Angel Food, Devil's Style...
Sharing food in winter is one of life’s quiet joys. As poet Edith Sitwell noted, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
I contemplate her words and feel an ache that is dangerously flirting with longing. As we invest more and more of our (fleeting, precious!) time into our virtual lives, connecting not by touch or even by voice, but via endless shallow streams of social media- texting, downloading, uploading, scrolling through visual tidbits of other people’s lives (often strangers), privy to their breakfast, their political opinions, and goofy pictures of Fido and Kitty- I yearn to throw a party. To embrace the old fashioned ritual of baking from scratch, lighting candles, and inviting some human beings over for an evening of conversation and real time companionship.
Laughter and chocolate cake are good medicine, feeding not only our sweet tooth, but our sun deprived spirit as well. The spirit of connectivity, friendship and inclusion.
Yet for those of us living gluten-free (and dairy-free), the deep mid-winter season- with its twinkling celebrations centered around sharing food- too often feels the opposite of convivial. It feels gated. Off limits.
Look. Don't touch. Or taste. Smile graciously.
When you need not be hyper-vigilant about each and every forkful, the food centric holidays are, as the saying goes, a piece of cake. But to those of us with celiac disease and dairy allergies, a table heaped with food (glorious food) is a big steaming reminder of how different we are, a symbol of separation. Of not belonging.
This is when a gluten-free dairy-free chocolate layer cake is more than just dessert. It is a marvelous, beautiful thing. Bordering on luxurious.
Because to indulge (and share food) without worry is a true gift.
So pick a date. Text family and friends an invite. Or pick up the phone and call. Fire up your oven. Gather plates and candles.
Conviviality, connection, and cake await.
Gluten-Free Wheat-Free Chocolate Layer Cake RecipeRecipe by Karina Allrich, posted December 2012.
This dense, rich chocolate layer cake with mocha frosting is party worthy. And here’s the best part. It’s so deliciously decadent, no one will believe it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. It is divine. It is fabulous. Dare I say, party worthy. Everyone will love it.
Ingredients for two 9-inch layers:
3 cups granulated cane sugar
2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 free-range organic eggs, beaten
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted, or organic expeller pressed canola oil
2 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
2 cups non-dairy milk
For the Mocha Frosting
1 lb. powdered sugar (4 cups)
6 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cold strong coffee or espresso
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, as needed
1 square vegan dark chocolate, to grate for topping
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line two deep 9-inch cake pans with a circle of greased parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, sorghum flour, white rice flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda and sea salt. Add in the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract and non-dairy milk. Beat on medium high for 2-3 minutes until a smooth and stretchy batter forms.
Scoop the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans and using a wet spatula, smooth out the tops. Bake on the center rack for 35 minutes, rotating half way through baking. Test with a cake tester. The center should be firm to a light touch. Cool the pans on a wire rack.
Make the Mocha Frosting:
Combine the powdered sugar, coconut oil, vegan butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and coffee in a medium bowl and beat until combined. The frosting will be stiff.
Add the non-dairy milk a tablespoonful at a time, beating continuously, until it you see a creamy, spreadable consistency. Beat until fluffy.
If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar and beat until it thickens.
When the cakes have cooled completely, loosen the edges with a thin knife, and carefully remove the layers from the pans. Peel off the parchment. Brush off any crumbs.
Center the first layer top side down on a cake plate. Frost the top with roughly 3/4 cup of icing. Place the second layer on top of the frosted layer. Scoop about a cup of frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it evenly to the edges. Begin adding frosting to the sides of the cake, spreading it evenly over the sides.
Clean off the frosting spatula under warm water and dry it off. Smooth the sides by turning the plate as you hold the spatula firmly in place. Clean off the spatula with warm water again, dry it, and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the top with grated dark chocolate.
Allow the frosting to set by chilling the cake briefly before covering and storing the cake. This cake can be made be made a day ahead. I recommend chilling it. Leftover slices can be wrapped, bagged, and frozen.
Makes one 9-inch layer cake.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. A version of this original cake recipe by
Karina Allrich appeared in Allergic Living's Winter Issue 2012.
Yes, Darling, this is a rich, sweet treat. We enjoy our sugary treats in moderation- don't we? Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day. xox
For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.