Fig Nut Torte cake and Gluten Free

I dare you to challenge this scrumptious...
gluten-free FIG and ALMOND cake.

Not long ago, I posted about the wondrous fig fruit
...going dry and into its sweeter state.

I had shared one of my very favourite versatile

Today, I'll share with you an experiment that was
etched from a mini saga between myself and another Foodie
on baking gluten-free and solely with one flour type.

I had mentioned the 'sweet sorghum white flour' to her...
which, by the way is not white or really sweet...go figure!?! 
Before I go on...for those who have never heard of this very
adaptable gluten-free flour...here is a small description:

Sorghum flour (a.k.a. 'Sweet Sorghum' or 'Jowar'...or ‘Jowar Atta‘ (found in Indian specialty stores):
This flour makes an excellent wheat flour substitute in quick-leavened baked goods such as muffins or banana bread. It is ground from the small, millet-like grains of the sorghum plant. Sweet white sorghum flour is a pale pinkish-brown in color and has a pleasant, faintly sweet and grassy taste. It is best combined with a gluten-free starch such as cornstarch or tapioca and creates a fine crumb, good texture. --ref. Wikibooks

In my opinion...this flour shares a likeness with the soybean turned into 'Tofu'. What could I possibly mean?  Sorghum flour tends to absorb the flavours you accompany it with...just as tofu does.

I guess, this is one of the reasons that I've adopted it as one of my favourite gluten-free flours.

Usually...the advice from experienced gluten intolerant bakers is to blend the Sorghum flour with another starch like flour like...'Tapioca' for instance...or any other gluten free flours.  According to most unfortunate baking experiences (including some of mine)...it has been mentioned that less desirable results have come from using Sorghum on its own.  It has given most baked goods a somewhat dry and gritty outcome.  Therefore, to really succeed, especially when first starting to bake with these flours...it may be best to make a blend in order to get a better texture.

Also...according to one of the suppliers of this flour...only a maximum of 20% of 'all purpose' flour should be substituted with this gluten-free type flour.

A while ago, I had stubbornly decided to use 50%...and I ended up beating the odds with satisfactory oatmeal cookies.  I had vowed to push the envelope once more the next time around with an apple cake etc.

Tips for using Sweet Sorghum White flour successfully:
. I found that adding a little extra fat as in butter or oil, eggs, applesauce, prunes or mashed banana...would go a long way into realizing better baking results.
. Someone had also mentioned to me to try adding apple cider vinegar the next time... Apparently it improves the volume of the batter...and it did help a little.

So, last week...the 'around time'...came once more...
I chucked it all to the air and went for it.

I took my fresh figs, buttered them up with more sweetness...
incorporated the full amount of Sorghum flour...
and turned everything upside down.

The results...
came in the form of an enchanting surprise.

I now had a great upside down fresh fig and nut torte cake ready to be devoured.

So, here's how I made this very simple torte...

FIGS and NUT torte cake
(upside down / reversed cake)
(Gluten-free...or regular flours if desired)
serves 8-10 persons

(American / Metric measures)
. 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
. 1/2 cup (50g) brown sugar, packed
. 8 fresh, ripe figs (cut lengthwise) **
. 1 cup (130g) 'sweet' white Sorghum flour *
. 1/2 cup (110g) granulated sugar
. 1/2 cup (85g) roasted almonds, crushed
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking powder
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon spice
. 1/4 tsp. (1ml) sea salt
. 1 tsp. (5ml) pure Vanilla extract
. 3 large eggs
. 1/2 cup (100ml) grape seed oil (canola is fine)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) apple cider vinegar (optional)
. 19 whole roasted almonds for decoration (optional)

Tip: I usually find this flour at a health food store. I also purchase the very freshest of this Sorghum flour and in very small quantity...because, once opened...the rancidity factor escalates. I always store these flours in a sealed glass jar and into the refrigerator.

* For those that do not want to make this cake necessarily gluten free...the amount of flour can be substituted fully with the exact quantity of regular 'all purpose flour' or half with 'whole wheat flour'.

** Fresh figs: There are apparently more than 150 variety of figs throughout the world. Picking the best to eat fresh or cook with can be a daunting task.  So here are some selections that can be appropriate as all purpose uses:
. Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink colored flesh (the one I ended up using for this recipe)
. Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh
. Calimyrna (a.k.a. Californian) : greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
. Brown Turkey: purple skin and red, pink flesh
. Adriatic: has a light green skin and pink-tan flesh

. Prepare a parchment lined 9 inch/20cm (Spring form) pan.     
. Position the oven rack in the middle.   
. There's no need for the electric mixer.

Making the foundation:
1. Place the pre-lined cake pan onto a cookie pan.   Start pre-heating the oven at 350F/180C/Gas4.   
2. Put the butter in the cake pan and into the oven so that the butter starts melting for about 5 minutes.  Afterwards, take the cake pan out of the oven and add the brown sugar until combined.   
3. Now, place the 16 fig halves (cut side down) into the design that you wish to portray when cake is flipped over.  Set aside.

Making the cake batter:
4. In a medium bowl...add all the dry ingredients and make a well.  Place the eggs in the center and add to it the oil and optional vinegar.  
5. With a hand whisk, beat and incorporate all ingredients to a smooth consistency for about 30 seconds...do not over beat.   Pour batter evenly over the figs.

Bake for no more than 40-45 minutes depending on the intensity of your oven.   
. Take the cake out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before passing a spatula around the perimeter.   Afterwards, place a cake plate on top...flip it over...undo the spring form and voila...your beautiful upside down fruit torte.
. Now, you can optionally place each roasted almond within the centers of every fig half.

I really do hope that you’ll have a chance to experiment with gluten-free flours...
they treat our digestive systems much kinder...I swear by it.

Have you made a successful baked treat with
 Sorghum...or any other gluten-free flour?

Let’s get ourselves a cup of tea and call it a day ;o)
Flavourful wishes,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.