It’s no secret that I love, love, love to bake! But when our family went gluten free last year, baking is one area that I struggled with. I’ll admit that I’ve had far more messes than success in my quest to create the perfect gluten free cake! Some were too dense, some weren’t sweet enough, and some were more brick-like than cake-like. After spending hours in the kitchen and trying endless combinations of ingredients, I was starting to think that gluten free baking just wasn’t for me.
Then, one day it happened… I pulled gluten free baking experiment #2,467,134 from the oven, fully expecting another cake-catastrophe. Right away I knew that this cake was different- it had good color, rose nicely in the pan, and smelled like a real cake! Cautiously optimistic at this point, I sliced off a little piece to sample and I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. It had great flavor, the perfect crumb, and was light and airy- success!
Not long after my first gluten free cake triumph, we went strawberry picking and brought home dozens of sweet juicy berries. Even after making this strawberry panini and this strawberry rhubarb compote, I still had more berries than I knew what to do with. Fortunately, we were having some family over that weekend for crabs, giving me the perfect excuse to bake my gluten free cake again!
This time I added fresh strawberries and a layer of the strawberry rhubarb compote to the cake. I frosted it with a simple homemade whipped cream speckled with more strawberries. Each bite had the perfect amount of sweetness and fresh strawberry flavor. I’m really excited to share this one with you because it’s such a delicious cake but it’s also very healthy (gluten free and no refined sugar). I’ve got big plans for this recipe, and you’ll be seeing it again in a modified cupcake version very soon… stay tuned for more sweet summery goodness!
Vanilla Cake with Fresh Strawberries (Sugar & Gluten Free)
For the Cake:
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1 cup almond meal
4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp baking powder
Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
3 eggs, whisked
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped strawberries, organic & local if possible
1. Preheat your oven to 350*.
2. Prepare two 9″ cake pans.
3. In a large bowl, sift together your dry ingredients.
4. In another large bowl, mix together your wet ingredients.
5. Carefully combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Stir in between each addition. (I don’t use a stand mixer for this batter because it’s so easy to manage with just a regular mixing spoon. No need to dirty up the mixer when you can do it by hand!)
6. Pour 1/2 of the batter into each of the 9″ pans. Add the chopped strawberries to one of the pans by sprinkling them over the top of the batter.
7. Bake the layers in the oven- the plain layer will take about 12-14 minutes, and the strawberry layer will take a little longer, about 15-18 minutes.
8. Once baked, let the layers cool thoroughly, then assemble with filling and frosting.
For the Strawberry Rhubarb Filling (Recipe can be found by clicking here)
1. Spread a thin layer of the compote on top of the plain layer, and place the strawberry layer on top.
For the Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups organic heavy cream, cold
Pinch of salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Agave for sweetness, to taste
1/2 – 1 cup diced strawberries (depending on your preference)
1. Add the cold heavy cream to the base of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
2. Whisk on high speed until small peaks begin to form, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the pinch of salt, vanilla, and agave. Whisk again on high speed until ingredients are well combined, about 30 seconds. Taste test and add additional agave if needed (this really depends on how sweet you want the frosting to be).
4. Gently fold in the diced strawberries (do this by hand with a spoon, not with the mixer).
5. Once cake has fully cooled, spread whipped frosting over cake. Store in the refrigerator.