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Gluten free Minnie Mouse cake

I can’t believe my granddaughter is 4! After I did a Thomas the Tank Engine cake for her brother, she requested Minnie Mouse for her own birthday. Chocolate, of course.

Thank goodness for eBay, where I found a fondant Minnie Mouse face. No way could I do that myself. The cake had to be gluten free – a couple of guests were coeliac. I’ve been experimenting with chocolate cake recipes my whole cooking life, and I actually think this one is pretty close to Shangri-la. Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

400g sugar

200g white rice flour

50g oat flour

60g raw cacao powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

2 eggs

250ml milk

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

125ml rice bran oil, or other flavourless vegetable oil

250ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Grease and line two 23cm/9-inch or three 20cm/8-inch cake pans.

Sift the dry ingredients – sugar, rice flour, oat flour, cacao powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum – into a large bowl, and stir until well blended.

Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the oil and beat until smooth. Stir in the hot water. The batter will be thin.

Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Set the pans on a rack to cool completely before removing and icing.

I decorated this one with white chocolate Milky Bar buttons, for a polka dot effect. I also sealed the cake with a thin layer of icing first and put it in the fridge for an hour, to stop crumbs and patches of chocolate cake showing through the pale pink icing. If your oven makes for uneven rising, you can steady the layers with a couple of toothpicks stuck down through both cakes, just until the icing sets.

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