The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Chocolate almond cake ingredient help needed

Helena's picture

Chocolate almond cake ingredient help needed

Hi everyone,

I am being asked to change a delicious cake slightly so that it can be sold as "flour-less" for their gluten sensitive shoppers. The buyers love the taste of the cake as is. The cake has:

100 grams almond flour

3 Tab sifted unbleached cake flour

125 gr. chocolate

little van extract

100 gr. butter

5 egg yolks, 4 egg whites

100 gr. sifted powdered sugar

It is made in a 9 in pan. I need to take out the cake flour. Can I substitute same amount cake flour with potato flour which I have available?

I did call King Arthur, they seemed unsure, but came up with using 3 Tab KA gluten free flour baking mix and 1/4 tea xanthum gum. I would rather not use the xanthum gum. Is the 3 tab cake flour providing a lot of structure to this cake? How would you slightly change this delicious cake to make it flourless so I can sell it wholesale? Or should I just increase the almond flour slightly? What do I do?

Thanks for your advice! Waiting patiently so I can retry this cake and get an ingredient label finalized.



drogon's picture


It will give the cake a faintly gritty texture, but some people like that.

Works in my GF chocolate cake which appears similar to yours. It won't rise as much, and expect it to sink a little. You may need to bake it a little longer too.


Helena's picture

Hi Gordon, thanks for your fast reply. I am guessing polenta is semolina flour?

The problem is I really don't want it to taste any grittier it already is from all the nut flour and I really don't want it to be any lower or shrink in the middle. It needs to be really level and nicely shaped for the chocolate ganache going over it. The other cakes they sell there look like a million bucks.

Any other ideas???

drogon's picture

Semolina is wheat - polenta is corn. It takes about an hour to fully soften in liquid though.

Doves farm over here make a GF flour for cake making - however when I've used it, it predominantly tastes of potatoes due to the high portion of potato starch in it.

However I don't see any raising agents in your ingredients list - I'm guessing you whisk the whites then carefully fold them into the rest of the mix.

I've made Andrew Whitleys GF chocolate cake too - it's fairly similar but makes a rather thin cake - it didn't sink as much as never rose in the first place... The only regular GF cake I make is a lemon & almond polenta one - again with polenta but its baked for about 55 minutes when the polenta is just softening...


Helena's picture

Thanks for explaining about the polenta.

Use I am whipping the egg whites to a meringue and folding these in which are helping the cake to get some kind of rise.

drogon's picture

have to say, I'm fairly irritated by the local "I'm a little bit gluten intolerant" crowd here. "So that's like being a little bit pregnant" is what I want to scream at them... Coeliac is binary. You either have it or you don't. What most people have is a wheat intolerance, so slower produced stuff (e.g. long fermented sourdoughs rather than the chorleywood industrial process) is generally better bread for those folks...

However I do make GF stuff from time to time with the caveat that I'm not going especially out of my way to sterilise my kitchen beforehand... Phil Vickery has a good book on GF stuff and there's a new book from Howard Middleton which I might get too. Vickery blends his own GF flours but I don't know what Howard does (not seen the book, just the covers so-far) Then there's the bean based cakes, although I did try one recently made with red kidney beans and chocolate ... It was... "interesting". Not sure its something I'd sell!



pmccool's picture

Starches: tapioca, arrowroot, corn.  All are neutral in flavor, compared to potato starch. 

Flours: sweet sorghum, rice (finely ground), quinoa.  Again, fairly neutral flavors, so shouldn't interfere with flavor of cake.

None of these contain gluten, so you will rely on the egg white foam for structure, with a smaller contribution from starch gelatinization.  Sorry that I can't make specific recommendations about adjusting your recipe or process with these different ingredients.  I just don't have enough experience in this arena to know how they will affect the cakes.  Since the cake flour is itself rather low in gluten, there may not be a huge difference when substituting one or a combination of the ingredients mentioned above.  Only way to know for sure is to experiment.


clazar123's picture

From the small amount of cake flour, I would guess that it contributes the starch component more than a gluten structural component. I would go with one of the starches he mentioned and see where it gets you. I have had problems with both sorghum and quinoa being bitter and rice  must be very finely ground or it can be gritty,also.  I would avoid any GF flour with a bean component as, in my experience, they tend to get gummy and shrink after they cool. This sounds like it would be a rather dense cake but not fudgy due to the little lift from the meringue. It should be very forgiving.

As far as touting the GF aspect, if it is made in a bakery that also makes wheat based products, it is NOT GF- at least for people with coeliac. There is just too much flour dust flying around.  A true coeliac can suffer greatly from a miniscule exposure. It would be fine for those customers that know there is some gluten who will suffer no ill-effects from the exposure (such as those reducing their gluten intake).

Let us know what you do and how it turns out.

Helena's picture

Didn't mean to make any one mad, don't know what happened! Both the large store and I understand clearly that this cake can not be sold as gluten-free and that is why I said in first post it will be called a "flourless" cake for selling purposes. The bakery there and the commercial kitchen I will be in can not claim to make any gluten free products because the kitchens are not authorized as such. But the shop manager said over 95 % of the shoppers are not diagnosed with this ailment, they have or sense an intolerance or sensitivity and want something without any wheat in it.  I'm guessing almost everyone of us would be healthier and feel better taking out modern wheat in our diet but most of us love the taste and are too used to it to give it up unless we have to. That's just my feeling on the topic, as I'm not a medical doctor with all the facts.

Thanks a lot for the other flour and starch ideas, I will start experimenting tomorrow morning. No one voted for the potato flour so I won't jump to try that.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and cornstarch instead of wheat flour.   Stir the starch into the almond flour to coat.

The order of mixing up the cake is the most important part of this recipe.

Helena's picture

Mini, The almond flour and cake flour are put in in alternating spoonfuls into the egg and choc. mixture and afterwards /lastly, the egg whites are folded in. So, you're saying to mix the cornstarch with the almond flour together then add this to mixture and then add an extra egg white. I am going to try your idea today. Then if not successful I will go out and search for the coconut flour and try that.

I was just wondering if adding more cornstarch would make it drier since the 100 gr. powdered sugar already has cornstartch in it. But I'm not a pro  and a number of you have suggested this, so I will try this and cross my fingers! Thanks a lot.

jaywillie's picture

If you're going to experiment with cornstarch, I would definitely give Clear Jel a try as well. Clear Jel is a modified food starch that has some advantages over cornstarch. You could probably use either the instant, which does not require heat, or the regular, which does. Do a little Googling on Clear Jel and you will find info. There are many online sources, but if you're lucky enough to live in a city that has a cake decorator/candymaker shop, that's a good bet to be cheaper. 

Helena's picture

I took everyone's advice and combined it somehow.

To replace the 3 TAB cake flour, I substituted 1.5 tablespoons coconut flour, 1 Tab cornstarch and one extra egg white. Also different this time, I sifted the almond flour  and instead of regular powdered sugar with corn starch I bought organic powdered sugar which has no corn starch but tapioca starch.

The cake lost no height and was a little fluffier and lighter, it is also a little moister. The taste is just a bit different. Husband ate 1/4 of cake (not good, extremely fattening) but he says it is better than the former cake before the changes. But, his is not a real picky palette, so how to be sure? Anyway this kind of cake tastes better on the 2nd and 3rd day.

Tomorrow I will make this cake again with the white rice flour which I also found at the store, go back to the cheaper powdered sugar with the corn starch, keep the extra egg white and see what happens. As whatever I decide for the ingredient label can not later be changed so I want to make sure it's the best possible cake before I finalize.

I will research this clearjel product, never heard of it! Thanks!

Helena's picture

Just to let you know, today's experiment with the white rice flour made an even more delicious and better textured cake than yesterday's according to 3 taste testers, so that is the one I will go with to market. Thanks for making my experiments so easy in changing the cake to a non wheat cake!

sbwertz's picture

You could use coconut flour, but I suspect the flour was added specifically to provide gluten.  I would add a teaspoon of xanthan gum, or Dixie Diner Thick it Up.  That is what is usually used to substitute for gluten in gluten free baking.