Mini Gluten Free Chiffon Cake with Halva Cream Frosting & Blueberries (Dairy Free)
Last night Logan and I played basketball at the park after the sun went down, the sky lit up in starburst pink and dusky lavender. I took off my sandals to shoot. The tarmac was still hot and the bottoms of my feet turned black. We chased each other around. Shot and dribbled and sweat in the ambient heat. Then walked home arm in arm, Logan with his shirt tossed over his shoulder, me piling my hair on top of my head to give my neck some room to feel the breeze.
In other news, there are 5 sunflowers that have burst into bloom in my garden. And there's a woodchuck eating my flouncy delicata squash. The distant clicks of summertime bugs sifts in through my open windows. At night, lightning bugs dip up and down, drunk with the humidity. Our raspberry bush is dry and the berries coming off of the canes are barely pink and barely sweet. The blueberry bushes are heavy with green and purple fruit. The first bushes are just beginning to ripen and I can't help myself from eating handfuls of berries, tart as they are so early in the season. Because occasionally I get a perfectly ripe one and it's heaven.
I picked the blueberries decorating this chiffon cake yesterday on top of a mountain, surrounded by the soft, misty, pastel Blue Ridge. Up there the berries are ripe and warmed from the sun and you can pull handfuls from the tender branches, hear the berries hit your cardboard box in gentle cascading tup tup tupupups. I kneeled into the mulch surrounding the rows of bushes to gather berries from the low branches, look up through the almond shaped leaves at the creamy blue sky. A breeze shifting my hair. Blueberries in my hands (and mouth). If all of life was condensed to that moment, I suppose I would call life itself heaven.
Then I came home and made this. Springy, soft, moist chiffon cake with a light crumb, topped with creamy sesame frosting and fresh berries. I've been searching for a gluten free angel food or chiffon cake recipe for ages. I'm making a traditional (wheat) chiffon cake for my friends wedding this weekend, and originally thought we would go the gluten free route. While I was testing the chiffon cake recipe (adapted for a 9" pan from Two Red Bowls), I decided I would go ahead and play with a GF variety. I mean, I had all of the ingredients out already and my kitchen was a total mess anyway. Why not at least test it out? I'm glad I did because I've stumbled onto a brilliant traditional tasting GF chiffon that stands up to a classic wheat version. Really. I might make all of my cakes like this in the future.
I like to pair light frostings with airy cakes like this one. To me, chiffon and angel food cakes are best in the Summer, topped with whipped coconut cream or ice cream and loaded down with fresh fruit. This frosting is a variation on whipped coconut cream, so it acts more like whipped cream would. That is, keep it very cold and work in a cool environment to keep everything from melting. Of course, if you don't much care for the presentation it's dreamy all melted and pooling around the berries and cake in a bowl.
Note: The frosting in the photos is melting, but my kitchen was about 90 degrees. So as long as your space is cool you'll have no problems with melting!
Halva Cream Frosting (Vegan)
Renee Shuman (Will Frolic for Food)
Note: this frosting is highly susceptible to melting in warm environments, so frost your cakes in a cool place and then refrigerate or freeze your treats until ready to serve.
- 1 cup coconut cream (skimmed from the top of a refrigerated can of full fat coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup mild tahini
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in a blender until creamy.
- Refrigerate the liquid frosting for a minimum of 3 hours.
- Spoon the frosting into a piping bag, and pipe designs onto your cakes OR spread with a spatula as you would any frosting.
Chiffon Cake (gluten free, dairy free)
Renee Shuman (Will Frolic for Food)
A fluffy, sweet, classic chiffon cake that pairs perfectly with cream and fruit! [i]Notes: Before whipping your egg whites, make sure your bowl and electric whisk beater are clean and oil-free. I rub a slice of lemon over my tools and dry them very thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel before whipping. This recipe makes a 9" cake. You can choose to keep it at 9" as a single layer, or use a biscuit cutter to cut out mini cake shapes and layer with halva frosting and fruit as you please!
- 1/2 cup sweet white mochiko rice flour
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons psyllium husk (whole or powdered both work)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4.5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup almond milk (any unsweet nut milk works)
- 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 eggs (yolks and whites carefully separated)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- halva frosting
- blueberries & peach slices
- sesame seeds, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Line the bottom of a 9" cake pan with a circle of parchment paper (you can use a spring form pan to make removing the cake really easy, but it's not necessary). Set the pan aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, arrowroot, almond meal, sorghum, 1 cup sugar, psyllium, baking powder, and sea salt until everything this well combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla extract, and the egg yolks and whisk together until you have a creamy, pale golden mixture.
- Add the wet mix to the dry mix and combine until your batter is totally saturated and even. Set aside.
- In a large, clean metal bowl combine the egg whites and the cream of tarter.
- Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites on high for 3-5 minutes, until you have soft peaks.
- While the beater is running, slowly shake in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Continue to beat until your have firm peaks, being careful not to over mix.
- Fold in about 1/8 of the fluffy egg whites at a time into the batter, working slowly. Continue until all of the egg whites are folded into the batter -- don't over mix. You still want to see streaks of the egg whites in the batter.
- Gently pour the batter into your parchment lined cake pan.
- Bake 35 minutes, turning the cake half-way through, until the top of the cake is golden brown and set.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool to room temperature. To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife around the edges of the cake. If using a standard cake pan, flip the cake upside down onto a parchment lined plate, then flip the cake right side up and place on a platter. If using a springform, release the form and gently slide the cake out from the bottom of the pan (you can use a pie server to help, but I was able to grab onto an edge of the parchment and pull it out from the base). Place on a platter, frost, top with berries and sesame seeds, and serve!
For mini cakes:
- Cut 3-4 rounds out of the cake using a biscuit cutter and stack, layering with halva frosting and berries/peach slices. Garnish with sesame seeds on top. Voila!