It’s funny how priorities change as you get older. Growing up, I feel like birthdays were all about presents and treats; I would start planning out a birthday wish list and flip through my Gran’s cake decorating books to pick out which cake I wanted months in advance. Now, my favorite part of having my birthday is hearing from friends and family who I don’t get to speak to as often as I would like. Even Facebook messages feel special, just knowing that someone has taken the time to write a happy birthday wish. On my birthday last Monday, everyone who called asked what I was doing to celebrate the day. When I mentioned I was baking a cake, there were many surprised responses, and jokes about me making my own cake. For someone who loves baking, its an obvious birthday activity- especially since I had kitchen company who treated me by doing the dishes!
I also especially loved making my own cake because I’m grateful to have the knowledge and ability to make a gluten free cake. I was recently telling my friend about one of the first birthdays I had being gluten free, when my cousin and I spent the majority of the snowy birthday baking and decorating cupcakes. The sad part is, that even though I had enjoyed the baking, none of them were gluten free so I couldn’t enjoy eating them. This was before gluten free was mainstream, or even really acknowledged, so the idea of a gluten free cake was not something I even really thought about at that time. Now that I have ventured into gluten free baking and have embraced the endless possibilities, it brings me so much joy to have my gluten-free cake, and eat it too!
After my trip to Australia, my camera decided it needed a little vacation after being seriously overworked. While in the process of getting it fixed, I brought out my old point and shoot and tried to play around with the settings. Not too impressed with my results, I have decided to share what I have because the cake tasted that good! Very often my perfectionist tendencies can prevent me from doing things as I harbor the fear that the results won’t be good enough. With a strong sense of consciousness, this year I’m focusing more on just doing- having less focus on the results and more focus on the journey. Making this cake also proved to be a small journey, but despite the many steps and longer list of ingredients, it is by far worth the effort. I can confidently declare this to be my favorite gluten-free birthday cake!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Birthday Cake
1 cup Plain UnsweetenedAlmond Milk
1 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Eggs [Or 4 flax eggs (4 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 10 Tbsp water)]
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Grape seed oil
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/3 cup Cane Sugar
1/3 cup Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 cup Almond Meal
1/2 cup Gluten Free Oat Flour (finely ground from raw oats)
1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Blend
1 cup Butter, softened (I used Earth Balance, vegan butter)
2/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 tsp pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup unsweetened original Almond Breeze Almond Milk
2 1/3 cups Powdered Sugar
To decorate: 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350’F and grease 8″ round cake pans with butter.* Dust pans with the gluten free flour, shaking out excess flour.
- Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to curdle.
- In another bowl, mix together oil, sugars, and maple syrup.
- Add baking soda to the almond milk and vinegar mixture, stir, and set aside.
- Add applesauce, vanilla, and salt to the mixture of oil and sugar, beat/whisk to combine. Then add the almond milk mixture and whisk again.
- Measure in baking powder, cocoa powder, almond meal, oat flour, and gluten free flour and beat/whisk to combine, making sure no large clumps remain. (If the batter appears thick, you can add more almond milk, but it should be a perfect, semi-thick, pourable batter.)
- Pour batter into baking pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the edges are dry.
- Allow cake to rest for 15 minutes before running a knife around the edges, and invert onto a cooling rack.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting:
- Beat all frosting ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, adding powdered sugar a little at a time. If it becomes too thick, add more almond milk. To thicken, add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
To assemble the cake:
Place first layer of cake bottom-side up, spread with a layer of frosting, and sprinkle on chocolate chips. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the TOP side of the second layer, and place top side down on layer with the chocolate chips. Frost the rest of the cake and decorate!
*The original recipe I used calls for 3 8 inch pans, but I used 2 8 inch and then filled cupcake liners with the remaining batter. This was perfect, so I could taste the cake before serving to guests!