Gluten-Free Baking 101: Perfect Gluten-Free Cake

19 Feb

We know it can be difficult to spoil your family and friends who have celiac disease, and who need to avoid gluten – and we’re here to help. Maybe you’ve already read Choosing Gluten-Free Gifts & Foods, but you want to add a personal, homemade touch to their next celebration, alongside a gift. Mastering gluten-free cake isn’t easy, but with this guide, it’s definitely do-able. The first thing you should know about gluten-free baking is that it requires extra studying.

It may sound contradictory but to learn how to master gluten-free baking, you have to understand what gluten actually does. To put it simply, gluten is a protein that creates structure in the baked goods and holds them together. Creating tiny air pockets in the batter, it is also responsible for fluffiness and tenderness. So, the question is, how do you make moist, light, fluffy and flavorful gluten-free cakes and other baked goodies without using gluten? Follow these handy baking tips and never have a tough and heavy gluten-free cake again!

Sift flour for a gluten-free cake

Image by Marco Verch

How to keep a gluten-free cake tender and moist

Who doesn’t like a cake that is tender and moist, with an even, almost velvety texture? Here are several ways of making gluten-free cakes just the way you want:

  • The more the batter
    Baking with gluten-free flours can be a bit of a challenge. They are heavier and absorb more moisture than wheat flours. To give the batter some more lightness and the extra lift for a fine and tender crumb increase the baking powder and baking soda by 25%.
  • Need some air
    Weird as it may sound, but air is an important ingredient that should be included in all gluten-free recipes. Since there’s no gluten to create air pockets for lightness and fluffiness, we should create them ourselves. This can is accomplished by beating the batter much longer than normal (at least 5 minutes). Another good trick is to substitute sparkling water or soda for some of the liquid. This adds more air to the batter, which also helps get the lift you want in any cake.
  • Split and sift
    To avoid a dry, crumbly texture, don’t use just one type of gluten-free flour in your recipe. The best is to use a 50-50 blend of flours to replicate the flavor, texture and density of gluten flours. You can either buy a gluten-free flour blend or make your own. To keep the texture light, make sure to sift the flour before measuring it. If you skip this step you’ll end up using a lot more flour which can lead to dry, heavy baked goods.

Image by Marco Verch

  • Accurate and precise
    Properly measuring all the ingredients is an extremely important step in gluten-free baking that is often overlooked. No matter how much you like to improvise, this is not the time for “pinches” and “handfuls.” The correct way to measure dry ingredients (e.g., flour) is by using a measuring cup. An inaccurate measurement will result in using too much flour which will lead to dryness of your baked creation.
  • Sugar? Yes, please
    Sugar attracts water, so using more of it adds tenderness to cakes. Brown sugar actually has more moisture than white sugar, so it makes the cake more tender and moist. To bring out the most flavor in a gluten-free cake, you will need to double (sometimes even triple) the amount of sugar mentioned in the recipe.
  • Stay loose.
    It’s important to keep in mind that gluten-free batter is supposed to feel loose. If it looks too thin and runny, don’t worry, you have it right. No matter what, don’t add more flour because it will make your dough crumbly and dry.
Blend gluten-free flours for better texture

Image by Marco Verch

How to add more flavor to a gluten-free cake

Most cake recipes are designed to be full of flavor. If you found a gluten-free cake recipe that has a wonderful texture but missing the flavor, these simple tricks are sure to do the trick:

  • Add fruit purées instead of some of the liquid. Applesauce, pear puré, or any other puréed fruit really helps any cake stay moist and tender.
  • Using coffee instead of milk or water adds great depth of flavor to chocolate cakes and brings out the natural flavor of chocolate. You can use espresso or even instant coffee. When you use a gluten-free chocolate mix, just add a few teaspoons to a mix before baking.
  • To accentuated the flavor of cakes that use cocoa powder, bloom it in hot water beforehand. This simple step will significantly enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are classic cake spices. A tiny bit adds flavor to just about any cake recipe.
  • Another great way of bringing out other flavors in your baked creation is by adding fresh zest. Add about two teaspoons in the batter before putting it in the oven and you’re all set. Orange zest works perfectly for chocolate flavored cakes and lemon pairs great with vanilla.
  • Extra Sweetener will not only help to make your gluten-free cake more moist but also add to its flavor. Often, all you need is a little bit more sweetness to drown out that gluten-free taste. And sugar (or rather any sweetener, really) seems to be that one ingredient that never fails.
Increase flavor additives for gluten-free cake recipes

Image by Marco Verch

  • Don’t be afraid to add a little more salt to your mix for another depth of flavor. This works great for chocolate, but it also brings out vanilla too. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon to a mix before baking. A little definitely goes a long way!
  • Extracts are always a great idea when it comes to gluten-free baking. It doesn’t alter the structure when it bakes, but really packs a punch of flavor! For mixes, it’s better to stick to almond and vanilla which are versatile enough to work with any flavor. If you have an option to choose between imitation or real extracts, go for real ones since they are much more flavorful. And you can add a bit more than the recipe calls for. In fact, feel free to double the almond or vanilla extract in any cake recipe and don’t worry about overpowering the flavor.

Gluten-free baking takes practice and patience but if you keep trying, you’ll soon learn all the tricks of figuring out the perfect recipe for you.

If You’re Baking a Gluten-Free Cake, Add a Gift As Well

We’re not saying we think your gluten-free cake isn’t going to be wonderful! We just think that if the occasion warrants a cake, it probably also calls for a whole celebration. Perhaps a birthday gift is in order, or a keepsake that will help them remember the special occasion. And just in case your first gluten-free cake doesn’t turn out the way you’d like, you’ll have a back-up heading their way.

Or maybe you don’t feel like cooking right now? No problem.Visit our website and browse delicious gluten-free gifts. To learn more about gluten-free foods please visit this page. And make sure to share this article with those who might be interested by clicking on your favorite social media button!

No Comments

Posted in Blogs