My oldest son loves to cook. When I was working far from home, and commuting an hour-and-a-half at the end of each day, I’d get on the phone with him in stop-and-go traffic and lead him through the prep for dinner that evening. It was a great way for me to have some teaching time with him – even though I couldn’t be there in person – and it was awesome for me to have ingredients prepped before I got home. It also made sitting in traffic less lonely, and he was connected to our evening meal in a personal way.
Of course, he had basic skills already; he knew how to properly dice an onion, how to sauté, etc. Having these basic skills made it easy for him to take instruction.
Both my oldest son and my daughter love baking this cake. My son created it by modifying a Martha Stewart cake recipe, adapting it to become gluten-free, and by pumping up the vanilla content because, well, he loves vanilla. He later adjusted the recipe to make it dairy free, as well, so I could also enjoy it. Honestly, the dairy free version is even better (although significantly more expensive) than the dairy-filled version.
My kids will make this cake on weeknights; on a whim, when they’re just craving something sweet. This cake is also going to form the bottom layer of my wedding cake in October. When we eat it at home, we love it topped with Nutella, or with jam, or not topped at all. It’s just a laid back, yummy treat. Of course, you could fancy it up if you like. Coconut buttercream and toasted coconut flake would be fantastic, and take it to a different place entirely. It would also be great with lavender buttercream, or maybe some pistachio custard and whipped cream. There are a million ways you could go.
1 cup coconut oil (or 1 cup butter – 2 sticks – if you’re making the regular version)
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cup rice flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut milk (or regular milk)
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Oil (or butter) two 9-inch round cake pans, then dust them with rice flour and tap out excess.
In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and coconut oil (or butter) until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Add it to the egg mixture in three separate additions, alternating with the coconut milk (or cow’s milk) – beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter between the two pans, and bake for 25 minutes or so, until the center springs back when lightly touched. Allow to cool, then top as desired. For a buttercream recipe, click here.