My Gluten Free Cake Baking Addiction

Neapolitan cake
Neapolitan themed gluten free cake

I have something to admit.  Lately I’ve been impulsively baking and decorating gluten free cakes.

It all started at Christmas.  The Kitchenaid hand mixer I was given as a wedding gift finally bit the dust while I was making cream cheese mints, so I upgraded to a modest mini Kitchenaid stand mixer with a 3.5 quart mixing bowl.  I figured I would use it about as often as the hand mixer, once a year for Christmas cookies.

Then my four-year-old and I started watching YouTube cake decorating compilations because, you know, she liked to.  At first it was nice to chill with her on my lap, but then I started getting ideas.  And then I got some Christmas money from Grandma.

With a new stand mixer on my kitchen counter and a wad of cash in my hand, I hit the craft store and bought all the basic layer cake tools:  a spinning cake decorating table, leveler, metal spatula, metal offset spatula, piping bags, the tips I figured I’d use, three round cake pans at different sizes, a flower nail, and paper cake rounds.

Backstory:  I had never been a decent cake decorator.  I’ve botched some pretty bad.  Despite my BFA, I wasn’t disciplined enough to to do it.  Birthday cakes at my house were pretty basic unless someone else stepped in, like my mother.

So I set aside an entire day to experiment and fail at making cake batter, icing, and constructing my first layer cake.  For me, failing is a method of learning.  I practiced flowers and tried a couple different tips.  I didn’t bother dying the frosting.  I just wanted to know that I could do it, especially with the added challenge of making it gluten free for my son’s ADHD diet.

Test fail cake
Fail cake with a decent first stab at flowers. This image must have been taken at a flattering angle.  I was too impatient to let the cake layers cool before assembling, so the frosting in between the layers melted a little and it became the Leaning Tower of Cake.

After my initial 6-layer monstrosity, I experimented on my mother’s birthday cake, because she will always forgive me.

That is one ugly birthday cake
Look at this ugly piece of crap. My mother must really love me.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it turned out OK, but I went a little crazy on some of the embellishments and the colors are juvenile.  I may as well have doodled a Liger on there.

Then I decided to get away from ornate cakes and move toward the grunge look.

Strawberry chocolate cake
Good learning experience – needed more cocoa powder in the batter to be a chocolate cake and not just a brown cake.  But the frosting was great:  chopped up strawberries beaten into the buttercream.

It was then that I tackled my mother-in-law’s birthday cake.  I stuffed cherries between the layers and dyed it to her favorite color.  Then I attempted to make it a drip cake using cherry sauce.

Gramsie's birthday cake

When I went for my run that day, I realized how I could fix the cake.  So I got back to my house and I took another whack at it.

Gramsie's birthday cake
Reconstructive surgery
Gramsie's birthday cake
Typical birthday scene when a four year old gets involved

The next cake was meticulously planned out for a different blog post, so the quality was better.

Rainbow birthday cake

Rainbow cake party carnage

And then I made my husband’s birthday cake.  He likes to go ice fishing so…

Hubby's birthday fish cake
This little beauty got a lot of likes on Facebook.

Armed with a new sense of self-confidence, I forged ahead with a slew of concept cakes.  I had no real reason to cook them which meant that my addiction was real.

Carrot cake
Carrot cake
Birch tree cake with maple frosting
Birch tree themed cake with maple flavored frosting between each layer
St. Patty’s Day Guinness chocolate cake with Baileys Irish Cream frosting

Pretty sure this one wasn’t actually gluten free.  Or appropriate for children.  But that didn’t stop me from putting this surprise inside…

St. Patty's surprise cake

Technically that last one was for my husband’s work’s National Pi Day potluck.  So it was supposed to be a pie.  But I made a cake, because I have a problem.

After that my family and I were invited to a friend’s house for a casual get-together with food on the grill so obviously I offered to bake a cake for the occasion.

Behold, my attempt at a root beer float cake.  Rather, a root beer FAIL cake.  It didn’t taste like root beer and it was about the same consistency as a pine tree.

ROOT BEER FAIL CAKE – had to practically saw this bad boy apart.

Well I had already told our friends that I was bringing a cake so I had to take another stab at it, you know, to save face.

Banana split concept cake

The replacement was pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.  Probably my most well-executed cake from a decorative standpoint, and concept-wise pretty cool.  It’s a banana split cake.  The batter itself was banana cake, and it was split in half.  Get it?  Man, it tasted good, too.  Yeah I probably could have given this cake its own blog post but meh.

Banana split concept cake
Frosting was chocolate, strawberry and pineapple flavored, plus vanilla to look like whipped cream.  The ganache looked like fudge topping.

Then I just kept going…

Peanut butter chocolate cake
Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, inspired by Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. I don’t usually like the flavor combo but this was pretty good.  And I’m happy with how the color gradation worked out.  Yay me.
dark chocolate mocha cake
By far the most delicious cake – dark chocolate mocha with concentrated coffee in the frosting and the leftover coffee grounds in the cake itself, plus dark chocolate ganache and dark chocolate mocha Dove chocolates on top and chopped up between the layers.

dark chocolate mocha cake

Then came the raspberry lemonade cake.  Perhaps that one was better than the dark chocolate mocha.  Well it was definitely pretty.  So I blogged it.

And that brings us to today, with my Neapolitan-themed cake (pictured at the top of the post).  It’s the end of April and I’ve made 15 cakes since Christmas.  I have a problem, and I’m hoping that admitting that will help get this impulsive cake decorating thing out of my system. There’s only so much cake you can eat before it’s not special anymore, and the kids are so over it.  Plus it would be nice to, you know, spend time with them.  In the meantime, if you liked any of my cake concepts, please share!


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