Sugar-free Manilla Birthday Celebration Cake
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Grain-free | Dairy-free options
Makes: a 2 or 3 layer cake
I never thought of myself as someone who would have the patience to want to create a layered cake, but my desire to spoil my husband on his birthday had me testing and practising until I was more than excited to share this delicious outcome with you all.
Not only is this cake delicious, but I've made sure that the vanilla base layers are effortless to make.
My husband requested a banana and chocolate theme for his cake, so I used the vanilla cakes as a three-tiered base, sandwiched them with chocolate ganache, layered them with fresh banana, and then used a Swiss meringue buttercream as frosting.
I finished the cake with almond banana and chocolate chip bark to continue the theme. I know it all sounds like a sugary overload, but the beauty of this recipe is that this luscious cake has no sugar or gluten! There's also a dairy-free option available.
Hints, Tips & Tricks
The vanilla cake base is super versatile, and you can either keep the recipe as is or choose whatever filling and frosting you like. Here are some additional options if you want to keep your cake free from gluten, sugar and dairy:
- Whipped and inulin-sweetened coconut cream for a dairy-free option served with sliced berries in the filling and whole berries on top. The recipe for my whipped coconut cream topping is in my cookbook MORE from Bridget's Healthy Kitchen, Page 183
- Chocolate whipped sweetened coconut cream as frosting and filling. Double the Recipe in Eat your way slim and healthy, Page 239
- Banoffee pie filling and topping. Recipe in MORE from Bridget's Healthy Kitchen, Page 183
There are many beautiful combinations of fillings and frostings you can make.
This recipe calls for inulin powder, a soluble fibre derived from plant-based sources. It is prebiotic, making it a fantastic ingredient for our gut health and a healthy alternative to sugar. You can read more information about inulin powder --> here. Or, if you're wondering where to purchase some, we sell 100% Chicory Inulin Powder for home delivery*! Find out more --> here.
To help maintain a sweet taste without adding refined sugar, I also use my Zero as Sugar Pure Erythritol. You'll find this ingredient in many reduced-calorie and sugar-free foods and drinks. If you would like to purchase a bag which's 100% natural, has zero calories, and registers zero on the glycemic index, you can find out more here.
Make sure to use good quality, sugar-free dark chocolate. Real dark chocolate is made from cocoa powder and cocoa butter (the fatty portion of the cacao bean), making it naturally dairy-free. Some brands add dairy to their dark chocolates, so be sure to read the ingredients list if you decide to buy some. Alternatively, you can use my Sugar-free Vegan Dark Chocolate.
For the vanilla cake base
- 290 g (10.2 oz) almond flour
- 80 g (2.8 oz) fine tapioca flour or starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 200 g (7 oz) Zero as Sugar Pure Erythritol
- 100 ml (3.5 oz) coconut milk
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 75 g (2.6 oz) coconut oil, melted
- 160 g (5.6 oz) unsweetened apple sauce or puree
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Chocolate ganache filling
- 100 g (3.5 oz) sugar-free dark chocolate chips
- 120 ml (4 fl oz) coconut milk
- 2 firm bananas
Swiss meringue buttercream
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 90 g (3 oz) Zero as Sugar Pure Erythritol
- 20 g (0.7 oz) Pure as Inulin Powder
- 200 g (7 oz) grass-fed butter, cut into small cubes and softened
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Almond banana chocolate bark, optional decoration
- 50 g (1.7 oz) cacao butter
- 3 tbsp Pure as Inulin Powder
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 30 g (1 oz) refined sugar-free banana chips
- 15 g ( ½ oz) sugar-free dark chocolate chips
For the cake bases
- Preheat the oven to 170C (320F) and line 2 x 20 cm (8 inches) or 3 x 15 cm (6 inches) cake tins on the bottom and sides with non-stick baking paper. I used 3 x 15 cm tins to get three smaller yet taller layers.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda and erythritol.
- In a jug, whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, coconut oil, apple sauce, vinegar and vanilla and pour into the dry ingredients.
- Stir well to combine and evenly distribute the mixture between the baking tins. To get the cakes as even as possible, I weighed the batter as it went into the tins, 350 grams (12 ½ oz) of batter each if you are baking three small cakes or 525 grams (1.1 lbs) of batter each if you are baking two cakes.
- Bake the cakes in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until the cakes are golden on top. Another tell-tale sign that they're ready is when the cake springs back when gently pressed with your finger.
- Allow the cakes to cool in their tin for 15 minutes, then remove them to cool completely on a wire rack for 4-5 hours before frosting and filling.
- When ready to fill, using a sharp serrated bread knife, carefully slice off the uneven tops of the cake to create a smooth flat surface. This will help the finished cake to stay straight and even without leaning.
For the ganache
- Gently melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk in a small pot over medium heat. Stir until the chocolate melts and a glossy ganache is produced.
- Pour the ganache onto one cake if you are making a two-layered cake or onto two cakes if you are making a three-layered cake. Smooth the ganache onto the bases, but DON'T spread the filling right to the edge of the cake. Leave a gap as the filling will flatten and smooth out when you combine the layers.
- Slice two small firm bananas into thin slices and lay the pieces over the ganache. Once done, carefully sandwich the cakes together.
- Stand the cakes onto a serving plate or cake stand, and then place them in the fridge if you're in a hot or humid space.
To make the Swiss meringue buttercream
- Place the egg whites, erythritol and inulin powder in a small metal bowl and set the bowl over a pot of just simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk gently and heat the whites till the erythritol dissolves and the mixture reaches 65 C (150 F) on a digital thermometer.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and using a cake mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the whites until they are thick and glossy. Depending on the speed of your electric whisk, this could take 5-10 minutes.
- When the whites are glossy, start adding the softened butter, a cube at a time, whisking continuously to create the buttercream. Finish the cream by whisking in the vanilla extract.
- Use the buttercream to frost the sides and top of your cake. You'll also have enough to pipe rosettes or domes onto the top of your cake.
For the almond banana chocolate bark
- Line a small tin or baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and sprinkle over the banana chips and chocolate chips. Heat the cacao butter in a small pot on medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the inulin powder and almond butter.
- Pour the mixture over the banana and chocolate chips. Place the tin in the freezer for 10 minutes or until hardened. Snap the bark into pieces and use it to decorate the top of the cake.
Store the cake in the fridge If you are in a hot, humid climate until ready to serve. This cake will last 4-5 days if stored in the refrigerator. The buttercream is very robust and is especially good if it is humid as it holds its shape and consistency well, thanks to the addition of meringue in the cream.