A Better Birthday Cake!


Is there anyone out there, who is trying hard to eat better but would really prefer not to give up chocolate cake??  ….. I think I see a few hands.  Okay, this one’s for you!  (And yes, I do realize that there was another chocolate cake recipe posted just back in February.  That was a whole six months ago.  Thankfully, there is room for many chocolate cakes in the world.)  This one was created for my friend, Laura’s birthday.  When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for the pot-luck gathering she was hosting in her lovely new back yard, she replied, “Weeell … I really do like buttercream frosting …”  This is a clearly a woman who wastes no time cutting to the chase.  That said, for the party at least, there had to be something to put the frosting on.  I decided that if we were going to go for straight up buttercream, I was going to create a solid, real-food, low-sugar foundation for it.  I know this may be news to some, but frosting doesn’t need a super sweet cake to go with it.  We don’t put butter and salt on bacon now, do we?  Please don’t answer that.

Oh, how I love the gentle light of candles … And is there anything prettier on a cake than fresh flowers and berries?

Most standard American cake recipes can have the sugar reduced by half or two thirds without any effect on the recipe except to allow the flavors to emerge more strongly — you can actually taste wonderful things like chocolate, lemon or vanilla without so much sugar drowning them out.  Also, last I checked, plain white flour had zero taste.  Other flours have interesting flavors that make much more delicious baked goods.  So here we go with buckwheat flour, which is not related to wheat at all and technically is not even a grain.  I’ve always wanted to use it in a chocolate cake because it’s dark and substantial and a great partner for cocoa.  So, this is basically the good old one-bowl chocolate cake recipe that’s been around in a million cookbooks since forever … just with tweaked ingredients and proportions.  You’ll still have only one bowl to wash!  Oh, and yes, it’s gluten-free without trying to be!

If you’re not using an electric mixer, you may want to whisk eggs and oil together in a second bowl before adding … makes it easier to mix in by hand. 

Really Good Chocolate Cake that’s Really Not Bad for You:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup olive or melted coconut oil
  • 4 eggs (if using coconut oil make sure eggs are at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 8 drops liquid stevia (I love Whole Foods brand vanilla liquid stevia.)
  • 1 cup boiling coffee
This is what a well-prepared cake pan should look like so the bottom doesn’t stick…

This recipe will make 2 standard layer cake pans or an 11 x 15 sheet pan.  Grease and lightly dust bottom of your chosen pan with cocoa powder.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with a fork or wooden spoon til all the lumps are out.  Add eggs, oil, vanilla & stevia, and beat with an electric mixer (or a very strong arm) til smooth.  Pour in the hot coffee and quickly mix til just incorporated — don’t over-beat — you want to get that cake in the oven while the hot coffee is still making fizzy rising magic with the baking soda.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s), and bake for 30 minutes.  *Substitution note:  for those avoiding chocolate and/or caffeine, you could make this cake with carob powder and a nice strong herbal tea instead of the coffee.  It’ll be just as rich and delicious.

Make a wish … here’s to a beautiful year for the beautiful birthday girl!

I’ll leave the frosting up to you 🙂  I can attest that it’s great with buttercream … would also be great with a drizzle of the recent hot fudge sauce recipe and a scoop of your favorite frozen something.  It’s a sturdy cake (it traveled in my bike basket to Laura’s house) so you could fold in some walnuts and cut in squares to take on a picnic.  Or spend an afternoon out in the fresh air picking berries, whip some cream and sit on the porch with a piece covered in both. Enjoy!!!

Hooraay!! Nice work with the candles … now for the best part … yum!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I could never give up chocolate cake and this one looks delicious 🙂

    Thanks for reading 🙂 It’s pretty darn good — I’ve eating a lot of it!


    1. Well, somehow I managed to reply to in your actual comment … never done that before! But I’ll say it again — thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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