Peach Berry Layer Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream (low carb, gluten free)

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You may have noticed all’s been a bit quiet here on the Western front. Over a year quiet. Well, of course, there’s an explanation. It mostly involves me resolving to finally conquer my fear of bats and going off to train in the high, misty mountains of Bhutan while studying the ancient, forbidden arts of the League of Shadows to confront injustice with my own personal vigilante streak.

HAHA. Just kidding. That’s Batman. (Even if you’ve never seen us in the same room.)

The real explanation is that no one on Earth is better at procrastinating than me, and that includes doing the things I actually like, such as running this blog.

Alright. I think we can move on from Excuse Central. Here is where I beg you to love me again by posting an absurdly over-the-top, excessive, entirely out of control cake recipe.

Meet…the Peach Berry Layer Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream. Yes.  I will win you back.

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Sometimes, you just want to make a real crowd pleaser. A show stopper. A crowd…stopper. This is that.

This cake might have a lot of moving parts, but each step itself is fairly easy. Two different fruit compotes (peach and mixed berries) comprise the fillings of this white cake, while your basic buttercream serves as the frosting – just with the ravishing addition of mascarpone. If you haven’t tried mascarpone, it’s essentially the Italian cousin to cream cheese, with less tang. More cream than cheese. It’s the stuff in tiramisu.

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I also baked two separate layers and then cut them horizontally in half (like a torte) to make four layers total. Here’s a nifty little how-to from Crafty Baking with some great tips. If that sounds terrible and you don’t wanna level at all – don’t! Use however many fillings you want, or get creative with how you use ’em. You da boss.

ANYWAY. Creamy, colorful, and 100% ideal for summer, this is the cake you want to make and then also eat.

And before you even ask, of course it is low carb. Like, 5 net carbs per slice low carb. And gluten-free, for those ~so inclined~.  So go, my snackademics. Make. Eat.

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Peach Berry Layer Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream (low carb, gluten free)

Yields: About 16 servings

Ingredients:

Compote fillings:
Mixed berry:
2 cups mixed berries of choice, fresh or frozen (I used raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. And like four cherries because I had them.)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
~3 tbsp sweetener
~ 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Peach:
2 medium peaches, blanched/skin removed (instructions will be included below!)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
~3 tbsp sweetener
~ 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Cake:
3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup unflavored whey protein powder
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sweetener
3 large eggs or egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond, cashew or coconut milk, unsweetened

Frosting:
8 oz mascarpone, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sweetener
2 tsp vanilla extract
Extra fruit
, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325°F and lightly grease or spray two 9″ round baking pans. Cut out a circle of parchment paper and place on bottom of each pan.

Start with the compotes to give them more time to cool.

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For the mixed berry, put all of the ingredients into a medium pan over medium heat, and cover. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to med-low or low and let it simmer, uncovered, until some of the berries burst and the sauce has thickened – about 10-15 minutes. Before finishing, sprinkle with xanthan gum and whisk in vigorously. Let cool.

For the peach compote, first remove the skins from your two peaches. To do that, rinse the peaches, and then place in a pot of boiling water for about one minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove peaches and transfer into a colander. Run cold water over the peaches for a few seconds. The skin should come right off. Dice them up and then follow the exact same process as the berry compote above.

To make the cake, use a medium bowl to whisk together the almond flour, whey protein powder, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and eggs or egg whites until well combined.

Beat in half of the almond flour mixture, then beat in almond/cashew/coconut milk. Beat in the remaining almond flour mixture until well combined. Spread batter in prepared baking pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and not wiggly in the middle. Cool completely.

To make the frosting,  add the softened mascarpone and butter to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

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Butter is the only thing that matters.

Add the powdered sweetener and vanilla extract. Beat another 2-4 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.

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Yes.

If cutting the cake layers in half, take the cooled cakes and follow the directions included here.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread about half of the cooled mixed berry compote onto the layer, and then add another layer. Spread all of the peach compote on top. Add the next layer, spread on the remaining berry compote, and top with the last cake layer.

Frost the cake however you like. You may have some frosting left over – trust me, this is the opposite of a problem. Actually the only problem you’ll have is eating the last slice. THAT’S WHEN YOU MAKE IT AGAIN.

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You know what to do.

Nutrition (approximate):
mascarpone cake nutritition

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Fudgy Ganache Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (low carb, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free)

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Every year I seem to hold some kind of unspoken competition with myself to make the richest, most decadent birthday cake on earth. Each year has gotten successively richer, and more decadent, and this year has been the most ridiculous yet. I am actually concerned. I have no idea how to top this thing. Next year I might just chug a pint of heavy whipping cream and call it a day.

This is a tour de force. It’s like eating a brick of fudge. I could build a delicious house with this cake. A delicious NEIGHBORHOOD. There are THREE LAYERS EACH OF FUDGE CAKE AND DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE ALONE. NOT TO MENTION THE BUTTERCREAM?? JUST LOOK AT IT.

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ARE YOU SEEING THIS.

This is the cake your mother warned you about.

Luckily, I am here to hold your hand through everything. I even tried to temper the intensity of this confection for more delicate sensibilities by arranging actual edible flowers on top. You are not obligated to do this, but just be warned that without them, you’ll be slammed in the face with the full magnitude of this chocolate monsterpiece. It takes no prisoners. 

This recipe was written for a three layer 6″ cake instead of the more traditional 9″ rounds because trust me, it’s enough. You are however totally free to make two slightly thicker 6″ rounds, or even one 9″ round. Whatever floats your boat!

You know what else oughta float your boat? The fact that this magnificent creation is low carb, gluten free, dairy free, and contains no added sugar. You could do worse.  

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Fudgy Ganache Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (low carb, gluten free, no sugar added, dairy free)

Yields: Around 10-12 servings

Cake recipe adapted from Gourmet Girl Cooks

Ingredients: 

Cake
2/3 cup butter, coconut oil, or dairy-free spread, melted
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 1¼ cups powdered sweetener
¼ tsp sea salt
1½ tsp liquid stevia
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, or about 1/3 cup egg whites

Ganache
6 to 8 oz good quality sugar free chocolate
6 to 8 oz heavy whipping cream or unsweetened almond milk (8 oz. = 1 cup)
½ tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
½ cup butter or dairy-free spread, softened
2 – 2 ½ cups powdered sweetener
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond milk or heavy whipping cream

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325° and grease two or three 6″ round (or one 9″) cake pans. Cut out a circle of parchment paper and place on bottom of each pan. I’m serious, don’t skip this.

To make cake, use a large bowl to combine melted butter (or coconut oil or dairy-free spread), cocoa powder, powdered sweetener and salt. Mix until well combined.

Stir in stevia and vanilla. Add egg whites one at a time, beating briskly after each addition until batter is glossy and smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans using a spatula. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on how thick each layer is) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely in pan before flipping out onto a cooling rack or cake stand.

To make buttercream frosting, beat softened butter or dairy-free spread and powdered sweetener until well combined and smooth.

Add vanilla extract and unsweetened almond milk or cream and beat until fully incorporated, adding more if needed for spreading consistency. Keep refrigerated until ready to pipe or spread onto cooled cake.

To make chocolate ganache, coarsely chop chocolate with a serrated knife, and then transfer to a heatproof bowl. You can now either bring the cream or almond milk to just a boil over medium-high heat (don’t let it boil over!), or heat it in the microwave. Pour over the chopped chocolate and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow it to melt the chocolate. Whisk together until smooth and shiny.

For an even lazier ganache, microwave the chopped chocolate and heavy cream or almond milk together, 30 seconds at a time. Let it sit for a minute, and then whisk away (I may have used this method).

NOW FOR MY FAVORITE PART. The layering. Place first cooled cake layer onto a cake plate and use the refrigerated buttercream to create a buttercream dam, piping around the edge. Pictured below:

See what I did there? The dam helps to keep the ganache from oozing out. This is my new favorite thing.

Continue this until the final layer, spreading top with remaining buttercream. Pour on the remaining ganache, which will be slightly thickened. If you’re extra fancy, add some ~*~organic edible flowers~*~ on top. Enjoy, and let every bite take you on a journey. 

Nutritional Info (Calculated for 12 servings, with dairy-free spread and unsweetened almond milk):

 flower cake nutrition

LOW CARB Chocolate Birthday Cake with (SUGAR-FREE!) Vanilla and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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I feel very strongly that you would be impressed by the amount of cake I can put away.

I guess it’s just one of those innate talents I was born with. Some people are naturally gifted mathematicians or artists, but I was graced with the singular ability to effortlessly inhale about half of an entire cake in one sitting. I don’t bring it up much since I don’t want to intimidate people or anything.

Hahahaha!!!! No, that will not be nearly enough.

Hahahaha!!!! No, that will not be nearly enough.

There is but one day a year that my special skill can truly reveal itself, and that is of course every day MY BIRTHDAY HOORAY. Which was actually months ago now and is shamefully when I ORIGINALLY meant to post this, but let’s not kid ourselves: every day is a day that I could just take out the ingredients for this cake and make it because I have hands and a functioning oven. BOOM. No justification needed.

I mean ages before my birthday was even a consideration to normal people, I was planning this cake. I even made a beta version.

I knew it needed to be richer than God, and include various buttercream delights because I almost don’t consider frosting frosting without butter. But then also: not made of carby things.

Yes, you heard right. Carby things. NOT made of it. This cake contains no grains, flour, or added sugars – it’s LOW CARB. This is a freakin’ birthday cake that you could actually eat every day and not feel guilty for. The BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (which comes in both vanilla and chocolate, thank you very much) is sugar-free, for god’s sake! Even the fats it does contain are the good ones! I don’t even feel an ounce of guilt for implying this could be called healthy. And it’s a birthday cake. Yes, I am typing this one-handed so I can also pat myself on the back at the same time.

Seriously, go check out the nutritional comparison with a regular cake. And try not to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of crap they can pack into one slice.

You will notice from the pictures that there appears to be only half a cake present. This is actually NOT because I had already annihilated that half before I managed to pick up the camera – I actually only made a half cake so I could justify baking a ton of other desserts that weekend and argue that I only had half a cake so this was fair. Future posts on those to come! WOO! So please, go make this low-carb, low-sugar, gluten-free, vegan-adaptable (so basically, SUPER GREAT FOR YOU) birthday cake and enjoy! 1/4th the cake at a time.

LOW CARB Chocolate Cake With (SUGAR-FREE!) Vanilla and Chocolate Buttercream

Recipe adapted from Maria Mind Body Health

Yields: two 9 ” cake layers (I halved the recipe and stacked one layer)

Ingredients: 
Cake:
1 1/4 cup sweetener (I used ZSweet)
1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (I omitted this because the shortening I used already had salt)
2-3 egg whites (or two whole eggs)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
drops liquid stevia to taste (I used this one)
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, softened (I used Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting:
Recipe adapted from 
DaVinci Gourmet Coffee Syrups
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sweetener (I used Swerve Confectioners)
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons choice of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 tablespoons Da Vinci Gourmet syrup of choice (I used sugar-free caramel). But if you don’t want to use this, I would substitute with a tsp or two any flavor extract of your choice!
1 teaspoon vanilla

For chocolate buttercream: add 2-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, add milk as until desired consistency is reached. I also added some DaVinci sugar free french vanilla. Feel free to substitute this with a tsp or so vanilla extract if you’d like.

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9 inch cake pans. I also always cut out a circle of parchment paper and place it on the bottom of the pan for extra safety.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sweetener, almond flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, almond milk, butter or oil and vanilla.  Mix that for 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. PLEASE NOTE: almond flour is very delicate right out of the oven, so let it cool for at least 15 minutes before flipping the pants out.

For the frosting, use an electric mixer to combine all of the ingredients until smooth. Frost cake once it’s cooled! And be sure to sample a lot of everything.

More or less what happened.

More or less what happened.

Our cast of cake components. I recommend mixing them up and baking:

yassss

yassss

The batter will be thick, almost like a brownie batter. Just trust me on this – you’re doing it right.

PASS THE BUTTER

PASS THE BUTTER

And the frosting, which should be approximately 50% of your cake, ideally.

Mix everything up and then BOOM. Cake.

I opted for a more postmodern cake label.

I opted for a more postmodern cake label.

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You know what to do.

Nutritional Info:

My cake calculated with two full layers and both frostings OF COURSE. Please also keep in mind this was all calculated with the specific products and ingredients I used as listed above – of course things will vary depending on what you put into yours!

chocolate cake with frosting NutritionLabel