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Chocolate Barley Snack Cake

Chocolate Barley Cake

There’s something appealing about a snack cake, isn’t there? The fact that it’s relegated to the every day, rather than elevated on a plate for a Special Occasion – and it reminds me of those snackin’ cake mixes my mom rarely bought when I was a kid. (Thanks to her, I learned to make the One Egg Cake from The Joy of Cooking instead.) Also: I find a 9×13-inch pan liberating.

A conversation about barley flour on Twitter today reminded me of this cake. (Yes, I talk about lesser-known flours – I commiserate with others who can relate to my cupboard full of ziplocks and containers and half-full bags of assorted flours and grains and beans and lentils.) We all tend to default to all-purpose wheat flour, but of the alternatives, barley flour is one of the more usable in my kitchen. It’s locally grown (barley is a significant Alberta crop), easy to find alongside the other flours on most grocery store shelves, high in soluble and insoluble fibre -throughout the entire grain, not just the bran- and although it doesn’t sound it, has a softer texture than whole wheat flour. Its humectant properties keeps baked goods moist, drawing moisture from the air. Which is a good thing when you’re after a slab of chocolate cake or chewy chocolate chip cookies that stay soft.

Chocolate Barley Cake 2

I didn’t manage any step-by-step photos, but the batter looks like cake batter. Just like chocolate cake batter. Stir it! Scrape it! Make it! Bake it!

I haven’t made much that could fall into the dinner category this week; after Thanksgiving there were leftovers, and then I went to Toronto for three days, got back Friday night and was in Banff/Canmore Saturday. We had spaghetti & meatballs when I got home, and I made a lentil soup with lots of garlic and a meaty ham bone I doggie bagged from my sister’s last weekend. It was supposed to be split pea, but I had no split peas. How could I have no split peas amongst all those baggies?

But there is barley flour. (Which, yes, can be used cup for cup in place of all-purpose flour.)


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Chocolate Barley Snack Cake

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13 comments on “Chocolate Barley Snack Cake

  1. sue
    October 20, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Thanks, Julie. I use barley flour almost exclusively and love it! From crepes to pancakes to our favorite chocolate cake, it’s our everyday flour.

  2. Lori
    October 20, 2013 at 9:53 am

    So, can barley flour be replaced cup for cup in baking? What kind of recipes work best with barley flour?

  3. Stephanie
    October 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Speaking of flours, what can rye flour be used for other than bread? I would imagine rye and chocolate wouldn’t go well together.

  4. Vivian
    October 20, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Further to Lori’s question…can gluten-free flour mix be substituted for the barley flour cup-for-cup? I’d really like to make this today. I’ll check your index for a good icing too. Thanks.

    • Julie
      October 20, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Yes! sorry, I had said you can use it cup for cup in place of regular flour, but somehow it got edited out and not put back in. Will add it now! I imagine a good gluten-free blend could be used in place of the barley flour with good results. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Barbar
    October 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I have never tried barley flour, but I plan to. Thanks for a great recipe. I love snack cakes, too! There is just something so homey about the name.

  6. Jan @ Family Bites
    October 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I have never seen barley flour in the stores here – except at a natural foods shop in the bulk bin aisle. I’m going to find some, though, so I can try this ASAP… looks amazing!

    • Julie
      October 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Jan – I just heard that it’s more difficult to find barley flour in Ontario – but Bulk Barn carries it!

  7. Erin Q.
    October 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    This is in my oven as we speak! What recipe did you use for the frosting?

  8. molly
    October 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    barley flour?

    how do i not know barley flour??

    this situation will not last long, clearly…


    (ps: fed sally again tonight — that would be our beloved sourdough starter, compliments of your fine self. she is such a trooper, and so fantastic, and we love her to pieces. thanks a million, again!!)

  9. Denise
    October 22, 2013 at 4:12 am

    My friend just told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. (also a blog) I just “Liked” his Facebook page and came to see your site. I love when people share blogs with each other. Denise

  10. caitlan
    May 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    GoBarley.com also has some great recipes to use barley flour! They also have an amazing chocolate cake that is so moist and rich! Love love barley!

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