Chocolate Birthday Cake

Okay, I have to confess something. I am a terrible cake baker, when I am under pressure, that is. I call it the birthday cake curse. Really. I actually felt it necessary to take a personal vow like 11-12 years ago to make no more scratch birthday cakes as they always get screwed up. Any number of cakes that didn’t rise properly or cracked as it baked or broke as I tried to get them out of the pan. I could go on and on. The curse continues!

Now I am gluten free and there are very limited and/or expensive options as to making gf cakes. The store mixes only make one layer so for a two layer cake it will cost about $8 not counting the ingredients added to the mix or an icing. Perhaps I should mention that I enjoy baking and it is a challenge I accept in my new gluten free life. So I persevered on this cake issue and several birthday cakes have been created since going gf and all were totally yummy. A few glitches but on the whole, I am pleased with my new gf birthday cake record. When I baked my grandson’s cake it wasn’t perfect looking but it sure was tasty. When it came out of my oven the layers sank some in the center. Re-reading her instructions at the start of the cake chapter I discovered that she does not recommend using a Kitchen Aid mixer; it is too powerful and always over beats gluten free cakes. Now I know. I just flipped one layer over and used it as the bottom. I put extra cream cheese icing in the middle. The top was level and the flavors were out of this world. Aidens 2014 birthday party 006

This is at least the fourth time I have baked this cake for a birthday and so it is time to share it…again: I posted this last November but it is so good it is definitely worth a second share. It is from my go to cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. Get a copy if you haven’t already. This cake is incredibly yummy, no one will ever feel cheated by the gf nature of it. And it isn’t that difficult to make, just don’t use that big powerful mixer! I like that it is make with low fat milk and canola oil; less fatty than many cake recipes. I used half the vanilla in the cake and it tastes perfect. I also measure the oil and milk and remove that tablespoon from each before mixing; she does it after mixing. I think oil and milk are hard to blend so I do it first.

chocolate cake 001
I iced the cake with a frosting from the “Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor”; vanilla cream cheese frosting and the contrast is perfection with this decadent chocolate layer cake. This icing spreads easily and the cream cheese makes it smooth and less sweet with a tangy undertone; it is addictive. It’s a perfect combo for a birthday celebration once you poke a few candles on top.  Or any kind of celebration, it is that good that I need no other recipe for a chocolate layer cake.

This cake gets its deep chocolate flavor from two sources, unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. You will need a fair amount of sugar to make it sweet enough. And you will need some of that brown rice flour mix I often use. The recipe for that is below. Enjoy this addictive all occasion cake!

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake

4 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped up
1 ¾ cup brown rice flour mix
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
½ cup canola oil
1 ½ cup low fat milk
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line two nine inch cake pans with parchment paper; spray the inside of the pan lightly with cooking spray. Do not use dark pans; light ones are far better for this cake. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, oven rack in the middle.

Melt chocolate, stir often. I used the melting feature on my microwave and did a lot of stirring until the last bits were liquid. You can do it in a double boiler if you are into that sort of thing. I went for the easy way.

Put all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.

Measure oil and milk, remove 1 tbsp. from each and discard. Mix together.

Beat sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Do not use your Kitchen Aid; use a portable mixer as it has less power and won’t mess up the batter like that big mixer will. Beat until light and fluffy. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla, blend well. Add the dry and wet ingredients alternating half at a time, low speed on mixer. Mix at medium speed for one minute.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake immediately. Any delay is not going to help so have the oven ready to go. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, run knife around edge, tip out onto a cooling rack. Flip upright so the top of the cake is on the top. Let cool completely before icing. You could make cupcakes out of it but no 8 inch pan; I tried that once and it overran the pan in a crazy “I love Lucy” manner!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur GF Flour)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca flour

Best Ever Cream cheese Icing

1 8 oz package light cream cheese, room temp
1 8 oz stick salted butter, room temperature
3 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sieved
2 tsp. real vanilla extract.

Blend the cream cheese and butter in the mixer (yes I used my Kitchen Aid for this recipe!) Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, blending on low speed. Do not skip the sieving. Add the vanilla and blend a bit more. This recipe will frost one 9 inch layer cake perfectly.

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