Gluten-free, Grain-free, Soy-free Smash Cake

One Sunday afternoon, Jamie Love, a local photographer, reached out to me about a smash cake. I was at work catching up on some things and answered my phone, “Hi, this is Amy” instead of using my proper Emoticakes greeting. “Is this Emoticakes?” Jamie asked. “Oh yes, this is Amy from Emoticakes,” I replied. Jamie went on to explain she had a smash cake photo shoot scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving. Was I available? Yes, that will work for me! The caveat? The cake needs to be grain, dairy, soy and nut-free. Coconut flour, fruit and eggs are okay. The theme? Bright colors. (I included one of Jamie’s pictures of my cake above: view more great photos from her session!)

I asked Jamie to give me a few days to think about how I’d approach this challenge. What about layering pancakes with fruit filling? I could trim them to 6″ rounds. That would work. Yes. We already make pancakes that have a fair amount of coconut flour. I called Jamie back and she liked my idea. She sent me some photos for inspiration so I could have ideas for decorating. We decided on fresh fruit to add the bright colors on this non-traditional cake.

Inspiration pictures

I love to include the inspiration pictures! They are inspiration for the photo shoot, but also to show me the range of colors. I started to think about fruit that would work nicely. Kiwi, blueberries, raspberries and something yellow. I briefly considered using turmeric to color the frosting yellow for borders, but ultimately decided that it would be best to keep all the color from the fruit only.

The great pancake fail

The morning after talking with Jamie was pancake trial day. I had our breakfast fruit sauces all ready and prepared the pancakes. Overconfident, I’d even doubled the recipe (using up almost all my coconut flour) because I was so certain we’d love these pancakes! The kids came out and saw them attempting to cook on the griddle. “Is there another breakfast choice, Mom?” Xander asked. “I don’t think those are going to cook,” Elizabeth commented. “They’ll be good,” I said. They just need a bit more time. Sadly, the kids were right. We quickly switched our breakfast plan and the pancake batter went into the compost.

The recipe from Savory Lotus

I like to make my own recipes as much as I can. I love the creating process and  love that in the end it is my recipe if I make it up. However, time was not on my side, and really it is actually pretty “ingredient responsible” to use someone else’s recipe. This way I won’t be throwing away multiple attempts of cake that aren’t quite right. I searched for Paleo coconut cake and found what turned out to be a GREAT recipe for this cake. The simple coconut cake recipe  from the Savory Lotus was perfect.

The recipe is designed for an 8″ single layer cake. I was making a 6″ smash cake and I wanted it to be pretty tall. One thing that I find with unconventional cake baking is that cakes often rise less than I would like them to. I had no idea if that would be the case with this cake, but I decided I would stick with my multiple layer theme that I had originally planned. I wanted the baby to smash into a cake that was full of layers separated by fruit.

I followed the recipe exactly as written with the exception of baking the cake in three 6″ pans. I made this twice to get the five layers I wanted for the cake. That last layer? I ate that with my family to decide if we liked the cake!! Verdict? We LOVED it. My daughter doesn’t care for coconut very much, so she wasn’t a fan but the rest of us agreed that we would enjoy this cake even if we didn’t have dietary restrictions.

My photo gallery

Suggestions & Tips

This particular cake recipe worked beautifully for me. I think that the multiple layers and 6″ form factor was perfect. I’m not sure that I would like to tackle the 8″ size. From my 6″ cake experience, I think it would take 3 full recipes to get a generously sized 8″ layer cake. While totally doable, that would be 15 eggs, A LOT of coconut oil and well, let’s just say I’m happy with the size it made.

I suggest using parchment on the bottom of the pans as it allows the cake to release very easily after baking. I used Polaner All Fruit seedless raspberry spread for the filling. I used Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks in the frosting. For sweeteners I used a combo of maple syrup (cake) and Agave (frosting).

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