Can a low sugar, gluten-free cake be anything special? It’s my birthday next week and I can say with confidence, it sure can! This recipe was first shared on the Kidspot website as part of the Voices of 2014 competition but I could not not share it here. Enjoy!
The kitchen bench is a mess. Eight half egg-shells are busy spilling any remaining contents onto a piece of scrap parchment dusted lightly, but unintentionally, with a mixture of rice flour, cocoa and arrowroot. Measuring cups strewn all over the place, the humming of the stand mixer whipping up egg whites is the only sound noticeable. The oven is on, I think – have I turned that thermostat knob? Allow me to check. Yes, it’s hot and ready. In goes the sugar, the yolks, the flours and cacao. It’s ready to bake!
I am what you could loosely refer to as an occasional baker – I bake cakes mostly for special occasions. But when I do, the kitchen gets messy and I don’t want to skimp on the indulgence.
Recently, I’ve become utterly smitten by layer cakes.
It might be because layer cakes are whimsical and fun. They fit perfectly somewhere between over-indulgently bold and childishly playful. I’ve pinned more than my share on Pinterest – this one, no doubt, will be saved there as well because it’s great for any occasion.
Let me tell you a little about this slightly over-the-top but oh-so-good Double chocolate and caramel cake.
Sandwiched in between three layers of easy and light-as-air cacao sponge are layers of silky smooth dark chocolate whipped cream. Perfectly bitter-sweet, if you ask me. Because not much in this world can beat the combination that’s chocolate and caramel, the cake, once layered, is drizzled with a gooey salted caramel fudge sauce and sprinkled with crushed sesame snaps – a favourite childhood indulgence of mine – for an added sweet crunch and a touch of nostalgia.
If you are making this an adult-only cake, feel free to drizzle a few tablespoons of coffee or chocolate liqueur over the sponge. It will become a slightly more decadent after-dinner delight.
Now, if you think that this decadent dessert is waaaaaaay too rich and indulgent, I’ve got good news.
I’ve healthied it up quite a bit. Not stupidly, I still used sugar, but only unrefined and only a little, and all of the ingredients can be found at a regular supermarket. It’s gluten-free and nut-free because when catering for crowds nowadays it is best to be accommodating to those two common intolerances and allergies. Especially for kids. And I’ll be honest – it’s easier and quicker to make than you’d think!
As for the caramel sauce – it is made with coconut cream and rice syrup, which means it is both dairy-free and fructose-free. That’s a win-win for many. And it is perfect for drizzling on ice cream if you prefer a healthier version of that classic drive-through sundae.
Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Sesame Snaps
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup Demerara sugar (80g)
- 1/2 cup rice flour (75g)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
Chocolate cream filling
- 35 g dark 85% cacao chocolate
- 1 cup fresh cream
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
Salted caramel and sesame snap topping
- 1/3 cup rice syrup (80ml)
- 1/3 cup coconut cream (80ml)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 x 40g packet sesame snaps
- Preheat oven to 170C (fan-forced 150C, 325F, gas mark 3). Line the base and sides of a 6-inch round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
- Separate eggs. In a small bowl mix together the rice flour, cacao and tapioca flour. Beat egg whites on high for 2-3 minutes or until the whites are fluffy and stiff. Continuing to beat on high, add sugar in two batches, followed by egg yolks, one at a time. Beat for a further minute on high, the mixture should be thick and glossy. Reduce mixer speed to low and, in three swift batches, add the flour and cacao mixture and mix on low until just incorporated.
- Pour mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently lift the cake out and leave on a rack to cool completely (about 30 minutes). Once cooled, gently peel off the baking paper and using a serrated knife, cut the cake across into three even slices.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the chocolate cream filling. Finely chop chocolate and place in a small bowl. Add 1/8 cup cream and microwave for 20 seconds on high, then stir gently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture forms a glossy ganache (you can also do this in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring to prevent the chocolate from burning, if you don’t want to use or don’t have a microwave).
- Place remaining cream into a small bowl of a stand mixer, add vanilla essence and icing sugar. Beat on high until soft peaks. Reduce speed to medium and gradually add the ganache and allow to incorporate. Turn the speed up to high and beat until stiff (do not overbeat as the cream will turn into butter). Place in the fridge until ready to use.
- In the meantime, make the salted caramel and sesame snap topping. Place rice syrup, coconut cream and sea salt flakes in a small saucepan set over low heat. Whisk together using a metal whisk. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for a minute. Turn off the heat and allow the caramel to cool down before using (it will be very hot). If it sets, heat it again over low heat until warm and melted.
- Crush sesame snaps.
- To assemble the layer cake, place the bottom sponge layer on a serving plate. Top with half the chocolate cream and layer with another cake round. Repeat the process. Drizzle warm salted caramel sauce onto the cake and allow it to drip over the sides. Sprinkle the top with crushed sesame snaps.
- Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. I found that a large Pyrex bowl fits perfectly over this size cake.