Cherry Cake

Normally I’m not a huge TV person (more a reading and gaming person) but after surgery, TV has been a happening thing in the Brock household. By myself, I’ve blown through quite a few shows, but the husbear and I have been devouring The Great British Bake Off together. Besides making me ravenous, the show has inspired me to try and convert a few bakes to gluten free and perfect them.

Ben, enough of the story, just show me the recipe already! CLICK HERE

Being gluten free wasn’t a choice on my part. Though my celiac tests came back negative over a decade ago, I’m highly intolerant to it and I’ve found it’s nearly impossible for me to bake and cook with gluten and know how it’s turning out–the husbear is a miserable taste-tester. I reasoned the only way I was going to make the dishes those around me loved was by perfecting them in gluten-free form.

The first recipe I tried to perfect from the show was actually custard tarts (I didn’t take a picture). They passed my brother’s English mother-in-law’s test, so I felt good about that. Really the only aspect to that bake I was tweaking was my gluten free pie crust, which I’ll address in another blog post.

Cherry cake was the second British Bake Off challenge I gave myself because I need to visit my grandfather at his nursing home and he loves cherry chip cake, asks for it on his birthday, and he’s the person I get the majority of my English ancestry from, so I thought I’d try my hand at de-glutening this dish.

CLICK HERE for the original recipe from Mary Berry.

Not going to lie, the first attempt went a bit sideways. Firstly, I didn’t consider the ingredient ‘self-raising flour’ in Mary Berry’s recipe carefully enough. Most gluten free flour blends already have leavening in them, but for this recipe if you are using a gluten free flour blend you really need to add more leavening. In the first batch I only added 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum, baking soda, and baking powder, each.

So my first attempt came out rather flat.

It’s a half batch. I usually work in half batches when trying out recipes.

The cake was super sweet, which is no surprise if you watch Mary Berry on the show, so I reduced the sugar in the recipe by 1 oz. In order to give the cake more volume, I upped the xanthan gum, baking soda, and baking powder. Additionally, I substituted vegetable oil for half the butter and I whipped the egg whites. Again, this was all to try and increase the fluffiness and volume of the cake.

The second cake did have more volume, but it was incredibly crumbly.

I brought this bake to a party, and while most people loved it–one doubter going in for seconds–I felt it was pretty close textured still. It was almost a quick bread and not a cake.

As I find myself doing often in gluten free baking, I turned to my trusty The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, Volume Two. In it is a recipe for Lemon Bundt Cake.

What I liked about this recipe was how it fills up the bundt pan because it has more mass. I also liked how the recipe calls for lemon juice added to the cake, because I think the original Mary Berry recipe could have used more lemon flavor. However, when adapting the recipe I couldn’t add all the lemon they recommended because then it would be a lemon bundt and not a cherry cake.

I also added almond meal in place of some of the flour, added the glacé cherries, and I punched up the xanthan gum to 1/2 t. I did use real milk, but next time I’ll try it with a milk substitute. Testing this cake is going to make it impossible to breathe out of my nose for a week. You’re welcome.

The results were great. I had a lighter cake that didn’t crumble, wasn’t too sweet, and it had a nice lemon flavor with bursts of sweet cherries and a wonderful almondy mouth-feel. Success!

Gluten Free Cherry Cake

Serves 12
Time: 30 min prep, 1 hour baking, & 1 hour cooling

Bundt cake with icing and cherries.
Gluten Free Cherry Cake

Ingredients

Cake Release
2 T gluten free flour blend (I used King Arthur’s)
1 T butter or vegan buttery sticks

Cake
10 T butter or vegan buttery sticks
2 T vegetable oil
10 ounces sugar
4 eggs or egg substitute
3/4 C milk or milk substitute
The zest and juice of one big juicy lemon
2 t vanilla extract
2 ounces almond meal
13 ounces gluten free flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t xanthan gum
7 ounces glacé, rinsed and cut into quarters.

Decoration
1 C confectioner’s sugar
1/3 C lemon juice
1/4 C toasted sliced almonds
7 glacé cherries, cut into quarters

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake release together by melting the butter and creating a paste with the flour blend. Brush it on a non-stick bundt pan.

Make the cake by creaming the butter, oil, and sugar. Add the eggs one by one. Add the milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, add the almond meal, sifted flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum and then stir with the wet ingredients until there are no lumps. Fold in cherries.

Spoon into a bundt pan, even up the top, and bake cake for 55 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool for 10 minutes before lightly running a knife around the edges and turning it out onto a wire rack to mostly cool.

For the decoration, whisk the glaze up by adding lemon juice to the confectioner’s sugar until it becomes a thick paste. Drizzle it over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the sliced almonds and cherry pieces. Serve.

To boldly bake,
Ben

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