April is BIRTHDAY SEASON at my house. When I say this to people at first they are dismissive - one or two birthdays does NOT make a season. But starting on March 28th, the birthdays happen. Starting on March 28th and ending on April 13, the following people in my family have birthdays: my father, my mother, my uncle, me, my son and my stepdad. My best friends from high school and my best friend's little sister also have birthdays in this zone. It's straight birthday mayhem, which is why I've made four cakes in the last two weeks.
For my son's actual birthday we were in Chicago visiting family. I asked him what type of cake he would like (because otherwise I would have just made a chocolate cake) and he said, "I'd like a strawberry cake with race cars and a unicorn watching."
He's gluten free and dairy free, as am I, and we generally eat paleo at our house. There aren't many good paleo cake recipes, but I was pretty confident that I could cobble one together. The strawberry frosting was another story. I did manage to find this awesome strawberry frosting recipe. If I were to make it again, I'd add some ground up freeze-dried strawberries to intensify the strawberry flavor. As it was, the strawberryness was light and subtle. The frosting was incredibly fluffy and made me not miss sugar and dairy filled frosting one bit.
As for the cake -- I used Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Birthday Cake recipe as a jumping-off point and altered it to fit the paleo diet. Because my cake uses coconut sugar, it's got a much different color and a little more of a caramel flavor. That said, it's totally amazing and I promise you everyone will love it, paleo or not.
Oh yeah - here it is:
Paleo Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter or butter-substitute (I used Earth Balance), softened
- 2 cups coconut sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 23⁄4cups Bob's Red Mill Paleo Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Grease and lightly flour three 9 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
- Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder, alternating with the milk and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.
- Divide batter among the cake pans.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
- Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
- Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack
- 2 cups palm shortening
- 1 cup raw honey
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons arrowroot flour
- 4 tablespoons coconut butter
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup pureed strawberries
- 12 large strawberries for garnish (optional)
** As I said, I would probably add 1-2 tablespoons of freeze dried strawberries, crushed, into this, to give it more of a strawberry flavor. I haven't tried it, but if you do, let me know how it goes! **
- In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat all the frosting ingredients together until light and fluffy and soft peaks form. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the gelatin time to set and the frosting to cool.
- Frost the cake! I have no way to explain this other than - good luck. There will be extra frosting so you can give it a generous layer in the center. I like the "homemade" sort of look for my cakes - I've never wanted them to look too polished, which is good, 'cause they don't! I do recommend keeping this in the fridge until you're just about ready to eat it.
ENJOY! I was able to decorate my son's cake with the race cars but we didn't have any unicorns on hand. No worries, though - we made up for it with the cakes at his birthday. Carrot cake and chocolate peanut butter cake coming up!