Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
I don’t know when it happened.
Maybe I blinked…for a long time.
But my baby just turned 3.
My mini Elsa is now a big girl…and I think I’m handling it pretty well!
Little Miss L has been so excited about her birthday. For weeks she’s been asking (daily!) if it was her birthday yet, telling everyone who listened that she was going to have a Frozen Cake and asking what presents she would get. It has been so cute!!
This year for her 3rd birthday Miss L picked an Elsa Cake. This will come as no surprise to the people that know her. She loves Frozen and takes a lot of pride in the fact that both she and Elsa have ‘white hair’. She wears her favourite Elsa dress most days (I have to do a lot of clothes washing) and can be heard belting out ‘Let it Go’ with grand arm gestures and much twirling.
For her birthday present this year we gave her an Elsa costume, complete with gloves, a crown and a wand (which is a bit strange as I don’t think Elsa actually uses a wand). She looked so proud as she regally wore it out for her birthday lunch.
As you can see from the photos I went a bit OTT this year and made a birthday cake that will be hard to top next year. It even looks like Miss L!!!! It’s not often you get a cake that is wearing the same dress as you!
There is something magical about creating a fantasy come true for a child. It brings a look of pure joy to their faces and in turn melts your own heart.
This Elsa Cake looks epic and I won’t lie there are a few steps involved but I’ve made it pretty straight forward by using my 1 bowl Gluten Free Cake and a simple frosting of Whipped Coconut Cream. When I was making this Elsa Cake for Miss L’s 3rd Birthday I made the cake in 2 mixing bowls (so 6 eggs in each) as I didn’t have a bowl big enough to whisk it all. This made diving the mixture easier as it was all one 1 bowl into the pudding bowl tin and the other mixture was evenly divided between the 2 (ie ¾ of the entire recipe in the pudding tin and ¼ in the smaller round tin).
I made two cakes to make this Elsa Cake; a 2 litre pudding basin (like the one you’d make a Christmas pudding in. A 1.8 litre basin would work fine too.) and a 6 inch springform cake tin. Whichever cake tins or heat proof bowls you choose to use just make sure that the bottom of the rounded bowl (the widest part) is the same width (or close to it) as the cake tin. If you use a bowl rather than a pudding basin, the cake will be more rounded, and you will need to trim the cake to get the right shape.
This Elsa Cake is dense…really dense in the middle and it’s important to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. To break up the cakeness I have used both jam and cream between the cake layers. This gives it a more traditional sponge like flavour but still the sturdiness to be carved and layered.
This Elsa Cake is a little different to a traditional Dolly Varden style cake as the gown is carved and shaped to create a more dramatic, train effect. Instead of the layers of cake being placed centrally on top of each other, the layers are stacked with the front edge lining up which creates a rough, uneven slope at the back. Once the cake has been layered it can then be carved at the front to make a smooth straight dress front and these off cuts can be used to fill in the layers at the back. I found this video from ‘How to Cook That’ really really helpful and I strongly urge you to watch it!!!I also used a skwewer trhough the cake to help to hold its shape.
Alternatively, you can make this Elsa Cake as a traditional style Dolly Varden Cake (you can find more about how to do that here when I made this Snow White Cake).
The plan behind using Whipped Coconut Cream as both the filling and the frosting was to make life a lot simpler…and it worked. You only have to make 1 batch and just tint the leftovers after you hvae filled and crumb coated the cake. Just make sure that you give the cream time to thicken in the fridge before using. If the cream is still not firm enough to spread and hold its shape you can add some dissolved gelatine (check it out here).
The Blue dress. I love how it looked but man; blue is hard. I was determined to keep the cake as allergy friendly and healthified as I could (sorry non-egg people) so I did some experimenting with making my own blue food dye. 1 red cabbage later, my house stunk of boiled brassica and my frosting looked blue but tasted like coleslaw. Less than ideal! Luckily I found some natural Blue food dye from Hopper Foods at my local health food shop. It uses Blue Spirulina to get the beautiful blue tones that make Elsa’s Frozen dress a classic.
Happy 3rd Birthday my beautiful Elsa!
- Gluten Free Cake- baked in a 2 Lt Pudding tin and a 6 inch cake tin see recipe below
- 2/3 Cup Jam see recipe below or use commerical Jam
- 3-4 Cups Whipped Coconut Cream see recipe below
- Blue Food Dye I used a natural version by Hopper Foods as the red cabbage version I amde tasted like coleslaw
- Optional for decorating;
- Blue gems sugar crystals, coconut
Gluten Free Cake
- 12 Eggs
- 3 Cups Milk of choice
- 1 Cup Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup
- 6-8 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
- 1 1/3 Cups Arrowroot
- 6 teaspoons Baking Powder
Whipped Coconut Cream
- 4 Cups of Coconut Cream Taken from 3 to 4 400ml cans of coconut cream/milk; open the cans and leave them in the fridge overnight and use the thickened cream and discard the watery remains
- 6 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 6 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Sugar Free Jam
- 2 Cups of Strawberries or Raspberries; diced frozen is fine
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Honey optional depending on the sweetness of the berries
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 teaspoons Gelatine
- Take the Pudding cake and slice it into 3 layers. Place the 3 layers and the 6 inch cake on the bench.
- Place the 6 inch cake on the front edge of a round serving tray/plate. Leave about an inch between the edge of the plate and the cake.
- Cover the top with jam and then 1/2 Cup (ish) of cream.
- Place the largest piece of the pudding cake on top. Line the cake up so that it is sitting at the front of the first layer of cake (which may not neccessarily be in the middle).
- Cover the top with jam and then 1/2-1/3 Cup (ish) of cream.
- Repeat with the next 2 layers, reducing the cream as the layers get smaller.
- The Cake will look oddly shaped but that's ok. The front edge will be almost straightish and the back will be like a wonky staircase. It can be helpful to place a skwewer through the layers of the cake to help hold it together.
- To help with the next carving step it can be helpful to cover the cake and place it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes to help stop the layers from moving.
- You will want to position the doll in the front half of the cake (not the centre of the top layer). Work out the ideal spot and then mark the area. Using a knife mark a small square area and then use a fork to 'dig out' a hole. The hole will need to be all the way down to the plate. Don't worry if it's ugly; there will be lots of frosting to cover it all up.
- Wrap the dolls legs in plastic wrap and place her in the hole (I had to remove the legs of mine as the cake wasn't quite high enough or alternatively if the cake does not yet reach her waist, add additional levels to the top using the peices cut during the shaping process).
- Take a sharp knife and start shaping the cake to look like an elegant ball gown. I have included a link above for a video that shows how to do this. The front of will need to be straighten and the back carved out to be a smooth slope. Use the off cuts from the front and sides of the cake to build up the smoothness of the back.(please, watch the video!!!). Use additional cream as ‘glue’ to stick it all together.
- Once you are happy with the shape apply a thin layer of cream over the cake to 'lock in' the crumbs and the extra peices.
- Cover the cake in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour. (DO NOT freeze the doll!!). You can freeze the cake over night (or a few days) but remember to allow defrosting time before decorating.
- Cover the dolls legs with plastic wrap and place her in the cake hole.
- Remove the remaining Whipped Coconut Cream from the fridge and tint with the Blue colouring. There should be 2 -2 1/2 Cups remaining. Using an offset spatula, or a long, flat knife, spread the frosting over the cake making it as smooth as possible.
- The use a 6 star piping tip and pipe the frosting around the base of the cake and around the waist of the doll. This helps to cover the ugly edges and adds some extra glam to her dress.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- To get the sparkly look you can lightly dust the cake with sugar crystals or desicatted coconut.
Gluten Free Cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C/360F.
- Take a 2 Lt Pudding Basin and a 6 inch cake tin. Place a small piece of baking paper on the bottom of the pudding basin and grease the entire tin. Line and grease the 6 inch tin as normal. For alternative tin choices see the notes above the recipe.
- In a large bowl place the wet ingredients and lightly whisk by hand. DO NOT over whisk/mix.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl and lightly whisk until just combined. DO NOT over whisk/mix. I like to sift my dry indredients straight into the bowl.
- Pour 3/4 of the mixture into the pudding basin tin and smooth the top and the remaining 1/4 into the 6inch tin.
- Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes for the smaller tin and 60-70 minutes for the pudding basin, or until cooked through. After 45 minutes check the top of the pudding cake. If it is getting too brown then cover the top of the pudding basin with foil to prevent the top of the cake from burning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Do not remove until cooled completely.
Whipped Coconut Cream
- Scoop the thickened cream from the tin, discarding the watery liquid at the bottom. Place the cream in a mixing bowl of a kitchen stand and beat using a whisk attachment.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla and continue whisking until incorporated. Place the cream in the fridge to thicken further before using (allow at least 4 hours)
Sugar Free Jam
- Place the berries and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
- In a small bowl, add the gelatine to the water and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the gelatine mixture.
- Whisk to combine and allow to simmer for 8 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
- To make a smoother jam, use a masher or a food processer.
- Store in fridge for at least 3 hours to set.