Rocky Road is something I grew up eating at my grandparents' house every weekend.... or maybe just every special occasion, but it definitely felt like we had it every weekend. A typical meal at Jack & Jean's house (don't ask me why I didn't call them "grandma" and "grandpa"-- it's my mom's fault) consisted of a little ham loaf with cherry jelly, a leaf of iceberg lettuce with a dollop of mayo and some sliced grapes and then ROCKY ROAD! Based on the other components of that meal, you now know why I'm only bothering to pass along the Rocky Road recipe, right? Food is so weird, right?
Anyways, Rocky Road was my grandfather's favorite dessert and family history has it that his mother Marion would make it to lure him back home after he had run away. My grandpa Jack was pretty smart, so my guess is he figured this out fairly quickly and would run away just to get more Rocky Road.
The traditional Rocky Road recipe included walnuts. Throw them in if you want... I like it without. It also used a 7" store-bought angel food cake. Since butter + sugar is 100% gluten-free, the recipe becomes a little trickier in that you have to make your own angel food cake. But, it's worth it! And, besides, it's pretty cool to know how to make an angel food cake. You'll wow and amaze your friends even more!
So, this recipe is two-fold. First, we'll go through how to make the angel food cake. Then, we'll do the Rocky Road. Give yourself two days and it won't seem so overwhelming. And, keep in mind the payoff. Dark, dark chocolate and sweet, sweet angel food cake... combined. Mmmmmm....
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake, (10 inch cake)
- 3/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1.5 tsps xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 12 large egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1.5-2 tsps almond extract
Separate eggs. (Save your egg yolks for an ice cream. I used six of mine for Bitter Orange Ice Cream to great success.) I recommend separating your eggs first since they need to sit at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes before beating. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine white rice flour, brown rice flour, corn starch, powdered sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in a medium bowl. Sift this mixture three times before setting aside.
Using your stand mixer, begin to whip your egg whites on medium-low. As we learned from one failed attempt, you DO NOT want to overwhip your egg whites. I repeat, you DO NOT want to whip until stiff peaks form. You want the egg whites to be droopy and soft. So, start mixing and when the egg whites begin to look foamy, gradually add the granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Continue to whip the egg whites until just nearly done, adding the almond extract at the very end. Your egg whites should look pillowy soft and not too shiny. This is not a meringue.
If your mixing bowl is fairly full of egg whites, consider gently transferring the egg whites to a larger bowl to make folding the dry ingredients a little easier. To fold dry ingredients into the egg whites, start by sifting approximately 1/4 cup of the dry ingredients on top of the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, dip down into the center of the bowl and pull a little of the mixture up from the bottom to the top and over to one side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat, always starting in the middle and pulling to the edges. And, be gentle. You've built up all this lovely (heavenly, really) air, don't mix it away. Once the first sifting is folded in, repeat, sifting and folding until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg whites. This took me about 7 sifted additions.
Gently pour or scoop mixture into a 10" ungreased tube pan. Bake 45 minutes and check. Do not open oven while baking, but watch as it grows up the edges of the pan. At about 50-55 minutes, open the oven and press the top of the cake lightly. Does it spring back? If not, continue baking. You'll know the cake is done when it springs back lightly and small cracks form on the top of the cake.
When the cake seems to be done, remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan. Let the cake cool completely like this, upside down on the countertop. Once cool, using a narrow metal spatula, gently loosen the cake from the pan. Set aside. You'll use about 2/3 of the cake for your Rocky Road.
Great Grandma Marion Bakke's Rocky Road, (serves a crowd)
- 2 packages Ghiradelli's bittersweet chocolate chips (20 oz in all)
- 2 TBSPs granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 2/3 gluten-free angel food cake
Using a double-boiler or a heavy-bottomed pot, melt chocolate chips with sugar. While chocolate is melting, separate eggs. Once the chocolate is fully melted, remove from heat and beat in egg yolks until the mixture is stiff, or to quote the family recipe, "beat in egg yolks until an unmanageable mess." Let cool 5 minutes
While the "unmanageable mess" cools, whip the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff and in a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream into whipped cream. Add cooled chocolate to egg whites and combine. The mixture will get "looser." This is a good thing. Now, fold whipped cream into the mix.
Cut angel food cake into approx. 1" pieces and cover the bottom of a 8"x12"x2" pan with the cake. Pour about half of the chocolate mixture on top of the cake pieces. If you want to add walnuts, sprinkle some on now. Dot with second half of cake and pour the rest of the chocolate mixture over the top. Chill overnight or freeze. I usually put it in the freezer and then pull it out a few hours before serving, slicing into small squares. Bakke Family Rocky Road is sort of a cross between ice cream and a thick chocolate mousse. It should be colder than room temperature when you eat it.
Actually, it's a little indescribable, so you better just make it to see for yourself. I defy any chocolate lover to say they don't like it. Go on, I dare you!