My daughter’s birthday party was yesterday, and it was a blast. Friends and family were there. It was a gorgeous day, and my sweet almost 4-year-old was incredibly happy.
Which brings me to her cake. I originally planned on doing a Neopolitan cake (like the ice cream), because she couldn’t decide exactly what she wanted. After a long afternoon at another birthday party, I went straight home to bake. I tried modifying a recipe that actually comes on the package for Bob’s Red Mill Blanched Almond Flour. It was for straight up almond cake – I figured, make one layer plain vanilla, another add strawberry puree, and the last add chocolate. Sounds simple, right?
I baked the three layers, and although they had leavening agent in them they refused to rise. They came out of the oven dry, dense, and flat as a damn pancake.
UGH. I hated doing it, but I had to throw it all out and start again.
I cleared the change with the birthday girl – chocolate layers with peanut butter frosting. She was super happy and I got to work.
I did some short research on leavening gluten-free cakes, and decided it was best to go with a triple threat. I used baking soda, baking powder, and used a modified buttermilk to keep the cake moist and help it react with the leavening agents.
The Best Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake (THM S)
Multiple Servings (at least a dozen)
- 1 c coconut flour
- 1/2 c ground flax
- 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Pernigotti)
- 1/4 c Pyure or Gentle Sweet
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 10 eggs
- 1/2 c butter or coconut oil, melted
- 2 3/4 c unsweetened almond milk (you can use vanilla or plain)
- 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp espresso powder
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar and let stand for 5-7 minutes, until the milk sours slightly. This will act as your buttermilk.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla, espresso powder, and butter (or coconut oil) in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Add the almond buttermilk and beat again. Begin adding the dry ingredients in thirds, mixing well in between but not over-mixing. The batter is about as thick as chocolate milk.
Spray 3 8-in round cake pans with coconut oil, and divide the batter amongst the three pans. Place them around the center of the oven, for even heating, and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Take them out, let cool for 5-7 minutes until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan. Gently turn out the cakes onto cooling racks, and make the frosting.
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting (THM S)
Makes enough for a 3-layer cake
- 2 1/2 sticks softened unsalted butter
- 1 c smooth peanut butter
- 1/3 – 1/2 c Pyure or ground Gentle Sweet
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 c heavy cream
- 1 heaping Tsp crunchy peanut butter, optional (adds great texture at the end)
Cream together the butter, smooth peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Begin to add the sweetener, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well. When the mixture reaches your desired level of sweetness, add the heavy cream and whip 2-3 minutes. Add the crunchy peanut butter, and whip another 2 minutes.
NOTE* At first, my frosting had a little “crunch” from me not grinding up the Pyure. However, over time (an hour or two) it actually dissolved. By the time we were eating the cake, the sweetener had dissolved and everything was cool. You can grind up the sweetener beforehand to avoid this, if you’re serving immediately.
NOTE** I highly recommend refrigerating this cake (for 30 minutes to an hour) after you frost it. It will help the frosting firm up and all the flavors come together. However, if you don’t have time, leaving it at room temperature will be perfectly fine. It was a warm Georgia day, and by the time we were enjoying the cake at the park the frosting had softened back up, and was equally delicious.
In short, this was the BEST chocolate cake. Seriously. My friends and family (with the exception of my mother-in-love) are not THMers at all, and were literally begging me for the recipe as they were eating it. My friend’s little boy, who can’t do sweets because they make him sick, ate an entire adult-sized piece of cake by himself.
TIPS* I had considered doing a chocolate ganache drip on top, but ultimately decided against it. One thing against it was time – I just didn’t have time for another element. However, if you have time for it, I recommend refrigerating the cake prior to the drip. The frosting is very soft at room temperature, and I wouldn’t want it to break form on you. A ganache drip looks incredibly elegant, and the only labor involved is literally a pour. It also helps hide frosting mishaps ^_~.