Dessert, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Chocolate Cake

Things from the heart:
Valentine’s Day is coming. Like a drag queen on roller skates. Fast, out of control, garish-and there’s no stopping it. So, why not bow down to the absurdity and take the opportunity to make a dessert for your lover that will be chocolaty and rich? This is what I lovingly refer to as “spoon cake.” I made it for my mom’s birthday last year, intending to stack layers of cake with a hazelnut mousse. The cake completely fell apart in construction (the mousse had absolutely not structural power) and my sister and I dumped the remains in a bowl. We poured the extra mousse in as well and topped it with the frosting for good measure. The cake was astounding. We served it with an ice cream scoop and ate it with spoons for days.

Spoon cake.

Here is the recipe, poured into cupcake cups and topped with a batter of egg yolks, sugar and pomegranate juice whisked over hot water (sabayon if you need a fancy word). The cakes are wonderful, even when served on a plate instead of a bowl.

Concerning other things from the heart:
On December 22nd, 2010 it was announced that Post Cereal would be reformulating Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles to be certified gluten free. I saw the news bounce around twitter like the flight of the bumblebee and was too shocked to say anything.

I have distilled that shock into words.
(enter stage left with soapbox)

I get it. I understand that when you’re newly diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance you find great victory in any major company producing a gluten free product. I certainly did, at first. The newest cookies, cakes, cereals and breads are always trumpeted on twitter. But let me say this-many of the new products, while completely free of gluten, are packed full of sh#t. Industrial food dyes, GMO corn and soy and enough sugar to diabeticise an elephant. “Gluten free” is unfortunately not synonymous with “good for you.”

I’m not trying to say that everything you put in your mouth should be leafy and green, but I am saying this: Read your labels, know what you’re eating, know who you’re promoting. Are you buying GF treats from a local baker or from a Monsanto backed corporation? It makes a difference.

I’m beating a dead horse to quote Michael Pollan but the horse is already dead so it can take another hit- “…Special occasion foods offer some of the great pleasures of life, so we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of them, but the sense of occasion needs to be restored. This is another case where the outsourcing of our food preparation to corporations has gotten us into trouble: It’s made formerly expensive or time consuming foods-everything from fried chicken and french fries to pastries and ice cream-easy and readily accessible… Cooking for yourself is the only sure way to take back control of your diet from the food scientists and food processors, and to guarantee you’re eating real food and not edible foodlike substances, with their unhealthy oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and surfeit of salt.”

This Valentine’s Day replace one of your favorite store bought treats with a homemade counterpart. Let me know how the experiment goes, I think you’ll be pleased.

Let your diagnosis as Celiac or gluten intolerant have a positive impact on your diet. Cook and bake and eat and put some love into your food.

You’ll find it loves you back.

(exit stage left with soapbox)

Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Corn and Nuts.

  • 8 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Sweet Rice Flour
  • 4 tablespoons Potato Starch
  • 3 tablespoons Sorghum or Brown Rice Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 cup Sugar (Palm or otherwise)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Rice Bran Oil
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Pomegranate Juice (or brandy…)

Get Busy

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and fill a cupcake tray with cups (you’ll need about 15)
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until light, frothy and slightly thickened.
  4. Add the oil, coconut milk and vanilla to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Stir the dry mix into the wet ingredients.
  6. Pour the batter into the cupcake cups, ~1/2 cup per cake.
  7. Set up a double boiler-heat one or two inches of water in the bottom of a saucepan and place a heatproof bowl on top. The bowl should not touch the water below.
  8. In the bowl, whisk the egg yolks sugar and pomegranate juice over the simmering water until it is thick and just barely warm. If it starts to get too hot while whisking, take it off the heat and continue to beat.
  9. Spoon the sabayon sauce on each cupcake and swirl it into the batter with a knife.
  10. Bake the cakes for 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 14-18 minutes
Yield: ~15 cupcakes