A Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix which makes a brownie-chocolate sponge hybrid. Delicious for birthdays or just because cake is ‘needed’… Whether on holiday or at home.
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The story behind my gluten free Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix
This Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix is special. A cake which holds great memories… It was first posted on Gluten Free Alchemist back in 2015 and was created as a gluten free homemade cake mix that would travel. Why? Because that year we went to Crete (self-catering)… And while there, my daughter had her 10th birthday.
A birthday isn’t a birthday without cake. But being Coeliac (celiac) and gluten free, finding a cake easily in a place we didn’t know, was something I wasn’t prepared to risk. Of course, there was the option of taking a commercial mix. But our experience of gluten free cake mixes is that they are often over-sweet and not particularly great on texture. The only other option, was to create my own… So, that’s exactly what I did.
This particular Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix can be made at home and packed ready to be taken to wherever you are heading. And just like the commercial varieties, it can be made into cakey deliciousness with just a couple of extra local additions and the usual self-catering equipment when you reach your destination.
… A sort of ‘have mix…will travel’ cake!
A fudgy Chocolate Cake that can also be made at home…
Of course, making fudgy chocolate cake should never be something that is restricted to either holidays or birthdays… And I can vouch that this recipe is one that can (and should) be made at any available opportunity, just because it is delicious. So, whether a celebration is in order or there’s just a desire to eat cake… Go ahead and indulge.
The Criteria for developing a ‘travel and bake’ holiday birthday cake mix…
Creating a homemade cake mix to take on holiday required a little extra thought. Even when self-catering, it isn’t always clear what equipment will be available. It is easy to know that there will be an oven and a hob (and as an extra, a microwave) from the venue ‘spec’. But beyond that, it’s all guess work…
With a lack of clarity, my fudgy chocolate cake mix had several criteria…
- It needed to be possible to make with a bowl, fork, spoon, the available cooking equipment (which had to include an oven) and the cake moulds that I took with me (see below).
- Any additional ingredients had to be easy to source locally… Wherever we found ourselves.
- The final cake had to taste fantastic, even with minor differences in things like egg size or butter weight.
On the fourth development attempt, my fudgy chocolate cake mix recipe finally reached my ‘happy spot’. And with a prototype topped with crushed raspberry cream, the mix was ready to pack and go.
What goes into my gluten free Fudgy Chocolate Cake?
Like any good cake mix, my Fudgy Chocolate Cake version is a combination of dry ingredients, pre-mixed and ready to bake. Specifically, it contains gluten free flour blend (A), cocoa powder, ground almonds, a little xanthan gum, salt and raising agents and a hint of vanilla bean powder.
The sugar was pre-weighed and taken separate to the rest of the dry mix. (Although I am pretty sure the cake would work fine if the sugar was pre-combined.) Either way, it seemed safer to measure it before travelling. While I rate my chances pretty high in guessing butter weight for a cake, I have no clue whatsoever about measuring sugar without scales.
In addition, the cake requires 200g dark chocolate, which is (handily) the packed weight of many UK large chocolate bars… So, we took that with us as an ‘adjoined’ part of the cake mix.
And lastly… An optional 100g bag of chocolate chunks was thrown into the suitcase for a cheeky chocolate-chip birthday version of Fudgy Chocolate Cake.
That just left eggs and butter to be sourced locally for the main sponge.
What cake tins are needed for a holiday birthday cake?
Obviously, no-one wants to use their precious suitcase weight carrying metal cake tins when travelling. But there are two reasons why (particularly as a Coeliac) you cannot rely on necessary cake-making equipment at the other end.
- Self-catering equipment varies considerably and cake tins are not generally high on the priority list of landlords.
- Even if there are cake tins, they are likely to have been used with wheat flour and there is a high chance that cross-contamination will occur from residue left behind…
So, if you want to bake cake, you are best taking your own tins (and ready-cut baking paper). You could opt for disposable carton-type moulds… But my experience of these has never been great, especially of you want the cake to come out in one piece.
Fortunately, there is a light and space-saving alternative… Silicone cake moulds! We took two with us… The first an 8-inch square mould and the second an 8-inch round mould… For transporting… the round one fit snuggly inside the square. And the mix bag fit snuggly inside that! Although you can now get moulds of the same shape which fit into each other…
Did my gluten free Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix work on holiday?
Yes! I can confidently say that the Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix worked fantastically despite a totally unfamiliar kitchen, random equipment and very hot climate.
The trick was being willing to improvise with whatever ‘potential’ utensils were available. And thus, we cobbled together a salad bowl (for batter mixing); A couple of mugs (for melting and warming ingredients in the microwave); And a small serving bowl for beating the frosting.
There were some very fortuitous kitchen scales found lurking at the back of a cupboard (which took the guess-work out of estimating butter weight). I was however, relieved the cake mix didn’t require whisking, because as predicted, the villa was whisk-less.
The final cake was perfectly formed and utterly delicious… And the birthday girl was very happy…
A homemade cake mix of divine proportions
‘Cake mix’ or not, this chocolate cake is absolutely divine… A fudgy chocolate hybrid of brownie meets sponge cake… Yet versatile enough to layer and fill in true celebratory style.
Although we could have planned the decoration in advance, we made a decision to layer and fill the actual birthday cake locally when we reached Greece. Although I confess… I threw an extra couple of bars of chocolate into the case due to an advance request for chocolate icing… And because UK chocolate is (in my humble opinion) more reliable for baking and decorating than many varieties I have found abroad.
Layering and decorating our holiday birthday Fudgy Chocolate Cake
Working with different shaped sponge cakes…
Having baked a round and a square cake left a decorating conundrum. With the round cake on top of the square, there were 4 triangular corners on the base layer to contend with… Or not!
Rather than cut off the corners to match the layers, it seemed more creative to utilise their uniqueness for decoration purposes. The ubiquitous giant Toblerone that we bought at the airport on the way out (every holiday should have one) was genius… Its triangular pieces fitted each squared corner perfectly… The cake decoration gods were definitely smiling that day!
Filling and decoration…
The birthday girl’s request was to fill the cake with jam and vanilla frosting and to top with basic chocolate icing. The jam was easy to find… but icing sugar and vanilla less so. The Greek alphabet is pretty unfathomable to us non-Greek-speaking travellers. But tenacity payed off and eventually, we managed to find both.
The candles made the journey from the UK with us… They were so small, space was not an issue.
As a special treat, some Hotel Chocolat chocolate Gemstones also travelled with us for decorating (whichwere not at the time, marked ‘may contain’). And we sourced some gluten free sprinkles in a local Greek supermarket (with ingredients listed in English).
Do you travel and bake?
If like me you love to travel and still bake, this could be a great recipe to have up your sleeve. But if you don’t bake when away, this Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix is still so good, I’d urge you to bake it anyway… at home! Don’t forget to tag me on social media if you do! (Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter).
Of course… if you have any other great recipes for baking when away, I’d love to hear about them… Simply leave a comment below and share!
Coeliac and nervous about travelling?
If you are diagnosed Coeliac and worry about travelling, then at Gluten Free Alchemist, we share loads of experience that might help you feel more confident. Head over to our Gluten Free Travel Tips and Planning Page for advice, tips and tricks to help you find your travel feet again!
Other fabulous cakes for birthdays on the blog…
Gluten Free Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- 8 inch cake tins x 2
Dry Mix (suitable for bagging and travelling)
- 100 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA Blend A (see NOTES), but an alternative flour blend should work fine.
- 15 g cocoa powder
- pinch fine sea salt
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- 1½ tsp baking powder gluten free
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 100 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- ½ tsp vanilla bean powder optional
- 200 g dark chocolate Take separately when travelling
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 200 g caster sugar (super-fine sugar) Weigh and take separately when travelling
- 100 g dark/milk chocolate chunks optional (take separately when travelling)
- Mix all the dry mix ingredients together, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. If taking away with you, store in a zip-lock bag/airtight container until ready to use.
- Base line 2 x 8 inch non-stick cake tins with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Break the dark chocolate (200g) into small pieces and melt with the butter in a heat proof glass bowl, either over a saucepan of barely simmering water (stirring frequently) or in a microwave on medium setting at 30 second bursts stirring between each. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until well-blended and creamy.
- Add the sugar and beat again with a fork until well blended.
- Add the melted chocolate mix and beat in well.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold until the batter is smooth.
- Add and fold in the chocolate chunks (if using).
- Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and spread evenly.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until a skewer/knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave in the tins until cool.
- When cool, turn out and then layer and decorate with your chosen filling and decoration.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Fudgy Chocolate Cake Mix shared with
- Cook Blog Share Week 33/34 2021 with Melissa Traub
- Fiesta Friday #392 with Angie
- Full Plate Thursday #547 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s For Dinner #327 with The Lazy Gastronome
- Sundays on Silverado #54 with The House on Silverado
Previously shared as a guest post over at Free From Fairy.