My name is Quelcy, and I am prone to perfectionism.
I fully admit this is a problem, but rather than acknowledge a higher power and 12-step my way through this issue, I just seek constructive friends to indulge my need for critiques. I am also prone to perfectionist tantrums, in which I want to hide my work and/or start over.
This cake was one of those tantrums. I set out to impress, obviously. One doesn’t just layer cake for the sake of any ol’ Monday. I wanted to contribute to a group and announce, “oh hey, did I mention I bake?” I did not want to announce, “Oh hey, did I mention I bake, but the texture of my baking is a complete failure?”
My decision to be amenable to a crowd, and therefore gluten free, resulted in a grittier texture (second issue with this batch of almond flour, so maybe it was a milling fluke?). Perhaps I was rushing as well, and I didn’t allow the cake to bake or cool long enough. As always, there are several factors and several ways to beat yourself up.
The result was a very rich, chocolatey fail in my mind. However, the cake was chocolatey enough, and I had all the right toppings to gussy it enough, so I just decided to offer my cake with a humble apology for the texture, and you know what happened?
That friendly crowd ate every last morsel, and in the words of Life cereal, they liked it! They really liked it!
Is there a moral to this cake? Sure. The moral of this cake story is: eat more chocolate and don’t hate on yourself too much.
Gluten-Free Almond Chocolate Layer Cake with Roasted Plums
2 cups organic almond flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 cups organic raw cane sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened, pure cocoa powder
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup organic, unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
1 cup red wine
2 large organic, cage-free eggs
1/2 cup organic ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350º F. Butter two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter and red wine, and bring to a boil. Add to the flour mixture and, using an electric mixer, mix until combined.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the ricotta and vanilla.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
Whipped Cream Topping
Note: I typically use maple syrup for my whipped cream sweetener, but I wanted this topping to have a little more structure, so I used powdered sugar.
1 cup organic whipping cream
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
Chill the cream in a mixing bowl in the freezer until the cream just starts to freeze. Remove from the freezer. Add the vanilla.
Use a mixer, on medium speed, to beat until peaks begin to form.
Add the powdered sugar, and continue to mix until combined. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Balsamic Roasted Plums
4-5 organic plums
organic unsalted butter
organic light brown sugar
Cut plums in half and remove pits.
Arrange in a baking dish, cut side up. Brush each plum surface with melted butter and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sugar and spices.
Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.
Transfer one of the cakes to a platter and spread with ¾ cup of the whipped topping.
Top with the remaining cake, and spread with the remaining whipped topping.
Top with roasted plums (I threw in some gooseberries also). Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with thyme or the fresh herb of your choice.
Here’s to Chocolate Failures!