Saturday, July 12, 2014

Neapolitan celebration cakes part II - gluten-free chocolate layer cake

gluten free chocolate layer cake

If there’s one thing I don’t understand, it’s the fuss over dietary restrictions that people seem to delight in these days. Everyone loves playing “find the vegan”—you know, that condescending game that apparently disqualifies everything ever said in favor of a vegan diet. Some folks (and not just restaurateurs), bitch and moan when an otherwise normal person dares to alter a menu item to fit their needs or preferences. But mostly, it’s the cultural idea that it’s okay to lecture someone about what’s on their plate that disturbs me—the idea that what you should or shouldn’t eat is someone else’s business.

Gluten-free diets are just one victim of this. I am clearly not on a gluten-free diet. You can tell because most of the recipes on here are not, in fact, gluten-free; but don’t mistake that for animosity towards those with restrictions. I even made some gluten-free (and pretty healthy) brownie bar thingys a few posts ago.
However, this view is not shared by everyone. I’m not going to even find any articles to support this claim, because, duh. Just google “gluten free” and I guarantee you will find a near-infinite supply of articles along the lines of “the gluten-free diet is bullshit”. For whatever reason.

Personally, I can’t understand the anger people seem to have towards those who either willingly choose to eliminate gluten products from their diet or have a disease that prevents them from eating gluten without descending into a gastro-intestinal hellhole / shitstorm / painblizzard. Why does it matter if someone decides to spend a few extra dollars and cents on a loaf of gluten-free bread? How could it possibly bother you that someone opted for the brown rice pasta or flourless chocolate torte? No. Fucking. Idea.

Does this make me the Harriet Beecher Stowe of my time? Because apparently this is a ground-breaking idea.

eagle soaring through the sunset
Hell yass! Peace, freedom, and equality! source

I like holding controversial opinions. I relish the idea of angering someone from what I say (so long as it’s said in conscience). But for some reason, I can’t bring myself to get all worked up over what other people chose to shove in their cakeholes day in and day out.  

Which brings me to this cake.

Cue angels singing and confetti flying. source

My aunt is, unfortunately, one of the many dutiful servants of Dr. Mercola Christ and all of the ideologies that come along with him. I pray to dear god that she is not an anti-vaxxer, but I do know she has unjustly submitted her children to a mostly gluten-free and dairy-free diet—although there is no need to cry in their honor, as they were permitted a single gluteny dinner roll that one time we all went to a restaurant together. Or maybe not. Maybe they binge on cake and cookies and pizza while we aren’t looking.

All that’s for certain is my mother asked me to make gluten-free cake for the anniversary party. Whatever. Who gives a shit why they want it, especially when there are so many lovely alternative cake recipes out there.

My search for an easy gluten-free cake recipe didn’t take long; I soon found Barefeet in the Kitchen’s “unforgettable chocolate cake” recipe via Pinterest, and was delighted to discover that it did not require ten different strange flours but only 2 cups of cooked quinoa. Easy enough. All I had to do was veganize the recipe and whip it up for myself.

The finished cake was not totally “unforgettable”; the texture was fine, fairly fudgy and moist, but it had a mildly nutty taste that, if one knew the ingredients, was strongly associated with quinoa. But for a gluten-free cake, it was perfect.

Especially when it’s covered in chocolate frosting.

Chocolate cake


370 grams • cooked quinoa, loosely packed • 2 cups

81 grams • nondairy milk • 1/3 cup

200 grams • egg substitute, such as blended tofu • 1 cup

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

170 grams • coconut oil or Earth Balance, melted and slightly cooled • ¾ cup

300 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ½ cups

6 grams • baking powder • 1 ½ teaspoon

2 grams • baking soda • ½ teaspoon

3 grams • salt • ½ teaspoon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two round 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment (do not skip this).

Combine milk, egg sub, and vanilla in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add quinoa and melted coco oil or buttery spread and puree until completely smooth. Stop machine to scrape sides and make sure everything is well mixed and ensure there are no chunks of quinoa remaining. Whisk together cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and add wet ingredients. Fold together until thoroughly combined.

Divide batter evenly between two cake pans and bake for about 28 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate frosting

Adapted from Add a Pinch


340 grams • vegan buttery spread, softened • 1 ½ cups

81 grams • cocoa powder • 1 cup

600 grams • powdered sugar • 5 cups

122 grams • nondairy milk • ½ cup

8 grams • vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons

2 grams • espresso powder • ½ teaspoon


Place vegan buttery spread in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until light and fluffy. Add cocoa powder and mix well. On low speed, gradually add powdered sugar. Pour in milk, vanilla, and espresso powder and whip until light and fluffy.

Now, this comes with a caveat: as written on, quinoa contains proteins similar enough to gluten to activate Celiac patients’ immune systems (whether this occurs in fad dieters is yet to be determined). This is not a problem for my relatives, but if you are strongly allergic to gluten I’m not sure if this is the right cake for you. Consult your doctor, etc. etc. disclaimer disclaimer. 

gluten free chocolate layer cake vegan

Potential complications aside, I think this cake was just fine. Especially that frosting—mmm yeah baby. Buttercream is up in this house.

And so it will be tomorrow, when we conclude this series with…vanilla cake.

kermit the frog failing excited gif


  1. Hahah loving the Kermit at the end there!

    I have just finished an exercise writing about food combining (wrote about food intolerances for the same course a little while back), and I think you are absolutely right, people should be able to eat whatever they want. I don't find restricting diets appealing personally, but I don't see what the fuss is all about should someone have dietary needs. If anything, I see that as a great challenge to get out of my comfort zone and think up something new, or adapt original recipes - surely the professionals would enjoy that? MEH! I made some great French toast with gluten free bread today, oh mighty heavens how dare I do such a thing when I'm not a coeliac?! I think "rebelling" is what they call it, I just see it as part of a varied diet, and a tasty one too!

    Anywhooo, I reckon this cake looks delicious! I have cooked with quinoa flour before, and I suspect it to have an even stronger flavour than the cooked quinoa, BUT it looks divine and I am sure it went down a treat, I's chocolate! Also, I was wondering what Earth Balance is exactly? I had been wondering what to potentially substitute it with before you posted up coconut oil today :) Thanks for that! Always good to know what the alternatives are, I just wasn't sure to begin with that it would be close to (butter, oil, flour, or some other fancy stuffs!). Bring on part three :D Hope you enjoy the rest of the day. I think Imma gawna get my drawing on! x

    1. Thanks glad you like it! :) I use Earth Balance sometimes, it's just another vegan butter substitute that tastes a little bit more like butter than say margarine. Sometimes I use margarine or coconut oil or even real butter, if I don't have anything else on hand. :P You could use margarine or coconut oil instead.

      We can be rebels and make gluten free cake together! mwahaha :D

    2. It's a deal! :D Take that GF-phobes! Hope the sun is shining on your side of the world m'dear! x

  2. I agree that we should all let other people whatever they want, and not be bothered by their own personal choices. I also agree that chocolate frosting can make a lot of things better :)

  3. The cake is so pretty! I can hardly believe it's made of quinoa! Weird and cool all at the same time. I haven't had much success with gluten free baking (with gf flours) so will have to give quinoa cake a try.

    1. Thanks! I hope you do try it, it is so good. :)

  4. A beautiful and tempting cake.

    I also don't understand why some people hate vegetarians, vegans or gluten-free people...



  5. This cake looks so wonderful and that pic of kermit at the end- HILARIOUS!!!