I'm fortunate, living in the southern part of Pennsylvania, to live near many sites linked to early America and its history. In some cases, there are related links to older or different products dealing with the foods we eat. The milo flour in the attached cake recipe is one such exmple.
Just over the Mason-Dixon line in Maryland is the Union Mills homestead, complete with an operating brick grist mill that provides the area with stone ground cornmeal and flours. On one visit, I picked up a small sample of milo flour, a new item they were experimenting with. Milo is a drought-resistent sorghum grain. Sorghum cereals are used for livestock feed and syrup-like sweeteners. Its flours are gluten-free and high in protein and fiber. While it can have a bit of a gritty texture in baked goods, this can be used effectively in the right recipes.
One downside to milo in baking is its tendency to make crumbly cakes and cookies. The great folks at Union Mills warned me of the issue, and suggested that I mix the flour with another, rather than using only the milo. In addition, they found that adding coconut oil in recipes with the sorghum was beneficial. While coconut oil is high in staurated fat, its lauric acid seems to have much less of a negative impact than many other saturated fats. Milo flour is shown beside more traditional flour in the photograph below.
Recipes utilizing a high proportion of sorghum flours are not overly abundent, but I found a cookie recipe on the Whole Grains Council web site that looked enticing:
The recipe originated in Sara Baer-Sinnott's "The Oldways Table." It was excellent, although as expected, crumbled quite easily; definitely worth working with for its nice, dark flavor and unique texture offered by the milo flour.
My first attempt was to add the coconut oil and try it as a bar cookie; the effort was again tasty, but difficult to hold together. It was very light and cake-like, so I went with its strengths and moved to a cake format by adding another flour: both cake and/or bread flours worked suitably, and created a low-rising cake that can be eaten as a finger food, as are most brownies. No icing is needed, although a dusting of confectioner's sugar is a nice touch.
If served with no powdered sugar, each of the twelve suggested servings yields 227 calories. Yeah, saturated fat is high. Splurge!
I've become a fan of the cake, and it's become a regular snack item here in the house. Feel free to download the recipe in pdf form here:
If you can't find sorghum flours locally, those in the area will enjoy a visit to Union Mills to pick up some directly.