Nate’s half birthday was August 23rd – and of course we had to celebrate! A gluten-free cake was in order – and not just any gluten-free cake recipe but a buggy half birthday cake.
I loved every minute I spent making this cake! The little bugs made me giggle and the grass border put a smile on my face.
The recipe for the cake was from my book – yep, my gluten-free Chocolate Teff Cake again. Teff is one of my favorite flours and this particular recipe works so well for layered cakes. I didn’t have time to develop a new cake recipe and gosh, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when you have something that preforms well.
The frosting is agave buttercream. Yes, lots of butter. The recipe is almost ready to share. I just have a few more tweaks to make.
The bugs – they’re gluten-free, made from Wilton Candy Melts. Not sugar-free at all. The only sugar-free white candy I could find was made with malitol. I didn’t plan on eating the chocolate candy anyway so it didn’t matter to me at all. And, you’ve got to admit – those bugs are cute!
Note: It’s not real chocolate, which makes it so much easier because there is no tempering involved.
Let’s talk food coloring – normally I use all-natural India Tree Decorating Colors. The issue with using them on a cake like this is that they’re liquid which makes the frosting too soft to hold any precise detail. It’s true of all buttercream and food coloring. You need to use gel colors or candy colors.
Here’s How I Made The Cake
1.Make your bugs. Draw your bugs on a piece of paper. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the drawings. Use melted dark chocolate candy coating to trace the bugs using a parchment cone with a very small opening or a Wiltion tip #00. Fill in with melted colored candy coating. Make sure your bugs are at least 1/8 of an inch thick so they don’t break. Let set until solid. Store in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.
They can be made several weeks in advance. Make sure to make more bugs than you plan on using. Some will break. I used bugs from The Whimsical Bakehouse. In fact. the inspiration for this entire cake came from their techniques. If you like to decorate cakes, check out this book. I love it!
2. Bake a gluten-free cake – I used an 8″ round pan.
3. Cool the cake. Level the layers and cut the cake in half.
4. Fill the center of the cake. Make sure to pipe frosting around the edge of the cake before filling it. Otherwise the top can slide right off. I filled the cake with fresh blackberries.
6. Color the grass border. I chose a dark green, medium green, and light green. Pipe the grass border. I used Wilton tip #101. Start with the darkest color and then pipe the lighter colors. Fill in with darker colors to add interest as needed.
7. Pipe your message on top of the cake. I used Wilton tip #1.
8. Chill the cake before proceeding.
10. Attach the bugs to the cake using buttercream. Viola! You’ve got one gorgeous cake!
My Starry Night gluten-free cake tutorial has more information about making a two-layer cake.