A slice of moist gluten free double-layer devil’s food chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting is hard to resist. So get ready to dig in! This year for Halloween instead of making spooky-themed treats (which I love by the way) I wanted to share with your desserts and treats influenced by my favourite childhood sweets. Hence: honeycomb, cherry ripe, and caramel popcorn. Now for the ultimate in all decadences, and a dessert influenced by our collective obsession: chocolate and peanut butter.This cake is based on a recipe that I have made many, many, many times in it’s gluten-ful incarnation. I was a little apprehensive in adapting it because, let’s be honest, sometimes things are lost in the translation from gluten-ful to gluten free. I weighed, creamed, mixed, poured, and then waiting. When the cake was cooked and cooled I levelled the tops and taste tested the scraps of cake. Perfection. Just the same bouncy, tender, moist crumb. The same cocoa intensity. Exactly as I had remembered, now friendly for us gluten free folks. We can have our cake and eat it too!
As with any cake making expedition, here are my top tips:
Make sure your butter is softened.
Bring your eggs to room temperature because they will whip better this way and give your cake the right light, airy texture.
Whisk your dry ingredients together (or sift them) very well to ensure no lumps and to make sure your leavening ingredient (in this case baking soda) is evenly distributed.
Lick the spoon. Obvi.
Two perfect layers of devil’s food cake are sandwiched together here with salty-sweet peanut butter frosting. Oh my Reeses. I could eat a bowl of this frosting all by itself. Who am I kidding. I probably have eaten a bowl of this frosting by itself once or twice in my baking life. I use chunky (or super chunky when I can find it) peanut butter in this frosting because I love the texture the chunks of peanut adds to the smooth, buttery frosting. You could use smooth but you do it at your own risk. Team Chunky all the way. This cake is nothing but simple, classic, perfection layered together. This gluten free devil’s food cake is moist, tender, and deeply chocolaty. A classic chocolate cake that is perfect for birthday, Halloween, and every cake requiring celebration in between. This is a gluten free layer cake that you can be proud of, and that I want you to have fun with. Not interested in peanut butter frosting? Firstly, who are you? Secondly, try a classic chocolate frosting, or a white chocolate frosting, or contrast the chocolate with a smooth vanilla buttercream. Take this gluten free cake and make it your own!
Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Gluten free | Serves 12
3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
3/4 cup warm water
120 grams buckwheat flour
100 grams white rice flour
100 grams brown rice flour
100 grams sorghum flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
300 grams butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
For the frosting
150 grams butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 tablespoons milk
500 grams icing sugar (gluten free)
Shaved chocolate for decorating (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and butter and line two round 8-inch cake tins with baking powder. Set aside until required.
In a medium bowl whisk together cocoa, warm water and Greek yoghurt until very smooth.
In another medium mixing bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a handmixer) beat together butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix in vanilla.
Turn your mixer to low speed and mix in flour in two parts alternating with the cocoa mixture. Beat until combined.
Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove cakes from the oven and cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: beat butter and peanut butter and light and creamy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Trim tops of cakes so that they are flat. Place one layer on your cake plate or stand. Frost with 1/3 of the peanut butter frosting. Place other cake cut side down on top of the bottom layer and then frost the cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate if using.
Serve. If not serving refrigerate until required. Take out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
Are you a doughnut lover? I have long been a lover of doughnuts especially the hot cinnamon covered doughnuts that are so common in every food court around Australia. When I was little and Mum and Dad would take my sister and I to the small local shopping centre I would stand with my nose pressed against the glass of the small doughnut stand. My wide eyes would watch as the attendant pressed a button to dispense a perfect ring of dough into hot oil, after a minute or two she would flip the doughnut over to fry on the other side. The doughnut would then be drained and flipped into a shimmering bucket of cinnamon and sugar before being slipped into a paper bag and then placed in my hands still warm and fragrant with the comfort of all that is good in the world.
Although that doughnut stand is no longer there, and I can no longer belly up to any doughnut counter I want and order a ring of cinnamon-sugar coated warm carbohydrate comfort, I still love doughnuts and they still mean comfort to me.
I have yet to try making a fried version, but for now I am happy playing around with my mini doughnut pan and the many flavour opportunities provided by being able to bake doughnuts at home – and I can easily make them gluten free too!
You will love how easily these peanut butter and chocolate treats come together. The ratio of flavour pay off to actual work is high here. Meaning: you get delicious home-baked treats for less than twenty minutes of work.
When you remove them from the oven I dare you not to sneak one out of the pan for a quick taste test! These make your house smell like warm melted peanut butter and brown sugar. There is nothing but comfort and sweet memories there. Once they are cooled you dip them into pure melted chocolate and then quickly into chopped salted peanuts. You can eat them warm with chocolate dripping down your chin, but they are just as enjoyable once they have cooled and the chocolate has set. I boxed these up quickly after they set to gift Dad for Father’s Day, but I did manage to steal one. (For quality assurance of course.)
I can promise if you present a tray of these to your loved ones, or your colleagues, you will be met with awe and then a frantic scurrying for people to get to the tray first. Just don’t tell them how truly easy they are. Sometimes comfort is only a mixing bowl away.
Peanut Butter Doughnuts with Chocolate Peanut Glaze
Gluten Free | Makes 15 Mini Doughnuts
100 grams peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
30 grams butter
60 grams (1/3 cup + 1tbs) white rice flour
60 grams (1/3 cup + 1tbs) brown rice flour
60 grams (1/2 cup + 1tbs) almond meal
60 grams (1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
100 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
For the glaze:
150 grams semi-sweet dark chocolate
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
¾ cup salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and thoroughly grease two twelve hole miniature doughnut pans.
In a small bowl melt peanut butter and butter together by microwaving in short 30 second bursts. Stir in between. Once completely melted, set aside to cool.
In a large bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and brown sugar.
Whisk melted peanut butter mixture into milk mixture slowly until completely smooth.
Whisk wet mixture into dry mixture until smooth.
Spoon mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe mixture into doughnut pan. Remember to fill the holes only 2/3 full as the mixture will rise.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and spring back when gently pressed down.
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. After five minutes turn the doughnuts out onto the cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze: chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in short bursts in the microwave and stir in between. Once completely melted and smooth mix in vegetable oil. Dunk one side of each doughnut into the glaze and then into the chopped peanuts. Place on a line baking sheet for the glaze to set. You may wish to place this tray in the refrigerator once all doughnuts have been topped.
Keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three days. Bring to room temperature before eating for maximum enjoyment.
Do you listen to the radio? Are you a Top 40 fan? An alternative station faithful? Do you make cool playlists that are the hit at parties far and wide: are you that friend who always knows what’s next?
I do not listen to the radio. I rely on the years of exposure to Mum’s choice in music (50s-80s and heavy on the saxophone solos), Jess’s iPhone playlists when we are in the car, and Chris’s latest obsessions, to inform my music choices. When I do have to listen to the radio, that is, when I have forgotten to plug my iPhone into the car with a preloaded podcast, I often fall back on news and information heavy stations like Radio National or classical music stations. I am not a cool kid. When I listen to music at home I turn to the classics: Edith Piaf, Dean Martin, Cher… My point is, I am not the person you come to when you need a musical recommendation. I am, however, the person you come to when you are in need of a cookie recommendation.
The combination of dough and mix-ins seems infinite to me. A whole orchestra of flavours and textures at my fingertips. I am the composer, the conductor and the soloist. While I know I will never write a symphony, I am certain that I can keep conducting sweet treats from my kitchen for many years to come.
These cookies were born from the flavours of one of my new addictions: Mayver’s Organic Peanut & Cacao Spread. I blame my blog friend Jennifer from Milk and Honey for introducing me to its intense chocolate and peanut flavour. With this as my background tempo (is that a real music term?) I set about layering on the other notes: salted peanuts, chocolate chips, brown sugar. In the end these all came together in a tangle of salty sweet chunky perfection. These are similar in texture to my Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies, but the taste of the Cacao Spread comes through in the dough. They are a cakey cookie, a brownie in more portable biscuit form, studded with milk chocolate chips and moreish salted peanuts. Maybe not worthy of Mozart (I am working up the courage to attempt gluten free pastry Wolfgang), but welcome on the side of plate while listening to whatever pleases your ears.
Chocolate Peanut Cookies
Gluten Free | Makes approximately 24 cookies
80 grams butter, softened
80 grams Mayver’s Organic Peanut & Cacao Spread at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 large eggs, room temperature
90 grams buckwheat flour
75 grams sorghum flour
70 grams brown rice flour
40 grams cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted peanuts
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper. Set aside until required.
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, peanut and cacao spread, brown sugar, caster sugar and vanilla essence. Beat until fluffy.
Add eggs and beat until well incorporated and smooth.
In a separate bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Add whisked flours to egg mixture and beat until combined. This is a dry dough so watch out for pockets of flour.
Stir in chocolate chips and salted peanuts.
Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets, leave a few centimetres between dough balls for spreading. Press down lightly on top to flatten slightly.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Rotate trays halfway through cooking time. Cookies are done when the edges are firm to the touch.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months.