This recipe is part of my cookbook adaption series, where I adapt one recipe from a cookbook each month to be gluten free. This month’s recipe is for Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing, adapted from the book Beyond Parsley.
For all you chocolate lovers, I’ve got a treat today. Last month I made double chocolate chip cookies, so I thought it was only fitting this month to share an incredibly moist and delicious chocolate raspberry cake! Because you really can never have too much chocolate.
I made this cake for my grandmother’s birthday recently, and it was a huge hit! This chocolate cake is rich, dense, and fudgy in flavor and texture. It’s then covered in a light and fluffy raspberry cream cheese frosting that pairs so perfectly with the chocolate. I mean, who needs to wait for valentines day to have chocolate raspberry cake? It’s perfect all year long.
This recipe is my monthly cookbook adaption recipe for February. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can learn more details on my page for Baked Apple Donuts. To quickly review, I’m adapting a new gluten free recipe every month from a cookbook I find in my kitchen. If you happened to notice, I skipped the month of January this year… but not to worry! I’m back on track with this month’s adapted recipe. This recipe originally comes from the “Chocolate Cake with Fudge Icing” recipe out of the book Beyond Parsley (but no fudge icing here). I have to say, this cookbook is one of my all-time favorites and has so many recipes that can be adapted easily to be gluten free.
Now, all eyes on this chocolatey goodness! Here’s how I adapted it:
Fat, Sugar, and Eggs
Fat is something that’s necessary in cakes, but I sometimes like to mix it up. The original recipe called for 1 cup of butter, to be creamed with the sugar. Generally, this make a nice light and fluffy cake. However, I’ve found with my gluten free cakes that oil helps add a little extra moisture since gluten free flour can be drying and absorb a lot of moisture. Since the butter was called for in solid form, I converted my measurements and cut down the oil to half to that amount since it’s in liquid form.
To add a little extra moisture, I also substituted a little brown sugar in for the granulated sugar. Brown sugar has molasses to help with added moisture, and works really well in chocolate cakes.
Finally, I added an extra egg to the batter. This not only helps add a little extra moisture, but will help with additional leavening and structure. Creaming butter and sugar adds air pockets to the batter to make a light and fluffy cake. Since we added oil instead of butter, the extra egg will help a little bit in this department so the cake isn’t too dense and chewy (although it will still be a little bit dense).
One of the things I look for in recipes to adapt is if they already have added moisture (brown sugar, yogurt, etc). This recipe happened to already call for buttermilk! So, I didn’t change anything here. However, I did replace the boiling water completely with hot coffee. Adding coffee to chocolate cake doesn’t make it taste like coffee, but instead it brings out the chocolate flavor to make this cake really taste fudgy. The batter will be very thin when you add the coffee, so just be careful as you slowly mix it in.
Flour and Leavening
Because I wanted the chocolate flavor to really stand out, I actually cut back on the flour by 1/4 cup and added it back into the cocoa powder. This resulted in using 3/4 cup of cocoa powder instead of 1/2 cup. Make sure you use the unseewetend kind and not Dutch process!
For the flour itself, I used 1 3/4 cup of Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour. I use this for all my baking recipes! It’s important to remember that all gluten free flours weigh a bit different, so my flour weighed about 256-260g. Be sure to spoon and level your flour, DON’T SCOOP! This ensures that you don’t add too much to your cake batter.
Finally, I adjusted the leavening slightly. I like to start by increasing leavening in my gluten free cakes by 25% to help combat heavy gluten free flours, then adjust from there. In this cake recipe, I not only increased the baking soda but also added in some baking powder to make sure the cake wasn’t too dense.
Oh, I can’t forget the frosting! This fudgy chocolate cake is paired with a light and fluffy raspberry cream cheese frosting instead of the original fudge icing. I use just 4-5 Tbsp of seedless raspberry jam, but you really can use whatever style of raspberry jam you like! Just be aware that the color of your frosting may vary (mine was a nice pale pink color). Feel free to add an additional few tablespoons of jam to increase that raspberry flavor! Want to make this frosting even more special? try using mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese… seriously, the sweetness of the mascarpone cheese is incredible with chocolate cake! I’ve made this frosting both ways, and both taste delicious.
Make sure your frosting ingredients are room temperature before you start to whip them together. I’ve had plenty of frosting failures, and ingredient temperature is probably the most important tip I could give. Here are a few other quick tips for better cream cheese frosting:
- Whip the butter on medium speed first for 3-4 minutes until its light, fluffy, and pale in color. Then add the cream cheese.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together on low speed, only mixing for about 10-20 seconds between each addition. If you over whip cream cheese, it may start to melt… giving you that running frosting you don’t know what to do with (this happened to me twice while making this recipe).
Now here comes on of my baking disaster confessions. I once had a pretty epic frosting failure, where it started to curdle (separate) because the butter was too cold and wasn’t whipped properly. I was left with terrible lumpy frosting I didn’t know what to do with. So, naturally, I put my mind to work to figure out a solution. If it happens to you… don’t panic. Run and grab your hair dryer. Yes… seriously. Run your mixer on low to medium-low speed, while blowing some warm air from the hair dryer along the sides and bottom of the bowl. This will slowly soften the butter, gradually incorporating it again until it’s back to that fluffy frosting you had hoped for! I might be laughing while writing this, but it’s really a fun little hack to try.
Serve this cake with fresh raspberries and a scoop of ice cream, and enjoy!
Adapted from the book Beyond Parsley
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