flour cake. The ingredients below are enough for one 2" thick 9" square or round cake. For my family, I've found making more than that tends to go to waste.

In the pictures, the cake you see is actually made in a small 4" ramekin. I divided the batter between the ramekins I have, filling them three quarters of the way full. A great way to make cute, mini cakes!


Coconut Flour Yellow Cake


What You'll Need
1 - 9" square or round cake

½ cup room temperature, organic butter
1 cup organic sugar
4 organic eggs yolks 
1 cup coconut flour
2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
1 cup room temperature organic, whole milk
4 egg whites


Getting Started
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and line with parchment paper baking dish of choice. Set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy.

3.While continuing to beat the butter and sugar, add one egg yolk at a time until thoroughly combined.

4. In a separate bowl mix together the rest of your dry ingredient; coconut flour, baking powder, salt. Add ⅓ of dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add 1/2 the milk and the vanilla extract, again mixing well. Continue back and forth with dry then wet mixture, ending with the dry.

5. In another bowl beat egg whites until fluffy and can hold a stiff peak. Gently fold egg whites into cake batter until well mixed.

6. Spread into desired baking dish and bake for 25-35 minutes. Take care to not over bake. Coconut flour cakes turn brown fairly easily, although this doesn't always affect end taste it isn't quite as appealing in the looks category. Insert a toothpick into center of cake to check for doneness. If toothpick comes out clean, cake is done, if not bake for an additional 3-5 minutes and check again. I have found the smaller ramekins I like to bake with take 25 minutes and my 9" square pan tends to take 35 minutes, sometimes even a touch longer.

7. Once cake is done baking, run knife around edge of cake and then turn it out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely.  Cover with your favorite butter cream frosting.

Enjoy!
















41 comments:

  1. This looks gorgeous, but is the butter 1/2 cup or 1/2 stick?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for the catch! It's 1/2 cup. I'll change it now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That looks amazing! I loved hearing the back story to the photograph too. =) It turned out great!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you! I've been looking for a gluten free cake for my babies first birthday. I love that this is small, has little sugar, but still light and fluffy! Do you have any substitution suggestions for the milk. I don't know I'm ready for them to have cows milk yet either?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would almond milk work the same?

      Delete
    2. Hi Kitty, almond milk should work just fine or coconut milk. Hope your little one enjoys it as much as mine do!

      Delete
  5. Is there a sugar replacement I could use maybe coconut palm sugar?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dee, you can substitute other sugars in granular form in this recipe, recognizing that they will lend their own flavor and sweetness. There will have to be some tweaking of the recipe if you want to substitute a liquid sweetener like honey.

      Delete
    2. How much honey would you add to your recipe?
      Thanks

      Delete
    3. Hi, for a sweeter cake I'd try 3/4 cup, but you could probably get away with go with 1/2 cup since coconut flour does tend to lend it's own sweetness. I have not made this particular recipe with honey, but it should work fine. It may be just a bit denser though.

      Delete
  6. This is an awesome recipe! I used brown sugar (2/3 c.) and subbed in 1/4 c. coconut oil. I used 1/4 c. Butter, 1/4 c. Coconut oil. I made a key lime frosting and served the cake with fresh fruit/berries. Phenomenal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, so glad you liked it! It's on my list to make again soon!

      Delete
  7. This looks really good! I think I will make it for our Fourth of July barbeque tomorrow! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It was a big hit! I had to use coconut oil instead of butter (out.) We put some "coconut wipcream" on top and placed strawberries and blueberries in the shape of the American flag. Yum, Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ment to reply to you!

      Delete
  9. This looks perfect for my little guys 1st birthday. I tried a flourless choclolate cake today, but goodness it was so sweet and rich. I don't want him smashing into that, it would make him sick regardless of any allergies! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We loved it for our daughter's birthday. I'm with you on the flourless chocolate cake. I love them, sooo good, but they are rich and can be a bit much for little kids. This cake is fairly sweet to mimic a more traditional cake, but you can certainly reduce the sugar.

      Delete
  10. I think this may be the perfect cake for my son's bday next month. I've been searching for a flourless cake recipe that isn't chocolate. Thanks for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a bit behind here, but I hope you love(ed) the cake! I made this cake for my daughter's first birthday.

      Delete
  11. I just made this as a practice run for my daughter's 1st birthday coming up and it was amazing! I doubled the recipe to make her 2 6 inch cakes to smash and had enough left for 11 cupcakes which my husband ate almost all of the same night! I substituted coconut milk for regular milk and frosted with butter-cream. Perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just made this for my daughter's 4th birthday and it was a hit. It was the first time I baked with coconut flour and was a bit surprised by the grainy texture, but it was moist and the taste was wonderful!

    Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kari, what brand of coconut flour did you use? Just curious, because I've never noticed our cakes having a grainy texture. I'm glad you still liked it though!

      Delete
  13. Have you ever used coconut butter in your recipes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have actually never used coconut butter. Coconut oil and coconut oil/ghee should work, although they may leave the cake just a wee bit denser.

      Delete
  14. This is an amazing cake- not just "for being flourless"- it's really a very tasty, solid recipe that I will make for years to come. Thank you.

    For those looking for a low carb frosting, I used one package of cream cheese, some lemon zest, bit of vanilla, about 1/2 cup coconut milk, a splash of half & half and some stevia, whisked it all together until smooth and it was perfect for this cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. It's always nice when people have the same success I do with recipes!

      Delete
  15. hello,

    this cake came out perfect the first time i made it, but this second time it came out more dense and the overall texture was not as good. is it possible to overmix the ingredients even though it does not contain gluten? Also, what brand of coconut flour do you use? I want to make this for my sons first birthday this month and need to make sure i get it right. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, so I don't think over mixing should be too big of a problem. The coconut flour can make a difference though and something I didn't realize until more recently. I like Tropical Traditions coconut flour best. It has a finer texture than some other brands I've used. One brand actually left some of my baked goods with a grainy texture. I have also had good success with Bob Red Mill Coconut flour. I'm not sure what else may have caused a difference in your results. Did you use a different brand of coconut flour?

      Delete
    2. the first time i used lydias organic flour, the second time it was nutiva brand flour. i will be going back to the lydias next time. the second time i made the cake the batter seemed thicker right before adding the egg white so i added some milk, not realizing that the egg whites would make it more runny. maybe the this was my mistake? what should the batter look like before adding the egg whites, this time it was pretty dry, like the flour had absorbed all of the moisture. also how would i adjust this recipe to a 9X13 square pan

      Delete
    3. I don't recall exactly what the batter looks like before adding the egg whites. It shouldn't be dry though, but a fairly thick batter. The egg whites would thin it, although not too much, more importantly they make the batter lighter in texture. Perhaps the different coconut flour was more absorbent because of it's initial texture???? I have never used either of those brands. With all the coconut flour cooking I have done there have been times where I've felt a recipe has needed more liquid than at other times. I've noticed this especially when making coconut flour pancakes. As of yet, I've not pinpoint what that reason is for the variation. Make sure the egg white can hold a nice peak after being whipped and before being carefully folded into the batter. If you over mix the batter while and after adding the whites it can loose the desired lightness that the egg whites where initially added for.

      As far as making this in a 9x13 pan I would plan to double the recipe, although it will likely make a shallow 1" - 1.5" tall cake, not one that fills the pan like when making a traditional white flour cake.

      Delete
  16. I made only half of the recipe because I was testing multiple recipes trying to find a good one for a grain-free cake for my son's first birthday in a couple weeks. I made half the batter and used a small loaf pan, but I still had too much batter, which was surprising. Anyway, I think I underbaked it in an overly-cautious intent to not OVERbake it! The color was great, and the flavor was okay, though I could taste the coconut coming through more than I could with other recipes. I'm sure the texture would have been better if I'd actually baked it long enough.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I experienced the very dry batter described by others - I ended up adding ~1/2C additional milk to get it to a foldable texture. Ultimately turned out very wet, even though I baked it for around 45min - probably the extra milk had to do with that.

    Flavor is not quite that of regular cake, but tasty enough for my purposes. I used almond milk (might have altered the flavor), Splenda, and standard baking powder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing. I wish I knew why for some the batter turns out so dry. I've made this recipe quite a few times and haven't had a problem. I have experienced different texture results with other recipes I make when using different brands of coconut flour and can only think that this may play a key role in the dryness. The batter in general though is going to be dryer than a more traditional cake.

      Delete
  18. This was my first attempt at a gluten-free cake. Gorgeous results, with a dense crumb like a pound cake. Slightly over-sweet, will cut down on the sugar next time. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is a great recipe. Change up the sugar for agave nectar and cut some of the milk and it is a better cake for diabetics. thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This recipe is FANTASTIC! We have used this for our Easter cake, daughter's birthday cake and now I am making cupcakes with it right now so that our kids have a little treat when other parents bring birthday treats.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nice post! It was the first time I baked with coconut flour and was a bit surprised by the grainy texture, but it was moist and the taste was wonderful!

    Cake toppers

    ReplyDelete
  22. I made this today and it is so good!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love this recipe! I have made it several times and have used coconut sugar and coconut oil instead of the butter and it turns out really well!

    ReplyDelete