This is a super easy cake to make. I tried using spelt flour for the whole quantity of flour but found it was a bit too dry and heavy for my liking hence the combination with plain flour; the ground rice adds an intriguing bit of texture. You can also use ground hazelnuts as an alternative to the ground almonds. And I think this cake seems to improve with age; day 2 the flavour and texture somehow always seems so much better. Let me know if you agree!
I found that the very top section of the loaf is the last section to bake. The skewer test will come out clean when it is pressed right down into the middle of the cake but the very top section might not be quite done. I therefore recommend a skewer test to the top section that has risen signifcantly.
What is spelt?
Spelt is an ancient cereal grain dating back to 2500-1700 BC. It was cultivated in central Europe, mainly Germany and Poland. However, it spread throughout northern Europe during the Bronze Age to compete with emmer wheat. The first millennium saw a decline in spelt cultivation and was replaced by common bread wheat.
It is a covered grain which means it is tightly bound in layers of husk on the ear. Extracting the grain from the husk is an additional process after harvesting not needed for wheat. This is one reason why spelt is more expensive than wheat; the extraction and separation of the grain from the husk is a costly process. It also has a very low yield which means typically only harvesting a third or less than an equivalent field of wheat.
Spelt does contain gluten but it is a different structure and therefore has different functionality compared to common wheat due to its unique characteristics. These include having:
- a weaker gluten structure in most baked goods which is why it works in this cake producing a tender crumb.
- a high nutritional value being high in both protein and fibre together with vitamins and minerals.
- a strong distinctive taste and flavour.
Chocolate spelt cake
- Loaf tin 25 x 13 x 7 cm
- 250 g eggs
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 g oil
- 100 g plain flour
- 150 g spelt flour
- 50 g ground rice
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100 g ground almonds
- 40 g cocoa powder
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Grease and line the loaf tin with parchment and set aside.
- Sieve the flours, ground rice, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder 3 times to ensure they are fully combined and set aside.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until a sabayon mixture at ribbon stage is achieved.
- Add the vanilla and slowly pour in the oil whisking on high to emulsify the mixture.
- Fold in the dry ingredients.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before lifting the cake out by the parchment paper and place on a cooling rack to fully cool.
- Dust with icing sugar to decorate.