Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Caramel & Seaweed | Episode 7: Halloween Wars

Yes, you read the title correctly. The classic combination of chocolate + peanut butter with the addition of salted caramel and.. yes. SEAWEED ! I know, I know, but hear me out. I promise that this cake will win over even the most skeptical. 

This is not the seaweed that you find in your favorite sushi rolls. This seaweed cannot even be found in an Asian market. Ask me how I know. (HA) This is something different. This is... Dulse! (pronounced "duhlse") Dulse is found most commonly in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Canada. You can read some more information about it my previous post about how to fry this salty stuff

As you may know, I competed in Halloween Wars on Food Network this season (Season 12!) and in the SEMI FINAL episode, our challenge theme was sea & ocean related. We were tasked to include one of three seaweed options, to incorporate oceanic flavors into our displays. My team (Squad Ghouls) - Reggie, Jannet, and I created this incredible octopus, ocean floor, and so many intricate details. What a blast we had.

For my ocean-found inspiration, I chose dulse. Many people are using this as a vegan alternative for bacon, once it has been fried and a touch of liquid smoke has been added. I wanted to take this idea and play around with the chocolate, peanut butter, and "bacon" idea. 

With that being said, this was the cake creation I presented to the judges. 

Let me tell you... THEY. LOST. THEIR. MINDS. OVER. THIS. CAKE. Not only did they obsess over the flavor, texture, and tenderness of the gluten free cake I have been working on for 3-4 years, they loved how the flavors played together...

 Chocolate + peanut butter + ginger sea salt caramel + peanuts + chocolate covered fried dulse. 

I still can't believe the comments that I heard the judges say:

Eddie Jackson, former NFL Football Player and current celebrity chef, said, "Hannah. I'm going to be honest with you. This is probably the best cake I've had all season. There are some things going on in this cake that I absolutely love... I wouldn't change a thing." WHAT?!?! WHAT?! 

Shinmin Li said, " Peanut butter and dulse?! I would have never in a million years, put the two together. But, you did it and showed us that, 'hey, it works,' because YOU ARE A CAKE TECHNICIAN!" 

This Unique Cake Features:

- Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Layers

Ginger Sea Salt Caramel Sauce

- Salted, Roasted Peanuts

- Chocolate Covered Fried Dulse (Red Seaweed)

- Peanut Butter Italian Buttercream

This is the last cake I have to be featured on Halloween Wars: Season 12, as we placed third! 


Check out my other Food Network Featured Cakes here:

Almond Sourdough Cake | Episode 3: Halloween Wars

4-Layer Cherry Limeade Cake | Episode 4: Halloween Wars

The World's Best Churro Cake | Episode 5: Halloween Wars

Sidecar Cocktail Inspired Cake | Episode 6: Halloween Wars



1. In a large bowl or mixing bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), mix together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sifted cocoa powder, and the sugar. Whisk or mix until combined.

2. Mixing on medium-low speed, add the eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla extract.

3. Mix until fully combined.

4. Slowly stream in the hot coffee or hot water, while mixing. Mix until combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and sides to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. 

5. Pour evenly into three greased, parchment lined cake pans.

6.  Bake cakes until set and cooked through.

8. Let the cakes cool, and once cooled - layer them up with whatever icing and fillings you desire. For Halloween Wars, I completed it by including: Ginger Sea Salt Caramel, Roasted Peanuts, Chocolate Covered Fried Dulse, and Peanut Butter Italian Buttercream.

It's a show-stopping cake for sure. 

What Gluten Free Flour Blend is Best To Use?

- I always use a blend that does NOT contain xanthan gum. I prefer to control the amount of xanthan that is added, according to what I am intending to make. Each baked good requires a different amount of xanthan gum based on the desired result on texture and taste. Sometimes mixes, like Bob's Red Mill "One for One" and others that already contain xanthan gum can result in a texture that is undesirable. The amount of xanthan gum needed depends on the recipe and what type of baked good we are making. A recipe for cookies might need more xanthan gum than a recipe for a fluffy, tender cake. 

However, if you have a gluten free flour blend on hand that contains xanthan gum, you can give it a try. Just do not add any more xanthan gum in addition.

- Here are a few xanthan gum free blends: King Arthur All Purpose, this blend from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, and a slew of other blend recipes that are out in the internet world.

While, I am not quite ready to share my full and complete gluten free cake recipe with the world yet - there are so many fantastic recipes out there.

Here are some recipes to try:

- The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from Barefeet in the Kitchen

- Hershey's Chocolate Cake from Barefeet in the Kitchen

- Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from King Arthur

- The Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from The Loopy Whisk

If you're needing something even simpler, you can't go wrong with making a box of Gluten Free Chocolate Cake mix either. I especially love the King Arthur brand and the Wegmans' Brand.

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with Caramel & Seaweed| Episode 7 : Halloween Wars

              Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 80 mins

                   Recipe Yield: 1x 3 Layer, 8-inch Cake

                   Recipe by: Hannah Catherine - Rosemary Whisk


3                8-inch Gluten Free Cake Layers (Homemade or from boxed mix)

1                 Recipe of Ginger Sea Salt Caramel Sauce

1                 Recipe of Chocolate Covered Fried Dulse (Red Seaweed)

1                 Recipe of Peanut Butter Italian Buttercream 

1/2 cup     Roasted and Salted Peanuts, Chopped   

Assembly Instructions:

1. Prepare Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Layers

5. Once the cake layers and fillings are ready - we can begin to build our delicious cake.

6. Place the first cake layer down on a plate, cake stand, or cake board. Add about 1/2 inch layer of buttercream onto the cake layer. Pipe a 1/2 inch border of buttercream around the top edge of the cake layer, as well. Fill the center with some caramel sauce - don't go overboard. Just enough to cover the surface.

7. Sprinkle the caramel center with chopped peanuts and your fried, chocolate covered dulse.

8. Add the second layer and repeat the process. Buttercream layer, border, caramel, peanuts, and seaweed.  

9. Top with the final cake layer - flat side up. Cover your cake in buttercream. Decorate however you please. Slice and enjoy!


- * See my notes above for what gluten free cake recipes to try, blends to use, or my preferred boxed cake mix choices!

Make sure that your cake layers are at least room temperature before you begin stacking the cake. I prefer to chill my layers in the refrigerator or freezer prior to assembling the cake. This cake is certainly not an exception. Gluten free cakes tend to be more on the fragile side - so this step is especially helpful.

- This cake freezes great! However, I would probably hold off in adding the chocolate covered fried Dulse until you are ready to serve the cake. I recommend making it fresh for when you are ready to serve it. It does not stay crisp forever. It's also tastes much better when it's fresh. When ready to serve, I would add it on the side, or make the cake layers to freeze and assemble it all when ready. 

With love & buttercream,


 Made the recipe?

Mention @rosemarywhisk or tag #rosemarywhisk!

1 comment

  1. Eddie Jackson is right. This doesn’t taste like a gluten free cake at all. So good.