GF Butterfly Cake

June 13, 2011

cake finished

This is how I made a butterfly cake for my granddaughter’s sixth birthday. Since we are currently on a gluten-free diet, and since my family always loves this chocolate cake, figuring out what cake to make was easy. This recipe calls for beans in place of flour. If you’ve never had a bean cake, you truly are missing out. This cake is every bit as good as any “regular” chocolate cake and I always get rave reviews. I used homemade cream cheese for the frosting, but it wasn’t quite as smooth as I would have liked. I didn’t realize the ghee (which I used in place of butter) wasn’t quite as soft as it needed to be and didn’t mix completely with the cream cheese. In fact, the entire cake was done in a big rush, so I’m including all of my mistakes. I think the important thing is to share that it is possible to have a celebration without compromising real food ingredients. This recipe is for a 2 layer round cake.

GF Chocolate Cake
(originally from Lauren)


3 cups cooked beans or 2 15oz cans1
10 pastured eggs
2 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup butter, ghee, or coconut oil
1 cup honey2
2 tsp pure stevia extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder (I use this)
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350o.
Place beans in a colander or strainer and rinse well, being careful not to smash beans. (This step helps to eliminate any bean taste)
beans rinsed
While beans drain, put 6 of the eggs into a blender or food processor.

Always use pastured eggs, if possible.
pastured eggs
eggs in blender

Add beans, vanilla, and stevia and puree very well. No chunks!
bean mixture

In a separate bowl, mix cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
cocoa, baking powder, baking soda

The original recipe calls for putting the butter and honey into a mixer and mixing well, then adding the remaining 4 eggs. However, being in a rush, I got it wrong not once, but twice! First I put the eggs and butter in the mixing bowl.
eggs and butter

Then I realized I had it wrong and managed to get most of the butter out, but then put the honey in with the eggs!
eggs and honey

You’d think I’d learn not to wait till the last minute to do these things! However, I can attest to the fact that in this particular recipe, blending the eggs and honey and then adding the butter will work just fine. Once you have the eggs, butter, and honey all mixed together, slowly add bean mixture. Then very carefully, add in the cocoa mix. (As Lauren says, if you don’t do this carefully you will find your kitchen redecorated in chocolate) I decided to use my silicone pans, in spite of reading poor reviews of them. Just to make sure the cake didn’t stick, I lightly greased the bottoms of the pans with ghee before pouring the batter in.
cakes ready to bake

For instructions on using regular pans, please see Lauren’s instructions. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack.
cakes cooling

I love how the silicone pans made the cakes perfectly smooth and there wasn’t any rising in the center of the top side. There were some cracks in the top of the cake (no pics), but these didn’t seem to matter once I turned them out onto the cooling rack. If you are not making a butterfly cake, you can simply frost and serve the cake. I’m working on a post for the cream cheese frosting I used. (Update: for a quick cream cheese frosting, you can use the one I used for my Christmas Scone Cookies)
If you are making a butterfly cake, here is how I made mine.

Lay first cake on pan, cutting board, or cake board.
first layer

Cover with a layer of frosting.
layer of frosting

Cover with second cake.
layers stacked

The following pic is more of an example how NOT to cut the cake. Again, haste makes waste. Thankfully, I was able to repair the damage.
making cuts

DO cut the cake down the middle, but DO NOT make the side cuts as shown. At least, not until you turn the cake halves around, with rounded sides touching (see below). Then make a little notch out of each side to form the wings. Take one of the notched pieces and place it in the top center to form the head. Use the other notched piece as a taste test. (Good cooks always taste their food before serving!) Frost cake all over. Here’s what I did to decorate without using any food coloring or candy. I took about a teaspoon of frosting and added a few sprinkles of turmeric. I continued to add the turmeric until it was a yellow color. This does not take much and in this small amount you cannot taste the turmeric. I used this color to form a body and color the head.
body and head decor

I then took about 2 teaspoons of frosting and mashed about 10 small blueberries into it. I used this to make decorations on the wings. (See above) I added carrot curls for the antennae, by laying them on the pan as though they were coming out of the head.
carrot curls

I added 2 small blueberries for eyes and placed the candle at the end of the body.
finished cake

With a little more time and a little less rushing, this could have been a really nice cake. I came across several good ideas for decorating with natural foods and hope to update this post to include them. The birthday girl was happy with her cake (and was excited to get the carrot curls to eat!) and a good time was had by all.
birthday girl

cut cake

I really like the way this cake turned out. Moist and chocolatey without any hint of beans.
cake slice

For another cake idea, see my blog post where I used a bean recipe to make a princess doll cake.

1 Many types of beans work equally well for this recipe, including cannellini, Great Northern, black, etc. I like to use pinto beans.
2 For alternate sweeteners, please see Lauren’s site.

This post is part of the following blog carnivals:
Fight Back Fridays hosted by Food Renegade
Traditional Tuesdays hosted by Cooking Traditional Foods, Whole New Mom, Delicious Obsessions, Cultured Mama, and Real Food Whole Health.
Monday Mania hosted by The Healthy Home Economist.

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