A super-fudgy, gluten free Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake. Layers of chocolate and berry fudge sponge, sandwiched with vanilla buttercream and topped and decorated with dark chocolate ganache, loads of berries and a ‘fence’ of chocolate cigarillos. Made for sharing.
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DON’T LOSE THIS RECIPE… PIN IT FOR LATER…
A Gluten Free Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake – Child’s Play
This Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake is a throwback to 2017. It was made by my daughter (Miss GF) when she was just 11. Without ANY help at all. It’s amazing not just for its cleverness, but also because it is decadent, with a gloriously fudgy texture and perfectly paired flavours.
But it also shares an important message… If an 11 year old can make a cake this good, then you can too. Forget ‘I can’t bake’ and ‘what level of skill is required?’… Sometimes, it just takes a bit of determination and willingness to step outside of our comfort zone… And to give it a go.
Creating a Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake – A random process
I honestly have no idea where the inspiration for this gluten free Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake came from… However, I am aware that Miss GF used another recipe sourced from the blog, as a starting point for the sponge. She added her own creativity by adding freeze-dried strawberries to the batter and it snowballed from there.
When the chocolate Cigarillos (bought for another cake baking project) were discovered in the larder, they were quickly snaffled for the Chocolate Berry Cake… And Miss GF worked out a way to stick them, using a base of buttercream.
But it didn’t stop there… The request for ‘lots of strawberries and raspberries’ was delivered to the fridge… And before we knew it, with a spread of ganache and a little raspberry jam, the whole thing was transformed into a stunning chocolate berry waterfall cake… A divinely dense and fudgy chocolate-strawberry sponge was layered with vanilla buttercream… All set against the soft tartness of berries, smooth richness of dark ganache and decadent, sweet crispness of chocolate cigarillos.
It wasn’t a planned process… Just a simple evolving of creativity along the way.
A super-fudgy chocolate cake
The chocolate sponge used to make this Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake was an adaptation of a previously created Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake Mix… Originally developed to take and bake on holiday. It’s rich and fudgy (a sort of hybrid of brownie and chocolate cake) and clearly versatile too. Even better, it’s easy to make with minimal equipment.
It’s not even fussy about which flour blend is thrown at it. While we use Gluten Free Alchemist cake Flour Blend A, it will work well with most decent alternatives… such as Doves Freee plain white flour, or Gluten Free Alchemist Rice Free Blend B).
The chocolate comes from a combination of cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate. But it also enjoys a hint of nuttiness from ground almonds; Some extra texture with a few chocolate chunks dotted through the sponge; And (at Miss GF’s creativity), fruity bites of freeze-dried strawberry too.
Here’s the recipe for Miss GF’s Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake…
Because this cake is super-rich, a little goes a long way. And that makes it perfect for celebratory sharing. I’ve shared Miss GF’s recipe below exactly as she made it… However, feel free to make it your own.
And just in case you haven’t found it yet… There’s loads more inspiration in our massive Gluten Free Recipe Index. So why not grab a cuppa and plan what’s next…
With my love
Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake (gluten free)
- oven + hob
- serving plate
- Small saucepan
- 100 g plain gluten free flour blend eg GFA Blend A (see NOTES)
- 15 g cocoa powder
- pinch fine sea salt
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- 1½ tsp baking powder gluten free
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- ½ tsp vanilla bean powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 200 g dark chocolate chopped/callets
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs at room temperature – lightly beaten – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’
- 200 g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 100 g dark chocolate chunks
- handful freeze dried strawberries
Vanilla Buttercream & Cigarillos
- 120 g unsalted butter softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 400 g icing sugar confectioners/powdered sugar – sifted
- 1 to 2 tbsp milk (if required)
- 3 tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam
- 75 pcs chocolate Cigarillos (approx)
- 150 g dark chocolate chopped
- 150 ml double cream (heavy cream)
Fruit and Decoration
- 400 g fresh strawberries washed & trimmed
- 500 g fresh raspberries
- grated dark chocolate optional
- Mix all the dry ingredients together (except the strawberries), making sure any lumps are completely broken down. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- Base-line two 8 inch non-stick baking tins with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Melt the dark chocolate (200g) and butter in a heat-proof glass (Pyrex) bowl, either over a saucepan of simmering water (stirring frequently) or in the 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.
- Add the melted chocolate mix and vanilla extract (if not using vanilla powder) and beat in well.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold until the batter is smooth.
- Add and fold in the chocolate chunks and strawberries.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread evenly.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer/toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few crumbs attached. The cake will have a crusty top.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin, before removing ready to decorate.
Vanilla Buttercream and layering
- Beat the butter until soft with the vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the icing sugar (sifted) and a little milk until you have a light, smooth butter frosting.
- Place one half of the cake (crusty side down) and spread a good layer of frosting across the top.
- On the soft side of the second sponge, spread a layer of jam and place this sponge on top of the first layer, jam side down.
- Spread a good layer of buttercream round the sides of the cake, using a spatula.
- Carefully transfer the cake onto a serving plate and then gently but firmly, press the cigarillos one by one round the sides of the cake to form a ‘wall’. Leave a gap for the fruit-ganache waterfall.
Ganache and Berries
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until just starting to simmer (bubbles round the side of the pan).
- Pour the cream over the chocolate and prod the chocolate below the liquid line. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes and then gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is liquid and smooth.
- Set the ganache aside to cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally until beginning to thicken.
- When the ganache has thickened to spreading consistency, spoon some onto the top of the cake and spread carefully to the edges inside the cigarillos.
- Spread a little down the gap in the cigarillos to form a ‘waterfall’, and a couple of tablespoons back for decoration.
- Pile the prepared fruit onto the top of the cake, sticking a few pieces of fruit down the side gap, to make a ganache-berry 'waterfall'.
- Gently heat the remaining ganache over a bowl of steaming water to loosen and drizzle over the fruit.
- Add a sprinkle of grated chocolate (optional) to finish.
© 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
Chocolate Berry Birthday Cake shared with
- What’s for Dinner #362 with The Lazy Gastronome
- Full Plate Thursday #583 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage