Dairy-Free Chocolate Birthday Cake



Both my daughters and I can't have any dairy, though we still do plenty of baking and enjoy sweets just like everyone else. With a few simple tweaks, I make many dessert recipes dairy-free. My oldest daughter Kylie just had her ninth birthday. She didn't care about what her cake looked like, as long as it was chocolate with more chocolate. To make it gluten-free as well, simply substitute the white flour with rice flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour. If you don't need it to be allergy-free, you can of course just use store-bought cake mix.

For her birthday cake, I layered it with bright pink royal icing to make a "naked" cake. This growing trend is also known as an unfinished cake. It's somewhat easier than icing a traditional layer cake, and it looks great. For summer entertaining; this frosting technique also works well with white cake, cream filling, and fresh fruit toppings.

INGREDIENTS

· 2 ¾ cups white flour
· 1 cup cocoa powder
· 1 t. baking soda
· ½ t. salt
· 1 ½ cups olive oil or vegetable oil
· 2 ½ cups sugar
· 4 large eggs
· 1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
· ¼ cup honey
· 1 T. vanilla
· ½ C melted carob chips


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prep two 8-inch round cake pans with a coating of oil and dust with cocoa powder.

2. Combine the wet ingredients into a large bowl - the eggs, oil, milk, honey and vanilla with the sugar and mix until creamy and smooth.

3. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift with a whisk then add slowly to the wet mixture while mixing.

4. Melt the carob chips in a double broiler or in the microwave (1 minute at a time). Add to the cake mix.

5. Bake 30-40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed down the center. Let cool and cut the tops down flat with a serrated knife before assembling the cake. If you want to make 4 layers without doubling the recipe, slice each round in half with a long serrated bread knife to make 4 layers. (Though I only suggest this if you're experienced with making layer cakes.) I wanted three easy layers, so I doubled the recipe and had leftover batter for cupcakes. You can also freeze or refrigerate the cake mix.

6. For a 2-layer cake, get two containers dairy-free icing. I never have trouble finding naturally lactose-free icing at my grocery store. I used the Pillsbury Funfetti Hot Pink Vanilla Frosting which comes with pink sugar sprinkles. I used three 12-oz containers to frost the three-layer cake.

7. Use a piping bag or a plastic disposable bag with the tip cut off to pipe the outside edge before filling in the rest with a rubber spatula. Repeat with each layer. Use a rubber spatula to swirl the frosting on the very top then top with the pink sprinkles.




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