My birthday is today so I made myself a gluten free Mickey Mouse chocolate cake. It’s a fudgy chocolate cake that is SINFUL and just the thing to invoke happiness, something we all need right now!
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We ordered a cake while at Disney for my nephew’s birthday 3 years ago. It was Mickey Mouse in cake form and loaded with chocolate! Everyone said the cake was really good (it wasn’t gluten free).
When we were at Disney World earlier this year (before the pandemic) my sister suggested they order a birthday cake to celebrate my birthday. But they couldn’t find a Disney-themed cake made gluten free so they decided to give up on that idea.
Since I won’t be celebrating my birthday with my extended family, I made my own cake. And since Disney couldn’t accommodate me with one of their cute Mickey cakes, I accommodated MYSELF and made a replica cake of the one my nephew had for his birthday. And “oh boy” (in my best Mickey voice), this cake is sinful!!
It begins with my go-to gluten free chocolate cake, which I’ve made probably a thousand times and it never disappoints. It has the best texture and the chocolate flavor is intense. The best chocolate fudge frosting makes up the filling. Drenched in chocolate ganache and real chocolate sprinkles, it’s a chocolate explosion!!!!
How to Make Gluten Free Mickey Mouse Chocolate Cake
There are a few components to this cake, but they’re all easy and the end result is so worth it. I’ll walk you through each step and in no time you, too, can make a Mickey Mouse cake! That said, if you don’t have a Mickey Mouse silicone cake pan like this, you can just make this cake in 8-inch round cake pans like these.
This is my go-to chocolate cake and it’s super easy to pull together. You may already have these ingredients in your pantry:
- Gluten free flour blend — I use my own gluten free flour blend, but feel free to use your favorite blend that has xanthan gum added.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Milk — non-dairy milk can be substituted
- Canola oil or vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar
- Coffee — brewing hot coffee helps intensify the chocolate flavor
Blend the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a stand mixer. Pour the sugar in and blend briefly. Add the dry ingredients and blend on low until smooth. Add very hot coffee and pulse to combine, being careful not to let the hot liquid splash back on you.
Pour the batter into greased baking pans and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
The Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Oh my word, this chocolate fudge frosting is INSANE!! It’s made with the usual suspects for any buttercream, but in different ratios and with hot water that changes it from a fluffy to a fudgy thick frosting. The ingredients include:
- Powdered sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Melted semi-sweet chocolate
- Boiling water
- Vanilla extract
- Dash of salt
I found this fudge frosting recipe on YouTube on Emma’s Goodies‘ channel. She calls it 1 Minute Chocolate Fudge Frosting and it’s a game changer! When I first made it, I didn’t get the same results she did so I tweaked some amounts and added a few enhancements and it’s now one of my favorite frostings ever. It’s thick and rich and silky smooth, kinda reminds me of canned fudge frosting that’s made with real ingredients. In other words, ten times better!!
Whisk the powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Add the softened butter on top, followed by the boiling water. Pulse mixer on and off so there isn’t a cloud of cocoa, and blend until smooth. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and mix well. Frosting will be very runny. Chill the frosting for at least 30 minutes and it will firm up nicely to spread.
The Ganache and Sprinkles
Ganache is basically just a combination of chocolate and cream. Sometimes butter and flavorings are added. There are also different ratios that will make a thicker or thinner ganache. For this cake, we want something on the thinner side so it will glide smoothly over the top of the cake and down the sides.
Place the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling around the edges. Remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. If all the chocolate doesn’t melt, place it in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time, or over a saucepan of simmering water.
Allow the ganache to cool down to a little warmer than room temperature and then pour it over the chilled cake slowly. Use an icing spatula to gather the pooled ganache around the bottom of the cake and pull it up to spread it over the sides. It’s gonna be messy. Once you accept that and move on, all will be fine 😉
If you can get them, real chocolate sprinkles in tiny little squares like these are so good! They might seem expensive, but the bag is large and will last you through many, many applications. For a closer look at what else I’ve used them in, see this post for triple chocolate cupcakes.
When the entire top and sides are covered in ganache, take chocolate sprinkles in one hand and, holding the side of your pinky and palm against the cake board, gently press the sprinkles into the sides of the cake.
The White Chocolate Mickey Face
If you’re lucky enough to have the Mickey Mouse cake pan(s), you absolutely should make the face to go on top of the cake cuz it’s so darn cute! And believe it or not, it’s so darn easy, too!!
You’ll need about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of melted white chocolate coating. You can use tempered white chocolate, but for this application I don’t worry about using the good stuff. You’ll also need black and red gel colors and some clear alcohol, such as gluten free vodka or rum. Just the tiniest bit is needed (like a dropper full).
Spread the melted white chocolate into the crevices of the face on the outside of your Mickey Mouse cake pan. Even it out as best you can. Place the pan in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens, which should only take about 5-10 minutes.
When you remove it from the refrigerator, gently peel the chocolate “mask” away from the silicone. The other side of the mask will have the imprint of the eyes, nose, and mouth, which is a perfect template for outlining.
In mini prep bowls, add about a dime-sized amount of black gel food coloring and half that amount of red gel food coloring. To each, drop about 2 drops of gluten free vodka or rum and stir together with a toothpick to blend.
Use a paintbrush to “paint” the eye, nose, and mouth fixtures onto the white chocolate. You may have to do two coats. Allow face to dry completely before setting it atop the cake.
This gluten free Mickey Mouse chocolate cake is bound to put a smile on your face and invoke happy thoughts throughout your household during a time when it’s much needed!
Gluten Free Mickey Mouse Chocolate Cake
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1¾ cups (415 ml) milk (or non-dairy alternative)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2¾ cups (550 g) granulated sugar
- 2½ cups (375 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or your favorite blend with xanthan gum)
- 1¼ cups (132 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2¼ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1¼ cups 272 ml) very hot coffee or water
- 3¼ cups 400 g) powdered sugar
- ⅔ cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ sticks (150 g) butter, softened
- ⅔ cup plus 3 tbsp (200 ml) boiling water
- 2 ounces (60 g) melted dark chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- 8 ounces (228 g) chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
- 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 ml) heavy cream
MICKEY MOUSE FACE
- ½ one 14-ounce bag white chocolate coating (NOT Wilton brand–they aren't gluten free) I used Make N Mold brand that I found at AC Moore
- a small amount each of black and red gel food coloring
- two small food-safe paintbrushes
FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray 2 Mickey Mouse silicone cake pans or three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. (If you don't have 3 8-inch pans, you can use 2 9-inch cake pans).
- In a large bowl, add the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and granulated sugar and blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pulsing on and off, add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Slowly add the hot coffee on low speed, being careful not to let the hot liquid splash back. Beat just until incorporated. Batter will be thin.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool on wire racks for 15 minutes before removing cakes from pans to cool completely.
FOR THE FUDGE FROSTING:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the softened butter and boiling water and blend until smooth. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend to combine. The mixture will be very thin. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or until thickened up enough to spread on cake.
FOR THE GANACHE:
- Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in small saucepan until hot and bubbles begin to form around edges of pan. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir mixture until chocolate melts completely. If there are still bits of chocolate not fully melted, place the bowl in the microwave for about 15 seconds at a time, stirring between, until chocolate is fully melted. Allow the ganache to cool to lukewarm before pouring over cake.
FOR THE MICKEY FACE:
- Melt the white chocolate coating as directed on package. Fill the indentations of the outside of the Mickey cake pan with the white chocolate, pushing it into the corners and spreading it uniformly with an angled spatula.
- Place the cake pan, white chocolate side up, in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and carefully peel the silicone away from the chocolate. You will be left with a Mickey face "mask" that has indentations on the opposite side, perfect for outlining with food coloring.
- In very small (mini) prep bowls, place about a dime-sized amount of black gel food coloring in one and about 1/4 of that amount in another. Add the tiniest drop (using a dropper is easiest, but if you don't have one your fingers would also work) to drop about one tiny drop of gluten free vodka or clear rum into the red food coloring and about 2-3 drops into the black, just to loosen it up and make it more like watercolor paint.
- Mix each with a toothpick until well combined. Using a food-safe small paint brush, paint the color onto the mask where it should go (you can use my cake picture as a guide). If you color "out of the lines" wait until it dries and then take a clean toothpick and lightly chip away the mistake.
- Allow the mask to fully dry before adding it to the cake.
TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER:
- Place one cake layer on a cake plate or board, level it with a serrated knife if need be, and spread with about one cup of the fudge frosting. Add the second cake layer and give the whole cake a light crumb coat (coating the top and sides with a light coating of fudge frosting). Place the cake in the refrigerator to firm up and set, at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and pour the lukewarm ganache over the cake, not all at once, but carefully adding more to the edges to allow it to run down the sides. As it pools on the cake board, use an angled spatula to pull it up and spread it onto the sides of the cake. Keep adding more around the cake at the edges and pulling it up and onto the sides until the entire cake is fully covered in ganache. You should not use all of the ganache (you may end up with half of it leftover, which can be used for other applications or poured over ice cream).
- Before the ganache sets, take a large amount of sprinkles and dump them onto a baking pan set underneath the cake to catch excess. Fill your hand with sprinkles and, resting your pinky and side of your hand on the cake board, slowly tip your hand towards the cake, applying gentle pressure to stick the sprinkles to the sides of the cake. Go around the whole cake, adding more sprinkles as necessary.
- Refrigerate the cake until everything is completely set, about 30 minutes, before wiping away any excess sprinkles left on the board (don't throw them away–place them in a separate container to be used for another application or sprinkled over ice cream).
- Place the Mickey face on top of the cake and press very lightly to adhere to the ganache. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The cake can be served cold or at room temperature (take out 15 minutes before serving).