Gluten-free sour cream vanilla birthday cake with miniature chocolate chips and smooth chocolate frosting more
My youngest child is turning 7 years old at some point today. As anyone who has given birth to 3 children knows, by the last one you have barely any brain cells left. Therefore, I obviously have no earthly idea what time of day or night she was born. So when the children ask me, “is she 7 yet?” I stare blankly and try to distract them with something shiny.
So I do what I do best. I bake for her. She’s the cutest little thing, and she asks for very little in general. She doesn’t even seem to mind that I have no idea what time of day she was born.
I seem to have made her day just by taking the time to cut up celery to give her for snack at school today. Don’t worry, though. You don’t get an easy one like that unless & until you’ve earned your stripes. Which I have. Earned my stripes, that is. As I’m sure you have, too. So if you don’t have an easygoing child just yet, that means that you just need to have another child. It’ll be smooth sailing. That’s the law. Not for nothing, but I have made this promise many times, & no one has come to kill me (yet). Which means it has panned out every single time (so far).
Word to the wise: don’t listen to me. Except when it comes to gluten-free cake. This sour cream vanilla cake is smooth and pound-cake-like, not like a silly, airy vanilla cake at all (even though I do love a silly airy vanilla cake now & again). The tang of the sour cream balances the sweet mini chocolate chips and rich chocolate frosting in the very best way. Using miniature chocolate chips means that fewer chips go a really long way, so they find their way into every bite, but don’t overwhelm the cake itself. Oh, and before you even ask, the answer is “yes.” You can replace the sour cream with an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt.
The chocolate frosting is made with melted chopped chocolate, not cocoa powder, since cocoa powder tends to make brown frosting, but not really chocolate frosting. And this cake calls for real, rich chocolate frosting. Here’s how:
FOR THE CAKE
1 1/4 cups (210 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg + 1 extra-large egg yolk at room temperature, beaten
1 cup (224 g) sour cream (not nonfat), at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons (4 g) cornstarch
FOR THE FROSTING
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 tablespoons (84 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 3 cups (288g to 345g) confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Preheat your oven 350°F. Grease or line an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan and set it aside. To make a layer cake, double all of the cake ingredients, follow the recipe as directed, and divide the batter between two same-sized round cake pans.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, eggs, sour cream and vanilla, and mix to combine well. The batter will be thick. In a separate small bowl, place the chocolate chips and cornstarch and toss to combine. Add the chips and cornstarch to the cake batter, and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, and smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula.
Place the cake pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached and the top is light golden brown (about 28 minutes).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Place the chopped chocolate, in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds at a time on 60% power, stirring well in between microwaving, until melted and smooth. Add the vanilla to the melted chocolate, and stir to combine. Pour the chocolate mixture into the mixer, and beat to combine well. Add 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar to the mixer, and mix until well-combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the corn syrup. The frosting should be smooth but thick enough to hold its shape when scooped with a spoon. If it is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar by the tablespoon until it reaches the proper consistency.
Use the frosting to frost a single layer cake, or fill and frost a double layer cake. Place in the refrigerator until set. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before slicing and serving.
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