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Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Layer Cake: Ugly Delicious Birthday Treats

 

I remember the first birthday post I wrote on this here blog of mine. It was in 2008 (and has since been deleted because it basically read like a teen diary entry).

The blog and this business were young and fresh and so was I 😀. I was just embarking on this health business adventure – I was single, living and working in my 600 square foot loft and felt like I had all the energy in the world to work my tail off and care about every last thing, including what everyone thought of me.

A decade later, and here we are, still together after all this time. My business exploded beyond anything I could have imagined. I got married, bought a house, had a baby and spend every waking moment working towards keeping all of it strong, well, thriving, joyful, and fun. And you know? I am doing pretty well.

Most days, as I crawl into bed at night, I am absolutely exhausted from tip to tail, but in that fewf, what a full to the brim day, and my husband and I remind each other that it’s long days, short years. The last ten years have flown by at lightning speed, as have the last 39. More lines around my eyes? Sure. More unicorn glitter (aka grey) in my hair? You bet. Fewer f**ks to give? None left and am I ever grateful for that.

Much of what I spent so much energy worrying about, just isn’t relevant. I take care of my health, absolutely. I am mindful of my food and lifestyle choices, but I have ditched the hang up on the details. The itty bitty details are not what give us the lasting impact of health and happiness. I have learned to look at the big picture – the factors that really affect my health, my relationships and my business. I consider the life I want to live every day when making decisions or taking actions. Are they moving me toward a happier today and tomorrow, or is it minutiae keeping me distracted from some nagging worry or anxiety?

This brings me now to this incredibly ugly, delicious, gluten and dairy-free cookies and cream cake.

Gluten Free cookies and cream cake

It is not anything a legit food blogger would dare to post. I don’t have fancy process shots and my food photography has not improved even with a fancier camera. My idea of a great time, the reason this blog and business ever began, is because recipe creation is my ultimate creative outlet. Having to take pictures of what I cook is the work.

I wanted to make a Cookies and Cream Layer Cake for my birthday week post. I had this vision and knew I had to make it. It turned out so much more delicious than I expected, and so much uglier, too. As I mentioned earlier, without any f**ks to give, and no food stylist or food stylist on speed dial, you get my hacked together food styling and a brilliant recipe that will make the best dessert for the people you love.

Berry layer cake recipe

I don’t give a flying flatoon how ugly this cake is, and I hope you don’t either. It is the best dessert I’ve ever had, and I’m going to eat as much as my heart desires and I hope you will do the same.

Dive in. Yours will likely be ugly too. Give in to the ugly! Have fun with the process. Divert from the recipe if you like and see what happens. Make it ugly. Make it delicious. Have fun. Play. Create. Instagram your results. Or don’t! It doesn’t matter. With this cake and with your life – do what you want! Forget how it looks from the outside. Forget about appearances and just make it real. The deliciousness is all on the inside, where it matters most.

Want to see something hilarious? Look up #cakedecorating on Instagram so you can feel truly superior. You’ll find visually exquisite cakes filled with chemicals and dyes that are so gorgeous and completely inedible. I will happily stare at a beautiful inedible cake, but I will more happily do so while forking mouthfuls of my ugly delicious cake into my face while sipping on a cup of tea and pondering whether I’ll leave my dishes for tomorrow and take a bath instead. The bath should always win.

That, my friends, is what I learned from my ugly cake.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Cake Baking Details

Step 1. The Cookie Bit

I started by baking up the two giant chocolate cookies that would form the cookie layers for the ugly cake.

Chocolate cookie base - cookies and cream

I baked them in a springform pan and then removed them so they could cool without getting soggy. Kind of tempting to take a giant bite. Given how ugly the cake turned out, I reckon you could do this without a springform, just divide your dough and roll it out to a somewhat even thickness.

Chocolate Cookie- cookies and cream

Step 2. The Cream Layers

For the cream layers, I used my go-to cashew and coconut oil filling, sweetening with maple syrup and flavouring ever so slightly with bergamot essential oil for a slightly orange/cream/vanilla taste. It worked perfectly.

Ugly cake recipe - cookies and cream

Step 3: Assembly

  • Using the springform pan, I put one cookie in and layered on the cream.
  • If you care enough about the stability of the creamy part, you can chill this in the freezer for 30 minutes so that the second cookie will sit on top of the cream and smush it less.
  • Then I added the second cookie and layered on the second half of the cream.
  • And finally placed the whole thing into the freezer and hoped that by some miracle it would come out looking better than when it went in.

Step 4: Chocolate Remedy

When I opened the freezer, it was still ugly so I decided to melt 100oz of bakers chocolate mixed with 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and drizzle it all over. I pictured it making beautiful drips that would help hide the ugly. It didn’t really work, but more chocolate is never a bad thing! So more chocolate, still ugly. I put it back in the fridge for the chocolate to set.

Step 5: Cover It In Berries and Call It Beautiful

This step basically speaks for itself. This is where I went and watched a bunch of cake decorating videos on Instagram and concluded that I shouldn’t even try. Pile of berries? That I could do.

Voila! We have the most delicious Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Layer Cake ever.

gluten free birthy cake - cookies and cream

And a happy birthday to me!

Here is the full recipe so you can make it too.

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holiday treats

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Layer Cake


  • Author: Meghan Telpner
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

A seriously delicious and seriously ugly cake well worth making and definitely worth loving every bit.


Ingredients

Scale

Cookie

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 serving chia paste (1 Tbsp ground chia + 1/4 cup warm water)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 3/4 cup chickpea or brown rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 100 grams bakers fare trade chocolate

Cream Filling

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2030 drops bergamot essential oil or oil of choice

Chocolate Topping

  • 100 grams bakers chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Berries for added garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and chia paste. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. Over a double boiler on medium heat (or in a sauce pot on low heat that you are watching carefully), melt 100g of bakers chocolate.
  5. Pour your liquid contents from your blender, and the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl and combine with the flours until evenly mixed. Stir with a spatula until the dough fully comes together. Divide dough ball in half.
  6. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll out into two circles of equal size. If you have a 10-12 inch springform pan or pie dish you will be using, roll the dough between two sheets of parchment to match the size of the base or use the base to cut dough to size.
  7. Transfer rolled dough on the parchment paper to a cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
  8. While the cookies are baking, start on the cream filling. Combine all cream filling ingredients including cashews, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and essential oil in your blender or food processor and process until smooth. Process it a bit more to really get it creamy.
  9. Once cookies are ready, remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Once cool, place the first cookie that will be the bottom layer into your springform pan or pie dish. Pour half the cream filling over top and smooth out. Set in freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden slightly.
  10. Once the first layer of cream has hardened a little, add the second cookie and the remainder of the cream filling.
  11. Place in freezer for an hour.
  12. Once the cream has hardened, transfer cake to a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch the drippings. Melt remaining 100 grams of bakers chocolate with 2 Tbsp coconut oil. Remove chilled layer cake from freezer and carefully pour the chocolate layer over top allowing it to pour out evenly and drip over the side.
  13. Return to fridge to harden chocolate.
  14. Cover in berries or desired decoration and serve chilled.
  • Prep Time: 90 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Dessert

Recipe Notes To Make This Less Ugly

I could have made this recipe over again and made it way prettier, but why? See notes above about super deliciousness. But since you haven’t made it yet and might want something a little prettier, you could try the following:

  • Use a smaller springform or pie dish. I’m thinking an 8-inch springform pan and creating 3 layers of cookie/cream might be nice.
  • Use same size springform pan but double the recipe so that you get four layers and a taller cake all around.
  • Double just the cream layer to make it a higher cake.
  • Add some natural food dye to the cream to make it a little prettier than the naturally occurring off-white.
  • Be a fancy cake decorator.

 

Cookies and Cream

6 responses to “Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Layer Cake: Ugly Delicious Birthday Treats”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi Meghan,
    Chocolate can’t be ugly… this looks and sounds delicious! When all is said and done, does the cashew cream get absorbed into the cookie, making the cookie not so crunchy, and easier to cut? Thanks – looking forward to trying it :)

    • https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/599ccdf73b6d2f26a247dd52e9e5f8b8?s=51&d=blank&r=g Meghan Telpner says:

      You are right – chocolate isn’t ugly! The cookies aren’t super crunchy to begin with, so you shouldn’t have a problem cutting this, but the cashew cream and melted chocolate over top should help soften it up as well.

  2. Cathy says:

    You are way too hard on yourself, what do you mean it is ugly? I would be very happy to serve this as is. Can you clarify for the cream, is this canned coconut milk or carton coconut milk?

    • https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/599ccdf73b6d2f26a247dd52e9e5f8b8?s=51&d=blank&r=g Meghan Telpner says:

      Thank you – I hope you make this! It’s the canned coconut milk, not the coconut milk beverage in a carton. That will be too thin!

  3. Kristina Hannum says:

    Hi- I can’t wait to make this! What can I use instead of essential oil? Regular vanilla?

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