Little Tiered Chocolate Cakes, Gluten-Free

Art of Gluten-Free Baking
-makes 3, 3-tiered cakes

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is really helpful, but a hand mixer will do
-metal measuring cups, 1/4 C, 1/2 C, and 1 C measures

Note:  This recipe uses my gluten-free flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a dark, cool place):
1 1/4 C (170 g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205 g) white rice flour
1 C (120 g) tapioca flour
1 C (165 g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cake)


For the Cake
1 C (140g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/4 C plus 2 TBL (30g) unsweetened cocoa, sifted (do not use Dutch Process)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C (1 stick, 4oz, 115g) unsalted butter, melted and warm (but not hot)
1 1/4 C (190g) dark brown sugar (packed)–you may also use light brown sugar if you prefer
2 large or extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C (120ml) hot water

For the Ganache
1 1/4 C (8oz, 230g) semisweet chocolate chips
1 C (235ml) heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of each measuring cup (I use the 1/4 C, 1/2 C, and the 1 C) with a round of parchment paper.  No need for other greasing or flouring of the cups.  This allows the batter to “climb” up the sides of the cups, but also allows for easy removal after baking.

In addition, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and brown sugar until light and fluffy–about 4 minutes.  Carefully add the melted and cooled butter, beat for 1 minute more.  Add vanilla extract, beat until just combined.  Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Carefully add the hot water and carefully beat until just combined.

Using a spoon, fill each lined cup 1/2 full–any more and the cakes will grow too large out of the cups and you will have to cut them to make them work for the tiers.  This recipe makes enough for 3 sets of cups.  I have 2 sets of measuring cups and I’m often lazy, so I often make 2 sets and then 3 cupcakes with the batter.  But, do what you want.

Thwap (that’s the technical term) each cup on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.  Place each cup on the lined cookie sheet and place in oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  At this point, the 1/4 C measures should be done (check with a cake tester).  Carefully remove them from the cookie sheet (remember, the handles are hot!).  Place the remainder of the cups in the oven (where your cupcakes still are if you’re doing cupcakes) and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Now the remainder of the cups and the cupcakes should be done (again, use a cake tester to check).  Remove from oven. 

Let each cake cool in the cup for 5 minutes.  Then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

When you’re ready to assemble and frost the cakes, make your ganache.  Heat the cream over medium heat until it just boils (watch it carefully–you don’t want it to burn).   Once it boils, remove from heat.  Add the chocolate chips and swirl a bit to make sure the chips are covered.  Leave it for 1 minute to melt the chocolate.  After 1 minute, whisk cream and chocolate together until smooth.

Let the ganache sit for a bit so firm up a little.  Once it’s thick and a bit slow-moving, you’re ready to frost the cakes. 

Stack your layers on a wire rack set over a plate or a cookie sheet.  The 1 C cake on bottom, 1/2 C cake in middle, 1/4 C on top.  Since these are so tiny, there is no need for any support in the middle like you would have for a normal-sized tiered cake.

Carefully and slowly drizzle the ganache over each cake.  Using a spatula or a butter knife, smooth the ganache over each ledge and into the nooks and crannies.  You want to cover ever part of the outside of each cake with ganache, to form something of a shell around the entire cake.  The extra ganache will drip through the rack onto your plate or cookie sheet.  After you’re done, let the ganache set before serving (if you can wait.  If not, go ahead and eat them!).

If you want to go completely over the top, serve cakes with a little dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side.