Friday, November 12, 2010

All About Gluten Free Flours

I made one of the worst tasting cakes yesterday for a cake decorating class. Because of some apartment reorganizing I couldn't find my Authentic Foods brown rice flour and so I used some Orgran flour--which works in some recipes but left a funny, unappealing taste in this recipe for vanilla cake. Since I often bake and most things are quite delicious, it surprises me when something ends up tasting so off. Of course, it's a wonderful learning experience--guten free baking is completely about the flour blends. And if you don't have finely ground gluten free flour the end result can be a huge disappointment.

My odd tasting cake that ended up in the garbage was actually made for a cake decorating class I am taking at Michaels on the Upper West Side. Because you bring your own cakes and icing and equipment to the class, it is quite easy for someone who is gluten free to participate. So, the perfectly smooth cake with bright colored frosting was actually quite appealing and even my 9 year old non-cake eater tried a piece. Which goes to show you that looks really do count when it comes to food. Everyone was quite excited about the colored frosting that rarely appears in our kitchen.

From now on, I am not going to waver from the gluten free flour blend with Authentic Foods Brown Rice Flour and Ener-G brand Tapioca Flour and Potato Starch which is the one that Annalise Roberts recommends in her book Gluten Free Baking Classics. I will mix it up in a silver canister tomorrow and post a picture on this blog. And I definitely won't just grab whatever and try to make a gluten free cake--especially a simple vanilla cake that is so dependent on the flour for flavor.

Although disappointing, it wasn't so sad that my cake ended up in the garbage--I had a nicely decorated vanilla cake in the freezer with a wonderful rich chocolate frosting as a backup. And, really, the most fun was decorating the cake and the kids fighting over the purple and green frosting. Peter of Peter's Cakes is the instructor full of tips, tricks and his famous "cocktail party tips."

If you are interested in taking cake decorating classes, contact:

Columbus Village
808 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10025
212 865 0813

Also, the Natural Gourmet Institute has added a second session of The Art of Baking and Decorating Vegan Gluten-Free, and Soy-Free Mini Cakes after the first class filled up so quickly. There is still space available but these classes fill up quickly, so sign up now if you are interested.