We’ve enjoyed a peaceful weekend away in South Wales. The weather hasn’t been the idyllic temperatures and sunshine of July, but we had a great time anyway. The odd rain shower or clap of thunder didn’t stop us celebrating my Uncle’s birthday in style. We had a BBQ and buffet feast, including my now infamous Lamb and mint burgers and G and M insisted that I made a birthday cake to mark the occasion.
Last week’s Lemon drizzle cake was a big success, but I was still not satisfied with the granular nature of the sponge that comes from baking with rice flour. Since then I have been searching for a recipe to make the perfect rice flour cake and discovered this one that assured me that the granular texture would be a thing of the past. Having uncovered such a promising recipe, I just needed a reason to bake it and what could have been better timed than a family birthday?
For the first time I ventured into the mystical world of cooking with xanthum gum – a substance much mentioned in gluten-free cooking, but something I had yet to actually use.
We mixed together the xanthum gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and once again watched the chemical reaction between that and the white wine vinegar that the recipe required. M was enchanted by listening to the ingredients fizz and watching the bubbles of carbon dioxide rise to the top of the mixing bowl – “just like the volcano we made with Daddy”.
I had erred on the side of caution given my previously chronicled inability to bake cakes thatrise and made up one and a half times the quantity of cake mix. I needn’t have worried. Perhaps xanthum gum is the answer to my baking issues, I just don’t know, but I had more than enough cake mix to make a double layer cake and a dozen cupcakes too, all of which had a lovely depth to them.
I decided to use the classic flavour combination of chocolate and raspberries and layered the cake with raspberry jam, vanilla butter icing and dried raspberries. I finished it with a garden-themed decorating scheme and was proud of, at very least, how the cake looked.
That evening, I nervously cut into the cake and served it to the assorted, gathered family members. The cake was beautifully moist, the chocolate sweet but not over-powering and, best of all, there was not one single sign of that granular texture I’ve come to loathe when baking with rice flour. G gave it a resounding 10 out of 10, M stated that it was the “best cake ever, cooked by the best Mummy ever” and even the harshest of critics complimented me on how delicious the cake was. So the conclusion I’ve reached is that this is a cake recipe to treasure and I’ve now just got to work out how to adapt it for as many different versions and occasions as possible.