Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Teff Flour

Devilish Angel Food Cake

chocolate angel food cake photo by vsimon

This ethereal gluten free cake melts in your mouth. It tastes like sweet chocolate air.

It is dairy free, and great plain for every day. Or add a sauce or two for a spectacular treat. As my daughter says, “This is a thousand times better than store bought”. That’s if you can even find it.

Homemade and preservative free, it stays moist for days. Four days on the counter and it still tastes just baked. It gets eaten at our house, so we don’t really know how long it can go.

How hot is your oven? A little story.

We bake this cake for our clients. Since we always cook multiple dishes at once, there is a lot going on in a client’s kitchen. One day, I didn’t really have a handle on how long it was baking. After a while, it seemed long though.

I tested the cake with a thin skewer and it kept coming out a bit moist. But I had added chopped chocolate to the batter that day, I reasoned that was melted on the skewer. The cake had risen to lofty heights, and I tested the top with a finger. It seemed done.

Out of the oven, the cake deflated like a pierced balloon before my eyes. The shrieking sound was mine. The cake ended up half the height it started.

I didn’t have time or ingredients to make it again. It tasted great, but fudgy instead of airy. And it looked small and sad. I cut it into pieces and artfully arranged it on a serving plate to make it look better.

That evening, I received an email that the chocolate angel food cake was “AWESOME!!”” Mind you, this was not a capitalized / multiple exclamation point type of person. I emailed back, “THANKS”, and I wish you saw how awesome it was when I took it out of the oven. 🙂

Long story short, her oven as off 50 degrees. So it did take longer to cook, and I should have cooked it longer than I did. She got the oven fixed.

And she wanted a repeat of the deflated cake. We were never able to duplicate it. But we did find a flourless fudgy cupcake recipe she liked. I’ll post that sometime.

Back to airy angel food cake.

When I started adapting wheat recipes to gluten free, I looked for recipes with a minimal amount of flour. Angel food cakes rely on eggs and sugar for structure. Wheat flour has just a supporting role here. The cocoa functions like flour too. So making this gluten free wasn’t hard.

Teff flour.

Today I used teff flour. Teff naturally pairs with chocolate. It is finely ground, there is no hint of grittiness. Even when when using it alone.

You might be saying, “Darn, I am just out of teff.” Sometimes, teff is hard to find in my grocery store. I have successfully made the same cake with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free blend too, measure for measure.

Please let us know if you make the cake with other gluten free whole grain flours. Like sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat…

Baking chops.

Homemade angel food cake from scratch takes some skill. Though it is still “AWESOME!!!” if you goof. 🙂

People avoid sifting these days, but you do need to sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, and xanthan together. I promise, you will have lumps of unmixed dry ingredients it you skip this step.

And this cake is an exercise in egg foams. You beat the egg whites until they are foamy, then soft peaks, then glossy but not dry peaks. There is some judgment involved here.

But do not be afraid. Just jump in and make this lovely cake, it is the best way to experience perfect peaks.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

serves 12 metric measures
2/3 cup teff flour 95 gm
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder,
not cocoa drink mix
40 gm
3/4 cup sugar 150 gm
1/4 teaspoon xanthan 1 gm
1/2 teaspoon salt 4 gm
1-1/2 cup egg whites (11-12 egg whites) 360 ml
1 tablespoon very strong coffee 15 ml
1 tablespoon vinegar 15 ml
1 teaspoon cream of tartar 3 gm
12 tablespoons sugar 150 gm

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Sift the teff flour, cocoa, 3/4 cup sugar, and xanthan together three times into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Put the salt, egg whites, coffee, vinegar, and cream of tarter in a very large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. The mixture will be foamy.

Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture increases in volume about 5 times. And holds very soft peaks that flop over when you lift up the beaters.

Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat to glossy, but not dry or stiff peaks.

Very gently fold in the sifted flour mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Stirring wildly will deflate the air you just mixed into the foam, and you want to keep all the air you can.

After you think the flour is well mixed, fold about ten times more. I seem to always have unmixed streaks in the finished cake if I don’t do this.

Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. It has a column in the middle and a removable bottom. Do not use a nonstick tube pan. The batter needs some texture on the side of the pan to cling to.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Invert pan and cool at least 2 hours. The cake will set during this time and maintain it’s height. If the pan doesn’t have “feet”, you can slip it upside down over a glass bottleneck.  Even baked properly, cooling it right side up, the cake is going to shrink some.

Super Simple Sauces

1. Thin preserves with water and add fresh fruit.

2. Thin peanut butter with an equal amount of water, stir until smooth.

3. Thin sour cream with water and add a bit of sugar and vanilla.

Hearty Beef and UnBarley Soup and Oat Groat Giveaway

Beef Un-Barley Soup

Beef and Oat Groat Soup photo by vsimon

Hum? Doesn’t barely have gluten? Yes, you are right.

But certified gluten free oat groats don’t. Please let me introduce you. Oat groats make a fantastic gluten free stand-in for glutinous barely. 

Cream Hill Estates grows and produces certified gluten free oats. They are not cross contaminated with glutinous grains during growing, milling, package, or transport. Cream Hill Estates is offering a package of their certified gluten free oat groats to one random winner who comments below. 

Oat whole grain nutrition.

Oat groats are truly whole grains. And no doubt about it, they are tasty, filling and nutritious. Two new pilot studies from Scandinavia show oats increase vitamin B1, magnesium, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants in the gluten-free diet.

Oats are a rich source of a unique fiber called beta-glucan. It lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. It also enhances the immune response to bacterial infections. Beta-glucan helps stabilize blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. And, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows a low glycemic diet, including oats, resulted in greater weight loss than a conventionally balanced diet.

Are oats right for me?

Only you will be able to decide. Please visit my Nourish column in the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness newsletter for more info. Scroll down a bit for the Oh Boy, Oats! article.

Hearty, and super simple in a slow cooker.

You can dump everything raw into the slow cooker. But you’ll get better brown color and flavor if you brown the beef in a separate pan first. This extra step isn’t difficult and immediately fills the house with beefy aroma.

Round steak is a flavorful, inexpensive cut of meat. And tough if cooked quick. Cooking low and slow magically makes it tooth tender.

Oat groats take a long time to cook too. Perfect for a slow cooker. They ooze body into the soup broth. And also add tender, not too chewy, not mushy texture to the chunks. I think even fans of beef barely soup wouldn’t recognize these are oats, not barely.

Of course, the onions are optional if you don’t tolerant them.

Beef and UnBarley Soup

serves 6-8 metric measures
1 ½ pound beef round steak .7 kg
1 cup oat groats 100 gm
1 cup diced onion 130 gm
1 cup diced celery 130 gm
1 cup diced carrot 130 gm
8 cups gluten free beef broth
(or 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon Beef base)
2 liters

Cube beef into small pieces. Brown in a large sauté pan.

Put browned beef and everything else into a 12 cup crock-pot.

Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.

Enjoy your day, and your dinner. 🙂

Extras freeze well, so make a lot and save some for next month.

How to enter to win Cream Hill Certified Gluten Free Oat Groats.

1. Visit Cream Hill Estates recipe page and decide which recipe you would like to try first.

2. Tell us which recipe you chose in the comments below by February 10, 2010.

A winner will be selected by random number generator and notified by email February 11, 2010.

Full disclosure- Cream Hill Estates provided me with free oat products for recipe development. And I am happy to share simply, healthy dishes made with oats.

Update 2-11-10. The winner of the certified gluten free ot groats is Debora.

Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, FODMAPS-Free? IBS-Free at Last Book Giveaway

Today I want to introduce Patsy Catsos,  a friend, colleague, and dietitian. She has a private practice in nutrition, specializing in FODMAPS. It is highly likely you have never heard of it, I hadn’t either. I wonder if it may be an answer for some folks who don’t meet the diagnosis for celiac disease, but know they feel better on a gluten free diet. I’ll let Patsy explain below.

Patsy is giving away a copy of her easy to understand book about FODMAPS, called . I asked Patsy to guest post after reading this book. It gets high praise on Amazon reviews.

Be sure to leave a comment below by February 3,  a random winner will be chosen February 4, 2010.


Have you discovered that you feel much better when you don’t eat wheat? Less gas, bloating, abdominal pain and irregularity? Skin conditions, energy level and mental acuity improved? What is it about wheat, anyway?

That deceptively simple question has more than one answer. For one solitary grain, wheat can cause quite an assortment of problems! Readers of this blog are well aware of gluten-related health problems that can result from eating wheat. But wheat is more than just gluten. Wheat contains a complex assortment of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. To understand why you react poorly to wheat it’s important to key into the difference between reactions to the protein in wheat versus reaction to its carbohydrates.

Sometimes people have bad reactions to one of the many proteins in wheat. Examples? Gluten is the wheat protein that causes the symptoms of celiac disease. Several different wheat proteins can cause classic food allergies or trigger delayed, immune-mediated food sensitivities. This group of undesirable reactions can cause gas, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, but the symptoms aren’t limited to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The affected person can experience the reaction all over the body, from rashes, headaches, and joint pains to overall malnutrition.

What if you know from experience that you get GI symptoms after eating wheat, but you’ve tested negative for celiac disease and food allergies? You are confident that you feel better on a wheat- free diet. You might wonder if the results of your celiac test were wrong (which does happen) or if you are sensitive to gluten in some other way. There is another possible explanation you could consider after celiac disease has been properly ruled out: fructans intolerance.

Wheat contains certain carbohydrates, called fructans, which can cause abdominal pain and bloating for some people. If your symptoms are mostly GI in nature, you’ve been evaluated by a doctor and diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or have noticed you sometimes get similar symptoms when you eat or drink too much milk, ice cream, certain fruits or juices, garlic, onions, soy or other beans, this possibility deserves serious consideration. These foods all contain carbohydrates that are rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. They are referred to as a group by the acronym “FODMAPS.”

Fructans are food fibers made of interlocking chains of ring-shaped fructose sugar molecules. Humans don’t have the enzymes it takes to break these fructose molecules apart so they can be absorbed with other sugars in your small intestine. But the bacteria that live in your large intestine can digest them, just fine, thanks, and they do so with gusto! In the process, they produce a lot of gas, which, in turn, gives you gas, and might make you feel bloated. Fructans, as well as other FODMAPS carbohydrates, are also capable of attracting and holding water in your large intestine, kind of like a sponge. The gas and water together make you large intestine swell somewhat. Some people can tolerate this just fine, but people with IBS can experience this as a painful sensation, and can have diarrhea or constipation.

Hey, you might be wondering, if we don’t have the right enzymes to break down fructans, does that mean that wheat is not a proper human food? Not at all. It just means that wheat is one of many foods that contain fiber. Part of the very definition of dietary fiber is that it’s not digestible (by humans, anyway). Fiber in food is usually a good thing! But too much of this good thing is not helpful for many people with IBS, and recent medical studies back this up. If you’ve tried the high fiber route and found it only makes your symptoms worse, you’re not alone. Maybe it’s time to try limiting foods in your diet that contribute loads of fructans. Because the US diet revolves around wheat, it’s by far the biggest food source of fructans for Americans. If you’ve already reduced your wheat intake, consider other sources: onions, garlic, leeks, green bananas, artichokes, asparagus, pineapple, zucchini, summer squash, chicory root, inulin (a food additive) and FOS (sometimes added to probiotic supplements).

If you find out that you don’t tolerate fructans (and you definitely do NOT have celiac disease), I have some good news for you! Unlike someone with celiac disease who needs a completely gluten-free diet, the fructans-intolerant person can usually manage symptoms by just eating smaller portions of wheat and picking the onions out of your soups and stews. You don’t actually have to be wheat- or fructans-free altogether.

In my practice, I’ve found some clients find it hard to believe that even white flour wheat products could be contributing to their IBS symptoms. They’ve been aware they don’t tolerate fruits, vegetables and milk very well, but they seem to get by with a very limited diet of mostly meat and bread or pasta. They often find that by reducing their intake of wheat products, it makes room in their guts for more fruits, vegetables and milk products. They get a much more varied and nutrient-rich diet this way.

Earlier in this article, I mentioned the term FODMAPS. In addition to fructans, the other categories of FODMAPS carbohydrates are lactose (found in milk and milk products), fructose (found in honey, agave nectar, fruits, and high-fructose corn syrup), sugar alcohols (food additives or naturally found in certain fruits) and galactans (found in soy, beans and certain vegetables). All of the FODMAPS carbohydrates can cause GI distress in more or less the same way as fructans.

If you have celiac disease and already eat a wheat- and gluten-free diet, but still suffer from gastrointestinal complaints, what else can you do? Experiment with the FODMAPS idea! It’s a relatively easy, safe and inexpensive way to see if you can feel better by tweaking your diet. Especially early in your diagnosis, before intestinal healing is complete on your gluten-free diet, you may be especially prone to poor absorption of lactose, fructose and sorbitol. Once you have been gluten free for a long time, your ability to tolerate foods containing these carbohydrates may improve a good deal.

Sometimes it’s easier to sort things out with a big-picture look at all the FODMAPS at once, instead of focusing one at a time on just fructans or just lactose. For more information about learning a diet that will help you identify your problem carbohydrates, I invite you to visit my web page,

Patsy has graciously agreed to answer questions, please post them in the comment section below. And be sure to enter for a chance to win the book, IBS-Free at Last.

Update 2-4-10. From Linda: Thanks to everyone who commented.  I learned from your comments, questions, Patsy’s answers.

And congratulations to the winner of IBS-Free at Last, Renee G. Update 2-10-10. We could not contact Renee G, so have awarded the book to the next random winner, Vicki.