A few months ago, Zachary Golper, chef and an owner of Bien Cuit bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y., gave me his recipe for rice-flour pound cake. The rice flour, he said, would make the cake light, silky and very tender, while the combination of coconut oil and butter would give it a gentle flavor that was less overtly rich than the usual all-butter versions.
Never one to hesitate when it comes to baking a cake, I made it as soon I could. Back then, when I could just pop into any store anytime I wanted, finding the ingredients was easy. Rice flour is available in Asian markets and in the gluten- free section of large supermarkets.
The cake was every bit as good as Golper promised, with a tight-knit, melt-in-the-mouth crumb and a delicate flavor spiked with a little black pepper and some mezcal.
It was certainly one of the best pound cakes I’d ever made, and it was gluten-free. But I didn’t feel any rush to publish it. I filed it away as one of those evergreen recipes I could call on when I needed it. Maybe in summer, I thought, when people could pair it with berries.
Then, everything changed. Suddenly, all-purpose flour became as scarce as hand sanitizer, and rice flour became an excellent option.
Perhaps the best part about this recipe, in this particular moment, is that if you can’t even find rice flour, Golper said, you could use white rice. “Just throw some into a coffee grinder, and you’ve got rice flour,” he said. “I mean it’s definitely class C (lower quality) rice flour, but it will work,” he said.
Which means, even if the supermarket continues to offer slim pickings, if you have rice, you can make cake. And a very good cake, indeed.
RICE FLOUR POUND CAKE
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1-1/2 cups white rice flour (not sweet rice flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (optional)
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon mezcal or tequila, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Melt coconut oil in small saucepan over low heat. Let cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, combine rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper, if using.
Using an electric mixer, whisk together coconut oil, butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. With motor still running, add eggs and combine until creamed and very fluffy.
Reduce to low speed and whisk in a third of flour mixture. Once combined, add sour cream. Whisk in another third of the dry ingredients, then half of the coconut milk. Add remaining flour mixture. At medium speed, whisk in remaining coconut milk and mezcal, until smooth and completely combined.
Scrape batter into pan and smooth top with spatula. Bake until cake is golden and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutritional information unavailable.