A friend had a birthday a few days ago, and she is unfortunately unable to eat gluten, dairy, or soy, which can make birthday cakes a little harder to find.
Luckily, I’m always up for a good gluten-free baking challenge. Also luckily, she can eat butter (just not milk/cream) so it was easier to find a good recipe and make a rich chocolate cake. This is actually my first gluten-free cake; normally I’ve opted for cupcakes because they are easier to share at work.
I had to adapt this recipe because I didn’t have dairy-free chocolate on hand. I used the substitution of 3 tbsp cocoa powder + 1 tbsp oil per ounce of chocolate. Because this can make the cake very bitter, I opted for 3/4 cups of sugar instead of 1/2 (though if I do this again I will definitely add one cup. The cake is delicious, but not quite sweet enough. Think 85% dark chocolate bar versus 50% dark chocolate, which was a bit more what I was aiming for. Thankfully the sweetness of the buttercream works in my favour here).
This recipe produces a nice tall 6″ round chocolate cake with a very fudgy texture. It still amazes me how ‘normal’ a cake can look without an ounce of flour!
Once again, I was given leeway with the decorations. I went for an orange flavored icing, partly because it pairs well with the chocolate, but also because the orange juice is a great way to add flavour and replace cream. The buttercream is a little less rich, but still delicious.
I’m not sure if there is an official name for this design, but I’ve been calling it the ‘smeared dot’ effect. It’s surprisingly easy: place dots vertically along the side, smear each with an offset spatula, and repeat, placing the next set of dots so they slightly overlap the first.
Below is the finished product (before I smoothed out the center dot):
Out of the four cakes I made over Easter weekend, this was probably the easiest design, but it still looks fantastic. I’m looking forward to using this design again, perhaps next time with multiple colours.
The best part of making these kinds of cakes is that it always really brightens someone’s day to have a cake made specifically to cater to their needs. It’s still buttery and fudgy and delicious, but with no flour, no cream, and no soy. Sometimes the most important thing isn’t what you put in a cake, but what you leave out.