Happy Valentine’s Day Gluten-free Italian Wedding Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

According to Wikipedia, Bishop Demetri of the Orthodox Research Institute states that “St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D, a time when the church was enduring great persecution. His ministry was to help the Christians to escape this persecution, and to provide them the sacraments, such as marriage, which were outlawed by the Roman Empire at that time.”

In order to remind those whose weddings he performed of God’s love, and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to the soldiers and persecuted Christians. A possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on Saint Valentine’s Day.

The first Valentine’s card I remember receiving was in first grade, from Terry. My secret admirer. Sigh.


Recently, Pilot – my forever Valentine, Pie, Explorer, and I were eating at one of our favorite bar-b-que joints.  Pie had a slice of homemade Italian Wedding Cake. Oh, my. I looked longingly at that luscious, gluten-filled dessert, and expressed my sorrow at not being able to eat it.

Pie suggested I try making Italian Wedding Cake with a box of Betty Crocker Gluten-free cake mix. Hmm…

So, I gave it a go.

I’ve posted the recipe so you can make your own gluten-free Italian Wedding Cake for that special Valentine of yours. Or, make it for yourself, and eat the whole thing! You’re worth it.

Gluten-free Italian Wedding Cake

  • 1 box gluten-free yellow cake mix (I used King Arthur brand, which is larger than Betty Crocker, but either would be fine.)
  • Whatever ingredients your cake mix calls for. King Arthur calls for:
  • 1/2 Cup butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 Cup buttermilk (to make buttermilk, add I Tablespoon lemon juice OR white vinegar to milk. Let sit 5 minutes.)
  • This is where you add the following ingredients, regardless of your chosen cake mix
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 Cup flake coconut, divided
  • 2 Cups chopped pecans, divided
  • 2 (16 oz) containers cream cheese frosting, or you can make your own cream cheese icing.

Preheat oven to temperature recommended on cake mix box.

Prepare 2 (8 in) cake pans as per directions on box.

In large bowl, combine cake mix according to directions on box.

Add extracts when you add the liquid. Fold in crushed pineapple, coconut, and 1 cup pecans. Divide batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake according to directions on box.


Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out on to wire racks to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, stir together remaining 1 cup pecans and 1/2 cup coconut with the icing.

With a serrated knife, cut both cakes horizontally to make 4 layers. Frost the top of each layer with 1/2 cup of icing and stack on top of the next layer. Use remaining icing to frost the entire outside of the cake. To make sure you have enough icing to ice the entire cake, draw a knife through your icing and divide it into quarters before you start frosting the cake. Frost sparingly between layers.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think of the cake.

I wish you well.



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