18 April 2013

Experimenting with coconut flour

Finally the spring sun is starting to peep through my curtains in the morning.
As lovely as it is to be able to walk outside without quite so many layers on, its not quite yet reached that stage for the bold British BBQ or picnic and the cool evenings still call for some slightly more comforting dishes. 

I have recently signed up to a blogging challenge to use as much seasonal veg as possible, reducing food waste and learning to create delicious seasonal dishes with the freshest produce that is available. 

At this time of the year, rhubarb is filling our grocery stores and in my opinion it is one of the best vegetables ever- I mean how can you not like a veg that pairs so amazingly with custard! such a good combination!
And so in order to use the fresh pink rhubarb in season, I decided to make a coconut and rhubarb upside down cake, a gluten- free recipe that caramelises the rhubarb when baking, leaving it soft and deliciously tangy.  

One of the ingredients I've been really keen to experiment with is coconut flour.

There is an absolutely amazing health food store on Broughton Street in Edinburgh that I could wander around for hours- it has everything you could possibly think of from every type of flavoured tea to endless dried fruits and homemade granolas. 
The whole shop is a great inspiration for gluten free substitutes or heathy options. 

They sell so many types of flour- I'd recently come across lots of recipes that used coconut flour or almond flour as a substitute to turn delicious recipes into gluten free variations and so wanted to do some experimenting of my own.

The problem that I find when altering a recipe to gluten free is that a lot of the gluten free flours like rice flour produce a very crumbly texture that fails to bind together leaving you with a rather dry consistency and bland taste. 
Therefore I mainly use substitutes such as rice flour in recipes such as my gooey chocolate brownies that actually turn out better with gluten free flour. Coconut flour, however, is new to me and I was really interested to see how it turned out.

Coconut flour tends to absorb a lot of liquid and so whatever recipe you are using it in, you need to allow for extra liquid ingredients. I purchased my coconut flour from the health food shop but you could easily get some online- I know tesco direct stocks it.

So this is my recipe for a ginger spiced rhubarb upside down cake made with coconut flour. Rhubarb releases a lot for liquid to counterbalance the coconut flour.

To make your upside-down cake:

Approx. 400g rhubarb 
50g butter
200g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
175g lightly salted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
100g gluten free self-raising flour
100g coconut flour
2-3 tbsp coconut milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Trim and chop the rhubarb into roughly 2 cm pieces. In a saucepan on a low heat, melt the butter with half the sugar until combined  and cook for about 5 minutes until beginning to caramelise. Add the rhubarb and stir to coat. 

Tip the rhubarb into the bottom of a deep cake tin that has been greased with butter and using a spoon, press the rhubarb down until it is flat and covering the whole of the bottom of the tin. 

Measure out the flours, baking powder and ground ginger. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the remaining sugar. If you have some crystallised ginger in the fridge, you could also add in a dessert spoon of the ginger syrup at this stage. 

Add the flour mixture and mix well adding the coconut milk and vegetable oil gradually. If the mixture is too firm, add a little more coconut milk and vegetable oil until the mixture is silky and falls off a spoon immediately when tapped on the side of the bowl. 

Pour the mixture on top of the rhubarb layer and spread evenly. 

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until the cake is golden, springy and cooked through. 

Allow the cake to cool slightly and then using a spatula, run it around the outside of the cake to free it from the tin and then turn it out onto a serving plate. 

Serve warm with vanilla custard- utter bliss. 

Inspired by : http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/recipe_directory/u/upside_down_rhubarb_cake.html

I also plan to try using my coconut flour in a chocolate and goji berry cake- I'll let you all know how it goes and I'd love to hear of any of your experiences of cooking with coconut flour and how it turned out.  X


  1. "in my opinion it is one of the best vegetables ever- I mean how can you not like a veg that pairs so amazingly with custard" This has to be my favourite statement ever! So true!
    Recipe looks amazing :)

  2. Such an informative post, good for you for getting all experimental :)
    The cake looks divine, can't wait until I get home to an actual oven and get my baking on!!
    x x

  3. mmmmm I adore rhubarb - last year I bought a rhubarb crown from my organic box suppliers so I will be looking forward to harvesting my own next year. I'm not sure if I can wait that long to try this recipe though!

  4. Yummm. That looks so good. I love Rhubarb. It just screams summer! I'm glad to see it in something other than Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie (which I adore). I'm pinning it so I can try it this summer. Thanks for sharing!

    1. so glad you like it! I've never had strawberry and rhubarb pie but I definitely need to taste one soon! Katie x

  5. Lovely dish! Would you be happy to link it in to the new Food on Friday which is all about rhubarb? This is the link . I do hope to see you there. Cheers

    1. Thanks you for your comment. Yes of course, I'll link it in now x

    2. Katie, thanks for linking in. I have now also pinned this to the special Pinboard I have created for Food on Friday: Rhubarb. http://pinterest.com/ca4ole/food-on-friday-rhubarb/ I hope to see you again soon Cheers


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It's really appreciated and lovely to hear some feedback. Katie x