Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gluten free honey and nut cake

Honey and nut cake

I was am  an ardent lover and most gluttonous consumer  of gluten in all its myriad forms.
Toast for breakfast? Wraps for lunch? Pizza for dinner? Yes, yes, and yes!! Anyday! Not to mention all the cookies, cakes, muffins, samosas, kachoris, veg puffs, etc I consumed between meals. My body was the kind of place where I like to imagine good gluten goes when it dies!!

But, having recently read the excellent and most convincing book, grain brain, by author Dr David Perlmutter, where he talks about the harmful effects  of gluten on the human brain, and the benefits of following  a gluten free diet, my husband and me decided to drop gluten from our diet for a month and see if we noticed a perceptible difference 

And to be sure we did. Not only did we notice that our thinking was more clearer and we were more alert and less fatigued during the week, but also that we were more calmer and composed. We also found, that on days when we gave into temptation and sneaked in that box of cookies, we felt a lot more crappier the next day.

Our experiment had clear results. There was only one conclusion we could draw. We needed to completely eliminate or atleast drastically limit our consumption of gluten- Wait! What!??? No gluten? Like for life?? It was okay when it was a one month fun experiment with hubby, sort of like we were a pair of independent researchers testing out the theory in the book.

But no gluten at all???? Meaning no bread?!  No cake?! No pizza?! No pasta?! No burgers?! No...?!
you see where I am going with this?

Well, it wasn't more than two weeks after the first month, that my cravings for pastas, pizzas and cakes started surfacing. I satisfied my cravings for pasta by cutting up cabbage leaves in thin strips ala spaghetti and sauteeing them in pasta sauce, I satisfied cravings for burgers and wraps with making lentil pancakes and wrapping the veggies with them. 
But one craving that remained unsatisfied was for cakes.I was really craving a nice soft fluffy warm fresh baked cake.

 I scoured the internet for recipes, but the ingredient lists kind of scared me off, Amaranth flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum..not to mention the proportions. Each recipe had a different proportion of the ingredients, so I wasn't sure which would work best.
Then suddenly it dawned on me, when I run out of idli batter, I make idlis with left over dosa batter, and the idlis come out all soft and fluffy. So I decided to experiment with making a cake out of dosa batter. 
I made the dosa batter (recipe ahead) added baking powder, Grated apple, Honey, chopped nuts and and a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness. steamed it for 30 mins on a low flame and there it was my absolutely easy, absolutely gluten free honey nut cake. 
now that I think of it, it also makes a nice healthy school time snack alternative for the kids


Recipe for dosa batter
1 cup urad dal
2 cups rice

Soak all 3 ingredients together overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours. The urad dal should be doubled in size and the rice grains should break easily when crushed between fingers. 
drain the water from the dal, rice mixture and grind to a batter. The consistency should be the same as for a pancake batter

Recipe for cake
1 cup  recipe dosa batter
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pistas, dates etc)
1/8th teaspoon salt
1/8th teaspoon baking powder

combine dosa batter with honey, chopped nuts, salt and baking powder. pour into a small round pan and steam for 30 mins on low. check for doneness using a knife or skewer. Insert skewer into the cake. if skewer comes out clean, then cake is ready. Take out of steamer and let it cool for 10 minutes. run a knife around the edges to loosen them, and turn the pan over a plate. lightly tap and overturn cake onto plate. Add a honey glaze and some raisins for  garnishing.

And as for the rest of the batter, well there you have a bonus. Add salt to taste, cover it and set it aside to ferment overnight. next day you will find it has doubled in size. heat a griddle, season it with oil and make pancakes (dosas) with the batter, and eat it with your favorite chutney or preserve.

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