Easy Chocolate Layer Cake {Gluten Free}

Does anyone else crave comfort food this time of year? For me that’s carbs (well, I pretty much crave cabs all year, but let’s not go there right now…) and sweet things like baking. If you saw my post last week with The Sweet Life Apparel, you saw the chocolate cake Ari and I whipped up together. It was one of our messier endeavours (and crankier- at least in the beginning- for Ari), but we ended up having a blast and the cake turned out amazing (sprinkles EVERYWHERE!). While we still make everything gluten free, I’ve been able to add dairy back into what we eat since the end of Summer, re- introducing it in meals and baking. I’m not going to lie, I’ve missed cooking/ baking with butter. And milk. But that’s not to say this recipe wouldn’t turn out if you used a dairy- free milk, I just enjoyed the chance to try it out (this is the first cake I’ve made with milk in a long time, yahoo!). It’s about as easy as it gets, with simple ingredients, and if you’re like us, the decorating is at least half the fun (and most of the mess 😉 ). If you want a sweet treat for holiday parties, why not whip up this baby? Enjoy. 

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour & 1 cup coconut flour)
use an unbleached or all- purpose flour if not gluten free
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Decoration ideas:
– frosting (I cheated and used the store- bought stuff)
– sprinkles
– toasted coconut
– fresh flowers
whatever you like! 😉

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cake pans with parchment paper- use two 9- inch pans for 2 layers, or four 6- inch pans for 4 layers

2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Tip: to help make it lighter- especially if making a gluten free cake- sift the dry ingredients to aerate them.

3. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients and slowly add to the dry mix, stirring to avoid lumps as you go.

4. When combined, pour the batter into your pans, distributing equally among the 2 or 4 that you’re using. Bake for 30 -35 minutes until you can insert a toothpick into the centre and it comes out clean. If baking four 6- inch cakes, bake them two at a time.

5. Allow to cool before removing from pans. Use frosting between the layers and frost the outside however you like. We went more for a naked cake look (at least that’s what I”m calling it!), but pick an icing/ decoration that you like. This is a nice, moist cake that’s not too rich/ heavy so there’s lots of options.

6. Decorate to your heart’s content!

What we’re wearing:
Check out the full line by The Sweet Life Apparel on their website and get the latest news on social media:
Instagram: @thesweetlifeapparel 
Photo credit: Akane Kondo Photography
Instagram: @akanekondophoto

Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can

Growing up, I loved baking with my Mum. I have so many fond memories of us whipping up everything from sponge cakes and scones to cookies and shortbread (still a favorite holiday tradition). I remember seeing a video called how to bake a cake in microwave,’ which I then made every day after realising how easy and delicious it was. After my Mum realised what I was doing, she told me she would show me how to bake properly.
When I had kids, I always knew I wanted to share this love of food and baking with my kids, and Ari has been helping me stir, sift, and scoop for a little over a year now. Of course, there’s a flour cloud as we stir, sprinkles go everywhere, and little fingers always seem to be sampling what we’re making, but that’s part of the fun. A beautiful, delicious mess if there ever was any.
Although I fully intend to teach her to bake myself, I have been looking at baking classes. Inspired by the courses offered by Instabake (which look fantastic), I have been searching for some local or online classes which we could do when she’s a bit older. Not only would they be fun, it would also be a great way for us to bond – just like I did with my mum. So watch this space in terms of me booking a course with Truffle Nation or another similar company! We both love baking together and I know that we would have a lovely time together. Just got a few more years to wait until she’s old enough though!
Now that we’re knee- deep into the cooler months I totally crave carbs and comfort food. There’s something satisfying about a house smelling of baking and then enjoying hot- from- the- oven cookies. Or cake. Or muffins. Or… you get the picture. 😉 I’ve been experimenting with the mixes of gluten free flours I use and as we’ve been re- introducing dairy back in to Ari’s diet I’ve enjoyed trying out recipes I’d almost given up on. I’ve been craving a good old chocolate cake, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to collaborate with the lovely Jen of The Sweet Life Apparel, and her baking- inspired fashion line. I love me some matchy- matchy styling with my little blondie when I get the chance, and Jen’s CAKE shirts were perfect for a morning of baking- what else?- cake.
My kitchen is on the small side, so whenever I get the chance to use the one at my parent’s house I jump at the chance- and taking photos definitely called for the extra space. And of course, when the day came to shoot the photos, Ari was not in a good mood. Of course she wasn’t she’s a toddler, why would she cooperate when I need photos of her rockin’ her CAKE tee? 😉 But after some major tantrums, and coffee for moi (this was before I went off coffee for the month), we were ready to go. Even though I snap photos of her when we bake, I wanted to get some ones of us together, and once things settled down, we had our usual fun. Me measuring, her stirring and conducting her quality testing- aka finger licking. And the best part? The icing. And sprinkles. That went everywhere (insert teary- eyed laughing emoji right here). I’ll be sharing the recipe for this easy chocolate cake next week, but for now I leave you with some of the photos of our latest baking session and those adorable shirts from The Sweet Life Apparel.

What we’re wearing:

About The Sweet Life Apparel
The Sweet Life Apparel was created by Jen Stafford, a baking enthusiast, on her second maternity leave. Jen creates all of the designs herself and has them printed in the Vancouver area on items produced in sweatshop- free factories, for babies, kids, and adults. As a hobby baker, Jen wanted to share her love of baking with her kids, and The Sweet Life Apparel is a business focused on family and supporting other local small businesses. Pieces include tees, raglans, and onesies, so every member of the family can show how they rock their #thesweetlife pieces.
Check out the full line by The Sweet Life Apparel on their website and get the latest news on social media:
Instagram: @akanekondophoto

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Eton Mess Cake

This cake is far from perfect. It’s lopsided, uneven, and messy. And I love it. I don’t bake the way I used to very often, and even though I made this as a gluten and dairy free cake for Ari’s 3rd birthday, it came pretty close to the cakes I used to make. Instead of using cream between the layers I used a vanilla pudding mix as a dairy- free alternative, but if you want to make the regular version, it’s worth the indulgence. We were so happy with it I’m thinking I might try making this again for Canada Day. It pretty much never happens that a recipe I’m trying out works on the first attempt, but it happened with this one (I even ended up putting the cake stand on the floor so I could get photos with good light- haha oh the things I do for a photo!- so pardon my floors in some of the shots!). This is the perfect cake to load on fresh Summer berries and really indulge, so I hope you give it a try, in all of it’s messy, imperfect glory. 
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (use regular flour if you prefer)
1 1/4 cups coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups coconut oil
1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs, + 2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 can coconut milk
zest of 1 lemon
fresh berries and edible flowers for decoration
For between the layers
crumbled meringues
vanilla pudding (I cheated and used a mix- but this is where you’d use whipped cream or be really naughty and use clotted cream for a real English- inspired treat)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8″ round cake pans with parchment paper.
2. In one bowl mix together flours, baking powder, and salt.
3. In another bowl, beat together the coconut oil, sugar, honey, eggs and egg yolks, and the vanilla extract until blended. 
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet to avoid lumps, blending well.
5. Add the coconut milk and mix until smooth. The batter will be quite thick (I had to spread my batter with a spatula), but if you find yours is too thick, add 1/2 cup water or coconut milk until it’s a little thinner.
6. Add in the lemon zest and mix.
7. Distribute the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 25- 30 minutes until  you can pull a skewer out clean. 
8. Pop the cakes out and let them cool.
9. In between each layer, spread some of the crumbled meringues and drizzle some of the vanilla pudding. Repeat with all 3 layers and top off with some more meringues and pudding and finish off with some fresh flowers and berries. 

… as a fun addition to this recipe, I also made the meringue since I couldn’t find any at the store. If you have the same problem, they’re about as easy as it gets to make. Instead of piping individual ones, I made one large one and crumbled it up after it cooled. Top leftover meringue off with extra berries for a pavlova- style dessert.

Yummy Mummy Monday: Birthday Cake!

June & July have become two months for celebrations in our house. With June being Ari’s birthday month and July being TPB’s birthday month, I couldn’t resist throwing in a cake recipe!
This is a classic, simple cake, adapted from my Mum’s Be- Ro cookbook (a much loved go- to for our baking growing up). While it isn’t the healthiest recipe I’ve ever featured, I think you need to be a little naughty sometimes! 

I don’t think cake needs much of an introduction, so here goes…

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Classic (Birthday!) Cake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour (swap you fave gluten free mix!)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
3 eggs, beaten

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Line two 7″ round baking pans with parchment paper (or grease with butter & dust with flour!)
3. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients, followed by eggs
4. Pour equal amounts into the two tins and bake for 25- 30 minutes  (until top is golden brown and you can insert and remove a skewer cleanly)
5. Allow to cool & frost with your favourite icing!

Let them eat cake!


A bit heartfelt thank you to my mother in law for making Ari’s first birthday cakes!

June posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique
https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/CutiePieonEtsy?ref=l2-shopheader-name

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