Classic Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting (Dairy and Grain Free) + Sweet Laurel Cookbook
Last Wednesday was our 15th wedding anniversary.
No, this isn’t a cake I made to celebrate. It’s actually the cake I made for my birthday a month ago.
But just pretend it’s a sweet little anniversary cake for now.
It’s the Classic Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate from Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole Food Grain Free Desserts — a cookbook I’ve been loving for the past few months. Sweet Laurel is a grain-free bakery located in Southern California that offers baking classes, too.
I just adore this book. It’s so…. sweet. Pun intended? Maybe. I love the muted pink hard cover that has a faint cloth-like texture. Sometimes it’s tricky to make a grain-free, dairy-free cake look as “special” as regular cakes. Sweet Laurel does such a great job at that and all of these recipes are ones that look like they’re filled with love.
I have a very low tolerance for cheesy comments, but I’m serious. From the first time I held the book in my hand and flipped through it, I just felt like this book was something the author poured her heart into. I have a lot of cookbooks, and there aren’t many that give me that feeling.
I love Laurel’s signature flower decor on her cakes. And the flowers on the tables. It makes me want to pull flowers out every time I bake something. That wouldn’t be too hard if I could actually keep flowers alive outside.
So, this beautiful, delicious birthday— er, anniversary cake….
I was in the mood for something homey and traditional, so I chose this little 6-inch layer yellow cake with dairy-free milk chocolate frosting.
No, the recipes in Sweet Laurel aren’t keto or low carb recipes. They’re all grain-free and dairy-free and naturally sweetened, though. She uses a lot of maple syrup, but you could use a low-carb bulk liquid sweetener like Lakanto Maple-Flavored Sugar-Free Syrup (monk fruit sweetened). Not stevia though, because it’ll affect the texture of the cake too much by reducing the liquid severely.
I chose berries and mint sprigs for my cake because as much as I love the look of flowers on a cake, my practical side has a hard time with non-edible decorations.
Plus, I didn’t want to go hunt around for flowers. I’m way too indecisive and would have overthought the whole process.
Besides this delicious birthday cake, we’ve tried her Vanilla-Scented Waffles and an adapted version of her Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake (Happy Father’s Day, Steve!). I also have my eye on her Tres Leches Cake, Everything Bagel Bread, Gooey Cast-Iron Cookie, Salted Lemon Meringue Pie, and Laurel’s Baklava Pie. (Drool.)
I’d like to tweak some and make them low-carb, too, since we’ve been leaning that direction for our desserts lately. I made this cake as-is, though, with the maple, and it was HEAVENLY. The texture of the cake and the frosting was spot on. And I appreciate the petite size — nothing is worse than having leftover cake on the counter day after day, taunting you at breakfast.
You can either use one regular 8-inch baking pan for this or two 6-inch baking pans. I use my little pans more than I thought I would — more often for birthday cakes when we’re not throwing a party and don’t want a lot of leftovers. Or when my 11-year-old gets a baking bug and wants to make a cake for no reason.
Go grab a copy of the Sweet Laurel Cookbook and let me know what you think!
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing the pans
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Milk Chocolate Frosting:
- 8 ounces 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into chunks
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond butter, store-bought or homemade
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus more as needed
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 6-inch cake pans or one 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper rounds, then grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolk, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until well incorporated. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, turmeric, and baking soda until there are no clumps. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms. Using a spatula, scoop the batter into the prepared pans and smooth out the tops.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the pan.
- You can leave the cake in two layers or slice each layer in half horizontally, creating four (which we prefer, to maximize the cake-to-frosting ratio). To save for later, wrap each cake layer in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days, any longer and the turmeric might turn dark red as it oxidizes.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double broiler over medium heat, stirring constantly. (Or a heat-proof bowl that nests in a pan with 1-inch of simmering water on the stove.) Remove from the heat when melted. Add the maple syrup and vanilla stir to incorporate. Cool to room temperature; it should still be liquid, not solid.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl (or use the same bowl as before) and with an electric mixer beat in the almond butter until a thick, whippy frosting is formed. Add the coconut milk and continue beating until smooth.
- Put the frosting in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Whip again until spreadable and fluffy, adding coconut milk if you need to smooth it out further. You can store this in a refrigerated container for up to 2 weeks.
- For decorating four layers, place one layer on a cake plate and top with 1/4 cup of the frosting. Add the next cake layer, top with another 1/4 cup frosting, and smooth. Repeat for all of the layers, then coat the cake with the remaining 1 cup frosting, smoothing it evenly all over.
- For an 8-inch cake, you can cover the entire cake with the frosting.
- Garnish with flower, berries, or leave it plain. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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