The BEST gluten-free chocolate cake topped with naturally pink ombre hibiscus cream cheese frosting. Light and tender cake with a moist crumb and rich dark chocolate notes that balance with tart hibiscus cream cheese frosting.
At this time last year, I was approximately 1 billion pounds heavier, awaiting the arrival of #cheesebabygirl. We’d just thrown one last “you probably won’t see us for a while” pre-baby dessert shindig (we were right). I spent an entire day baking for it and my feet were trying to quit my body. They were going on strike, swelling up like balloons, and throwing in the towel along with any hopes of homemade Valentine’s Day treats. With Zoella’s February 7th arrival and our unexpected week-long hospital stay, our Valentine’s Day dessert was a heart-shaped Whole Foods cheesecake shared over hospital trays with visiting friends and a snuggly soft baby that smelled like fresh laundry.
I’m making up for no homemade treats last year by getting a head start with this (naturally) ultra-pink ombre layer cake. I’ve waited months for the perfect occasion to share this chocolate cake – this is not any ol’ chocolate cake. The base is my absolute favorite chocolate cake EVER. I considered going as far as titling it “the best gluten-free chocolate cake in all the land,” but decided to tone down my intensity. But, in my not so humble opinion, it is just that.
I’ve been baking and tweaking this cake for years – this is the chocolate cake I baked for my birthday party two years ago that ignited a matcha + chocolate rampage. It’s the chocolate peanut butter layer cake I made for Father’s Day. In short, any time there’s a need cake or cupcakes (read: often), I turn to this trusty cake. For this iteration, I simplified the flours to just three and removed all the gums, which will be my new go-to recipe.
Between my blog and styling for The New York Times, Alanna and I have made a lot of baked goods last year. And thus, Lucas’s office has consumed a lot of baked goods last year. Enough that warranted building a PieBox-sized rack on the back of his bike. Even when we send the less than stellar flops, no one ever seems to complain – lovingly (and unknowingly) earning his office the nickname “the trough,” where no crumb is left behind.
This week, I sliced and packed up this gluten-free chocolate cake with hibiscus frosting. When Lucas inquired whether I intended it to go to the trough the next day, I said, “it could.” He quickly replied, “no, it can’t. It’s staying here.” (You hear that, trough? Lucas likes this cake more than he likes your happiness).
I don’t blame him though, this cake is light and tender with a moist crumb and rich dark chocolate notes that balance with tart hibiscus cream cheese frosting. Naturally pink hibiscus frosting adds bright notes and dresses it up for Valentine’s Day.
If a three-layer ombre frosted cake eludes you, I don’t blame you. Frosting a cake is no cakewalk – just look at mine! I’m going for the painted plastery look but mostly not by choice (just go with it, ok?). If you’d rather not fuss with smoothing frosting, halve the recipe and make 12 cupcakes! Either way, there’s not much more festive that this naturally hot pink Valentine’s Day chocolate cake.
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