Mini Chocolate Spice Cake

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About: Hello! I'm a speech therapist in Portland, Oregon. I like to cook, bake, sew and garden in my free time :)

This chocolate cake uses a combination of naturally gluten-free flours, a blend of warming spices and is decorated with pistachios and a chocolate buttercream frosting. This is a rich, chocolate cake with spices that balance out the sweetness perfectly. The combination of coconut flour, almond flour and arrowroot flour creates a soft, velvety cake.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Equipment

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, gather your ingredients and equipment.

Ingredients:

Dry Mix:

⅓ cup coconut flour

¼ cup arrowroot flour

¼ cup almond flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ tsp sea salt

¾ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground cinnamon


Wet Mix:

⅓ cup honey

3 eggs

⅓ cup coconut oil (or melted butter)

⅔ cup coconut milk (or preferred nut milk)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ tsp vanilla


Frosting and Decoration:

1/2 cup melted dark chocolate chips

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut cream (or heavy cream)

¼ cup chopped pistachios for decoration


Equipment: 1 electric mixer (or whisk), 1 medium bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a spatula, 6-inch cake pan

Step 2: Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients Separately

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and give it a quick stir to blend the flours together. Separately, combine all of the wet ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and blend together. (Note: you can easily do this using an electric hand mixer or even by hand using a whisk).

Step 3: Mix All Ingredients Together

Carefully pour the dry ingredients into the electric mixer with the wet ingredients and mix well on medium speed. You can also do this using a handheld electric mixer or a whisk. Bonus- You don't need to worry about over mixing here as there is no gluten to worry about activating and making your cake tough. Gluten free baking requires you to use multiple flours so that your cake is balanced and holds together. The arrowroot flour serves as a starch, which will give the cake a light, fluffy texture. The coconut flour soaks up liquid and the almond flour helps bind and adds a nutty, buttery taste.

(Tip: Place a towel over your mixer to prevent flour from flying everywhere!)

For some incredibly useful information on the variety of naturally, gluten-free flours and how to combine them:

Cara. “Guide to Gluten-Free Flours.” Fork and Beans, 12 July 2015, www.forkandbeans.com/2013/12/30/guide-gluten-free-flours/.

Step 4: Prep Your Cake Pan

You can opt to skip this step, especially if you have a non-stick cake pan, however, I encourage you to try it! It makes removing your cakes from the pan super easy and prevents damaging or crumbling the bottom of your cake. We’re making two 6-inch cakes so you can either make two at the same time or reuse your pan and make one at a time like I did. Simply cut a round piece of non-stick parchment paper, lightly grease the bottom of your pan and press the parchment paper onto the base of the pan. I used a quick swipe of avocado oil because it has a very high smoking point and a mild flavor that won't impact the cake.

For more fancy tricks on how to line pans with parchment paper:

Gallary, Christine. “How To Line a Round Cake Pan with Parchment.” Kitchn,
Apartment Therapy, LLC., 3 Dec. 2014, www.thekitchn.com/how-to-line-a-round-cake-pan-with-parchment-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-78450.

Step 5: Bake Your Cake

Pour your batter into the paper-lined cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes. Mine comes out perfectly at 23 minutes. Every oven is different so I recommend checking it at 20 minutes. The batter will seem a bit jiggly right up until it’s done so check it frequently and try not to over bake! An inserted toothpick should come out clean. Remove from oven, gently tip the cakes out of their pans and place on a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before decorating- this is important otherwise your frosting will melt and slide off. (Tip: If you’re baking frequently, you might consider purchasing an oven thermometer- this way you will always know the true temperature of your oven).

Step 6: Prepare Frosting

To save you a scroll back to the top- these are the ingredients you'll need for the frosting:

1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tablespoon coconut cream (or regular cream)

To make the frosting, first melt your chocolate chips- about 50 seconds in the microwave. Make sure you are using a microwave safe bowl. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. Next, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cream and melted, cooled chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined and the frosting becomes fluffy and slightly lighter in color.

For more tips on melting chocolate:

Labau, Elizabeth. “Everything You Need to Know About Melting Chocolate.” The Spruce, 26 Jan. 2018, www.thespruce.com/how-to-melt-chocolate-521583.

Step 7: Decorate Your Cake

Place a few tablespoons of frosting on top of the first layer and smooth out to cover the surface. The trick with frosting is to never lift the knife off the cake- turn the plate slowly around with one hand as you spread the frosting with the knife in your other hand. By not lifting the knife off the cake you reduce the chance of pulling cake off and ending up with crumbs in your frosting. Place the second cake layer on top and then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Having a cake knife is nice but you can definitely do this with a butter knife as I did. Next take your chopped pistachios and gently press into the sides of the cake.

For a great video of how to evenly layer and frost a cake:

Treloar, Erin. “How to Layer and Frost a Cake with Perfectly Smooth Sides.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Mar. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=llSIoYri8b4.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Cake!

If you're feeling creative, add some fresh or dried flowers and herbs to add a finished touch to your cake. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and dig into this beauty. Or- bring this cake to a party or a dinner with friends- I promise you, no one will mourn the lack of gluten!

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    9 months ago

    That looks really good. I might have to add this to my list of things that I need to try this year.

    1 reply

    Thanks! I hope you like it! You can play around with the spices too, I might add a bit of cayenne next time for a little kick.