Of all of my cake recipes, this is my favorite so far. The cake flavor and texture is fabulous and what better (or more classic) way to top a vanilla cake than with a light and fluffy dark chocolate frosting (you can also skip the whipping step for a more ganache-like texture). You can definitely serve this cake to non-paleo company (I just did at my daughter’s third birthday party and everyone loved it!).
I have made this cake both as a layer cake and as cupcakes. It works very well either way. A note on frosting: I actually like to make a 1.5X batch of this frosting for a three-layer cake, but I’m a big fan of Pollyanna style cakes, piled high with light creamy frosting (anyone else love that movie as a kid?). I wrote the recipe this way because it’s a perfect quantity for the cupcakes, and if you aren’t too generous with the amount of frosting in between layers (or if you prefer using something like raspberry jam). The first time I made this cake, I used the frosting unwhipped. I definitely prefer the texture whipped, but thought I would include both options. You can control how sweet the frosting is by how dark of chocolate you use. I used semisweet for my daughter’s cupcakes but 80% for my husband’s birthday cake. Just remember that adding palm shortening to the chocolate will dilute the sweetness.
This recipe makes three 8” or 9” round layers or makes 24 cupcakes (this would probably work as a sheet cake too, but you’ll have to experiment with the cooking time).
Yes, this recipe calls for a whole lot of eggs. No, it is not a typo. No, it does not make for an eggy cake. Trust me on this one.
Vanilla Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting
Prep Time: 20 minutes + frosting preparation
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Yields: 1 cake or 24 cupcakes
Ingredients (Whipped Dark Chocolate Frosting):
- Melt chocolate and palm shortening together on the stove top or in the microwave, being careful not to burn. Mix to completely combine.
- Let cool to room temperature (this takes several hours, but you can hurry it up in the fridge). Use as is, or:
- Whip frosting in a standing mixer with whisk attachment for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
Ingredients (Vanilla Cake):
- 12 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- ¾ cup palm shortening
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup arrowroot flour
- ¾ cup coconut flour, sifted
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- Beans scraped from one Madagascar vanilla bean pod
- Palm shortening and arrowroot powder to grease and flour the cake pans
- Prepare cake pans or muffin pans.
- If using round cake pans: trace the bottom of the pan on a piece of wax paper and cut out the circle (3 of them, actually). Grease the pan with palm shortening, lay the wax paper circle over the bottom and then grease the wax paper. Add a little arrowroot powder (1-2 Tbsp) to the pan and tap and swish around the pan to coat (discard any leftover after then pan is coated). Repeat with the other two cake pans.
- If you are using muffin pans for cupcakes: line each muffin cup with a paper liner or silicone muffin cup liner. I think you could probably grease and flour each muffin cup if you wanted to, but I haven’t tried so I can’t vouch for how cleanly the cupcakes would come out.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Beat eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer for 1 minute. Add honey, palm shortening, coconut oil, and vanilla. Slice vanilla bean open lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scrape the seeds out of each half of the pod with your knife and add to the batter. Beat to combine (don’t worry if they don’t really come together yet).
- In a separate bowl, combine arrowroot powder, sifted coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until batter is smooth. Allow batter to sit for 1-2 minutes to thicken.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans, dividing evenly. Use a rubber spatula to spread batter out to the edges. If making cupcakes, fill each liner approximately 2/3 full.
- Stagger cake pans or muffin pans in the oven. Bake round layers for 27-28 minutes, until starting to turn golden brown on top and a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean. Cupcakes only take about 22 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cake pans cool on a wire rack completely before removing from pan. Cupcakes can be removed from the muffin pans earlier.
- To remove cake layers from round cake pans, first run a knife around the edge of the cake. Put your hand over the top of the cake and invert the pan. The cake should fall into your hand (if not, try putting the pan upside down on a cutting board and tap the bottom gently). Put a plate or cutting board where the pan used to be and flip back right side up. Voila!
- Now it’s time to frost! The frosting doesn’t pipe that well, but you can if you want to (it tends to melt with the heat of your hand, but if you can work quickly, go for it!). If you’re frosting cupcakes, just spread a nice dollop over the top with a pastry knife. If your frosting a layer cake, place layer one on your serving dish, add some frosting and spread it over the top of the layer, add another cake layer, repeat with the frosting, add the last cake layer. Use the rest of the frosting to coat the top and the sides.