Saturday, 16 July 2011



Yeehah!  Gluten Free Cake Ecstasy!

Lookit me ma, I CAN bake a really good Gluten Free cake that doesn’t even taste Gluten Free!


Tasty Teeny Tiny Chocolate Layer Cakegluten free and  nut free

…and I think I can make it food porn-worthy too!  macro lens here it is!

I haven’t been too excited about the prospects of having to go GF until very recently.  This amazing tiny chocolate layer cake has instilled me with enthusiasm that all things will not be so dire in the world of GF cake-baking.


This recipe makes a cake meant for one really hungry cake lover (GF or non-GF!) or can serve two good-sized portions. In my family though, my kiddies, who happen to be wheat-flour carb loving girlies, like to cut this into tiny little pieces and serve them on tiny little china plates and have a tiny little tea party.  Bebe exclaimed that on a scale of 10, this tiny cake was an 11!

tiny chocolate layer cake

You can bake this for someone special.  It’s bigger than a cupcake and makes that GF person in your life feel super special.  You MUST decorate with buttercream if you don’t have a dairy issue (which I don’t) because that puts it over the top.  If you need to do dairy-free, you could make a dairy free “buttercream” with veg shortening.  Adapt it to suit your needs and sub in ingredients so that you can meet your dietary restrictions.  It’s so good just the way I made it today. 

I decided to make the recipe for the actual cake layers dairy-free so I used coconut milk.  If you don’t have that, use regular milk or soy milk.  I used organic cane sugar and coconut sugar together as well as the Sweet Rice Flour Blend (from Simply…Gluten Free Desserts) that I premixed in a bin and have been testing in my own recipes.
tiny chocolate layer cake1

Because this is considered “Small Batch Baking”, and though I have read you can use clean tomato sauce cans, I’m really into pans and bakeware.  I found the smallest straight-edged pans I could find and used them instead.  They are actually nonstick springform pans that would be perfect for small cheesecakes.  I like it that they can do double duty.  Just spray with Pam and line the bottom anyway (I always do just to make sure I don’t encounter problems).  I didn’t have any leakage issues but stuck a sheet pan on the bottom rack under the baking cakes just to make sure I wouldn’t have a mess.  They didn’t leak at all but you never know.  Better safe than sorry.  When I divided the batter between the two cake tins, I didn’t really accurately halve the batter.  One cake was bigger than the other.  Oh well.  You’ll do better. 

Because I was making a layer cake, I sliced off the pointed cake tops and ate those pieces with the kids.  They were tender, full of chocolatey flavour and tasted like real good ol’ Chocolate Cake!   Yay!  Not squidgy, not dense, not gelatinous or dry.  I ended up with 3 layers because of my lazy attitude about meting out equal portions between the cake pans, but if you weighed the batter out and you’re daring, you could try to split both of the baked cake layers and make 4 layers!


If you want to get nice even layers for your cake, use a long serrated bread knife. 

Use a Wilton 1M piping tip to swirl buttercream on each layer from the outside in.

Stack the layers and end with the buttercream swirl on the top as seen in the picture.


If you would like the “Miette” cake decorating technique with the simple unadorned sides, you have to ensure your cake layers are clean of crumbs. You can brush those off with a pastry brush. I didn’t bother.

In order to get the delicate swirl on the top layer of buttercream, I used a small offset metal spatula and a turntable.  If you don’t have a turntable, you can perhaps place the cake on a square of parchment and use one hand to rotate the parchment while the other hand holds steady the spatula.  I tried that technique at first, but it wasn’t as smooth and easy as with a turntable.  Swirl the buttercream flat from the outside in.

Then decorate with a candied flower.


Today, I decided to pick some fresh flowers from my garden.  


It’s much nicer I think.  So pretty.  So simple.


The proportion of buttercream to cake was perfect.   This slice of cake was perfect for me.  I know.  It’s about the size of the dessert fork.  But that’s really all I need. 


Each of my girls had a slice about the same size.  They begged for more, but it was almost dinner time and I didn’t want them to ruin their appetite for the Japanese food we were going out to have later on.

I said they could have more for dessert. 


Here’s a measuring tape to let you see how tiny the tiny chocolate layer cake is.


Here’s my slice.  For sure, it makes you appreciate every bite all the more.

I think that this tiny layer cake would make a wonderful birthday cake.  Or it would be a great pick-me-up for someone down in the dumps (like I was about finding out about having to go GF).  I am so excited with my bin of GF flour, I’m going to experiment more with other things too.  There’s so much territory to cover!  Ah the possibilities!  I’ll be documenting my experiments with other GF flours…coconut flour soon.  It’s sittin’ in my cupboard ready for some action. 

Inspired by Debbie Maughan’s Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers and incorporating a GF flour blend from Simply…Gluten Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski.
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (So Delicious brand, from the refrigerated section in the supermarket at Whole Foods; not from a can.  Use regular milk if you want.)
  • 1 whole free range egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons Sweet Rice Flour Blend (or a commercial GF flour blend)
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (if you don’t have coconut sugar, just use more cane sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons organic coconut oil (I purchased mine from Whole Foods.  If you don’t have this, you can sub in butter or shortening)
  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees F.   Prepare cake pans by spraying with Pam and lining the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
  2. Combine the egg, coconut milk and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk together until mixed thoroughly.
  3. In a deep bowl, sift in the GF flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the coconut oil and combine until crumbly but incorporated.  If you have a hand-held mixer, you can use it to mix the ingredients better.  I don’t.  I used a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the milk mixture into the bowl and with a hand-held mixer, beat all the ingredients until smooth.  Don’t worry about over-beating because there’s no gluten to worry about.  Because I don’t have a hand-held mixer, but a huge Kitchen Aid instead—which is too big to mix such a small amount of batter properly, I used my Braun hand-held immersion blender.  It did the job well.  Just pulse the hand blender until the batter is smooth and lighter in colour…about 30 seconds.  I think for small-batch GF baking, an immersion blender would in fact be quite a good substitute for hand-held mixer.  Remember to scrape down the bowl occasionally.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans. 
  6. Bake until a toothpick tests done, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  8. Loosen the cake from the edges of the pan.  Remove from pans to cool completely on racks.  Because I used springform pans, this step was easy.
  9. Using a serrated bread knife, split the cake layers and frost with buttercream.
  10. Decorate with edible or sugar flowers.


Anh said...

soooo cute~

Anonymous said...

Ahh, this one looks good. Not big enough for my tastes, though.
I think i'll make this next weekend, after my GF brownies, of course~

Iqbal said...

You go girl!! :)

Cakebrain said...

When given lemons...!

Hope you're having a relaxing summer despite the weather!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Haha, your macro lens definitely do justice to this delicious looking cake!! Well done for making a good gluten free treat.

Hannah said...

Aw, everything smaller really -is- cuter! This is adorable, and so delicious-looking. A perfect size for a small party.

expert contabil said...

Oh my God this looks so good and i`m sure that it is delicious too. I think it is not a very difficult recipe so i will give it a try, thanks a lot for sharing.

Connie the Cookie Monster said...

i wish i could photograph like you! these pictures are gorgeous!! and if you didn't put that measuring tape for scale, I wouldn't have thought it was THAT tiny :P

Reese@SeasonwithSpice said...

This looks lovely. Brilliant for a gluten free recipe! I have passed this recipe to a good friend. She will make this for her child who is on a gluten free diet.

AL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al Dente Gourmet said...

Oooh, What a lovely Tiny cake!!! I'm absolutely in love with your cute creation :) GF + Chocolate sounds deliciously good!

Have a wonderful day,


abouth the brain said...

i love your page girl, i feel like paying to get those cakes for real.
well done

Anonymous said...

This weekend a few of my relatives came to visit, and one of them is gluten free. I made this cake (but tripled the recipe and made two layers) and everyone loved it!

I also used your recipe for swiss meringue buttercream to go with it. Thanks for the awesome recipes!!

Cakebrain said...

Glad people could enjoy a GF chocolate cake and not notice it!

Thanks for the comments everyone!

thewingedpalate said...

I've been looking for a gluten-free cake recipes for ages . The ones I've tried tastes like the chinese sweet steamed cakes you mentioned. I will definitely try these. I assume recipe can be doubled/tripled? Thanks again.

Cakebrain said...

Another reader commented that the recipe was tripled and baked in two layers. It seemed to work out well!

Paola said...

FANTASTIC recipe! I surprised my Mom and sister (both celiacs) with this cake and my Mom said it was the best chocolate cake she has had since she went gluten free. I made it with icing from another blog ( and it was a big hit and tasted great with the cake.

I made 5 cupcakes out of the batter (baked for 18 minutes) and used regular milk & only cane sugar.

Just wondering, is there a reason for the coconut oil & coconut sugar in terms of taste? I understand the coconut milk was for dairy-free purposes so I assume there are no negatives from using regular milk.

I want to pass the recipe on but they are not ingredients everyone has on hand so I am just curious whether it makes a difference.

Thanks so much!

Cakebrain said...

No, it should not matter one way or the other whether you use milk or coconut milk...unless there is a dairy allergy. I was using coconut oil for the same reason. Substitute in whatever ingredients you can. In fact, the original recipe calls for wheat flour, milk and butter. There is never any danger in subbing in ingredients so far as you have no allergy to them. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Deana said...

I wanted to make this for a wedding but not only do I need a gluten free cake but a diabetic friendly cake too. I know that Stevia is a no carb sweetner which would work but I was not sure if the cane sugar works the same. If I used the stevia how much should I use. I was also thinking of doing the quinoa cupcakes.

Cakebrain said...

oh boy...that's a tall order. I know how to make a gluten free cake and I know how to make a sugar free cake but I do not know of any recipe that makes a DELICIOUS gluten free sugar free cake. You might have to make something "Paleo"...that is use dates as a sweetener...maybe something chocolate.
If I were you, I'd just make two separate small cakes: one GF and one sugar free. I don't like baking with I've never used it. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Google "Paleo cake recipes" and you might find some things that might work. Good luck!
If you make the quinoa cupcakes from my blog, you would have to experiment with sugar substitutes as it requires the sugar for texture, structure and moisture.


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