Food. It’s such an integral part of life, and royal pain in my butt sometimes. It brings people together. It’s how we celebrate and how we mourn. Lack of it can cause anxiety (look up H.A.L.T. fellow anxiety sufferers) or anger…I have a couple of hangries of my own, ahem, Drew and Jessica. 🙂 But it can also become a huge stressor when you have diet restrictions, whether health related or simply because you’re trying to be more health conscious.
We, like many others, have had our struggles with diet up in here, with our extensive family history of disease and allergies galore. Buutttttt…anyone who knows my family, knows we love ourselves some delicious dessert! We’ve tried staying away from it all, but being that it’s at everything, EVERYWHERE we go, and the fact that it’s so freaking tasty, I started trying to make treats that we can bring with us or just enjoy at home that actually taste good. So far everyone who has tried them, loves them — or then they’re just trying to be nice…hmmm. Anyways, my point is I believe there is a way to make yummy treats that don’t exclude those with allergies or diet restrictions.
I have a problem with just throwing things in as I go and not really measuring. Or improvising with ingredients I have instead of using exactly what’s listed in the recipe — sorry kids. So, I will try my best at keeping it as true as possible to my original as well as hopefully, encourage you to have fun with it and add a little bit of this, sprinkle a lotta bit of that, and taste as you go — make it your own, because everyone has their own diet challenges and preferences. I adapted this cake recipe from Everyday Annie and the frosting from Sprinkles Cupcakes, so if you want the original recipes that’s where you’ll want to go. Here, you’ll get my twist on things. 🙂
Note – I try to decrease the amount of sugar we consume as much as possible, hence the Monkfruit in the cake. However, I’m a strong believer in EVERYTHING in moderation to keep things in balance, so I use sugar in my frosting and it’s also in the chocolate chips — and also because I feel like you really can’t compete with the “real thang” when it comes to frosting. But it can easily be substituted with a sugar-free alternative if you decide to do so. Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips are a delicious alternative to sugar-filled ones.
For the cake:
1¼ cups Gluten Free Flour (I use my own mix of 1 cup of Tapioca Starch to 3 cups of Rice Flour)
1 cup (3 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pans (I use
Dutch Process Cocoa)
1 cup strong brewed coffee (I used Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla, because that’s what I have)
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature (salted or unsalted is your choice, I use salted)
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top when frosted (I used mini this time)
1⅓ cups Monkfruit
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. xanthan gum (only required when using gluten free flour that doesn’t already have it in there)
½ tsp. salt
For the frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
∼3 cups confectioners’ sugar (start with 2 1/2 and increase according to taste, no need to use more sugar than needed for your taste buds)
∼¼ cup Cocoa
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter the sides of 2, 9-inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, shaking out the excess. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder and coffee. Whisk until smooth; set aside to cool slightly. When cooled down a bit, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually blend in the Monkfruit and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes more. Blend in the eggs one at a time. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, xanthan gum (if using) and salt; whisk to blend.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the sour cream mixture, beating each addition just until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and stir just until incorporated — or completely forget like I did, and add them here*. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (*divide chocolate chips and sprinkle over each pan and then lightly press down, then pat yourself on the back for figuring out a way to not have a big mess on your hands by trying to mix them in now or not having to forgo the wonderfulness of gooey chocolate chips in each bite). 🙂 Bake the cake layers for about 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans during halfway through to ensure even baking. Transfer the baked cake layers to a wire rack and let cool in the pans at least 30 minutes before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, add butter to a bowl of an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Add sugar and beat till blended. Next add salt. Then add the milk, vanilla and cocoa and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add more sugar or cocoa to taste preference.
Note — Avoid having a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino prior having to taste test frosting and resulting in having to rely on two 11 year old boys’ taste buds, who have great taste by the way…thanks Owen and Gavin!
To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter. I like to then stab the cake with a butter knife — I feel like it helps spread some of the moisture of the frosting into the cake while also releasing aggression. 😉 Spread an even layer of the frosting over the top of the cake. Sprinkle some mini chocolate chips. Top with the second cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and throw some more mini chocolate chips at it. Don’t worry about what it looks like because all that matters is that it tastes good…it’s all about personality here people! Slice and serve