A Surprise-Inside Beehive Cake for a Bittersweet Celebration

By Amanda Paa – Updated April 15, 2023

Today’s post is bittersweet. It’s easy to leave a job when you aren’t crazy about what you do or your co-workers are the farthest thing from people you’d hang out with on a regular basis. But when you absolutely love coming to work every day and the people around you are positive, uplifting and hardworking souls, it’s “cry as you leave the building” hard. And then it’s hard when it’s you making your coffee at home instead of the Starbucks barista at 9th & Nicollet, who automatically hands you the soy milk with your “1-inch of room” dark roast. Then you just drown your sorrows with coffee and scraps of this surprise-inside Beehive Cake for breakfast.

Yes, I’m moving on from the great Target digital team I was part of for nearly two years to dive into an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up, one that bridges my two passions, food and social marketing. I will be working behind the social scenes of one of my favorite gluten-free cereal brands (!), as well as some digital strategy behind new products & innovations within this area. I’m very excited for what the future holds.

Beehive Cake // heartbeet kitchen

In celebration and gratitude for the wonderful memories and knowledge I will take with me, there was no other choice than to bake a cake. I’ve been wanting to “cook-the-book” since the day I got my hands on my super talented friend Amanda’s new “Surprise-Inside Cake” book. Her creations are seriously amazing, just check some of these out! The photography of the cakes, which was done by Susan Powers, is enough to make you start drooling the minute you open the book.

Surprise-Insides Cakes by Amanda Rettke

My sights were set on the Surprise-Inside Zebra Cake. I knew I would have my work cut out for me to make this work as a gluten-free cake, but I was up for the challenge. With this particular design you bake three cakes, 2 white and 1 chocolate. You  create cones from the white, which are built up & stacked with layers of chocolate so that snazzy zebra stripes are found on the inside and covered with her recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting. Hands down the best damn buttercream I’ve ever had.

Since there is manipulation and forming that goes along with constructing it, I knew the gluten-free cake base would need to be very moist and compactable. I tried adapting Amanda’s cake recipes by using my own gluten-free flour mix in equivalent weights, adding cornstarch to it to make it like cake flour, and also reducing the sugar because gluten-free flours tend to be slightly sweeter on their own. My cakes baked up beautifully and I confirmed they were sweet tooth approved as I nibbled on the scraps as I was assembling.

However a slight user error in the construction combined with the need for my gluten-free cakes to be a bit denser cake called for some creative improvising. And instead of a surprise-inside zebra cake…… this Beehive Cake was born.

Surpise-Inside Beehive Cake

Cutest Cat SkirtAnd it turned out to be fun, and it turned out to be completely delicious, as evident by the empty cake platter.

And it turned out to be exactly how I wanted to say good-bye, cat skirt and all.

Lots of love and hugs to you always, my Cartwheel friends. xo

cake // heartbeet kitchen

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May 15, 2014


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  1. Kathryn

    Congrats on the new job – what a great opportunity even if it is bittersweet to move on from somewhere that sounds so wonderful. Good luck in your new role : )

    • amandapaa

      Kathryn, bittersweet indeed. We’ll see how it goes, if all else fails I will stay at home and practice making surprise-inside cakes :)

  2. Millie

    Congratulations Amanda! Although its sad you’re leaving your job, what fantastic news that you got a new one that you love – every cloud has a silver lining right!
    What a delicious looking cake too :)

  3. shanna mallon

    dreamy! congratulations on the new job — it sounds perfect for you!

    • amandapaa

      thank you so much shanna! i’m looking forward to it. p.s. – every time i see einkorn flour i think of you!

  4. Morgan

    Cheers to you on the new role! I’m excited to hear about the adventures that await you… Btw, this cake looks yummy, and the whole post is just beautiful… especially you in your sassy outfit! Congrats Amanda!

  5. Lindsey

    Congrats on the new position Amanda! Changes can be hard but I’m sure you’re heading in the right direction. And this cake! Such a beauty :)

    • amandapaa

      Thank you so much Lindsey! Exciting and a little scary indeed, but change is supposed to feel like that right? Have a great weekend!

  6. Susan

    Lovely post. Lovely transition.

  7. Lindsay

    Um, meant to say fun and bittersweet time. ;)

  8. Lindsay

    Wow – so excited for you Amanda! :) What a fun and bittersweet. I know the feeling of loving both jobs… it’s hard to say goodbye! But really looking forward to seeing where this next chapter takes you!

    • amandapaa

      Thank you Lindsay! It is hard, but new beginnings are fun. I’m partially bummed I won’t know when all the deals are too :) Have a great rest of the week!

  9. Amy Leger

    Congrats Amanda! And your cake looks awesome!!! :)

    • amandapaa

      Thank you Amy! The gluten-free cake needs a little work, but I will get there and make a true surprise-inside cake eventually :) Hope you are well and the weather is nice for the walk this weekend!

    • amandapaa

      Thank you Amy! Although the cake didn’t turn out quite as planned, it was still delicious so I consider that a win :) Hope you are well!