People who suffer from wheat allergies fear they will have to leave all delicious and delectable goodies behind them when they are forced to leave wheat and/or gluten out of their lives. But nothing could be further from the truth. These days, the market is growing for wheat- and gluten-free products.
Gone are the days when people suffering from wheat/gluten allergies and celiac disease must do without cookies and cakes in their diets. There are many new cake, cookie, bread and mixes of all kinds to help people who have to avoid wheat and gluten in their food.
For those who enjoy cooking from scratch there are many alternative flours available for use in cooking and baking. One of the most popular and inexpensive alternative flours is rice flour. Rice flour comes in many different varieties depending on the rice it is made from. The most common forms of rice flour are made from white and brown rice.
There are some differences between white and brown rice flour. These difference stem from the way the rice grains are processed. White rice is made when the husk, the bran and germ layers are removed from the rice grain. Brown rice is made by removing only the outer husk.
For this reason, brown rice is healthier than white rice as most of the nutrients are retained after processing. Otherwise, both white and brown rice have the same caloric, protein and carb content. Wheat/gluten free bakers can choose between white and brown rice flour without too much change in the flavor of the end product. The only difference might be a slight nutty flavor in baked goods made with brown rice flour.
Cakes are one treat people who have wheat/gluten allergies can still enjoy in their new diets. It is possible to make a cake only from rice flour (white or brown), and have an excellent result. However, there are some differences that bakers must take into consideration when baking with rice flour.
Baked goods made with rice flour tend to be dry and crumbly. To avoid this problem, many baking recipes include products such as xanthan or guar gum, unflavored gelatin, and a product known as Egg Replacer. It is also often recommended that a mix of rice flour plus another alternative wheat- or gluten-free flour (such as tapioca or potato starch flours) be used. This will help to produce a baked good with a taste and texture closer to the “real” baked wheat flour products.
Below is a cake recipe made only with rice flour (either white or brown). This cake has the consistency of a wheat flour coffee cake. The recipe is very versatile – different fruits can be used to bake this cake, and this recipe can also be used to make muffins.
Wild Berry Streusel Wheat- and Gluten-Free Cake
- 2 cups white or brown rice flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon wheat/gluten-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 ½ cups wild blueberries (or berries of choice)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
- 2 T. sugar
Streusel topping ingredients:
- ½ cup rice flour (white or brown)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup cold butter
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk all dry ingredients and until thoroughly combined, stirring in blueberries after mixing dry ingredients.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, and melted (cooled) butter, and combine with the dry ingredients and berries, set bowl aside.
- Next, prepare streusel topping by cutting cold butter into dry ingredients, until the mixture is crumbly, and set aside.
- Pour half of the cake batter into a greased and floured pan (or use cooking spray) 9-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel mix over the top of the first layer of batter in the cake pan. Next, spread the remaining batter over the streusel layer, and top off with remaining streusel.
- Bake at 400 F (approximately 200 C) for 35 minutes, until center of cake springs back when touched, or tooth-pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool before serving.
This wild berry cake is also good when drizzled with an optional powder sugar glaze made from ½ teaspoon of melted butter, 1 cup of powered sugar, ¼ cup of milk, one dash of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of wheat/gluten-free vanilla flavoring. Mix all ingredients well, and drizzle frosting over cake.
To use this recipe to make muffins, prepare muffin pans as above or with cupcake papers, and fill each muffin cup about half full with the cake batter, and then bake as above.