Friday 24 January 2014

GF chocolate cake and GF blueberry lime poppy seed cake

While we were on holiday in Ocean Grove recently we had a celebration lunch for my mum's birthday.  I volunteered to make a birthday cake.  My mum's only request was that everyone would eat it.

Making a cake for a lot of people seems like a great opportunity to experiment with all sorts of cakes.  Then I take all the preferences into account and my options narrow considerably.  Which is why I made two cakes.  The gluten free chocolate was a huge hit while the blueberry lime poppy seed cake was a bit dry and not so popular.

E took Sylvia op shopping while I baked the cake on the day before going to Ocean Grove.  It was lovely to tie on my apron, put on the stereo and be free of distractions.  I did some shopping and baked two cakes before they came back.  The house wasn't tidy but you can't expect miracles.  (I am particular about having a tidy house to come home to after gong away for a few nights.  The tidying happened the next morning before we left!)

The strangest moment while I baked was hearing tapping on the kitchen window.  Sylvia and I had swept away the cobwebs from the kitchen window recently (see we do clean occasionally) and a poor little spider was trying to reinstate the cobwebs but a sparrow was trying to eat the spider. Made me feel a little guilty for my cleaning!

One of the ironies of blogging where a picture tells so much of the story is that sometimes the prettiest food is not necessarily the most delicious.  As was the case here.  The chocolate olive oil cake from was amazingly soft, moist and melted in the mouth.  Even after a day it was hard to handle because it was so fragile.  (Surely the extra tsp of vinegar didn't have an impact.  I was worried it might be needed because I used Dutch processed cocoa.)

Using cocoa and olive oil made it less dense than my favourite GF chocolate cake with almond meal.  I loved how light it was.  In fact it might be a new favourite.  Especially given that it disappeared almost as fast as my mum's pavolva.  (And that is some feat!)

Making a cake to transport to a holiday house is a bit of a challenge.  It doesn't allow a lot of decoration options, especially when I forgot to take some stencils I meant to use for the icing sugar.  I did take a little jar of icing sugar and a small sieve.  I also forgot to take birthday candles.  My mum was delighted.  She is all for minimum fuss.

The second cake was a more whimsical choice.  When I offered my mum a few options she chose the plain chocolate cake because that is what most of the family would like.  We agreed that some of the other cakes were more interesting.  So I made a small one for her.  Sadly it didn't come out quite as amazing as it sounded.  I take the blame, rather than the Green Kitchen Stories where the recipe originated.

I had to tinker with the recipe to halve the size (originally in a 20cm round cake tin), including using chia seeds rather than halve an egg and trying some of the Bob Red Mills GF all purpose flour instead of almond meal.  I think the flour wasn't a great choice and in future I would use all almond meal.  I also would bake it all at 170 if baking in the smaller tin as it dried out a bit.

Perhaps it would have been more moist if I had covered it with a yoghurt frosting and blueberries.  This was a bit challenging for taking to the holiday house.  However like the chocolate cake, it was lovely with some vanilla yoghurt and berries.

Tea Time Treats
I am sending the chocolate olive oil cake to Jane from The HedgeCombers who has taken on co-hosting Tea Time Treats with Karen from Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is eggs, eggs, eggs!  This cake relies on the eggs to help it rise so fits the bill.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Risoni with Chickpeas, Lemon, and Mint
Two years ago: Scienceworks - history meets science in Spotswood
Three years ago: CC Hal's Stirfry Sauce
Four years ago: A week of firsts
Five years ago: Mojos Weird Pizza – for the adventurous!
Six years ago: GF delights and fairy bites

Chocolate olive oil cake
Slightly adapted from

50g dutch cocoa powder
125ml coconut milk (or boiling water)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
200g caster sugar
150ml regular olive oil 
3 eggs
150g ground almonds (or 125g plain flour)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch of salt

Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.  Preheat oven to 170 C.  Mix cocoa, coconut milk, vanilla and apple cider to a paste in a small mixing bowl.  (My paste was very thick.)   Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, olive oil and eggs for 3 minutes.  Slowly beat in the chocolate paste.  Use a spoon to gently mix in the ground almonds, bicarb soda and salt.  Bake cake for 40-55 minute (55 min for me).  It is done when sides set, middle slightly damp and a wooden skewer comes out mostly clean but perhaps with a few crumbs clinging.  Allow to sit at least 10 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.

Blueberry lime poppyseed and almond cake
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories via Scrambled Megs

2 cup almond meal (or part almond meal and part flour)
2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup  rice bran oil (or other neutral oil)
1/4 cup honey
1 lime
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp chia seeds mixed with 4 tsp coconut milk (or water)
1/2 cup (75 g) blueberries
blueberries and yoghurt to serve

Preheat oven to 170 C.  Grease and line a round 15cm cake tin.  Place dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  In a small heatproof bowl heat oil and honey til combined (I did this in microwave - use a saucepan if you want to do it over stovetop).  Add lime zest then gently mix in lime juice, egg, chia and coconut milk.  Pour honey mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Pour into cake tin.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  (I baked mine for half the time at 180 C but I think baking at 170 might make it less dry.)

On the stereo:
Set List: The Frames


  1. They are both beautiful! They would be more beautiful with my cup of tea though. Why is there never any cake when I want some?

    1. Thanks Cass - I always feel like that when I finish any cake - wish I had that extra piece :-)

  2. Both cakes sound wonderful. The texture of the chocolate cake looks amazing. Did you taste the coconut in it?

    1. Thanks Katie - no I couldn't taste the coconut - I just used it because had it in the fridge and wanted to use it up - the original recipe specified boiling water

  3. Nothing like baking cakes to make you feel productive! I love baking with olive oil- would love to veganise that choc olive oil one...

    1. Thanks Kate - I have a feeling it would veganise ok as the almonds would help a lot with the bulk - I would try chia seeds and some extra bicarb - would love to hear if you try it.

  4. Isn't it wonderful just to have a few moments by yourself, Johanna. It's the little things in life really:) Your cakes sound so inviting. I'm not a huge fan of poppy seeds but for some reason, I adore them with blueberries and also with citrus. I'm sure everyone enjoyed your cakes and your Mom was probably delighted to have so many choices for her birthday. I've often thought one cake is not nearly enough for my birthdays, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - moments to myself are glorious - and I agree that one cake is never enough - there are always so many choices that it is hard to narrow down to one

  5. There's no better present than a cake, and no nicer way to spend a spare undistracted hour. I love the look of the poppyseed one - looks like it would be dead easy to veganise too - nice!

    1. Thanks Joey - I agree that a cake is a great present - I agree that the poppyseed one would be easier to veganise (esp if you serve it with nut butter like hannah suggests below)

  6. I don't care what anyone else thought, my heart is owned by poppyseed cake and I would happily have taken all of that home. Need more moisture? Spread it with cashew butter!

    1. Thanks Hannah - I thought I would like the poppyseed cake more than I did and that I would find the chocolate one a bit ordinary but sometimes cakes surprise me - am sure they would both be yummy with nut butter :-)

  7. It was (is!) my Mum's birthday today and I made two cake too ;) Your selection looks great - the blueberry and lime appeals in particular!

    1. Thanks Kari - snap! am sure you made some great cakes for your mum's birthday - hope it was a fun celebration

  8. Oooh these look lovely. The blueberry lime/lemon one really appeals. I've always wanted to make a poppyseed cake. Wonder if this can be successfully veganized....

    1. Thanks Emma - I've always wanted to make a poppyseed cake for the blog that a colleague used to make years ago - perhaps this is why this appealed (though I still need to make this poppyseed cake - it is more packed with poppyseeds). Am sure it wouldn't be too hard to veganise - esp if you could find vegan yoghurt to stop it being too dry.

  9. The chocolate olive oil cake looks and sounds devine. The blueberry one sounds nice in flavour combinations - perhaps it just needs the right base cake.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I think the yoghurt and berry topping might have made a difference to the blueberry cake - I just worried it would be too messy or soggy or hot if it travellled that way

  10. Thanks for sharing these GF treats!

  11. Hi, a table of treats what more do want? err maybe your lovley olive oil cake on my plate. they look delicious. i need to give that cake ago!

  12. Brilliant entries for this months Tea Time Treats! Thank you so much for taking the time to share :)
    Janie x


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