Gluten Free Surprise Cake Recipe

Gluten Free Surprise Cake Recipe

Birthdays and surprises go hand-in-hand. But you don’t have to be celebrating a birthday to get excited about this gluten free surprise cake!

Think St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks, Valentine’s Day hearts, Christmas Trees, Stars of David, Jack-o-Lanterns or Easter Eggs … all of these shapes would make this gluten free surprise cake the perfect treat for a holiday or other special occasion. Of course I had to make mine more complicated by adding TWO surprise shapes in my cake, but that’s just because I have to make everything more complicated than it has to be. YOU do not! Choose your shape (or two, for a challenge!) and surprise everyone the next time you’re celebrating with cake. I promise it’ll be a cake they’ll never forget!

gluten-free surprise cakeIt received all kinds of “oohs” and “ahs” when we cut into what, from the outside, looked fairly unexciting (except that my gluten free birthday cakes are pretty darned delicious, if I do say so myself). With each successive slice, everyone gathered around to read the numbers for my step-daughter’s birthday.

I can only imagine as I get older that 29 might become my favorite combo? Or is 39 the new 29? Who cares. The cake will be fun and yummy no matter what surprises are inside!

A word of warning: I wouldn’t recommend this recipe for the faint-hearted. It’s not that the recipe is particularly difficult, but it is quite time consuming, and for anyone who tries to multitask unsuccessfully like I do, it can be easy to get the numbers turned around.

I was petrified that these particular numerical relationships would become hopelessly backwards or reversed. Can you imagine cutting into this cake and singing Happy Birthday to the 21-year old with a cake that had a “12” emblazened in pink throughout?! Or worse, read no real number at all because the “2” was backwards?! I sweated quite a lot over this little detail.

It’s also more difficult to get two cake inserts to line up and not overlap each other, whereas one large insert (think a heart, shamrock, pumpkin or Christmas Tree) would be far more forgiving when placed inside the pan.

Try this fun and delicious treat the next time you need an impressive dessert or just want to challenge yourself. As I said, it’s not hard, it just takes some time, and couldn’t we all use a little kitchen therapy?

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Gluten Free Surprise Cake Recipe

Gluten Free Surprise Cake

5 from 1 reviews

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Ingredients

gluten free surprise cake with lit candles

cake #1

  • 1½ cups (202.5 gr) gfJules™ All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/8 cup powdered milk (dairy or non-dairy alternative like Coconut Milk Powder) or almond meal
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup butter or non-dairy alternative (like Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (white sugar; unrefined sugar; coconut palm sugar; etc.)
  • 2 eggs or substitute
  • 1½ Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 oz. puréed strawberries (wash, hull and process in a blender or food processor)
  • red food coloring, if desired (Color Garden or India Tree offer natural food colors)
  • 1Tbs. lemon zest

cake #2

gluten free surprise cake numbers skewer

Instructions

To make this cake, you will be baking two cakes. One, that will bake first and cool, then will be cut into shapes or numbers hidden inside the second cake. This first cake should be a different color from the second cake (e.g. chocolate/vanilla or use food coloring) but the recipes should be of the same density. The second cake will be baked with the cut-out shapes or numbers from the first cake inside.

For this Surprise Cake, I used my Pink Lemonade Cake with strawberry purée for the cake numbers inside and my Lemon Cake for the outer cake.

The results were quite delicious and the colors of the cakes were different enough to make the numbers really pop!

Cake #1:

Preheat oven to 350° F (static) or 325° F (convection).

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, beating for several minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs, one at a time, mixing to integrate, adding lemon juice with the second egg. Slowly stir in dry ingredients, alternating with strawberry purée (and food coloring, if using), mixing until combined and batter is smooth. Fold in lemon zest.

Oil one 9×5 loaf pan. Pour in cake batter and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake until cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan, approximately 20-25 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake – if it is clean or has very few crumbs, the cake is done. Err on the side of slightly under-cooking this cake, since it will be baked inside the next cake.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, if necessary to release the cake, and invert onto a wire rack to completely cool. Evenly slice cake in half, horizontally, using a long serrated knife or cake leveler.

Lay both pieces of cake onto a cutting board and cut out numbers or shapes with cookie cutters or a template with a knife. Seal in a zip-top bag or Tupperware and store in the refrigerator until ready to insert into cake #2. (Use cake remnants to make Cake Pops!)

gluten free surprise cake cutters

Cake #2:

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, add lemon juice to milk and set aside to curdle.

In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, beating for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to integrate. Slowly stir in dry ingredients, alternating with milk, mixing until combined and batter is smooth. Fold in lemon zest.

gluten free surprise cake how-to collage

Oil one 12 x 4½ pan* lightly. Pour enough cake batter into the pan to cover the bottom ½-inch deep. Arrange the refrigerated cake shapes in a straight line, one behind the other, along the length of the pan. If the shapes are flimsy or you are using more than one shape, run a wooden skewer through the stack of shapes to help them stay in line.

Pour the remaining cake batter on top of and completely around the inserted cake shapes so that they are covered with cake batter. Smooth with a rubber spatula.

Bake until cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan, approximately 60-70 minutes; adjust depending on the size of your pan. With the cake inserts inside, cake #2 can take much longer to bake, so if the top is getting too done, cover with aluminum foil. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake (not into the pre-baked cake shapes inside) – if it is clean or has very few crumbs, the cake is done.

gluten free surprise cake collage 2Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Using the top of the cake pan as a jig, lay a bread knife on top and cut evenly across the entire top of the cake so that what will be the bottom of the cake will be level.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan, if necessary, to release the cake and invert onto a wire rack. If using wooden skewers to secure the cake shapes inside the pan, remove the skewers by pulling out one end of the pan before frosting.

Allow to fully cool before frosting. (Basic Frosting Recipe – link)

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Pin it for later!

This Gluten Free Surprise Cake holds a surprise in every slice. As well as an incredibly moist, spongy texture--thanks to #1--rated gfJules Flour! Try it!

 

 

This Gluten Free Surprise Cake holds a surprise in every slice. As well as an incredibly moist, spongy texture--thanks to #1--rated gfJules Flour! Try it!
gluten free surprise cake pin gfJules.com

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26 thoughts on “Gluten Free Surprise Cake Recipe

  1. Which of your why substitutions would work best with this cake, and have you made an egg free version of this recipe yourself?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Cari, to sub for the 2 eggs in the first cake, I’d recommend adding 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder to dry ingredients, then adding 2 tablespoons applesauce to the beaten butter and sugar mixture. Proceed with recipe instructions, as written. For the 3 eggs plus one yolk in the other cake, I would add 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder to dry ingredients, then add 3 tablespoons applesauce to the beaten butter and sugar mixture. For the yolk, I would recommend using 1 1/2 Tbs. vegan mayo. I hope this works out great for you!
      ~jules

  2. Pingback: Para inspirar: 15 bolos decorados por DENTROTp-M de Mulher | Tp-M de Mulher

  3. Jules, thus is amazing! So this is my first attempt at gluten and dairy free cake as I suspect my 2 year old is gluten intolerant in addition to dairy. I purchased your all purpose gluten free flower and made the cake using another recipe as I was not aware of your site. It came out looking very wet even after 1 hour of baking. I did use one 9×13 pan as I need 20 portions. And in retrospect the recipe didn’t call for baking powder.
    If I follow your recipe above can I poor it into 9×13 glass pan? Can I omit dry milk? And finally can I freeze the cake and then serve it in three days (giving it a few hours to defrost). That’s what my relatives do with all their wheat flour cakes.

    Thank you in advance! I am excited to try more recipes after this. Especially banana bread :) Oksana

    • Hi Oksana, I’m responding here as well, in case you didn’t see my other answer. I’ll try to help as best I can. Without seeing the other recipe you used, it’s hard to say, but without leavening from baking powder or soda, I wouldn’t think the cake would perform very well. You can use my recipe for birthday cake in a 9×13 pan without a problem. Don’t omit the dry milk though. If you don’t want to use dry milk, use almond meal. You can freeze the cake once it’s cooled – that will be fine, too. Start testing the cake for doneness after 25 or 30 minutes (use a toothpick) and be sure to let it fully cool before freezing. You can email us anytime at [email protected] if you have more questions.
      Happy birthday to your daughter and good luck with the cake!
      ~jules

  4. Love this idea. Thank you. I’m also thinking this idea would be fun with holiday cakes. Think hearts, tree, pumpkin inside a cake. I just might have to try this.

  5. I was wondering if you have tried this recipe at high altitude or anyone you know. We are at 8,500 ft in the mountains and baking can be a challenge:)

    • This cake will surely be a hit at her party, Kylie! Just make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to make it, since it requires baking 2 cakes! Happy Birthday to her!
      ~jules

  6. Jules, thank you for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to try it for my son’s 6th birthday coming up. He’s having a Lego party, so this can easily be made into a Lego brick with the surprise number 6 inside. He’ll love it! Quick question: Would it work to have the outer cake chocolate and the numbers white or light colored?

    • That’s a perfect idea for this cake, Laurie! Please send pictures when you make it!!! The idea for one chocolate and one vanilla cake is ideal – they’ll really pop that way!
      ~jules

  7. Hi, Jules, I am curious if you use regular dairy products in your own personal baking or do you use the vegan alternatives? Thanks!

    • Hi Michele, our household is dairy-free. I do use eggs, but whenever possible, either write recipes without eggs or try subs so I can tell folks which work best. I hope that answers your question!
      ~jules

    • Haha, Lynn, you’re not kidding! It was quite a process, but the results were pretty fantastic, so it was worth it!
      ~jules

    • Hi Patti, I have an older Wilton cookie cutter set with all the numbers and letters of the alphabet. It’s pretty easy to just make a paper template and cut them out with a knife, though. Good luck and have fun!
      ~jules