One of the worlds staple ingredients is wheat flour, it is found in baked goods, pasta, biscuits, breads and is used in processed food as a bulking agent.
One of the many challenges that people who suffer from coeliac disease or for anyone who is wheat intolerant is being able to enjoy some of life treats without making yourself ill. There are a number of great grain free flours available for anyone who is either gluten free or wants a healthier life style, coconut flour is just one of them.
Coconut flour is a new and interesting flour for me. I have used a number of gluten free flours over the years. When baking I prefer to use the branded makes such as Doves Farm, but this week I have have been tasked with baking with coconut flour. I love a gluten free baking challenge and using this flour has given me a few of them.
Coconut flour is made with the dried coconut meat and is then ground up. It is light in texture and has health benefits such as being high in fibre and is low in carbohydrates. Coconut flour also contains more protein then regular wheat and other gluten free flours. It is a good source of manganese which supports bone health, nerve system function and can help maintain good blood sugar levels.
Before using any type of gluten free flour I need to know a little more about it before I start my own experiments and adapt recipes. One thing that constantly came up in my research is that coconut flour is much more absorbent that regular wheat flour and other gluten free flour blends that you can buy.
The ratios for wet and dry ingredients when using it to bake with are very different and in order to make successful bakes you need to forget the traditional 1:1 ration, and double the wet ingredients. The reason being that this type of flour is extra absorbent and when used in baking cakes can turn out denser and drier, and the extra liquid helps lightens the cake.
Flour to egg ratio:
For every 55g (2 ounces) of coconut flour use 2 eggs.
If you prefer to use cups: 1 cup of coconut flour use 6 eggs.
Flour to liquid ratio:
For every 55g (2 ounces) of coconut flour use a total of 600ml of liquid (milk, honey, melted butter added to beaten eggs)
If you prefer to use cups: 1 cup of coconut flour use 1 1/4 cup of liquid (milk, honey, melted butter)
Taking all the above into consideration, when converting recipes you should not replace the original quantity of flour specified exact for exact. Little coconut flour is needed in recipes.
Flour to flour ratio:
For every 130g (4 ounces) of regular GF flour/wheat flour is equal to 32.5g of coconut flour.
If you prefer to use cups: 1 cup of regular GF flour/wheat flour is equal to 1/4 cup of coconut flour.
The above are only guidelines and personally I still think you can play around with the quantities and experiment. Just remember that you MUST use less flour than you would normally use.
I used the above convertions and did not have the best results with the first cake that I made. I found the cake was too moist and appeared undercooked. I know that the cake was baked because my test stick came out clean, I came to the conclusion that the cooked cake did not soak up the drizzle as well as it does with other gluten free flour blends.
Using my baking knowledge and experience I went back to basics and upped the liquid as advised, but I used equal quantise of butter, sugar and flour but trebled the eggs and added yoghurt and of course the coconut water. I found this worked really well and had a much better result.
The recipe for gluten free Malibu cupcakes made with coconut flour is below: This recipe makes 10 cupcakes.
65g or 1/2 cup coconut flour
65g caster sugar
65g baking butter
3 eggs – whisked lightly
60 ml or 1/4 cup natural yoghurt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 shot or 50ml coconut water
1 shot or 50ml Malibu or coconut flavoured white rum
For the drizzle:
1 shot of coconut water
1 shot of Malibu or coconut flavoured white rum
50g dark chocolate
1. Pre-heat an oven to 200 oC or gas mark 6. Put your cupcakes cases into the cupcake tin.
2. Cream the sugar and butter together until the butter turns a light colour.
3. In a jug, whisk up the eggs and add the yoghurt, vanilla and coconut water. Once combined add to the creamed sugar and butter. Mix until combined. If you are using an electric mixer you might want to finish off the combining by hand to ensure all the ingredients are mixed together. Now add the Malibu, and mix into the batter.
4. You need to work quickly for this next step – add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum and desiccated coconut. You might find it helpful to have all this measured out in a bowl ready before this stage. Mix together and then spoon into your cupcake cases. I use an ice-cream scoop as you get an equal distribution of batter.
5. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. You will know when the cupcakes are cooked as they will spring back at you when you touch them. They will also appear darker in colour than regular cupcakes.
6. As soon as the cupcakes are out of the oven and starting to cool, prick them with a fork. Then in a small pan heat up the sugar, coconut water and Malibu and bring to the boil and leave to boil for 2 minutes, ensure that all the sugar has dissolved. Then spoon over 1 tablespoon of the liquid over the cupcakes. Leave to soak in for about 30 minutes.
7. In a small bowl melt the chocolate and then drizzle a little over each cupcake and if you have any desiccated coconut left, sprinkle a little over each cake and leave the chocolate to set.
Happy gluten free baking 🙂