(gluten + dairy free) chocolate layer cake w/ cacao macadamia mousse + coconut whip / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

as the second year mark approaches for this here blog's existence, i find myself (as i mentioned in my last post) thinking more and more about why i began writing and creating here in the first place.  originally, i began documenting gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, both to have for myself, but also for others seeking a similar way of life.  i loved creating recipes, going back to them, seeing what worked - what didn't - and importantly, what felt good.  there was, and sometimes still is, a lot of confusion for me when it comes to meals, eating, digestion, and i find myself back in the midst of self-discovery and evolution at the moment where i'm re-learning and/or un-learning certain behaviors and food practices.  each day is a more intentional look at food and what it means for my entire body to digest a meal or snack, how different kinds of food grouped together can actually confuse the stomach and cause fermentation, or the fact that our gut has its own nervous system! i'm taking it all in and fascinated by the interconnectedness of it all!  

well, it's hard to segue from digestion to cake, but i'm super excited about this cake here!  it's one of the more luscious cakes i've ever made, but it's also really balanced in the sweetness department.  i'm pretty sure this is the first cake i've ever eaten without getting a crazy sugar high/low from, and you would never know it because this chocolate baby doesn't lack in richness.  the cake recipe was adapted from sarah's, the chocolate cake, and while i just added an additional egg for binding purposes and swapped in some dairy-free items, i'm pretty sure this cake can proudly stand up to the original. oh, and that cacao macadamia mousse...oh baby! it's one of the more exciting kitchen revelations over here as of late, and i'm super pumped to share the recipe.  whether you eat the entire bowl with a spoon, or mound it between two chocolatey layers of cake, you can't go wrong!  the macadamias add their lovely flavor, but also a super creamy and velvety texture that i was more than excited about.  i finished off the cake with a naked-ish coconut whip frosting that added (as my husband pointed out) a cookies 'n cream kind of flavor to it all - total bonus!  so here's to celebration, self-discovery, being adventurous and curious, and to CAKE!

**last week i had the privilege of speaking with Celine from Pure Green Magazine on their podcast; we chatted about my beginnings and what led up to me starting dolly and oatmeal, food, photography, tips, and some extra special news for the future!  you can listen to it here.

chocolate layer cake w/ cacao macadamia mousse + coconut whip (gluten + dairy free) 

cacao macadamia mousse (vegan)

i love the taste and texture of the macadamia mousse here, but if you don't have them or don't want to purchase them, cashews will work just as well in their place.  as mentioned below, the mousse needs to refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight, so this is a great step to make the day before.

  • 3/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked overnight

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 ounces dairy free chocolate (about a heaping 1/4 cup), melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 

chocolate layer cake (gluten + dairy free) adapted from sarah

as sarah notes, the batter will quite thin, but not to worry, it will bake up just fine.  if you are making this cake for children, i would suggest replacing the 1 cup brewed coffee for 1 cup hot water.  as mentioned below, the cake layers benefit from a couple of hours of refrigeration before frosting it; they can also be refrigerated for a 2-3 days if you want to make them ahead of time.

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil (if using coconut oil make sure it is melted)
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee 

coconut whip

the coconut whip will stay white for the first day, but will continue to blend with the chocolate, so if you are not planning to serve immediately, wait to frost with the whip until ready to serve.

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight 
  • 2-3 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pomegranate seeds for decoration

cacao macadamia mousse

  • drain nuts and place in blender (preferably high-speed) along with cacao powder, melted chocolate, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.  blend until smooth adding more milk (about 1 teaspoon at a time) if you have trouble getting everything moving.  add the coconut oil and blend again for a couple of minutes, until smooth and creamy.  chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.  remove from refrigerator 1 hour prior to use.

chocolate layer cake

  • preheat oven to 350°, grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  set aside
  • in a large bowl, whisk the 8 dry ingredients together until mixed (break up any almond flour or cacao powder clumps) and set aside.  in another large bowl, mix together the coconut milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla, until pale yellow.  mix the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined; gently stir in the hot coffee.  evenly divide batter between cake pans and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  transfer cakes to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes; turn out from pans and let cool completely; once cool wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight

coconut whip

  • turn can upside and open from the bottom; carefully pour the coconut water from can (reserve for smoothies, etc.,) and scoop out the hard coconut cream from the bottom.  place in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat with an electric mixer until stiff and fluffy.  taste and adjust sweetness.  cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use

assemble cake

  • remove cake layers and coconut whip from refrigerator (mousse should be out and coming to room temp. already).  spread the mousse over top of one cake layer, about a 1/2-inch thick.  place remaining cake layer on top and spread the coconut whip over top and sides of cake using an offset spatula.  decorate with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately