Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake with Strawberries & Whipped Cream

I can't imagine having to live gluten-free and I feel like now a day you hear of so many people who have to live with a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, they're starting to make so many wheat alternatives that at least it's not as difficult as it probably used to be. 

Whenever the topic turns to baking or food (which it so often does) it seems someone brings up somebody that they're close to who is affected by Celiacs or has a gluten intolerance. MM's father has Celiacs (which I've mentioned before in my attempts to make wheat free desserts), my little brother recently found he has an intolerance to gluten, and just a few weeks ago when I brought wedding cake samples for my friend it wasn't until after I arranged 3 different cupcakes for his father to try that he asked me if I had ever heard of a little thing called Celiacs (yeah, I felt really bad).

All of this brings me to my latest swEEt adventure... Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake.

One of the girls in the office lives gluten-free, so of course her birthday cake had to be a little different than the typical birthday cakes I make for the office. I have to admit, I used a cake mix- mostly because I am still learning so much about baking gluten-free and I didn't want to totally botch her birthday cake. From past experiences I've been pretty impressed with Bob's Red Mill flours so decided to try out his gluten free cake mix as well. Beth also requested something non-buttercream so I opted for a whipped cream and fresh fruit strawberry filling.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
I followed the recipe on the back with one exception. After reading some reviews online I substituted 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I'm sure you could use any milk as a substitute for a moister, more flavorful cake.

Strawberry Filling
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into quarters or slices
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp corn starch

In small sauce pan, heat strawberries and water over medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes. As the mixture starts to get a little warmer mash the strawberries a bit with a fork. 
Remove from heat and strain the strawberries, placing a bowl underneath to catch the liquid/juice. 
Transfer strawberries to a new bowl and set aside.
Transfer juice back into sauce pan, dissolve cornstarch and add sugar. Return to a boil or until mixture starts to thicken.
Once the mixture thickens, pour over reserved strawberries and mix.
Place the strawberry mixture in the fridge and let cool before using.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
3 TBS water

Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over top- mix until gelatin starts to dissolve.
Place saucepan over low heat and bring to a slight boil.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool/stabilize.
Whip cream with hand mixer until it starts to thicken.
Add powdered sugar and continue to beat.
Pout gelatin into whipped cream and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Place in fridge for at least 15 minutes before using.

Place first cake on serving platter or cake board.
Fill with Strawberry Filling. To make sure the filling doesn't creep out the sides of the cake, put a small barrier or whipped cream around the perimeter of the cake using a piping bag or make your own piping bag by placing whipped cream in a ziplock bag and cut off the tip.
Place remaining cake on top and cover with remaining whipped cream. 
Garnish with extra strawberries and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Happy Belated Birthday Beth!
Happy Baking!