layer cake

Molly's Chocolate Tahini Cake w/ Tahini Frosting by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

in an effort to make new traditions, i thought making holiday cookies was only fitting.  obviously amesy is too young to partake, but the idea of him being in the kitchen with me while i bake seems like the beginning of a tradition we'll hopefully continue as he grows older.  but as i was thinking through what cookies to make, it dawned to me that i didn't know frank's favorite christmas cookie/s!  after having a quick cookie convo i was informed that his go-to's are a pecan cookie (very much like a mexican wedding cookie) his mom would always make, and jammy thumbprints that i make each year with my mom.  so the plan is to have a cookie-making day this week (if the babe permits!) where i'm going to bake up these and these cookies for frank, these almond-based cookies for a naturally gluten-and-dairy-free cookie for my mom and i, and something chocolatey for my dad.  we also like to enjoy a light little cake while we open presents and sip on hot coffee, so this cranberry-lemon cake from last year is on the agenda for a christmas morning treat.  

and speaking of starting new traditions, i think molly's tahini cake will have to join the ranks!  it's a no brainer that if you know molly and her blog, then you know that she knows cake!  in her new book, molly on the range she highlights quite a few of them, one of them being this tahini chocolate cake with tahini frosting.  i love tahini, in any and all applications, but adding it to sweets is something i reserved for another, more brave, day.  so when i saw the recipe in her book, i knew i needed to try it.  the tahini mixed into the chocolate cake adds just the right amount of nutty flavor that you can taste in each bite! and while i would normally think the tahini added to the frosting would be overpowering, it's actually quite balanced and lovely.  and to make the cake a little more festive, i substituted the ground cinnamon in the frosting with gingerbread spice, as well as added some sugared cranberries and winter trees for a decorative topping.   

i'm pretty sure you all know, but molly's book is genius!  not only are there awesome recipes, but her writing is so beautiful and whimsical. when i had first received it, i sat there with amesy (all of a few days old) and read through parts of it with him.  i'm not sure if he was staring at the beautiful photography, or the colorful illustrations, but he was entranced just like the rest of us, i'm sure.  so if you're looking for a gift this holiday season, there's no better book than this one!

wishing you all the brightest of days, and the happiest of holidays! xo

Molly's Chocolate Tahini Cake w/ Tahini Frosting

recipe from Molly On The Range by Molly Yeh.  reprinted with permission.

i made some substitutions to make this cake gluten and dairy-free, which came out really delicious.  you can follow the notes below :) i also substituted 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice for the cinnamon for a more festive, holiday flavor. 

| makes one 8-inch layer cake, one 13-inch by 9-inch sheet cake, or 24 mini cakes |


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flavorless oil 
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract



  • to make the cake gluten-free, i substituted the flour 1:1 with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, i used arrowhead mills heritage gluten-free flour mix (which i found at my local whole foods).  i also replaced the sugar 1:1 with coconut sugar. to lessen the amount of refined sugar.  to make the cake dairy free, i substituted the whole milk 1:1 with califia's unsweetened almond creamer.  and i opted for melted coconut oil instead of flavorless oil for a more wholesome substitute.
  • to make the frosting dairy-free, you can replace the butter 1:1 with non-hydrogenated palm oil.


  1. to make the cake: preheat oven to 350ยฐF.  grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans or one 13x9-inch baking dish.
  2. in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil, and tahini.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  whisk in the boiling water.
  3. pour the batter into the cake pans or baking dish until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes for round cakes and 32 minutes for a sheet cake.
  4. let cool in the pans or dish for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
  5. to make the frosting: in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and tahini until creamy.  gradually ass the powdered sugar and mix to combine.  mix in the salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  6. for a layer cake, level the round cakes and stack them with a layer of frosting between them.  frost the top and sides of cake.
  7. for a sheet cake, spread the frosting on top and cut into squares, or chill in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm and use a biscuit cutter to cut into mini cakes.

similar recipes:

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote

cranberry, lemon & poppy seed breakfast slice

cranberry, lemon & poppy seed breakfast slice

chocolate layer cake with macadamia mousse

chocolate layer cake with macadamia mousse

(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 350ยฐ, 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