Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe – From Africa to NY


Informant KC was a current undergraduate student at the time of this collection. In speaking with them about their childhood and upbringing in the east end of Long Island, NY, they disclosed a family recipe for a gluten-free chocolate cake that has become a staple when the family gathers at their home and eats together.

This recipe was introduced to KC’s family by their sister who did research in Africa. According to KC, their sister was “gluten-free before it was cool.” While researching in Africa, KC’s sister “adopted a local flourless chocolate cake recipe for when she wanted to eat dessert.”


The recipe:

  • 1 cup of chocolate
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Upon introducing this recipe to her family when KC’s sister retired to NY from Africa, KC’s family quickly adopted it as well. KC says the cake “brings back memories of a fond time in her [KC’s sister] past from other places.” Unfortunately, I did not collect information from KC regarding baking instructions (such as temperature and bake time).


After learning about this family recipe from KC, I am left to speculate its significance and meaning. I am lead to think that the simplicity of this recipe not only makes it easy to prepare and share with others but also directs the bakers’ focus to what perhaps might be more important – the people eating and sharing the cake. This recipe is flourless meaning that those with gluten sensitivity can still eat and enjoy it with others. While flourless baking might be commonplace in the African community from which this recipe was originally picked up by KC’s sister, its elimination of flour might inherently suggest that greater consideration be placed on those eating the cake rather than the cake itself. If this is true, then the act of baking this cake could serve as a physical manifestation of family values such as care and inclusion.