Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
Whilst you might think that some of my recipes are a bit ‘out there’ (remember the sweet potato gingerbread man cake?!) they are all do-able. By this I mean that the ingredients, whilst not being mainstream, are still easily found in the supermarket. I have done this on purpose so when people tell me it’s too hard to make ‘healthier desserts’ or ‘go gluten free’ I can rudely scoff at them and tell them it’s much easier than they think. The exception to this rule is Cassava Flour, and it’s a rule I have broken for a very good reason.
I discovered Cassava flour last year when I made these Pancakes. Since then lots of people have made them and most of them have told me they are the best gluten free pancakes they’ve eaten. That bag ran out quickly (we really love pancakes at my place!) and it was ages until I got around to ordering more. This time I wanted to try and make a very special recipe with my Cassava Flour; my Grandmas Sponge.
I’ve recreated some of Grandmas recipes before (like this super moist boiled fruit cake) after having a read through one of her old cook books, but her sponge cakes are what we all remember. Grandma’s sponges were legendary; they were light, fluffy and never flopped or sagged. They were always filled with cream, sometimes topped with passionfruit icing and always at any party. We all loved Grandmas sponges so much that before she passed away she made some and froze them… just in case. Sadly they were the last of Grandmas sponges and no-one else’s has come up to par since (I think that’s because my food memory is so entrenched with my emotional memory that all sponges make me think of hers).
This sponge is not the same as Grandmas, but it is a darn good effort for a gluten free paleo friendly sponge cake. I had to tweak with her recipe a bit as the Cassava Flour, being gluten free, doesn’t act the same as normal wheat flour and requires just a touch more liquid. I know this as I made this sponge many, many times to get the recipe right… and sadly we had to eat them all!
This Cassava Flour Sponge Cake is light and fluffy, so much so that the whole cake will be gone before you know it. By using coconut sugar (instead of the traditional castor sugar) the sponge cake will take on a slightly browner colour and have a different texture to it. I simplified the egg part of the recipe by whisking the entire egg at once (rather than just the whites) as I found that it retained more air and created a lighter sponge. If you over mix/fold the dry ingredients into the airy egg mixture the sponge will turn out tough and flat, and that would a sad waste of cake.
Now, I know many of you will ask me this so here it goes… Yes, yes you do need to shift the dry ingredients three times. Why? Because Grandma did it, and even Donna Hay does it in her sponge recipes so you should too! It’s all about creating the perfect amount of air.
This Cassava Flour Sponge Cake can be made in one tin or two. I usually choose two tins as I can’t cut a cake in half properly to save myself. Unfortunately, the photos were taken on one of the cakes where I did bake it as one and attempted to cut/hack it in half. For cleaner edges bake with two. I have filled the sponge cake with one cup of sugar free jam and one cup of whipped coconut cream but it would also taste great filled with curd, flavoured cream or topped with caramel sauce.
Have you tried Cassava Flour? I really love baking with it. It’s the most ‘normal’ gluten free flour I have baked with. You can buy it from Pantry Innovations in Australia.
P.S. I paid for my bag of Cassava Flour myself (I also bought some of their box mix Paleo Bread too) and did not receive any payment for my recipe/comments. I do, however, receive a very small commission if you buy Cassava Flour from Pantry Innovations using this link.
- 5 Eggs
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
- 2/3 Cup Cassava Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- Preheat the oven to 180C/360F. Line and grease 1 or 2 20cm/8 inch cake tins.
- In the clean bowl of a kitchen stand mixer whisk the eggs, sugar and salt on high for (approximately) 8 minutes, or until the mixture has tripled in volume and become very fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and whisk in on high.
- Whilst the eggs are whisking, sift the dry ingredients together 3 times.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in 2 lots, being careful not to over mix as the mixture will lose air (and you'll get a floppy sponge).
- Pour into either 2 8 inch/20cm cake tin and bake for 12 minutes, or pour into an 8 inch/20cm cake tins (spring form works best but other will do) and bake for 17-20 minutes or (in both cases) until the sponge is just brown on top and it is coming away from the edges of the tin.
- Allow the cake to cool under a cloth, then transfer to a wire rack.
- If 2 cakes have been baked; cover the bottom layer with jam and then cream before putting the top layer on.
- If 1 cake has been baked, either cut the cake in half and then cover the bottom layer with jam and then cream before putting the top layer on or decorate the cake on top.
- If desired, dust the top of the sponge cake with flour/coconut flour.