Birthdays, Oaxaca and Muertos

It’s my dear’s birthday tomorrow. It’s also Dia De Los Muertos, my favorite holiday. The next best thing besides being in Mexico is baking something Oaxaca-esque.

Dressing up as Frida for Halloween also helped beat the not-in-Mexico blues.

Kate Frieda Kahlo KateBack to baking. I wanted a simple chocolate cake situation since I’m easing into this whole domesticity thing, since I don’t know how to work this Ferrari of a mixer that lives on my counter. As my late 20’s ensues, I’m noticing more KitchenAid mixers popping up on married friends’ countertops. Registries work for the prevailing philosophy: Apparently you’re hitched and now you shall provide baked goods for your family.

It’s illegal for me to get married where I live (and in 44 other US states), so I received my fancy mixer as a birthday gift this year from a mother who was tired of hearing me complain about inequalities and basic civil rights and stuff. These machines are really cool (and really expensive.)

As I hunted for recipes, everyone on Twitter kept telling me to use this or that mix, but I was itchin’ to make a scratch cake. I don’t eat wheat (gluten) so my desired simple chocolate cake situation also had to be gluten free. I found the right recipe via Gluten Free Mommy. It even has “no frills” in the title; this was the real clincher for me. My kitchen isn’t really equipped for frills (beyond the mixer); I just don’t have room for excess tools. Plus, I’ve tried a few of her other recipes and they’re simple enough to follow and I always get good results.

As I plotted my plan of attack and shopped for a the supplies not already in my cabinets, I decided to multiply the recipe by one and a half. I wanted to make cupcakes on the side, why not?

Three things happened as I worked through the recipe:

1. I decided that this is probably one of the easiest baking experiences I’ve had (including baking with mixes.) Yes, really. Since I didn’t have a 9X13” pan, I used a springform pan, something I bought at a garage sale years ago because I thought it was pretty. Who knew it would make a beautiful (and easy to eject) gluten free cake?

2. I invented my own Oaxaca frosting, which boosts ones confidence in cooking, I think. I followed the “simple icing” recipe which came with the “no frills” cake recipe above. I just added a half teaspoon of cinnamon. I also had some leftover chocolate from our last Oaxaca trip and sprinkled it in the chocolatey goodness at the end. YUM!

3. The sideline cupcakes were a perfect idea; I had double the rewards for the same amount of mess! I used your average mini cupcake tin for these.

cupcake for your thoughts cupcake for your thoughts
Oaxaca frosting Oaxaca frosting
cake! You’d never even guess this thing doesn’t contain the elusive gluten. Notice the canning band cooling rack?This seems very basic: follow recipe, get good looking (and tasting) things. Well, I’m not good at following recipes, but I managed this one! And I wasn’t stressed out. I could’ve done this recipe without the mixer for sure. In fact, at one point I wasn’t sure my 1.5x recipe was going to fit in my mixer bowl, or rather that it wasn’t going to shoot cocoa at me while i poured in the flour mixture.

By giving this recipe a shot, I’m doing something special for the person I love. I’m honoring people who are no longer with us by taking my time and making something with my hands (and a fancy mixer.) Maybe I’ll give some of these little cup cake treats away to friends, maybe my dear and I will eat them all ourselves, who knows? We had to try them out for dessert tonight, of course.

yum! yum!When I present this fine cake to my lady tomorrow, I’m not sure who’s going to be happier, she or I?

gf chocolate cake Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Oaxaca Frosting!Give this recipe a shot; take a little break from your regular gluten intake. Let me know if you have questions as you attempt it (or another recipe you might have found.) I’m fairly new at all this stuff, but I’m happy to share what I know so far!

P.S. Don’t be alarmed! The pricey xanthan gum will last you a number of exciting gluten-less recipes. It’s the one ingredient that converts gluten-free flours into gluten-like results.