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Tiered cakes, especially gluten-free ones, are quite time-consuming and challenging to make. For today’s recipe I set out to create a gluten free strawberry chocolate cake for two that is easy to make and takes under 1 hour to prepare.
For the cake base, you need to bake a chocolate spongecake in a sheet pan. This shortens the baking time and makes it easier to cut. Cutting layers into a cake is challenging enough as it is. When you have a gluten free cake, it can feel like an impossible mission with the cake crumbling and falling apart. But when you bake a sheet cake on the other hand, the upper and lower surfaces form a thin crust which helps keep it together as you cut it. Moreover also have thin layers of cake, for a nice cake to cream ratio.
To make this cake gluten free I used oat flour. I find it to be the best tasting alternative to regular flour out of everything I tried. And when you add cocoa powder, you really cannot tell the difference.
Note: Oats are naturally gluten free, however, sometimes they can get contaminated during processing or packaging. If you cannot tolerate gluten, I recommend you buy oats and oat flour that are certified gluten free.
To make the cream, I used mascarpone cheese. I did this for to reasons. Firstly it gives the cream a thick enough body to be able to hold a layer of cake, just like buttercream. Secondly it tastes light like a cloud, unlike buttercream. To flavor and color the cream, you will need a bit of strawberry jam. You also need a little vanillated sugar. This is to prevent using vanilla extract, which is a liquid and will make the cream softer, and potentially runny.
You can find vanillated sugar in most grocery stores that carry European products, and online on Amazon. I use the Dr. Oetker brand that comes in small, yellow envelopes.
Once you have your cake, you can decorate it with fresh strawberries and cocoa nibs. You can also use different piping tips and pipe the cream in various styles.
Following this recipe yielded in 4 mini cakes, using a baking tray of 24 X 36 cm (9.5 X 14 inch) dimensions for baking the chocolate spongecake.
And finally, here you have the recipe for the gluten free strawberry chocolate cake for two:
Gluten Free Strawberry Chocolate Cake for Two
For the spongecake:
- 1 cup (100 g/ 3 ½ oz.) oat flour
- ½ cup (100 g/ 3 ½ oz.) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (25 g/ 1 oz.) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp. cocoa powder for dusting the work surface
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter for greasing the baking pan
- 4-5 tbsp. oat flour for dusting the baking pan
For the filling:
- 1 cup (240 g/ 8 ½ oz.) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 ½ fl. oz.) whipping cream (35% fat content)
- 4-5 tbsp. strawberry jam
- 2 tbsp. vanillated sugar
- 8 medium strawberries
- cocoa nibs
For the spongecake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, and whisk them together.
- Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy, and almost triple in volume. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and mix. Add the flour mix in four steps, gently mixing with a spatula after each addition. Slowly drizzle the butter into the batter, while continuously mixing with a spatula.
- Grease a baking tray, and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper, then dust it with oat flour. Discard any excess flour. Pour the batter into the pan and level the batter. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly pressed.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow it to cool 10 minutes. Lightly dust a work surface with cocoa powder. Flip the sponge cake onto the work surface. Gently remove the parchment paper and allow it to cool to room temperature. Cut into 8 squares of equal size.
For the filling:
- In a medium bowl whip the cream with the vanillated sugar to a stiff peak. In a large bowl mix the mascarpone cheese with the strawberry jam. Incorporate the whipped cream, by gently folding it in with a spatula. Place the cream into a piping bag and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.
For the assembly:
- Finely dice four strawberries. Take the other four strawberries and cut them in halves. Place 1 tsp. of finely diced strawberries in the middle of a cake square. Pipe the mascarpone cream around and place a second cake square on top. Decorate the top with mascarpone cream and half a strawberry.
- Sprinkle cocoa nibs over the cakes for decor.