To celebrate my birthday this year, I’ve decided to stack it high and keep it sweet and mostly healthy (what?!) with my Cardamom Cake with Cacao Fudge Frosting. This light, delicate cardamom cake has the perfect crumb and marries beautifully with a quick, delicious cacao fudge frosting. The ingredient list will surprise you in the best way possible. With no processed sugar, no butter and no dairy, you’ll probably give yourself permission to eat a few extra slices.
A layer cake is certainly a labor of love. I got into a habit a couple years ago of pushing myself to make one every month. Well, life happened, I got pregnant and extremely nauseous and cake took a back burner. But when I decided to make my birthday cake this year (birthday is August 11), I wanted to get back to that confidence I had once achieved in making an impressive layer cake.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a terrible cake decorator. But the more I try, the better they get each time. Fake it till you make it…or cover it in sprinkles. Both work.
Anyways, this cake came together so much easier than I had imagined.
I was inspired when I saw Sneh’s Raw Cacao Fudge Frosting on Instagram weeks ago. I remember looking at that beautiful photo, pulling up the recipe right then and there, reading it and then leaving that browser window up in my phone. I kept it up, constantly reminding myself that I needed to make that frosting.
Cardamom is one of my favorite flavors, and I especially love when it pairs with something rich like chocolate. So, I took my Lavender Lemon Cupcakes recipe (because the texture is on pointe), fiddled it into a cardamom cake batter, and voila!
Pairing the cardamom cake and the fudge frosting together was perfection. The frosting is so silky and rich, with nothing but bold, true flavors. The cake is light, moist and slightly floral. They marry perfectly.
One of the things I love the most is that both of these recipes aren’t terribly “bad” for you. In fact, I don’t see anything in either recipe that would drench me in guilt if I decided to go on a cake bender and eat the whole damn thing myself. Don’t put it past me. The frosting is dates, cashews and coconut cream with cocoa powder (she used cacao, I used the crude easier-to-find cocoa), the cake is a blend of gluten free flours, a bit of coconut sugar and some coconut oil for the fat… you really can’t go wrong here.
A note on stacking up and frosting a layer cake: I am no expert, once again. But wait, how did I pull this off? I pieced together years of trying, a few cake decorating classes I’ve taken, and some other bloggers’ helpful advice. I’d highly recommend Joy the Baker’s advice on frosting layer cakes. She’s the bomb.
Quick note number two would be about how do actually decorate your creation. Honestly, I love sprinkles. And if you saw me decorating the cake on Instagram, you know I was racking my brain on this cake. Because I was so torn! Sprinkles, chocolate shavings, giant chocolate pieces, truffles, LaraBar bites that look like truffles but they’re actually dates and nuts and chocolate so they’re healthier…? So many options. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, there’s no wrong choice. Hell, throw everything chocolate-looking on top and call it art. I just want a piece when it’s done. So chill out and have fun with it. Or, if you’re Molly, make an impeccably molded marzipan scene to top it with.
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ¼ cup sorghum flour
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbs. coconut flour
- 2 Tbs. tapioca starch
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted (I used Nutiva buttery coconut oil)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 12 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup coconut cream*
- 6 Tbs cacao powder (I ended up using unsweetened cocoa)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Toppings: sprinkles, sea salt, truffles or LaraBar Bites pieces (other great options: chocolate curls, chocolate chunks, extra sprinkles)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a jelly roll pan (10x15”) with parchment and spray with nonstick spray. I used coconut oil spray.
- In a bowl, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk well.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the coconut sugar and melted coconut oil. Stir until completely combined. Then, add the egg and mix together. Next, add ½ of the dry ingredients and ½ of the almond milk+vinegar and carefully stir together until completely mixed. Finally, add the other half of the dry ingredients and the other half of the milk. Stir until the batter is completely combined.
- Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and spread out evenly, using a silicone spatula.
- Bake for 20minutes, checking with a toothpick for doneness and taking it out of the oven when the toothpick comes out clean. I start checking and keeping a close eye on it around 15 minutes.
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack. After it is cooled, I like to wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight or for a few hours so it is very cold and it traps in moisture.
- Use a 6” circle to cut three layers out of your sheet cake. I use the bottom of a 6” springform pan and a paring knife and cut out the layers. My third circle wouldn’t cut out completely because it was too tight a fit, so I cut out two half circles from the biggest places left in the sheet cake and then pieced those halves together as I built up the cake. I wrapped each circle in plastic wrap and placed them back in the fridge (and I put the leftover cake in a container in the fridge, to be eaten as I pleased).
- Place the cashews and the dates in a bowl. Boil some water and pour over the cashews and dates until completely covered. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
- Place the cashews and dates in your blender or food processor. Add the coconut cream, cocoa and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until cold, before using.
- Layer your cake with layers of frosting, then frost the outside of the cake. You can use whatever technique works best for you. I’m no cake frosting expert, but I know Joy the Baker has a wonderful tutorial on her blog if you want to get very technical. You’ll have leftover frosting (to eat with the leftover cake?). Top your cake with sprinkles and truffles and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Cut, serve, enjoy!
- *It is easiest to get coconut cream from a can that is labeled “coconut cream” like the one at Trader Joe’s. You can also use unsweetened full fat coconut milk, but you may need two cans. Either way, place the can in the fridge for a few hours, then open the top and scoop the coconut cream off the top, avoiding the liquid layer in the bottom.
- Keep your cake in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days. You can also fully prepare your cake, wrap it well with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer, then thaw it the day before you are ready to eat it.