Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Grain/Dairy Free B-Day Smash Cake!

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)

Ingredients:

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)

1 cup cold pressed palm shortening (Tropical Traditions or Spectrum)
3-4 Tbls honey
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 scraped vanilla bean pods)


Directions:


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.

44 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting...cant wait to try it!

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  2. Do you think brown rice flour would work in lieu of the coconut flour? (Or can you recommend another possible gluten-free replacement?)

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    1. Coconut flour is very different than all other flours. There is no substitute for it because of how absorbent it is. It takes only 1/2 cup of coconut flour for what would be 2-3 cups of flour with any other flour type.

      You would just be best off going with a whole different recipe. There are SO many great gluten free ones out there, especially if you can use grains. We did coconut flour for this one because the mom wanted a grain free and more or less, nut free cake. Otherwise I often use almond flour for my cake recipes.

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  3. Did I miss what we do with the egg whites after we whisk them?

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    1. No you did not...but I fixed that on the post just now. Just fold them in to the batter.

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  4. Beautiful!

    My go-to dairy-free, grain-free (but not sugar-free) "frosting" is a coconut milk dark chocolate ganache. Easy and delicious. It could probably be done with unsweetened chocolate and some stevia/honey/coconut sugar.

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  5. This cake is unbelievably gorgeous, and the baby is stunning too. I was gasping as I looked at each picture!

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  6. Beautiful. Cake and baby. :) Sounds like it all came together great in the end. I would love to try this for my baby's birthday, too!

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  7. i was thinking, what's a smash cake, but that last photo answered it for me! cool!

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  8. Thank you for posting this (delicious!) recipe!! We made it for my little boy's 1st birthday party today and it was fantastic! No problems with the cake or frosting. Everything was great! Thanks again ;-)

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  9. What if I wanted to give this cake a taste of sweet potato? In other words a sweet potato cake. Do you think that would work? Where would I add it? Was just wanting to put a different twist to this, but I look forward to making it as is for my little one's 1st birthday.

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  10. What if I wanted to give this cake a taste of sweet potato? In other words a sweet potato cake. Do you think that would work? Where would I add it? Was just wanting to put a different twist to this, but I look forward to making it as is for my little one's 1st birthday.

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  11. Hi I'm thinking of making this for my daughter's first birthday next week. How do you think it would turn out if I used the coconut butter glaze you used on the recent donut post instead?

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    1. I think iit would taste amazing as a glaze. If you try it, I would LOVE to hear about your results!!

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    2. I tried the glaze from the donut post on this cake for my baby's birthday and it turned out just fine! Thought that was a good idea - the glaze sounded simpler to make. Dripped nicely over the edges and tasted good together. She wasn't much interested (guess I can't complain!) but the kids & adults there enjoyed it, even "non-real-foodies."

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  12. This cake was a HIT at my daughters first birthday party! Everyone loved it from young children who love sweets but have allergies to the least crunchy guests there. Thank you for creating and posting this recipe. A delicious cake that looked and tastes just like a birthday cake but had none of the things my daughter is sensitive to. Very grateful.

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    1. Awesome! I considered trying that (yea, WAY easier) I just haven't got around to it. I was thinking petit fours! Can't wait to try it.

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    2. Elizabeth, when you made this for your daughter's birthday to serve to everyone, did you still make it a 4 inch cake or did you increase the size of the recipe? I was thinking maybe even doubling the recipe and making cupcakes for ease. But I am so done with doing trials of grain-free cakes and cupcakes for his birthday...if I do this one I'll just trust and hope it works out on the big day! Thanks!

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  13. Is there a replacement for palm shortening? I can't find any here that is not sold in 30lb tubs! I made the cake though and it's delicious!

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    1. My question too. Was wondering if I could use butter instead of palm shortening in the frosting? Planning to make this for my daughter's 2nd birthday in a few weeks.

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    2. Just saw this! Yes you could use butter. Also some have said that whipped coconut oil worked, I haven't tried it though. My guess is it will melt even easier.

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  14. has anyone tried making this with just straight coconut oil?

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  15. Do you know if using real butter for the frosting instead of coconut butter would render similar results? I know it's a dairy-free recipe but I think my little man can handle butter for his 1st birthday cake...just curious! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Megan, did you try it with the butter? How did it turn out?

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  16. Made this for my son's first birthday baby cake and it came out delicious! I adapted the recipe a tiny bit... I didn't have lemon juice so I put cinnamon instead also I made a slightly different frosting using only coconut cream, coconut oil & honey :)

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  17. Im going to do this for my sons 1st birthday. Do I need to worry about any allergies? Honey? coconut flour?

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    1. Not unless he has allergies to these things.

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  18. So, this is kind of weird, maybe, but could you use sucanat or unrefined sugar instead of honey in the cake? I'm not comfortable giving honey to my baby on her first birthday.

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    1. You would need to go with something like maple syrup then. A liquid sweetener would be easiest to sub.

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  19. Do you have an idea on how to adapt this to cupcakes? What would you suggest for temp and time?

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  20. Probably same temp just shorter baking time. 12-18 minutes I guess or till they spring back from being pressed.

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  21. I have made this cake twice and I have to say THANK YOU for sharing this great recipe. I do bake it in a 6 inch round cake pan instead and then slice it horizontally in half when cooled since I do not have smaller pans. It works great. Thanks again :o)

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  22. Is there a way to sub the eggs in this recipe? We have an egg allergy.

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    1. Not with the coconut flour cake, no. They don't really hold together witout eggs....and lots of them. Even almond flour cakes are pretty iffy without eggs. It has to do with the lack of starch and absorption rates of the flours.

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  23. have you ever tried any natural colorings for the frosting? Was thinking beet juice could tint it but not sure if it would ruin frosting or how to add it.

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  24. You could use IndianTree brand. I'd you make your own beet coloring I recommend biking the juice down till it thickens slightly. Otherwise it waters down the frosting a too much. I just run my beets through my juicer then cook down the juice. You may like this recipe better if looking for pink frosting and it will hold up to coloring better.If you can't get freeze dried fruits you can omit them and just add beet juice or coloring. http://urbanposer.blogspot.com/2013/02/strawberry-or-raspberry-whipped-not.html?m=1

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  25. Hi! I was wondering if I could double this and do it in 2 8 inch pans? Would it use a different cooking time? My son's first bday party is Saturday and I am not wanting to do cupcakes for another party. I thought I'd do a little one for him and a big one for everyone else. What do you think?

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  26. It looks like there is a red filling layer in between the 2 layers of cake? If I'm seeing that correctly, what did you use for that?

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    1. The link to the filling recipe is in the directions.

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  27. What is the brown powdery looking stuff around the top of the cake? I made this last year for my daughter's first birthday and EVERYONE loved it!

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  28. So glad you enjoyed it! That was gold dust. Sadly it didn't come across in the pic well though.

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