Thaddeus, my baby, turned four today. Up until yesterday, he wanted a giant cookie cake decorated with frosting that said “Happy Birthday Thaddeus!” I planned to use my gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, make some homemade “butter” cream frosting and dream about Great American Cookies’ cookie cakes from my pre-gf days. Yesterday, though, he changed to chocolate cake decorated with Dog Man.
Luckily, I have a one bowl chocolate cake recipe that is so easy there is no reason for boxed chocolate cake mix. It’s one that my mom made, my grandma made and I don’t know how many people before her. The original recipe used regular flour, so I substitute gluten free flour. It was already dairy free, nut-free and egg-free, so, as long as you’re careful with the toppings it is a handy dessert if you have those dietary restrictions.
Decorating the cake was another matter. If you’re not familiar with the Dog Man book series, here’s what Dog Man and his sidekick Cat Kid look like:
He only wanted the heads on his cake, so that made it a little easier. They have that deceptively simple look, though, so I was still nervous. The end result was recognizable, even with constant interruptions and my never having painted on frosting before. I really couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
This is a simple chocolate cake recipe that is super easy. It is dairy-free, egg-free, and if you swap the wheat flour for a gluten-free flour blend, it's gluten-free, too! To make it gluten free, I like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free blend because it already contains xanthan gum. If you use a different gluten-free flour without xanthan gum, I would add about 1-1.5 teaspoons of xanthan gum.To top, make a simple buttercream (with shortening and non-dairy milk to keep it non-dairy) or use your favorite store bought frosting. You could also sprinkle the warm cake with dairy-free chocolate chips, let them melt a little, then spread across the top for a rich, chocolaty treat.
Keyword: 9 x 13, cake, chocolate, dairy free, easy, egg free, gluten free, one bowl, simple
Servings: 292x2 inch servings
9 x 13 rectangle pan
3CupsFlour see recipe summary for gluten-free adjustment
2tablespoonsvinegarwhite or apple cider vinegar
1cup vegetable oilany light flavored liquid vegetable oil is fine
2cups cold water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Grease the 9 x 13 inch pan, either with shortening, butter, or cooking spray
Combine the first five (dry) ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly blended. Alternatively, sift them together into the bowl.
Add the remaining (wet) ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. You can use a spoon or an electric mixer.
Pour the batter into the greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.
I frosted this cake with buttercream tinted blue, then used gel food coloring to paint the faces. I then piped buttercream for the eyes, facial features, outlines, writing and trim. I clearly am not a trained cake decorator, so I can't really say which tips I used or any other details.
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