Photo by the Urban Poser
Recently, I was commissioned to make a grain/dairy/sugar free birthday 'smash' cake for the most beautiful little girl on the planet! Call me superficial, but I believe that beautiful little girls deserve beautiful little cakes. Ok, if I'm totally honest, I think EVERYONE deserves beautiful cakes!
But making a grain/dairy/sugar free cake that looks fabulous and tastes great can be a bit of a challenge! Especially the frosting. Traditional buttercream is easy because it's based on powdered sugar and....well, butter. Coconut butter is, however, MUCH more volatile. On top of that, not having the benefit of using a thickening ingredient like powdered sugar makes creating a stable frosting a REAL challenge! But hey, birthdays only come around once a year!
Photo by the Urban Poser
Now I know that many people tend to stay away from frosting that's made with shortening. We tend to think of it as a "cheap substitute ingredient". However, at the point that you stop using butter for your frosting, there really aren't a lot of other options. One excellent, high quality and HEALTHY option for shortening is cold pressed palm oil(GAPS Friendly). There are a number of wonderful brands out there from Tropical Traditions to the very easy to find Spectrum brand (found in most natural food stores). You don't use the shortening by itself of course, but it is very helpful when added to a coconut-butter based frosting, giving it a smother finish and creamier texture.
Also, without the addition of thickeners or starches, this type of frosting needs to be chilled for some time before it's ready to use. You must work fairly quickly with it and once finished, the cake should be chilled until it's time to be served. The up side to all this work is...it tastes great and has a beautiful creamy white color to it.
Dig in...don't be shy (Photo by Michelle Monk)
"Wait..this was all mine, right?" Photo by the Michelle Monk
Coconut Flour Birthday Cake
(Makes One 2 layer 4 inch smash cake)
For the cake:
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp coconut flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
5 whole eggs (2 of them separated)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
For the frosting:
1 cup softened coconut butter...or try, 3/4 cup coconut butter and 1/4 cup coconut cream from full fat canned coconut milk, just the cream off the top. (Artisana or Wilderness Family Naturals)
3-4 Tbls honey
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 scraped vanilla bean pods)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the cake:
Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.
Separate 2 of the eggs, setting the whites aside.
Using a mixer or hand whisk, combine the 3 remaining eggs, the two egg yolks, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and lemon juice until they are really well combined.
On low-speed, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Continue to mix till the batter is smooth and has no lumps.
In a small bowl beat the egg whites till thick soft peaks form. Fold into the batter.
Pour half the batter into a greased and parchment lined 4 inch round cake pan (If you happen to have two of them you can pour the rest into the 2nd pan. Otherwise just set the batter aside till the 1st cake is done baking). You could also make cupcakes with this batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 min. or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan. Cool completely.
Trim cakes if desired.
Fill with raspberry filling, minus the white tea in the recipe. (you can also just use raspberry jam, not to think though or the layers will slide.)
Chill the cakes in the fridge before frosting. This helps the frosting to stay firm longer.
For the Frosting:
Coconut butter tends to get really hard when stored below 76 degrees. If it is not warm in your house you may need to warm the coconut butter a bit. Be careful not to melt it though. I like to stick the whole jar in a pot of warm water and leave it there until it begins to soften. Once it is soft enough, stir it up, mixing well (especially mixing in any oil that settles at the top). Now it is ready to be combined with the rest of the ingredients.
Using a mixer with a paddle attachment or by hand, beat together the coconut butter, (optional coconut cream), shortening, vanilla and honey. Mix until smooth and well combined...no lumps. Don't be surprised if it gets pretty thin. It will firm up when you chill it.
Chill the mixture for at least 1 hour. I like to chill mine overnight.
Take it out of the fridge and allow to soften a bit. Beat it again till smooth and fluffy. Spread on the 'chilled' cake.
I keep my frosting in a stainless steel bowl. This helps to keep it cool while you work with it. If the frosting begins to soften too quickly, throw it back into the fridge for a few min. You can even chill the cake as need.