Gluten-free, Low Carb Quick Dessert Cake




Introduction: Gluten-free, Low Carb Quick Dessert Cake

About: Human, owned by two cats. I like doing stuff differently, breaking out of patterns, finding new ways to reuse things that would be otherwise thrown away. I like growing 'garbage' plants from seed (pineapples...

This is a gluten-free and low carb variation of the mug cake made in microwave oven. 
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.

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Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

I promised the ingredients are easy to find!

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
- 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

After you've decided what flavor you want, place all the dry ingredients together in the microwave proof bowl, and stir. An old-fashioned, manual fork will work just fine.

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

After the dry stuff is mixed and looks uniform, break in the egg, and add any less dry ingredients you want to add, like lemon or vanilla extract. Stir with the same fork until it looks uniform.

Step 4: Bake

Bake. The time depends on the microwave oven; mine takes about 1 1/2 minutes to get the cake ready.
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. :)

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    8 Discussions


    Hi Gia, I've been following a low-carb diet since Christmas and lost 14lbs so I don't want to weaken. However, for the first time tonight I was craving carbohydrates, desperately. I had bought brown flax but didn't know what to do with it. so I searched online and found your recipe, much simpler than others and I had all the ingredients so I gave it a go. I cooked the cake in my Rayburn oil cooker so guessed the time and it came out looking great. I did a savoury version with herbs because I have no artificial sweetener and I've just eaten a slice with butter on. Absolutely HEAVENLY! Thank you SO much, your recipe stopped me from giving in and eating carbs!
    All the best, Ali :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for this gluten free flax seed recipe. I just milled some flaxseed recently and even found some flaxseed pre-ground meal today for cheap. I made your recipe quite simply and even added a tad of milk because my egg was a little small. It worked out wonderfully. Thank you. I'm going gluten free for a month to check my sensitivity.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    could i make flax meal with flaxseeds in my food processor?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes - just make it quite fine, about the same grain size as for ground coffee should do.
    I have tried more experiments with the recipe, e.g. with the brown flax meal. Which surprisingly tastes the same as the golden one, so it's only a difference of color. Which for some recipes it'll look better... or mix the dark and the light ones. Some flaxmeal we found was more coarse, but that didn't seem to make a difference either.
    And flavors - yay, I found so many good aromas and essences for the cakes at Watkins store: more natural lemon (my favorite), but also hazelnut (seasonal apparently) and chocolate (perfect together to make a nutella flavored cake), coconut, caramel, strawberry, orange, banana...


    7 years ago on Introduction


    Gotta say I love these. They taste great, and versatile is this little cakes middle name. As a diabetic I've had to give up my much loved carb heavy desert items, and this has been a god send for my sweet tooth. At 2 carbs per cake and 8g of fiber you don't feel one bit guilty for snacking on this.

    Also I'm a little jealous gia that yours look so fluffy and light, mine seem a bit dense but, none the less tasty lol. ;-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Try with a different baking powder, or perhaps with a bit more of it and/or mix the ingredients a bit longer. The one I use is "boudle-acting" or something like that.
    And maybe even the coarseness of the flaxmeal can make a difference - so a few more variations to try. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very Cool, I will try this one!! I've been on the low carb diet for awhile and this looks good.
    Thanks, -Lee Studley( 2x litters of five living in harmony at 2years and 7years )