After writing about Pereg’s Gluten-Free Flours (see Spring Gifts: Pereg’s Gluten-Free Flour), Super Chef received even more kinds of gluten-free flour and flour mixes, including: Otto’s 100% Cassava Flour and Tuscany Blend from Blends by Orly that contains a ready-to-use mix of Rice, Potato Starch, Sorghum, Soy, and Tapioca.
What to do with all this gluten-free power?
The answer: Clean Cakes: Delicious patisserie made with whole, natural and nourishing ingredients and free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar by Henrietta Inman (Jacqui Small 2016). Not only are there lovely, colorful cakes, muffins, and cookies, as well as pies included in the cookbook, but also there are also raw desserts that are perfect for a hot summer evening. Learning to bake with gluten-free flours is so much easier with a guide. Henrietta can speed up the learning curve on what each kind of flour or ingredient adds and how to adjust and perfect recipes. Even though the book doesn’t include Cassava flour, by learning how to use other kinds of gluten-free flour, you can more quickly incorporate other flours you discover.
Henrietta starts off with a useful chapter full of descriptions of a well-stocked Clean Cake larder (pantry) that includes of photograph by Lisa Linder of some of the less familiar ingredients (pp. 14-15 and 22-23). You will need to start with her foundation recipes in order to make other recipes in the book. These include nut butters and nut creams as well as basic pastry for tarts, and quick jams. There is an unusual recipe for Quick Blend Raw Raspberry Chia Jam (Jelly) (p. 32) that uses dates for sweetness and thickening, and chia seeds for binding. If you have an abundance of fresh raspberries or strawberries, it beats cooked jam.
Fancy cakes are the stars of the book. First up is Courgette (Zucchini), Basil, Lime, and Pistachio Cake with Avocado Lime Cream and Raspberry Jam (p. 36). The photograph shows a gorgeous pale green cake topped with flowers. It is a coconut lovers’ cake: coconut flour, coconut yogurt, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and coconut oil. If you prefer a darker cake, the Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte with Honey Praline Ganache (p. 39) would probably do it for you. You’ll need 85% dark or bittersweet chocolate. But if you are more of a fruit person, try Blackberry and Apple Cinnamon Crumble Cake (p. 46) with chestnut flour and almond meal. It would make for a great brunch treat, or perhaps one of the many muffin recipes included in the next chapter, like Amaranth, Berry and Banana Muffins with Buckwheat Streusel (p. 64) or Polenta Muffins with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives (p. 71) that cry out Mediterranean.
Finally, check out the cakes in the chapter on raw desserts. No need to give up chocolate or simply munch on a bar. Try making Velvet Chocolate Pots (p. 141) with chocolate coconut yogurt and cacao powder or Chocolate, Banana and Passion-Fruit Pie with Sticky Toffee Sauce (p. 147) with buckwheat groats, cacao nibs, and bittersweet chocolate. For a stunning Independence Day dessert, there is Pristine Black Forest Parfait (p. 148) with layers of sour and sweet cherries, chocolate and vanilla. She tops it with edible, blue flowers for a perfect homage to the flag.
Clean Cakes would make a wonderful gift for anyone starting to explore gluten-free patisserie along with bags of fancy gluten-free flour.