My husband is trying to find low carb alternatives for most foods, and while we don't often have dessert, it's nice to have some options that are tasty for occasion. I like the gluten-free part, and a slice of cake makes also a nice part of any breakfast.
Other good sides: the cake is really easy to make, and the ingredients are readily and very affordably available in any normal grocery. Much cheaper than the alternatives you'd be making with special gluten-free flours for sure - and those would all still have a lot of sugar in them.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
Ingredients for one small cake:
- 1/4 cup of flax meal (or 4 tablespoons if you use metric)
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder (some of them apparently have gluten, so if it matters, double-check to be sure it's gluten-free_
- a tiny bit of salt (about 1/10 of a teaspoon)
- powdered sweetener of choice - and to taste (I use a saccharin based one, and don't usually go for very sweet. One packet equals 2 tsp, and I go usually with about 3 packets per cake)
- 1 egg (large)
- flavors of choice
Some flavor ideas that work:
- lemon extract (about 3/4 tsp) - gives a heavenly scent and flavor
- vanilla (same dosage for vanilla extract) - can't go wrong with plain vanilla
- chocolate - use 1-3 tsp of cocoa powder, and possibly a bit more sugar. What also works great with chocolate is a bit of cinnamon and vanilla, or crushed red pepper, or if you have around some almond or nut extracts - for a flavor profile towards Nutella (plus pour a drop of rum or whisky when the cake is ready)
- strawberry + vanilla
- chocolate + mint
Or be creative with the extracts :)
I've seen flax meal in two locations in the grocery: in special health foods section, and on the gluten-free aisle. Usually the gluten-free aisle has better deals.
Some baking powders and sweeteners may have gluten in them, so if relevant, check the package.
For tools, you'll need
- measuring tools for 1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon
- microwave proof cups - mugs or ceramic cereal bowls work fine, but if you got some cupcake molds, those would work great too
- a fork for mixing it
- a potholder (to keep your hands from burning when taking the cake out of the oven)
Step 2: Mix Dry Stuff Together
So flaxmeal, baking powder, a tiny drop of salt, some sweetener to your taste, and any dry flavor you might like. Mix.
Step 3: Add Egg and Less Dry Ingredients
Step 4: Bake
It would probably be the safest to start with 1 minute and have a look then and increase the time if needed with 20-30 seconds at a time. Once it doesn't look wet on the top in the middle, it's ready. Don't overcook it, since the egg will become dry if left for too long.
This is the part where you'll need the potholder or kitchen towel or something else to protect your fingers - it will be hot when taken from the microwave oven.
Remove from the container, and slice as appropriate especially if you want to share with someone. Enjoy - it's best when it's fresh!
Carbs - one cake (equivalent to a huge cupcake or two smaller ones) gets its carbs from flax meal as long as you use a sugar-free sweetener. Aspartame, saccharin, whichever works for you. 1/4 cup of flax meal has 2 g carbs in total (plus 8 g of good fiber).
If the carbs are not something you need to watch, I don't see why the recipe wouldn't work with some sugar equally well.
And don't forget all the good proteins and fat you get from the egg, while still keeping the cake not too fatty.
Cost - one box of flax meal costs around $ 3,50-4, and it makes at least 16 cakes. A dozen large eggs of store brand costs around $ 1,50-2, and one bottle of baking powder maybe $2-3 (it will last for maybe 50 cakes if this is all you use it for). Add any flavor cost - so a rough estimate of 20-40 cent per cake. Not bad when it's all fresh :)
Savory variations - while this recipe works great for the dessert and cake variations, there is no reason to not use it for more savory flavors too. The savory variation works great as a bread substitute - much cheaper than the low carb - or gluten-free - breads you can find in stores.
Simply leave off the sweeteners and sweet flavors, use a bit more salt, and add any flavor that work for you.
A Mexican rice flavoring with a variety of vegetables and herbs is one great combination for the savory flavor.
Or go simple - salt and pepper, or salt and red pepper. Or some grated cheese (mix in after you have mixed the egg to the dry ingredients). And when on your plate, perhaps some butter....
The variations are endless. All while keeping both the gluten-free and low carb audiences happy.
Try some, and comment which ones were your favorite combinations. :)