Grain Free Gluten Free Strawberry Vanilla Cake
Hello My sweet strawberry Valentine
This. This right here is redemption. This is my redemption cake and I’ll tell you why. Since you clearly asked and need to know.
I love to cook. Cooking allows you to be creative. Add this, a pinch of that, top with this. And voila, dinner.
However. When you apply said liberties to baking, you mess up everything. And I mean everything. Before nailing this cake, I created the most devastating batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. And I don’t let food go to waste. Ever. But alas, After eating a few and pretending maybe yes I think I can tolerate these cookies, yeah I tossed the whole thing. And yes I just said ‘alas.’
Don’t mess with science, Em. And that’s what baking is. It’s science.
I don’t make the rules.
And I clearly don’t play by them either.
Allow me to mention that I’m annoyingly healthy and unless it’s some good dark chocolate, I like to recreate desserts that abide by my clean eating habits. I’ll take a recipe and try to manipulate it to make it a bit more nutritious.
But I’ll be honest, people, healthy desserts kind of blow. I mean who wouldn’t want to chew on pretty dense, lightly sweetened air and brownies made from avocados? Are there cauliflower cookies yet? I bet there are. And I bet they’re great.
Said no one ever.
But, okay fine, avocado brownies are actually fantastic when done well.
Anyway. All I’m saying is healthy baking is not easy. But when you do it, and do it well, it’s delicious. And it tastes even better because you know you’re putting real things in your body.
What is healthy baking for me you didn’t ask? Well I’ll tell you. It’s using real, whole, minimally processed ingredients.
What is it NOT? It’s NOT using low fat/low sugar/low carb/fake substitutes.
Okay now let’s get down to business. This cake. This cake is rich, slightly dense, made airy by folding in egg whites, naturally sweetened, and full of wonderful strawberry goodness.
And it tastes like redemption.
There is a bakery based out of Los Angeles called Sweet Laurel. I first discovered Sweet Laurel completely by accident when amazon recommended the Sweet Laurel Cookbook. A gem filled with all sorts of grain free, gluten free, paleo treats. And thank goodness they did, because this cookbook allows me to create yummy sweet treats that happen to be doing my body good as well.
This strawberry cake is adapted from their Coconut Jam cake out of their cookbook. I tweaked some things by changing up the flours a little bit, using a mix of both almond and coconut flour, adjusted the sugar just a touch, and folded in egg whites to lighten it up.
Grain free baking is known to be on the dense side. Almond flour is a staple for me, but when baked it makes for a very (nutrient) dense cake or cookie. So I wanted to try to combat that. Enter: egg whites. Whipped to fluffy perfection and folded into the thick batter before I separated it into two 6 inch round baking pans.
Now. The frosting.
You should know I have one crazy frosting addiction. I guess it’s just a sugar addiction really. But I’m serious. Cake is cool and this cake is the coolest. But for me? Spoon, frosting, done. Yes. I’ve bought jars of frosting. Even me. The healthy freak over here. She has her demons.
And they taste like frosting.
But of course. The ones from a jar are very processed and very high in sugar. And I like to control what I put in this body as often as I can. So we made one from coconut butter instead!
I considered a good ol’ fashioned buttercream, because I am not opposed to butter at all. But we’re keeping this frosting dairy free and using our new trendy friend, coconut butter.
Coconut butter is also called coconut manna. Coconut manna is the buttery pureed meat of the coconut. It’s essentially what almond butter is to almonds. Coconut manna is often called a superfood. It contains some anti-inflammatory properties, and because it’s all natural and coconut oil is all the rage these days, it makes me feel better about using it.
You empty the jar of coconut butter into a saucepan, add in about half a cup of almond milk (I used Califia Farms unsweetened vanilla), a little honey, few tablespoons of powdered sugar, some vanilla, pinch of salt, and a good half cup or so of strawberry preserves. And boom. Done. Wisk it up under low heat until it all gets creamy together and it’s done. Be sure to taste it for any additional sweetness! And, ya know, just to taste it.
We decorated this lovely lady with some Valentine’s Day appropriate m&ms and extra strawberries! But any mix of berries would be awesome. Even some decorate flowers on top would be beautiful.
I learned I actually really love frosting and decorating cakes. Never knew that about myself.
So that’s neat.
Please make this and enjoy!!
Grain Free Vanilla Cake
3 1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup maple syrup (I used Lakanto brand maple syrup!)
2 tbs coconut milk or almond milk
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup (ish) of strawberry frosting – recipe to follow!
1/2 cup (ish) of strawberry preserves
- Spray and line on 8in cake pan or two 6in round cake pans with cooking spray and parchment paper. (Tip: parchment paper comes on a roll and is all rolled up when you rip it. That’s dumb. Rip off a big piece, and literally crumble it up in your hands. Flatten it out then use a pencil to trace your cake pans. Cut out the shapes and stick it on the bottom of the pan. Spray the parchment again with cooking spray).
- In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, melted coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut milk.
- In a stand mixer, or separate bowl and hand mixer, whip up the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks and nice and fluffy
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches. It will be pretty thick!
- Once the batter is combined, fold in the egg whites. This takes some love! Fold as gently as possible until (mostly) combined and you can’t see big chunks of white anymore. The egg whites are to help this cake get airy and more spongey.
- Divide batter between your cake pans or pour into one!
- Bake at 350 for about 25-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean! Start checking at the 20 min mark depending on your oven!
- Let rest in the pans until fully cool then turn out on a rack.
- Frost, decorate, and dig in. I put a layer of strawberry preserves and frosting between my 6 inch cakes and another layer of just the frosting around the sides and on top! Decorate with more strawberries!
Strawberry Coconut Frosting
This might make extra depending on how much icing ya like! But I made enough to serve an army by using the entire jar of coconut butter. Not mad about it. Scaling the following recipe down to not be quite as aggressive.
1 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 tbs powdered sugar (start with one, taste, and adjust to your preference)
You might need to let the coconut butter really come to room temperature, or put the jar in a pot of hot water to make it scoop-able.
- Combine everything in a small saucepan over low heat and whisk it all together until it’s creamy and luscious.
- Let come to room temp, nice and spreadable.
Have fun with this recipe! You can always change the berry of choice! Or save yourself time and use a store bought frosting instead. Let me know how you like it!