I recently spent a morning with the talented Aphra Adkins at Sally's Middle Name to learn how to make this gorgeous gluten and dairy free chocolate cake.
I became gluten free two years ago attempting to self diagnose several issues I had been experiencing for over a year. I had never had issues before, and had always been the first to say "I could NEVER give up flour!" The best answer the doctor had for me was to use over-the-counter drugs. My question was, for how long and to what end? Because I had been hearing so many friends talking about becoming gluten free, I decided to do a little test. One month later, my symptoms were gone and I never had to take a single over-the-counter drug.
I'm not one of those people that thinks going gluten free is for everyone, but I do challenge more people to put the pieces together in their own lives. Often people have been dealing with allergies their whole lives before they discover that it is linked to something in their diet that they may have never suspected. It's always good to start by removing gluten and/or dairy since these are known culprits and 9 times out of 10 may be what's causing the issue. Once you get them out of the way, you will probably want to do a more detailed exploration by taking everything out of your diet and adding things back one at a time.
I'm always so incredibly appreciative when friends (and restaurants!) go the extra mile to offer a gluten free option. Especially since it is long past being a 'fad' and has become a way of life for so many people. This, I'm sure is similar for those who are dairy-free as well. I mean, thanks for suggesting the fruit cup, but it just doesn't compare to a slice of rich chocolate cake with creamy frosting.
I thought I would share this recipe around Easter so that you can try it out for your Easter celebrations. And for once, nobody at your Easter table will be disappointed, not even the flour and dairy lovers who think it is blasphemy to even think about removing these two staples from any dessert. Just try it, you won't be sorry, I promise. And for once, no one at your table will have to miss out.
If you happen to be in the DC Area this Easter, you can also just leave the cooking to Sally's Middle Name and join them for Easter Brunch. Sally's has a changing menu so be sure to follow them on Instagram to keep updated on when they will be serving this cake again. If you can't wait that long, you can always call ahead and special order the cake or request it for a special event in their gorgeous event space.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe.
Gluten + Dairy Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe makes one 9” cake, but can be doubled to make a layer cake. Though this recipe is much easier with a Kitchenaid, you can make it work with a regular hand mixer - just be prepared to work a little harder for it!
For the Cake
- 2/3 cup palm shortening
- 3 ½ cups almond flour
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 325*F.
- Generously grease a 9 inch cake pan.
- Melt the shortening, then set aside to cool. Don’t use until at room temperature (otherwise it will scramble your eggs, literally).
- Whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder and salt.
- Separate the eggs.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, shortening (at room temperature), maple syrup, vanilla and vinegar.
- Mix the yolk mixture into the flour until completely incorporated.
- Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Beat one third of the whites into the batter.
- Beat in the baking soda, making sure to break up any clumps.
- Fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Bake for 34-40 minutes, or until when you press a finger into the cake, it bounces back.
- Let cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.*
For the Buttercream
- 6 egg whites
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 vanilla beans
- 3 cups palm shortening (do NOT sub Crisco)
- Start a double boiler.
- Whisk together all ingredients in a large heatproof bowl.
- Heat the mixture until it reaches 160* F, whisking constantly.
- Remove from the double boiler, and transfer the contents of the bowl to a stand mixer.
- Whisk on high for 10 minutes, or until the meringue is room temperature.
- Switch to using a paddle attachment.
- Beat in 1/3 cup of palm shortening at a time, on medium-high speed.
- Once all of the shortening is incorporated, beat on high for one minute.*
*Based on a recipe by Jenni Hulet in My Paleo Patisserie.