I’ve been in Nana heaven for more than a week, traveling with my entire family.
We finished the week with a frenetic weekend traveling back to our home in Ames. Our little family now has 13 humans and three dogs. With temps reaching into the upper 90′s and children and dogs dashing in and out, it was challenging to keep the house comfy. But we are now a family that lives in four different states and time together is precious – even when it’s hot.
When the week started, we wanted to celebrate one of our son’s birthdays with his favorite dessert – Cowboy Cake.
This is an old fashioned “dump” cake with a few flavorful additions.
But over the past year, our other son has become gluten intolerant. I had planned to make an almond torte for him, but I couldn’t find my recipe. Then I decided just to swap out the regular flour for the almond flour in the Cowboy Cake recipe. Brilliant right? I thought so too until smoke started pouring out of the oven after 25 minutes. I opened the door and pulled out this gelatinous mess!
I set it on the counter and quickly whipped up another cake with the correct flour this time, feeling very frustrated that I had wasted about $10.00 worth of almond flour. I say quickly, because I was trying NOT to heat up the kitchen too much.
My ten year old granddaughter, Maddy had helped me make the first cake and as the burned goopey mess was cooling she got a spoon and tasted the result.
“Nana, this tastes like hot fudge sauce,” she said.
“I’m just going to throw it all out,” I pouted.
In her quiet way, she kept encouraging me. “With all these cookbooks, why don’t you look in one to see if there’s anything you can do?”
“You’re right,” I said and grabbed my gluten free cookbook. There I found a recipe for an almond cake that used only almond flour – and four eggs. It hit me then. My cowboy cake uses no eggs, so the cake had no binders because almond flour is really just ground up almonds and not a flour.
I grabbed my mixer and cracked in four eggs and added ricotta cheese and sour cream. Then I poured the syrupy mess back into the mixer. Turns out, only the sides of the pan were burned – along with the bottom of the oven.
After pouring it all into a clean cake pan, I baked it for another 30 minutes.
Result? A rich chocolatey dessert that looked like a brownie, but was soft like a cheesecake or custard. No crust, but it was delicious. After it got the thumbs up from Maddy – and a few others, we took it to a family party where it was devoured – by those who need gluten free and those who don’t.
Here are the steps – without the smoke in the middle.
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups almond flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened baking chocolate
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp vinegar
¾ cup canola oil
2 cups cold coffee
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease a 9 x 13″ cake pan
Beat the eggs, ricotta cheese and sour cream until smooth.
Whisk the dry ingredients together.
Add the oil, vinegar and vanilla to the egg mixture.
Add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the cold coffee.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Bake 35 – 45 minutes or until done.
This will be soft like a cheesecake, but should be set and firm.