This post feels a bit like a daisy chain, because on the one hand I am pointing you at a post with a recipe I absolutely loved when I made it last week, and on the other hand I am pointing you at a post about a recipe of mine that someone else absolutely loved and made a few weeks earlier…
First, the recipe I adored, which is a gluten-free chocolate and dried cherry cake by the wonderful Wayfaring Chocolate (who, incidentally, I highly recommend, because her recipes are lovely and her posts are very entertaining). That post was one of those lovely serendipitous moments, wherein the Chocolatey One came wayfaring over here to look at a post of mine, and I made a return visit, and I really felt like cake, and she had right there a recipe for a cake for which I had all the ingredients just at that moment in the house. Which I don’t, normally, because they included agave nectar and almond meal. Better still, one of the ingredients was dried sour cherries, and I’m still buying dried sour cherries on about a weekly basis from my local Middle Eastern store because I love them to bits, and I’d been thinking they would be nice in a recipe with almond meal.
Let me assure you that they are positively *fabulous* in such a recipe. Naturally, I did not leave the recipe wholly alone – I used 75g each of the cherries and chocolate, and used a very wholemealy sort of almond meal, which I think made it darker and softer. Also (and this is a substitute you don’t see every day), I didn’t have any chicken eggs in the house, so I used a goose egg instead (as you do), which made the recipe far more cakey than I would have expected from a gluten-free cake. Incidentally, I am now going to be actively looking for goose eggs, because every cake I have made with one has turned out particularly well.
So yes – really excellent recipe, and I wholly recommend you try it, especially if you have someone gluten-free to cook for. I don’t think it would veganise very well – it would be a bit dense without the eggs – but it is already dairy free and so very, very good. And allegedly healthy, though this seems a little optimistic to me. Even my nut-hating friend L really liked it. I’ll definitely be making it again, and often.
Now to the other part of the daisy chain, about which I am slightly more ambivalent, because though other people really like this cake, I actually don’t! I originally created this recipe as a birthday cake for the son of a friend of mine. He has a lot of allergies, including to chocolate, and really loves carob, and this was the first (and probably the last) time I’ve ever cooked anything with carob in it. It turns out that not only do I dislike carob, the very smell of it baking makes me faintly nauseous. Dreadful stuff.
Surprisingly, the cake itself ended up tasting very un-carob-like, which I view as a feature – it tastes like a moist, mildly chocolatey sort of cake. This is the first time I’ve ever understood why people think carob tastes at all like chocolate, so at least I’ve learned something! And it was a hit with the birthday boy and the other children. I have to say though, it’s deeply weird to bake something that you dislike the smell of that much – I do most of my cooking by smell rather than by taste, and it was really disconcerting not being able to judge whether the cake would actually taste good.
Anyway, the gorgeous Green Gourmet Giraffe very kindly volunteered to bake the birthday cake this year, and wrote about it in her blog. She even provided variations, which makes me happy, because that is the proper Catherine way to write a recipe. And she and the kiddies all liked it. So perhaps I’m the weird one (this shouldn’t actually be a surprise).
After much digging, I’ve actually found the photo of the version I made last year. There was an ‘under the sea’ theme to the party, so I had fun making sea-glass candy, carob shells and seahorses, and brown sugar sandcastles. It turned out quite well, if I say so myself. Though that’s not a beach I’d want to go wading on…