In Goodies Against The Grain: The Perfect Mocha Birthday Cake (Grain-Free!)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Perfect Mocha Birthday Cake (Grain-Free!)

Looking for a protein-full, gluten-free, grain-free birthday cake? Look no further! I have concocted a super moist and rich mocha cake that is perfect for any occasion. The whipped cream frosting is also incredibly yummy and flavorful, but the cake is great without it. I have made this cake for so many of my family's birthdays now, and each time it has been a huge hit-it's impossible to tell it's grain-free!

 For the cake batter:

8 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
8 Tbs unsalted butter (I love the brand Kerrygold because it's grass-fed, super sweet, and lots of stores carry it, such as Trader Joe's) or 7 Tbs ghee
2/3 cup pure maple syrup 

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (I use the SO Delicious brand that comes in a box) or almond milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups blanched almond flour (make sure you don't use Bob's Red Mill-it's way too grainy and won't yield good results)
1/3 cup arrowroot starch/powder
1 Tbs coconut flour
1/2 cup cacao powder

1 Tbs instant coffee powder (you can omit it if you prefer, but it makes the cake full of depth)
1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder (if you're strict paleo, make sure it's grain-free)

For the Mocha Almond Whipped Cream:

4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 Tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp almond extract  
Raspberries-optional, for garnish  

For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF and adjust your rack to its middle position.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler. Melt, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool (the mixture needs to cool for at least 10 minutes before adding the the egg mixture below). 

3. Place the maple syrup and eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk for 5-6 minutes until pale yellow and billowy, then whisk in the coconut milk.
4.  Slowly whisk in cooled chocolate and vanilla extract.
5. Sift almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda and baking powder over the egg mixture and gently fold to incorporate. 
6. Divide the batter between two well-buttered 9-inch cake pans and gently smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.
7.  Bake the cakes for 33-35 minutes.
8. Cool the cakes for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove the cakes from the pans. Cool completely, then make the whipped cream recipe (below).

For the whipped cream:

1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer).
2. Turn your mixer to its highest setting and keep whipping until a stiff peak forms. Here is a video to show what that looks like (except yours will not have confectioner's sugar, and it'll be dark because of the cacao).
3. Store the whipped cream in the fridge until you're ready to frost the cake (below).

To Assemble:

1. Place one cake layer on a cake stand and top with one third of the whipped cream. Spread the whipped cream evenly on the cake. 
2. Place the second cake layer on top and use the remaining whipped cream to frost the top and sides of the cake. I use my handy-dandy frosting decorator for this.
3. Garnish the cake with berries and serve!

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