Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Maple Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Local Dallas cookbook author and blogger Amy Green had to give up gluten and refined sugars, but you'd never guess with the amazing recipes she writes about. This incredible Gluten-Free (and, refined sugar-free) Chocolate Cake with Maple Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache looked too good to pass up.

"At first, everything that came out of my oven was a disaster. My cakes were dry and dense. My cookies crumbled. My bread didn’t rise. I stood in my kitchen and cried. Back then, there weren’t a lot of gluten-free recipes. It was next to impossible to find gluten-free baking ingredients in the store. Using unrefined sugar was almost unheard of. It was new territory. Here’s the great thing about failure – you learn what not to do. Over time, I started to get it right. My baked goods started to get tasty – and people who didn’t eat gluten-free or refined sugar-free started to ask for my recipes."

Chocolate Cake with Maple Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients For the Chocolate Cake • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract • 1 cup teff flour • 2 oz. HERSHEY’S Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil • 1 1/4 cup coconut sugar • 3 large eggs, at room temperature • 1 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum

For the cake topping • 8 oz. fresh blueberries • 1 1/4 lbs. ripe strawberries

For the Maple Buttercream • 1 egg • 2 egg yolks • 1/2 cup heavy cream • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature • pinch of sea salt

For the Chocolate Ganache • 8 oz. heavy cream • 8 oz. HERSHEY’S Kitchen's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

Instructions 1. Make the Chocolate Cake: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease the sides of a 12- x 16-inch jelly roll pan and cover the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, and teff flour. Set aside.

3. Break the unsweetened chocolate into small pieces. Put the baking bar and the grapeseed oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds and stir until chocolate is melted. Put the melted chocolate and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed and add the coconut sugar. Mix for about 3 minutes until the mixture has cooled. Add the eggs and mix until combined. Mix in reserved almond milk mixture.

4. Sift together cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and guar gum. Add the cocoa powder mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Turn the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Tap the pan several times to ensure the batter is evenly dispersed across the pan.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let cool completely. Invert cake onto a large cutting board. Remove parchment paper and cut into four (4-inch x 12-inch) wide pieces.

6. For the berries: Wash the berries. Dry the blueberries completely on a paper towel or clean dishtowel. Remove the hulls and slice one pound of the strawberries from top to bottom. Set the strawberry slices on a single layer on a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Set fruit aside until you assemble the cake.

7. Make the Maple Buttercream: Combine the egg and egg yolk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Mix on medium speed until the eggs increase in volume.

8. While the eggs are whipping, combine the heavy cream and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Heat until it comes to a full boil, whisking constantly for about two minutes. Remove from heat. While the mixer is running on medium-high speed, pour the hot cream and maple syrup mixture down the side of the bowl and into the eggs. Reduce speed to medium and mix for 3-5 minutes until the mixture cools to room temperature.

9. With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next piece. While mixing, it will start to look curdled. Keep mixing and adding butter. The buttercream will come together. Once all the butter has been added, mix in the salt.

10. Make the Chocolate Ganache: Put the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. While the heavy cream is heating, put the chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl. Once the heavy cream is very warm but not boiling, pour it over the chocolate chips. Let this sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.

11. Assemble the Cake: Put one layer of cake on a platter large enough to hold the cake. Add about 1/2 cup buttercream and spread evenly across the bottom layer. Add a layer of strawberries. Repeat with the next two layers of cake. Put the top layer on the cake. Add buttercream in a thin layer on the top and the sides of the cake. Put in the refrigerator so the icing can firm up.

12. Once the buttercream is firm and the ganache has cooled and thickened but is still pourable, pour the ganache around the edges on the top of the cake, letting some drip down the sides. Add enough ganache to the top of the cake to cover it completely, spreading with an offset spatula to smooth it evenly.

13. Add blueberries to the top of the cake, piling them up lavishly. Nestle the remaining 5-7 strawberries in the blueberries. Serve and enjoy!

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