This recipe was originally published in my book My Paleo Patisserie.
Always stunning yet super easy to make, “naked” cakes don’t require frosting on the outside. I often fill these cakes with nearly twice the usual amount of filling for an extravagant, eye-catching look, but feel free to use less filling if desired.
FOR THE CAKES
1/2 cup palm shortening or ghee
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 cup maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
FOR THE COCONUT CREAM
Cold coconut cream from 3 cans of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or to taste
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (340 g) whole bing cherries with stems
Cocoa powder, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles cut to fit the pans.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the shortening over gentle heat, then set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cocoa, arrowroot flour, and salt till blended.
3. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the yolks in another bowl along with the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, vinegar, and melted shortening. Whisk to combine. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk till the batter is smooth and no lumps remain.
4. Using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment for your stand mixer, beat the egg whites till they look like softly whipped cream (soft peaks). Stir the baking soda into the batter and then, using a rubber spatula, immediately beat in one-third of the whipped egg whites to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites till only a few streaks of egg white are left.
5. Divide the cake batter evenly among the pans, using about 1½ cups of batter per pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or till a wooden skewer poked in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each pan, then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely. These cakes should not need any trimming.
6. While the cakes cool, Place the coconut cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a metal bowl and a hand mixer).
7. Beat on high speed for 1 to 3 minutes, till thick and voluminous. Turn the mixer down to low and add the maple syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla. Turn the mixer back up to high speed and beat again till fluffy and thick.
Tip: If the coconut cream is very thick and not increasing in volume, add small amounts of the reserved coconut water, 1 teaspoon at a time, till it lightens and begins to increase in volume. Be careful to not add too much, though, as the cream can become runny.
8. When ready to assemble, slice about ½ cup of the cherries in half and pull out the pits. Place the first cake layer on the plate or base on which you will be serving it. Pile a generous amount of the whipped cream filling (about ¾ cup) onto the cake. Sprinkle some halved cherries on top of the whipped cream, then gently place the second cake layer on top. Pile another cup of filling on top and add the rest of the halved cherries. Finally, place the last cake layer and pile more filling on the top of the cake in a decorative manner. Garnish the cake with handfuls of whole cherries, piling them as high as you can get away with. Using a sifter or small fine-mesh sieve, dust some cocoa on top.