This year, I celebrated my 20th birthday… in lockdown and it’s safe to say that it was one of the best and because buying a birthday cake was definitely not an option, it was left to me to bake a cake worthy of 20yrs. This one did not disappoint. It took me time to perfect the birthday cake recipe; I wanted one which was not too sweet but sweet enough and it had to be dairy and gluten free.
The issue with a gluten free cake is making it moist and soft enough without a whole lot of butter, as gluten free cakes tend to be dense and dry. The secret is having enough fat, but I needed healthy fat so I turned to almond flour. If you look at finely grounded almond flour, it has a very cakey texture and is perfect to balance dense flours. Although I have seen a few people add mixtures of buckwheat and tapioca flour, I felt like these ingredients weren’t available to everyone and the ratios were never harder to get right.
However, with this combination it’s always a 1:1 ration; half almond flour and half of any gluten free flour blend. Gluten Free flour blends are pretty constant with a mixture of tapioca, chickpea, potato starch and anthem gum. I’ve used multiple brands such as neofoods, Bob’s red mill… and any all purpose blend should work fine.
The recipe below makes four layers of cake and the donuts, but I’ve also provided measurements for only one layer in bold to simplify it.
- 4 1/2 cups Almond flour / 1 cup
- 4 1/2 cups GF flour/ 1 cup
- 9 eggs / 2 eggs
- 3 tsp baking powder / 1/2 tsp
- 5 cups almond milk (or any plant-based milk) / 3/4 cup
- 1 1/2 cup coconut sugar / 1/2 cup
- 2tbsp vanilla extract / 1tsp
- 1/3 cup coconut oil/ 1 tbsp
Filling & Glaze (for 4 layers)
- 350g dark chocolate (I used Sweet switch’s 70% vegan chocolate)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup almond milk
- Combine the flours and baking powder together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut sugar or any sweetener of choice, coconut oil and almond milk together.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients or use a hand mixer on low speed to incorporate properly.
- Spray your baking pan with coconut oil and add baking paper to the bottom. Pour your batter to fill in 3/4 of the pan.
- Bake for 30- 40 mins at 170ºC, let the cake cool before levelling it.
Filling & Glaze
- For the filling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Let the layers cool completely before spreading the ganache between them.
- For the drizzle on top, add almond milk to the melted chocolate and pour over your cake, spreading it with a cake spatula or spoon.
- To make donuts to decorate the cake, I simply baked the leftover batter in donut moulds. Optional: add cacao nibs or chocolate chips.
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temp.
- If the oven is too hot, your cake is more likely to form cracks.
- Only level your cake when it has cooled.
- Levelling a cake is harder without the right tools, but not impossible; using a ruler and a sharp knife, mark your cake all around at the same height. Then start cutting the dome off by angling your knife at right angles to the cake, keep rotating it and cutting slightly deeper each time. This is to avoid cutting a hole in your cake.
- Keep in the fridge to harden the chocolate, and honestly cake tastes better cold.