You won’t believe that this brownie cake is gluten-free. It’s rich and chocolaty, and the creamy and light texture — that’s somewhere between a dense brownie and an airy cake — is out of this world! I have a lot to say today, and while I hope you check it out, if you’re simply interested in getting to the recipe, please feel free to jump to the bottom and get it! 🙂
Please don’t think I’m being a snob or anything, but I have a pet peeve when it comes to gluten-free labeling – it’s when things that are inherently gluten-free are labeled gluten-free. Let me explain . . .
My oldest son, who’s 12, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when he was 5. So I’ve spent a number of years in the gluten-free world. On many packages, I really appreciate and need strong labeling. With Celiac, there’s no messing around — no cross contamination allowed! Even if the item is “processed on shared equipment with gluten” or “in a facility with gluten,” I won’t buy it. I take this very seriously — my son has his own toaster, butter, cream cheese, etc. If there’s something that may come into contact with “gluten-full” products, he has his own container of it . . . because even a butter spreader can return crumbs to the butter container!
Over the last several years, we’ve all seen that being gluten-free has become more common. More and more people are finding they have sensitivities or allergies to gluten, and there are also people who simply feel it’s healthier to go without. (I’m not one of those people — my feeling is that if your body is okay with it, why eliminate it? That’s just me.)
As the gluten-free diet became more popular, I started to see things like chocolate chips, nuts, and even some produce being labeled as gluten-free. These things never contained gluten! An almond? Really? Chocolate? Come on. And produce!? Don’t even get me started. (Some chocolate bars and perhaps nuts, could have the issue of shared equipment or facilities, actually.)
I think for people who are less informed about being gluten-free, this is confusing. And many years ago, when my son was just starting a gluten-free life, that person was me! I’ll never forget being in a health food store and seeing the chocolate chips labeled gluten-free, and being horrified that I’d been giving “regular” chocolate chips to my son. I went home and researched all of the brands of chocolate chips I’d been using, only to find out that of course none of them had gluten in them. I felt so silly but after all, I was new at it, and trying to be a good mom. So my pet peeve is this sort of gluten-free labeling that is done as a marketing tool to get buyers to think something is more healthy, when it’s just what it’s always been. It’s like labeling gummy bears as fat-free. They’ve always been fat-free! And that doesn’t make them one bit healthier as they’re probably 100% sugar and food coloring. Get it?
And now, to return to the main reason you’re here . . . this oh-so-delicious gluten-free brownie cake!
Much like product labels, there are recipe labels, provided by their authors. Based on how I feel about package labels, it won’t surprise you that I typically only label recipes as gluten-free when they’re not inherently gluten-free. There are two categories of gluten-free recipes: those that are inherently gluten-free – like salads and meat dishes – and those that are usually made with gluten and require substitutions, like cookies and cakes. So today’s recipe gets the gluten-free label.
Phew, that was a lot. I hope you’re still here — and still hungry!
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
- 2¾ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a square (8 X 8-inch) baking pan with parchment paper. (Use a large piece that will cover the sides and cut slits in each corner so that it will lay flat.)
- Add the butter, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the vanilla to a small saucepan, and place it over low heat. Once all of the butter has melted, mix everything together and set it aside, off of the stove, to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the glute-free flour with the baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
- In medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar and using an electric mixer, whisk until it's thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes on high. (You can also use a hand whisk -- just with a little more muscle.)
- Add about half of the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and sugar and mix to blend. Then add the rest, and mix again.
- Mix in the sour cream, and then add this to the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until you no longer see dry areas and then fold in 1 more cup of the chocolate chips.
- Pour this into the prepared baking pan and then evenly sprinkle the top surface with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and the remaining ¾ cup of chocolate chips.
- Place in the preheated 350 degree F oven until the center no longer jiggles when you move the pan, about 40 minutes. (You can test for doneness by sticking a wooden skewer in the center of the cake -- it should come out clean when it's done.)
- Let he cake cool to room temperature in the pan and then you can gently pull it out by holding onto the parchment paper.
- Cut into 25 even squares and serve. (I like them small, but you can cut them into bigger pieces if you'd like, of course.)