This is my second time around making this delicious chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. I’ve fooled all my friends and I swear- you cannot tell that this cake is gluten-free. This cake is rich, moist, chocolatey, peanut buttery and delicious. People tell me all the time that they have not had “a good gluten-free dessert.” For those of you who are in that same boat- trust me on this one, and go bake this cake. And for others who are unsure what the deal with gluten-free baking is all about, here’s a lesson for you.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Upon mixing, it makes a web-like structure which holds all the ingredients together. That’s why, when making wheat flour baked goods, you don’t want to over-mix or you will cause the gluten web to break and your product may be flatter and more dense. Many people these days have a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease (inflammation of the small intestine) and therefore avoiding gluten helps these people be symptom free. Don’t be too scared if you love cake and you suddenly have an intolerance. There are tons of options for gluten-free flours including rice, millet, potato, almond, coconut and tapioca (there is a HUGE list). The key to creating a good gluten-free recipe is finding the correct combinations of flours. Wheat flour is approximately 60% starch and 40% whole grain so if you are looking for a similar texture, aiming for that combination will be best. One important ingredient that helps “substitute” the gluten web is a product called xantham gum. This is sort of like glue, which helps bond the recipe together. If you are looking for great gluten-free recipes for yourself, a friend or want to try something new I have several posted on this website.
This post is dedicated to my great friend Alice who I met in Boston 2 years ago. She has inspired me to find the perfect gluten-free recipes for her (and all of us really) to enjoy. She has been by my side through all the ups and downs from moving to a new city and working through a hard doctoral program. She is one of the kindest, smartest and most beautiful women I know. Happy Birthday Alice! By her request, we made an under-the-sea beach themed cake- which is of course optional. 🙂
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup warm water or coffee
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature butter
- 5 tablespoons milk (as needed)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2- 9” cake pans smeared with butter or canola oil spray and parchment paper (cut in a circle to fit the bottom) or line 24 muffin tins with papers.
- 2. In a large bowl combine: sugar, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xantham gum. Mix well until combined.
- 3. Add the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and water (or coffee) and mix until smooth.
- 4. Divide the batter evenly among cake pans or muffin tins.
- 5. Bake the cake for 28-35 minutes OR bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with no stuck batter. Cool cakes completely on a wire rack. Prepare frosting during cooling.
- 1. In a large bowl add room temperature butter and peanut butter. Beat with mixer until combined and smooth.
- 2. Add sugar one cup at a time and beat well between each addition until smooth (be careful the sugar does not poof in your face upon beating).
- 3. To make the frosting less dry add a few tablespoons of milk and until you reach the frosting consistency you desire.
- 4. Beat frosting for at least 3 minutes to increase the fluffiness.
- 5. Spread on cooled cake between each layer, on top and the sides.
- 6. Enjoy!
To help create the look of our beach themed cake- I used a star-shaped cupcake pan and placed it on top of the cake.
To prevent frosting from getting all over your cake platter, cut thin strips of parchment paper and place under the edge of the cake. Remove papers after frosting for a more finished look.
Happy Birthday Alice!!!
Recipe adapted from Girl Cooks World.
Baked by Michelle for MoreChocolate.net