This is entirely gluten free and underneath all that colour and movement just a simple Brownie Stack Cake
This cake started off as a lazy kind of afterthought. There is nothing like being able to incorporate slovenly laziness into your week to produce what some called the best cake they had ever eaten. It could possibly encourage future slovenly acts of cake baking. Regardless, it worked out for the best.
During the very hot last weeks of summer it also held together and travelled like the sweet little chocolate Angel it turned out to be. I was exceptionally busy and I had to work in a dessert style birthday cake (of the gluten free kind) into my schedule. Once the layers are made it is all downhill from there. It’s all in the accessories. Promise!
I have been making these gluten free brownies for literally decades but I have to say they have never looked better, nor been as damn handy as this lot here. 3 x the recipe divided into 6 cake pans and I had the base. Tick, refrigerate, come back later. ( You can make them up to a week ahead)
I did have a cheating moment as I had some caramel popcorn in the freezer that I made when I made another cake a few weeks ago. I used that because I had it and that’s that. I will link to that recipe here so you can make your own and decorate what ever you like with these totally crunchy -freeze-and-use-whenever-you-want treats.
- 175 gm (6 oz) unsalted butter
- 175 gm (6oz) chopped dark chocolate
- 250 gm / 8.5 oz plus 1 tablespoon / 1¼ cups caster sugar
- 90 gm / 3.5 oz / ¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs
- 100 gm / 3.5 oz / 1 cup almond flour or meal
- 500 gm / 17.5 oz / unsalted butter ( softened)
- 250 gm / 8.5 oz plus 1 tablespoon cream cheese softened
- 300 gm / 10.5 oz / 3 cups icing sugar
- 200 gm dark chocolate melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 125 gm (4.40 oz) caster sugar
- 1 Tablespoons of water
- 25 gm (1.76 oz) cold butter
- 2 tablespoons of cream
- ½ teaspoon of salt ( or more to taste)
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup of caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- gluten free shortbread crumbs
- Pieces of praline and crushed praline ( optional)- see index for recipe
- Freeze dried raspberries ( optional)
- Caramel popcorn praline
- Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler or in the microwave and then set aside
- Whisk the sugar and eggs together till light and creamy in a stand mixer or with a whisk.
- Add the chocolate mix, the almond paste and the cocoa powder and mix well whipping till combined
- Divide the mix between the two tins and bake for approximately 20- 25 minutes or until just firm in the centre. Cool on a rack and clean the tins. Grease and line again
- Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool a bit
- Beat the butter and cream cheese till light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat again. Finally add the vanilla and chocolate and beat till light and fluffy. Set aside ( dont chill too much it will be hard to spread)
- Put the sugar into a pot with the tablespoon of water. Cook on high swirling a little to incorporate all the sugar. Cook till starting to colour watch very carefully and turn off the heat when it is a golden brown colour. Add the cream immediately, stand back it will splutter. Break up the butter and whisk into the caramel mix. Add the salt ½ at a time, and let it dissolve before adding more taste . Set aside. If added to the cake while hot it will melt the buttercream.
- Divide the buttercream into 5 parts. Stack the layers using up a portion of the buttercream on each layer. (If you like sprinkle each layer with praline pieces and freeze dried raspberries)
- Finish by cutting the last layer in half and stacking on top of each other to make a step (see video). Spread the top with a bit of buttercream and the outside with swipes of buttercream. Chill till firm ( 30-1 hr).
- If your caramel forms a skin and is very set then add a tablespoon of hot water and stir till it mixes in. If you need to heat again let it cool again before using. When only just warm use a spoon to pour caramel around the outside edge of the cake so that it drips down. Chill the cake again.
- If making the Meringue. Beat the whites till frothy. Add the sugar a spoon at a time till incorporated. Add the lemon juice and beat till very light and stiff.
- Decorate your cake by adding fruit and praline and shortbread bits. Add the meringue to the cake. Immediately brown it with the brulee burner so that it sets. The cake can be chilled but it is best to use as soon as possible so that all of the decorations stay fresh