Over to Richa :)
Thank you Sudha for sharing your space with me today! I love your passion for design, your constant efforts to keep this world greener and pollutant free, and Indian comfort food at Avial and Rasam. Keep on with your green efforts and hopefully we will make this world plastic free someday.
Today we are talking about baking with different types of flours. I made 2 versions of this marbled Zebra cake. One had been sitting in my drafts waiting for the second version. The first version has all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour, pantry items easily available in the US. The second version uses freshly milled soft white wheat berries. The lighter pictures are the AP version, and the deeper light brown layers are whole wheat version. Dont let this write up scare you, the recipe is short and sweet.:)
For a long time I was always confused about all the different types of wheat flours(Its not like I am completely sure right now :), but I figured it out enough to know what I like where after trials and errors. We have a whole bunch of options with Whole Wheat flour, Whole Wheat pastry flour, Cake flour, Bread flour, Atta(Indian wheat flour), maida(indian all purpose flour) and more! What to you use where?
Cake flour has the lowest gluten, soft wheat and finely milled.
Bread flour is a blend of high gluten hard wheat varieties and is coarser than all purpose flour,
Whole wheat flour is high gluten hard wheat.
Whole wheat pastry flour is soft wheat, low gluten.
All purpose flour is processed fine and a mix of low gluten soft wheat and high gluten hard wheat
Atta(Indian whole wheat flour used for roti/chapati) is hard wheat, milled finer than whole wheat flour and has higher gluten than all purpose flour. Atta can be used in yeast breads but tends to make cakes, quick breads, muffins etc harder and coarse because of the gluten formation while mixing.
To get a complete picture, check out this article on Indiacurry. and some more wheat flours on wiki here
For cakes, quick breads, muffins, the best option usually is Cake flour or all purpose flour.(lower gluten)
For healthier versions, use Whole wheat pastry flour or any other whole grain flour which is low in gluten or mix in some glutenfree flours.
If you can find soft wheat and mill it or make flour yourself, then you can mill a finer version and use that too. I got a Blendtec and made my own flour with soft white wheat berries and made wheat only version of this cake which didnt make a stiff batter or a tough cake! The flour when milled was somewhere between AP flour and whole wheat pastry flour in terms of texture and the batter was actually more flowy and predictable than the one with the pastry flour.
You can find more Cakes and bakes on my collection here.
8 inch cake pan
Ingredients: with AP flour
1 Tablespoon flax meal
2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
3 Tablespoons organic canola oil
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
8 Tablespoons raw sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1.25 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Spices: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder, 1/8 teaspoon cloves powder
3+ Tablespoons cocoa powder
Ingredients with home milled soft white Whole wheat flour.
1/2 cup water
7 Tablespoons raw Sugar
1 Tablespoon light agave
1 Tablespoon coconut milk
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar or 1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup organic canola oil (or half virgin coconut and half organic canola oil)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cup soft white whole wheat flour
1.25 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
Spices: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder, 1/8 teaspoon cloves powder or add vanilla extract
In a bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients, salt and sugar until well combined. (Add flaxmeal to the wet for AP version)
In another bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder and spices and add to the wet ingredients.
Whisk until just about combined into a flowy batter. Use a few teaspoons more water or flour if needed, since the water absorption depends on the flours.
Transfer half of the cake mix to another bowl and add cocoa powder to it. Mix till combined.
The cocoa powder will thicken the batter a little, Add 2-3 teaspoons water to the cocoa batter to get it to the same consistency as the white batter.
Take 2 ladles or small bowls of the same size and pour a ladle of the white cake mix onto parchment lined or well greased cake pan.
Then pour a ladle of cocoa mix on top of the white mix.
Continue till all mix gets used up.
Bake in preheated 360 degrees F for 35-40 minutes until toothpick from the center comes out clean.
Serve as is, or topped with melted chocolate!