Summer is birthday season in my house. Birthdays pop up one after the other, and with them, a parade of cakes. As the resident cake baker, that makes me pretty busy.
I’m all about easy baking, but there’s no way to cheat a layer cake. Steps have to be followed. Still, making it as easy as possible is ideal, and this chocolate cake is three things: incredible, simple, and gluten-free.
If you’re a doubter, you need to try this. I served this cake at my daughter’s birthday party to a group of people who either openly or covertly believe that gluten-free baking is crap. This cake proved them all wrong.
It’s funny how people are so quick to form judgments and hold onto them, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Our country’s laws might indicate that somebody is innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn’t protect people from ordinary, day-to-day judgment.
We all do it, of course. We put people into categories: soccer mom, yuppie, player, punk. These first impressions usually stick the hardest, especially because we form internal judgments of people we don’t know, whether we’re standing behind them in line at Starbucks or passing them angrily on the road.
Every now and then, we’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to get to know someone better, and then we can undo some of that initial judgment. But that first impression doesn’t ever fully go away, not with people or with cake.
Still, I’m asking you to keep an open mind here when I tell you that this chocolate cake is the best one I’ve ever made, gluten-free or otherwise. It’s dense, fudgy, moist, and puts other more popular cake recipes to shame. Even better, the cake can be whipped up in one bowl by hand.
To make this recipe, I doubled the base (which will make one bundt-sized cake). Out of that, I got three nine-inch cake rounds and enough batter for an 8-inch square cake. Of all the baked goods in my house that were around for my daughter’s birthday weekend, that little square cake went the fastest.
And the rest of it went into this My Little Pony-themed cake, which my daughter loved. See?
If you’ve judged gluten-free desserts too quickly, try again. This one will change the way you look at the world of GF dessert!
The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake
Note: This recipe can be doubled for three 9-inch cake rounds and one additional 8-inch square cake. That's what I did!
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups oat flour (labeled gluten-free)
3/4 cup cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3-4 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350. If doubling the recipe for a layer cake as suggested above, line three 9-inch round pans with parchment rounds and coat with cooking spray. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray as well.
- Combine the sugar, oat flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and eggs, mixing until smooth. Fold in the boiling water carefully.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set the square cake aside for later use.
- Cool the three round cakes for five minutes. Carefully invert each round onto heavy-duty plastic wrap and seal the cakes. Cool completely. Place each round in the freezer overnight.
- When you're ready to frost and stack, make the frosting. Cream the butter and shortening until combined. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa, beating again until smooth. Slowly add the milk until the frosting is the desired consistency.
- Spread the frosting onto the cake layers, stacking each layer evenly over one another. Do a crumb coat first, making sure to scrape down the frosting smoothly. Refrigerate the cake for at least one hour. Cover your bowl of frosting.
- When the cake is chilled, do a second coat. Ice the cake with the remaining frosting, being sure to mix the frosting vigorously before spreading it on a second time to get air bubbles out. Once again, even out the frosting.
- Decorate as desired!