Chocolate Cake and Apple Muffins

More results from The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking, by Peter Reinhart. Last night, I trotted out my new Krups coffee grinder for the first time, since the cookbook said that blade coffee grinders make the best flour. From my experiments last night, I can say that I agree. I took all of the almond flour I had already made and sent it through the coffee grinder, and it was much, much finer. Then I ground all of the whole almonds and hazelnuts that I’d bought in the food processor for a while and then finished them in the coffee grinder, and the results were much better than any nut flour I’d made before. It was  a long, slow process, though, mostly because the coffee grinder can only take a small amount of flour at a time, and you have to scrape it out every time. If you let it go too long, you get almond or hazelnut butter, so be careful. I used the food processor first because once, long ago, I broke a blade right off a coffee grinder with whole almonds.

ImageSince I had all that stuff out and the kitchen was already a mess, I decided to make the Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake. The name is deceptive, since it is not a cheesecake, but rather a chocolate cake with cream cheese in the batter. I think a better name would be Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake, but they didn’t ask me. It was not difficult to put together and is baked in a Bundt pan. You have to butter the Bundt pan first, and then put it in the freezer until the batter is made, and then take it out and dust it with flour. Well, my pan was so frozen that the flour just slipped off the sides without sticking. I had to wait until it thawed just a bit for it to stick, but the cake popped right out when it was done, so I guess that’s alright. I had a feeling that something might be wrong when the recipe said that I’d have a “sticky, pourable batter,” but I actually had a sticky, spoonable batter. The only liquids were five eggs, melted butter, and the cream cheese, and I think I measured all of the flours correctly, but it was definitely too stiff. I baked it for the least allowable time, but it was too done. It said that the outside would be “springy,” but it was quite firm. The cake had a crisp crust all around, but the inside was soft when it was warm, chewy when it cooled completely. The flavor is great; sweet and chocolaty. I wish I could figure out how to make it more liquidy. Less flour, perhaps?

This morning, since it finally feels like fall and I had apples from the produce stand near us, I made the Apple ImageCinnamon Muffins. The batter has both unsweetened applesauce and chopped apples in it, and there are walnuts sprinkled on top. Halfway through the baking, we could smell the apples and cinnamon from the living room, and we couldn’t wait until they were done. They were soft inside and very flavorful; a real keeper. You can see that we buttered some of them, but they’re wonderful just plain. Again, they were firmer than expected on the outside, and although I used the minimum time, I think they could have done with less. Also, the recipe said that it would make nine muffins, but I only got six. My muffin tin may have larger cups than theirs, but if I had divided the batter into nine cups, they would have been overbaked.

All of the recipes call for cooking the items halfway, and then rotating the pan and continuing to bake. This made sense for the first two recipes I made, since they called for using two baking pans for the cookies or scones, with one on a lower rack. Obviously, the scones in the back of the bottom rack are going to cook faster, so switching the two cookie sheets and rotating them will give you a more even result. On the other hand, I don’t see the sense of rotating a Bundt pan or one muffin pan. I’m certainly going to try shorter baking times, as well.

As you can see, though, someone has choked down a good bit of cake, and of the six muffins, only one is left. I’m not going to say who ate a third muffin, but I had two. Tomorrow, I plan to try the Lemon Poppy Seed Scones, and if they’re decent, I’ll even bring some to work. If they’re indecent, we’ll have to eat them all up!

Happy baking!

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