I made this cake when I was craving a plain baked good. Something humble and rustic, something that would be good served alongside a dollop of whipped cream or simply dusted with icing sugar. And since I had a bag of buckwheat flour, I used it. I really like buckwheat in baked goods, though you have to make sure not to be too heavy-handed or it can get, well, heavy. And dense.
This is a good flour combination that keeps the crumb light. Feel free to play around with it. I made this cake without the grapefruit for some friends who were over for the evening, including my friend Meghan who is very lactose-intolerant. I then made it again, in cupcake form, for Meghan for her first day of teaching Grade 3. I figured she could use a little boost. I decided to add some grapefruit and I think it worked quite well. The glaze makes the cakes very moist and a bit messy to eat, but they don’t fall apart.
As for what’s happening in my life besides cake: We are enjoying the end of summer and the start of fall. Trying to find new rhythms and new routines and stick with them. An ongoing struggle. The past few weeks I have managed to fully plan our week’s suppers in advance, and between Jacques and I, we have executed them. With not too much difficulty. This, I believe, is a victory. It takes time and effort. But it’s worth it.
Gluten-free and dairy-free buckwheat grapefruit cake
Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake or 12 cupcakes
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest (from about one large grapefruit)
130 grams granulated sugar
6 tablespoons dairy-free margarine* (or butter if you can eat dairy), at room temperature
40 g. buckwheat flour
30 g. gluten-free oat flour**
50 g. sorghum flour
35 g. sweet rice flour
35 g. tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) coconut milk (you could sub almond milk or cow’s milk here)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 or 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. If using muffin tins, you can butter them, but a little bit of cake will stick to the bottom of each one. I might try liners the next time.
Measure your sugar into a medium-t0-large bowl and add the grapefruit zest. With your fingers, squish the zest into the sugar until there are no clumps. It should smell fragrant. This will allow the grapefruit oils to flavour the sugar.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.
Add the margarine or butter to the sugar and zest and beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add the dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan or cupcake tins. If making cupcakes, only fill tins just over half full. It should make twelve cupcakes.
If making a cake, bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake until set and a tester comes out free of crumbs, about 30 more minutes.
If making cupcakes, bake for 5 minutes at 350°F and then turn oven down to 325°F and bake until a tester comes out free of crumbs, about 15 more minutes.
While cake is baking, make your glaze. Whisk together the juice and powdered sugar in a bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Add more sugar or juice to get the consistency you like.
Once finished baking, let the cake(s) cool in the pan on a rack. When it’s not hot anymore but still warm, unmold onto a plate. Drizzle the glaze overtop, letting it drip down the sides. Some will soak into the cake.
* My favourite dairy-free margarine is Earth Balance.
** Most oats are not gluten-free. Make sure you buy oats or oat flour labelled gluten-free. My favourite brand available in Edmonton is Only Oats, which sells rolled, quick, and steel-cut oats as well as oat flour, oat bran, and some muffin and cookie mixes. I usually make my own oat flour by blitzing oats in the food processor. It is not as fine as commercial oat flour but it works well in most recipes, including this one.
*** If you don’t feel like a glaze, simply eat the cake plain, or sprinkle it with powdered sugar and serve with fresh fruit and/or whipped cream.