Gluten Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

gluten free chocolate birthday cake white chocolate stars recipe

A couple of weeks back we had a big birthday to celebrate in our office, for which it was deemed I should make a cake (no hardship really!). As there are only 6 of us, I wanted to make sure everyone could have a piece, especially our newest GF-colleague.

Google led me to no end of gluten free recipes – where to start! I’ve made gluten free brownies before, which turned out rather well, if I do say so myself, so sticking with something chocolatey seemed a safe better. With some ground almonds lurking in the back of the cupboard, and a very well-reputed Nigella recipe to boot, how could I go wrong?

I downscaled the recipe by a third, not only so it would fit in the best tin I could find, but also because it only had to feed 6 – and we were still eating cake all week!

Recipe (adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake)

Ingredients
100 ml olive oil (I used extra virgin as that was what we had in the house)
35 grams cocoa powder
85 ml hot water
1 generous teaspoon vanilla
100 grams ground almonds
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
170 grams sugar (Nigella uses caster, but I used a light brown for an extra fudgy texture)
2 eggs

Method
– Beat together the cocoa powder and hot water to a smooth paste (like melted chocolate)
– In a large bowl (a stand mixer if you have one), whisk the eggs, sugar and olive oil until they are light and aerated – lots of fine bubbles and quite thick. It should take 3-5 minutes if using a stand mixer, a little longer by hand
– Pour in the chocolate mixture, vanilla, and add the almonds and bicarbonate of soda. Mix on a slow speed until all combined
– Spoon or pour the mixture into a lined and well greased tin (I used a 7 inch round sponge tin)
– Bake for around 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Use a skewer / cake tester to check if it’s done, it should come out clean with no batter visible, maybe just a few crumbs
– Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out and cooling on a wire rack

downsized gluten free chocolate olive oil cake adapted from nigella recipe birthday with fudge icing

Whilst the cake is cooling the icing can be made – I started off making a ganache, with milk instead of cream, but quickly decided a thick chocolate fudge icing would be better!

Chocolate fudge icing
200g dark chocolate
65g butter
120ml milk
75g light brown sugar

Method
– Put the chocolate, butter and milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat on low until everything is melted together and smooth
– Add the sugar, stir well, and turn the heat up so the mixture starts to boil
– Allow it to boil for around a minute, stirring gently, then remove from the heat
– Stir and leave to cool until it reaches your desired consistency
– Spoon, drizzle, and generally adorn all over your cake, allowing to drip down the sides

dark chocolate fudge ganache icing recipe gluten free chocolate birthday cake

chocolate fudge icing ganache on gluten free olive oil birthday cake

I topped my icing with a mass of white chocolate stars – sprinkled liberally doesn’t even come close!

white chocolate stars liberally sprinkled onto dark chocolate fudge icing birthday cake food porn

And to finish, a homemade ‘happy birthday’ bunting banner. There are plenty of templates online which you simply print off, cut out the triangles, and loop over a piece of string – a lovely hand-made touch that takes no time at all (especially if you do it whilst watching the tv…)

homemade happy birthday bunting banner cake gluten free chocolate nigella olive oil recipe with fudge icing

gluten free chocolate cake happy birthday homemade bunting banner recipe and method

The birthday girl was delighted, as were we all on tucking in. Although I was a little dubious about the olive oil in the recipe, it makes for a dense, fudgy, chocolatey cake, only too well complimented by a dense, fudgy, chocolatey icing!

moist chocolate olive oil cake gluten free with chocolate fudge ganache icing

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

pink lemonade cupcakes using sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar easy recipe edible straws and fizzy sprinkles
A beautiful summers day and perfect excuse to use some more of my treats from Sugar and Crumbs.

A quick taste test and I was instantly smitten with their Pink Lemonade Natural Flavoured Icing Sugar. You know those Refresher sweets, with the fizzy lemon centre? It tastes exactly like that fizzy sherbet!
And despite the name, the sugar is white in colour… so you could easily confuse any taste testers… mwah haha 😉

sugar and crumbs pink lemonade icing sugar review and recipe

To keep on the theme I wanted to top these lemonades with a little straw – but no ordinary paper or plastic version. Instead I rolled together thing lengths of red and white fondant, twisting and intertwining to give the effect of a striped paper straw.

red and white drinking straws made from fondant twisting red and white

Once cut into lengths, I left them to air-dry and harden overnight.

red and white fondant icing edible drinking straws swirl striped effect

The cupcakes were a simple vanilla base – with more than enough flavour punch in the icing.To ice 12 cupcakes I used 350g pink lemonade icing sugar, 185g soft butter, a couple of drops of pink food colouring, and a splash of milk to get to piping consistency.

I used a star nozzle to get that perfect swirl, before creating a hole for the ‘straws’ with the back of a paint brush (the fondant would break if you tried to push it straight into the cake).

how to make pink lemonade cupcakes making hole for straw using paintbrush

A final topping of pink shimmer sugar for that little extra ‘fizz’ – et voila!

pink lemonade cupcakes sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar sugar sprinkles and straw

Definitely cuter than the real thing – and surprisingly refreshing to boot. A big things up to Sugar and Crumbs on this one! pink lemonade cupcake swirl icing with red and white edible straw