Gluten-free Black Forest Cake + Christmas Day

This chocolate cake was wildly delicious and one would never guess it was gluten-free!  My mother in law has a plethora of gluten-free baking and food items around the house due to gluten intolerance. 
This particular cake was made from the Williams-Sonoma Ad Hoc Gluten Free Cake Mix.  This mix is more expensive than others, but so delicious. 
It was baked according to the box directions in 2 cake pans. When they were cool enough to touch, Eric sliced them both in half, to create 4 thin cakes.
To assemble the cake, place the first layer on a plate and spread with cherry topping.  We used a jar all the way from Germany for a more authentic flavor.  Extra thanks to Eric’s sister for popping that into my mother in law’s luggage before she headed back to the States. 
Place the second layer on top and cover in Cool Whip or real whipped cream.  Repeat with the last two layers, ending with Cool Whip for the top layer. 

Note: a cooler cake will frost much easier.  This cake was still a little too warm and we had a little bit of oozing due to this. 

It turned out to be a gorgeous cake. 
We sat down to an afternoon meal with gluten-free items.
Pasta with shrimp, asparagus, and a pesto broth sauce for the main entree and a side salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes, and a mustard vinaigrette dressing (see below for the recipe).

After our Christmas meal, we opened some gifts.  Eric received some very nice woodworking accessories. 

After digesting a bit, we ate our dessert.  It was so good, I ate mine entirely too fast.  My father in law nicely offered to look away while I licked my plate clean.  I was so impressed with this simple and rewarding dessert. 

Greta finally awoke from her afternoon nap and had a few gifts herself to open. 

Poor thing was overwhelmed by Christmas this year.  We have spread things out for her though and allowed for plenty of napping in between events.  On Christmas Eve she tried to lay down on the floor and go to bed, after taking two naps prior to gift opening.  Oh to be almost 2 again.

After gifts, Eric and his dad made use of a homemade gift – a beer flight paddle.  Eric made sure to travel with North Carolina beers to sample as a Christmas treat.  More on this flight paddle later. 

Meanwhile Greta and Grandma played with a fun animal app and

Brownie considered another Christmas nap or possibly a round of barking at deer.  This dog hates deer, we have discovered on this trip.
Mustard Vinaigrette
Mix together in a bowl 6 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons coarse stone ground mustard.  Serve with salad of your choice.

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