Monday, August 6, 2012

Tips for Making a Gluten-Free Cake (That Doesn't Taste Like Cardboard)

I've made many gluten-free cakes.  Mostly just because I love LOVE cake.  And cupcakes.  And pretty much anything having to do with cake.  Don't get me started on the frosting (I'll start drooling).  Many people cringe at the thought of gluten-free baked goods, and with good reason most of the time.  They do tend to be very dry and crumbly.  However, after years of trial and error (I still ate the errors) I've somewhat perfected (I use this word loosely) the art of the gluten-free cake.  I like to use mixes, probably for the same reason you do: they are easier.  With gluten-free, they can actually be cheaper that way too.  Betty Crocker makes yummy ones, and if you buy them at Wal-Mart (never Price Chopper, because they are way more expensive) they're like $3.99 for the mix.  I can live with that.  If I do make one from scratch, I use the same methods as with a box. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making gluten-free cake:

1. When the recipe calls for water (Betty Crocker does) substitute Coconut Creamer.  Doing this makes it more moist, plus adds a slight flavor.  The Betty Crocker recipe calls for 2/3 cup water, so I usually do a little more than 1/3 cup creamer and the rest water.  This doesn't only work with coconut flavored creamer.  If you're making a chocolate cake, the Almond Joy one would be great, or even mint (do they make that?). 

2. Mix very well.  I'm not sure why this improves the taste, but a family member once made me a gluten-free cake and was so yummy, I had to ask what she did, that I wasn't doing.  She told me all she did different was mixed it for a little extra time.  That's it. 

3. Avoid over cooking it.  I know, I know.  Why would you purposely over cook your cake?  But it happens, all the time.  As soon as it looks like its becoming golden, take it out!  Over cooking makes it even drier.

4. Not that cake lasts long in my house, but the quicker you eat it, the better.  Because gluten-free baked goods don't have gluten (the binder) they dry out really fast.  The butter, or dairy rather, really helps with this when it comes to baking, which is why a lot of the time when you're making a gluten-free item that is also dairy free, it tends to be even more dry.  At least that's in my experience, but I'm in a very intense relationship with butter, so maybe I'm just lonesome and biased when I'm without it. 

Hands down the best gluten-free mix I've ever used is Bob's Red Mill Yellow cake mix.  Using all the tips I mentioned, and making these into cupcakes makes for a very dreamy treat.  I made them for my siblings once and they ate them in a matter of minutes.  I'm still hearing about it.

UPDATE: I should have added another tip to list.  Don't leave cake on the counter when you have a puppy who loves to counter surf.  My lovely cake was eaten by my dog, and so I had to do it all over again.  I opted for cupcakes on round two (see above).  He won't be getting near those.

1 comment

  1. Explains why mixing the batter helps the cake be more moist!


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