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Gluten-Free Fennel Spice Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Fennel Crystals


"Are you planning to make dessert tonight?" asked the Sugar Pig earlier this week. Yes, that is what I affectionately call my husband. Truth be told, I think he called himself that once and it stuck. It's fitting. He has a crazy sweet tooth.

No, I wasn't planning on it.

"Well, can you?"

Of course I can.

"Okay, will you?"

Sure. What do you want?

"I'm easy," he said. "But can you make it gluten-free?"

Oh, boy. Gluten-free dinners are not so tough. Gluten-free desserts are a tall order. But I told him that I would. I had been meaning to experiment with fennel cake and I had a pre-blended gluten-free flour, so I headed into the kitchen.

Ingredients makes 1 bundt pan

Cake

  • 3 C gluten-free flour (I used a pre-blended flour from Trader Joe's plus some buckwheat flour added in) 
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ t ground nutmeg
  • ½ t ground cardamom
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • ¾ C olive oil
  • 1 ½ C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 C finely chopped fennel (keep the fronds for the glaze)
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Fennel-Infused Chocolate Glaze

  • ½ C organic heavy cream
  • 2 T fennel fronds
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 T butter
  • Fennel Crystals, optional for garnish (I bought mine at Gourmet Sweet Botanicals: here)

Procedure
Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease your bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. Pour in the olive oil. Add the eggs and applesauce. Stir together until just moistened; do not over mix. Fold in the chopped fennel and pecans.  

Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean, approximately 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely.

Fennel-Infused Chocolate Glaze
While the cake bakes, make the glaze. Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan and heat until small bubbles form at the edges. Add fennel fronds and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out and discard the fronds and rewarm the cream. Add in the chocolate and butter. Let stand for three minutes. Whisk until smooth.

When the cake is baked and cool, drizzle glaze over the top. If using, sprinkle with fennel crystals.

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