I am sharing this recipe based on popular demand from several new friends. I brought it to share at a potluck last weekend and was thrilled to see it disappear off of the table within minutes of being served. For me, there are few greater feelings than watching others happily devour a dish I have prepared. In this case, the fact that it was a gluten-free cake and I was in a room full of foodies made the satisfaction even sweeter. Here is a well-tested recipe for you to make and share with friends and family that is gluten-free, nut-free and still a major crowd-pleaser!
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending an incredible gathering for food lovers, The Big Summer Potluck. The days were filled with great food, very inspiring speakers and an opportunity for me to connect with many great people in the food blogging community for the first time.
Food is something that brings people together. It is rooted in our culture and so many others. It tells a story. For those of us with food allergies and/or celiac disease, food can make us feel exactly the opposite. When we are not able to share food at gatherings, it takes away the opportunity for us to bond. For every event I attend, I prepare myself for the inability to participate in the one key thing that ties so many people together… meals. That was not the case at the Big Summer Potluck.
There were assurances accommodations would be made for special diets before we went but, I had no idea how far above and beyond the entire team would go to do so. When I arrived at the hotel, Chris and Karen from The Peche set the tone and told me not to worry about a thing. They gave me a goodie bag filled with lots of gluten-free treats including Bob’s Red Mill Muesli, Attune Foods treats, eleven spices from Garden Gourmet, cabernet sauvignon from Monogamy Wines and some great gadgets from OXO and Kitchen Aid.
On the first night, we had dinner at the gorgeous home of the Anderson family. From the minute we were greeted by Maggie, it was clear the event would be extremely warm, inclusive and hospitable. There were make-your-own grilled pizza stations set up outside on the lawn and even a separate gluten-free pizza table. I was so excited and I think I was the first to make a pizza. I couldn’t believe how amazing the crust was and when Pam told me Deb made it, I went on a mission to find her and learn all about it. I was blown away by the process and instantly made an amazing friend. You know how that happens sometimes, right? I was so happy to have met Deb and her husband! They will post the pizza dough recipe on their website soon so you should definitely follow Smith Bites to see when it goes up.
I brought this gluten-free 4-Layer Coconut Cake for the potluck the first night and as I watched it disappear very quickly, I wondered if people were reading the label that said it was gluten-free. I got a little nervous hoping they wouldn’t be disappointed. It was just the opposite. I literally had someone run to find me and hug me telling me how delicious it was. It was awesome. Ok. Enough about the cake…back to the potluck.
I had no idea what to expect the next day since this was the first “blogger conference” I have ever been to. It ended up being a day of tremendous inspiration from some amazing men and women;
Jessamyn Rodriguez, founder and CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen, made me realize how investing in yourself allows you to invest in others and inspired me with the many stories of immigrant women that have woven together to create her incredible company.
Joe Yonan talked about the leave of absence he took from his job as a food writer for the Washington Post to live on his sister’s farm and write his beautiful cookbook, Eat Your Vegetables. Joe moved me with his honesty as he shared how things didn’t necessarily turn out exactly as planned. He talked about how we should still take those types of risks and learn to appreciate whatever comes out of the journey.
Robyn Hillman-Harrigan from the Shore Soup Project brought me to tears with the story of how she sprung into action after Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways. Watch the video about their efforts here. I hope you will consider donating to this incredible cause or to Why Hunger which supports many projects like these.
Jeni Britton Baur talked about her commitment to excellence in the ingredients her company, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, uses and how she failed the first time as an entrepreneur yet learned lessons and persevered. If you haven’t tasted Jeni’s yet, you need to. They have lots of gluten-free flavors. She brought us these amazing salted caramel, chocolate-coated dream bars. I swear, as soon as I started eating one I wanted everyone around me to disappear so I could have a moment alone. Dreamy!
Coach Mark Smallwood talked about the Rodale Institute, pioneers in the organic movement, and their Honeybee Conservancy. It was facinating and if you have ever had any interest in beekeeping, they have great programs including education and even hosting hives on their 333-acre organic farm.
Abby Dodge did a shortbread cookie demo and Brian Samuels made a delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Collins (I’m totally going to make some sort of peach cocktail inspired by this soon). We also had delicious sweet potato fries cooked in the Phillips AirFryer which uses this special air technology to create fried food taste with little or no oil. So cool. I want one! Our evening continued with dinner and wine at the Bucks County Audubon Society Barn. This was where our hosts, including Deb and Sabrina from The Tomato Tart went above and beyond, once again, to ensure those of us with celiac, food allergies or other dietary restrictions had a safe and delicious meal. It was amazing.
Overall, I made some great new friends and walked away inspired. Thanks to everyone for all of their hard work at the 4th Annual Big Summer Potluck! I’m definitely looking forward to the next one and I promise, I’ll bring 2 of these cakes next year so no one misses out on getting a slice!
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tsp Amaretto di Amore or Almond Extract*
- 1½ cups white rice flour
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ⅔ cup potato starch
- ⅓ cup tapioca starch
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 4 tbl Saco Cultured Buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 1½ cup shredded sweetened coconut, separated
- 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Amaretto di Amore or Almond Extract*
- 3¾ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- Heat oven to 325. Butter 2 - 9" round pans and lightly flour them on the bottoms and sides.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom between each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and amaretto.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan, baking powder, baking soda, salt and buttermilk powder until well combined.
- Add ⅓ flour to the mixing butter, sugar and eggs. Once incorporated, add ½ water. Repeat until all ingredients are incorporated and then mix together until smooth.
- Fold in 1 cup of coconut.
- Separate batter evenly between pans and pick up and slam the bottoms against a counter to make sure it spreads out and is flat on top.
- Bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest in pans for about 20 minutes before removing from pans onto resting racks. Allow cakes to cool completely (at least 2 hours) before cutting and frosting.
- Make frosting by creaming together butter and cream cheese (very important to start at room temperature for both) and adding sifted confectioners sugar a little bit at a time until fully incorporated.
- To separate the 2 rounds into 4 layers, take each cake round, bottom side up and cut around the sides with a serrated knife, turning the cake in a circle until the knife slides easily through the entire cake.
- Assemble the cake by placing the first layer down on your serving plate, spread enough on top to coat the layer and repeat until last layer is placed on top. Frost the entire top and sides of the cake (an offset spatula is the best tool for this).
- Sprinkle ½ cup of coconut on top and sides of cake.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: Cook time includes cool time
*According to the Disaronno website, their amaretto contains no almonds, and is gluten and nut-free. It is apparently made from crushed apricot pits. However, please research this on your own if you are allergic to tree nuts and, if you would rather be on the safe side, you should just use additional vanilla extract in place of the amaretto or almond extract.