What I did on my birthday…..

by Carol Blymire on August 23, 2011

in Cooking

My birthday was last Friday, and do you wanna know what I did?

I tested recipes for Thomas Keller’s brand spankin’ new gluten-free flour blend, Cup4Cup.

You guys, I am so excited about this product.  I’ve known about it for quite awhile now and have had to keep my lips zipped.  But starting today, it’s available for sale through Williams-Sonoma and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Its brand name says it all: wherever a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you sub in an equal amount of Cup4Cup.

I think most of you know I cooked my way through The French Laundry Cookbook and wrote a blog about it, right?  Well, doing that blog has opened up a whole new world of incredible opportunities for me, one of which is getting to test this new product.  [I should note: I am not nor have I ever been paid to test this product.  I am also not being paid to review or write about it.  This is a product I believe in, and am excited for you to try.]

Last week, I was in Napa visiting friends, one of whom worked with Chef Keller on this new product.  We gathered in another friend’s kitchen and made A LOT of food and had A LOT of fun.  I am the only one among them who has celiac and can’t eat gluten.  So, not only were we testing it to make sure I liked it, we were also testing recipes so that we could get our food as close to “normal”-tasting as possible.  I know some people don’t want to cook on vacation, let alone their birthday.  Me?  I feel weird when I go days without cooking.  I get all out-of-sorts and discombobulated.  So, when the opportunity came along to not just cook and spend time with friends, but also test a gluten-free flour blend that is going to enable me to bring certain sweets and savories back into my life?

Yes, please.

Wanna see what we made, and pigged out on throughout the day?

First, biscuits and sausage gravy:

            Do you like our stunt bacon in the shot?

Up next: fried chicken with polenta waffles, fried rosemary, and drizzled maple syrup:

Then, it was time for a little peach pie:

We ended our day with my very favorite birthday cake.  This is a cake that’s been in our family for years: chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  I haven’t eaten this cake in a very, very long time.

I’ll share the recipes for all this food as soon as I can (I can’t stop thinking about those polenta waffles, and those biscuits!).  In the meantime, though, I can share this chocolate cake recipe because it’s mine.  With a little help from Chef Keller, of course.  Squeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Best birthday EVER!

Here goes:

Chocolate Cake

2 cups Cup4Cup

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

0.5 tsp. salt

1 cup strong, brewed coffee

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 eggs

Sift dry ingredients together in large bowl; add eggs and liquid.  Stir until batter is smooth (it will be very thin).  Pour into 2 well-greased 8″ rounds.  Bake 35 minutes at 350F.

Peanut Butter Icing

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons Crisco

1 cup smooth peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole milk

Beat together Crisco and sugar, then add peanut butter, vanilla extract, and whole milk.  Beat until fluffy.

Frost cake after both layers have cooled.  Dust with powdered sugar (optional).

NYT: Gluten-free flour from The French Laundry


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stacy @ Every Little Thing August 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

That seems like a great product! I don’t have Celiac but I like to cut out gluten sometimes, just because I know it’s not the best. $20 for 3lb is kind of pricey but I don’t bake very often so it would last a while. I’ll have to consider it!

Thanks for posting about it!


2 Lauren August 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

Carol – are you able to provide any clarification on the manufacturing process? I contacted Williams-Sonoma for more info and got a semi-canned “these products may contain wheat/gluten allergens though they contain no gluten ingredients” response. I asked for a bit more info but have yet to receive a response. Since they don’t contain a GF certification seal, was just curious. I am anxious to try them, but didn’t want to without that clarification.

[I just spoke to Lena Kwak, who is working on this product with Chef Keller. Sounds like there might’ve been a training miscommunication on W-S’ end. Cup4Cup is made in a certified gluten-free facility. —–CB]


3 Lauren @ Seventeenth and Irving August 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Thank you so much for clarifying. I am really excited about the products and wanted to try, I appreciate you finding out. Do you happen to know about the other GF mixes from Chef Keller? I would imagine that if Cup4Cup is produced in a GF facility, those would be too? I saw those in W-S too and am interested.

[Yep — all in the same certified g-f facility. —CB]


4 Ali @ Peaches and Football August 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Your birthday was last Friday?? So was mine! :-) Hope it was a wonderful day.

I love, love, love anything with peaches. That pie looks to die for.

Can’t wait to find that Cup4Cup around here. I am trying to eliminate gluten wherever I can!

[Happy birthday to you, too!! —-CB]


5 A August 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

SO intrigued by this – not a huge fan of the gums in GF baking but I kinda want to buy a bag of this and work my way through some of the Ad Hoc baking recipes I haven’t tried to convert yet…


6 Nishta August 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I’ve only just begun to learn about gluten-free cooking, as one of my few friends and book club members has Celiac. Excited to try this product and hopefully recreate your experience of that birthday cake (which I would happily devour in an instant, gluten-free or not!)

yay! I know how thrilling this must be for you, personally and professionally. how cool to have all things circle together in this way.


7 Victoria August 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I think I want to make that chicken & waffles photo my new desktop background. There has to be a better phrase than “food porn” when it comes to wheat-free folks looking at something that they can finally do (well) wheat-free.

Is the flour also sold in the W&S stores, too?

[Online and catalog this week. Starting August 30, Cup4Cup will be in Williams-Sonoma stores. Probably best to call the store before heading out there, just to make sure it’s on the shelf. —-CB]


8 bec August 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

just for those of you who are dairy-free; this is not for you. so sad for those of us that must avoid milk, but i’m glad it works for so many others who aren’t sensitive in that way. have fun!


9 Stephanie August 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm


These all look amazing! I’m not gluten-free, but man, I want to eat right through my screen right now. Especially those chicken and waffles! I’m dying to know how this flour works out with your much-missed doughnuts.


10 Sallie August 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Wow! I just HAVE to have the recipe for the polenta waffles and the biscuits. I have ordered the flour and am waiting for the recipes. This is an outstanding blog.


11 Kathleen August 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Happy Birthday Carol! Whose recipe did you use for the biscuits (and can you share it)?

[I’ll have it soon to share. —CB]


12 David August 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Is this so much better than the other blends that it’s worth the TK + WS price premium?

[Well, you know I’m a little bit biased, right? ;) I actually do think it’s worth buying. I’ve cut way back on baking because I can be really lazy about figuring out the right ratios for different things. This product, for me, will be great for some basics I want to make fairly regularly… or for when people come for dinner so I can serve gluten-free baked goods that taste normal. —-CB]


13 Narelle August 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Hi Carol,

This sounds AMAZING! Do you know if the product is likely to be available for shipping outside the US? (ie. All the way Australia) (it wouldn’t make it in time for my birthday this week-but I’d be happy to postpone!)

[I don’t know about international shipping — you’ll have to ask the folks at Williams-Sonoma. —-CB]


14 Sha August 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Hi Carol,

Thanks for the recipe and for the info? Could you please provide the nutritional info for Cup4Cup (carbs, protein, fat and fiber would be great?) I want it see if it’s WeightWatcher’s firendly, as well.


15 Beth R. August 25, 2011 at 7:27 am

Gluten isn’t the only concern we have at my house. We have tree nut and soy allergies as well. Is this mfg’d in a way that I could still purchase it, because I can’t find any information about that??


16 Senna August 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

love your blog! Also a celiac and can’t wait to see (and be inspired to try) all of the wonderful things you will be making. Thank you for a good read and some amazing food!


17 Babs August 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

Do you know if c4c is certified Kosher? It would be great if they can make a version that is dairy-free.


18 amy September 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm

SO HAPPY FOR YOU! I choked up when i read the part about you being able to have cake, and in the good kind of way–you deserve and have worked for all the good things coming your way, hurrah!!!


19 Mary September 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I also vacationed in Napa last week!


20 Victoria September 2, 2011 at 2:09 am

Happy Birthday, Carol. What great news. I have a close friend who has celiac; I am going to send him this link right away.

Everything looks delicious – especially that fried chicken!


21 Linds360 September 12, 2011 at 7:57 pm

so I am madly cooking my way thru cup for cup – any update on the recipes you made above? Need some new inspiration!!!


22 Amy October 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm

This sounds great. Did the cake turn out much different to that of previous attempts with different GF flours? I’d be interested to hear if you were able to resolve the ‘sinking in middle’ problem.

Also, is it possible to knead bread dough with this flour? (i.e. will it form a genuine bread dough?)

I recently gave in at a wedding to the posh-looking chocolate cake. It had a majestic texture and was consistent throughout and nice to eat. Not to mention the fact that nearly 4 hours afterwards I was thinking I would need the hospital and could hardly walk due to severe joint pain. Sick for 2 weeks afterward (I’m coeliac)

I found a mix from sun flour mills that I plan to order and try soon – their award winning chocolate cake mix. They’re based in Idaho in the USA and the product won first prize in two independent competitions.

The Almost Bourdain blog recently featured a flourless chinese five spice cake recipe which really looked perfect in terms of texture – extremely cake for being flourless and looked fairly easy to make – just need to find the time…


23 Karen October 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Ditch the hydrogenated crisco. It’s solo much better with coconut oil which is solid at room temp. Try it!! : )


24 Victoria November 8, 2011 at 12:06 am

Check the Cup4Cup website… they keep posting new recipes there.

In case anyone happens upon this post even though it was awhile ago…. I bought some of the flour and used it this weekend.

Oh. My. God. I can cook (and bake!) with flour again.

The best thing about it – NO GRITTY TEXTURE. We can admit it…. rice flour blends tend to be gritty. In small amounts with sauces it doesn’t make a big difference, but a lot of other rice-flour based stuff can be gritty. I made some fried chicken, and even coating the chicken, it felt like wheat flour to my fingers. The chicken was awesome.

I also ended up using it to make some apple spice cupcakes (after a total FAIL of a gluten-free recipe with a rice flour mix) and they were also equally awesome.

I need to pick up another bag… last Thanksgiving I was pretty much desert-less as it was my first holiday being gluten-free, and my only desert contribution was a pecan pie using the last of my wheat flour that I made for everyone else.

This year…. I can make a pecan pie again. And I can have a slice for breakfast on Friday morning. And I don’t have to learn a new recipe… I can pull out the old, stained Fannie Farmer cookbook with my notes and adjustments in the margins and use that recipe. I am so excited.


25 Mary June 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I told a salesclerk at William Sonoma that I was gluten free and had not had a good biscuit in a years. She told me about Cup4Cup and I bought a bag – I made the best biscuits with Cup4Cup flour and then made gravy. I had the best breakfast! No weird or gritty taste.
My husband ate one and could not believe that it was gluten free.

I can’t wait to try some of the recipes on Cup4Cup website as well as your Chocolate Cake but I plan to make a chocolate cream cheese icing.


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