I do not have a funny story to tell you. I do not even have a picture. But I do have cake.
My mother made friends with the man in the bakery, where she cannot buy anything because all the nice treats in it are made with wheat flour. It’s a general truth (with certain exceptions, as most general truths will have) that wheat flour is what makes things in a bakery tasty.
The man in the bakery said he knew how to make a cake with no flour that he thought my mother would like. Ha, I said, when I heard this. Treats without wheat flour sometimes taste good, say if you buy these cookies, or sell your car and use the proceeds to buy some of this flour, but generally speaking fluffy yummy cake is well outside the reach of the home cook, especially if that cook is unwilling to get involved with xanthan gum, which the very costly flour does contain.
The bakery man scrawled out a recipe on a piece of yellow paper for my mother, and we made it. I was a little too relaxed about folding in the egg whites, and also the man in the bakery conceded he may have been a little off in the amount of baking powder he had written down. More flavor was called for, too. So the first cake, while nice, was texturally a little off.
That’s all behind us now. All necessary adjustments have been made, and now all of us know how to make a gluten-free cake that has no weird gums in it and does not keep your incisors sanded down thanks to its gritty undertones. It is fluffy cake, bless its soul. You could serve it to anyone, whatever their position on gluten.
We scarfed it down plain, but vision of berries and cream, or heaps of delightful frosting--birthday cake!!--danced in my head. Apologies to egg-not-eaters and potato-avoiders--your day will come.
4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c sugar
1 ¼ c potato starch
1 ¼ t baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ t vanilla
finely grated zest of two lemons
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9” cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, and re-butter the parchment. Now dust the pan with a couple of teaspoons of potato starch. Have a baking sheet ready. Make sure the oven rack is in the center of the oven, not too high, not too low.
Cream the butter well with the sugar, until light. Beat the yolks in one at a time, beating well after each, and beat in the zest and vanilla.
Combine the potato starch and baking powder, and add these to the butter mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt to firm peaks. Gently combine about a fourth of the whites with the butter mixture, to lighten it, and then, using a large spatula or balloon whisk, very gently and patiently fold in the remaining whites.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and gently smooth the top. Place the pan on the baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees, and bake for another 20 minutes. It will look very done before this, but gird up your loins and keep baking.
Let the cake cool on a rack for as long as you can restrain yourself, then invert onto a rack and remove the parchment. Turn right side up onto a plate and have at it.