Friday, September 24, 2010

Gluten Free Birthday Cake.

For those who don't know, I bake a lot of gluten free things because my sister-in-law Rachel is gluten intolerant.  She and my brother, Andy, come over nearly every Sunday and it's always nice to be able to offer them something gluten free for dessert and I love experimenting with gluten free baking.  Anyway, she's about to pop any day now with a baby boy:

This cake wasn't made for her birthday, but it was for my mom's birthday and when Andy and Rachel come over we like to do everything gluten free.  This is my go-to gluten free vanilla cake and hopefully anyone else who bakes gluten free will take notice - it's SUCH a great, foolproof recipe.  I do believe I even forgot the xanthan gum when I made this batter into cupcakes for one of Rachel's baby showers but it still came out delicious as always.  The mascarpone cream and fresh fruit were there to dress things up a bit, (plus my mom loves fresh fruit) but this cake, frosted with good old buttercream frosting, is perfect for any gluten free occasion.

I generally double this recipe so I can get 2 8 or 9-inch layer cakes or 24 cupcakes, but in this case I just split one 8-inch layer in half and filled it with fruit and cream.  It was big enough to serve at least 8 or 9 people generously.  (and as Nigella Lawson says, " else would you want to feed them?")

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake 
Adapted from 125 Best Gluten Free Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt
2/3 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and grease an 8 or 9-inch cake pan, square or round.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients (white rice flour through salt) and set aside.

Combine the cider vinegar and milk and let the milk sit for a few minutes while you cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients and the soured milk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix well and scrape the bowl with a large spatula, making sure everything is well combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and let sit for 15-30 minutes before baking.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, although check on the cake at 20 minutes, as I find this cake is often done before a half an hour is up and certainly check at the 15 minute mark if you use this for cupcakes.  Let cool completely before filling or frosting.  This cake also freezes well, just wrap it in plastic wrap twice and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Mascarpone Cream:
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, cold
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on your taste
Vanilla extract

Using the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese and heavy cream until it forms soft peaks.  Stir in just enough sugar to slightly sweeten the cream and add a splash of vanilla.

Use on any vanilla cake or cupcakes, although I'm sure it would be great with chocolate as well.  What isn't? :)


  1. There needs to be more gluten free recipes. Thanks for your efforts.

  2. You can't know how amazing it is that you are so gracious to your sister in law and her allergy. You're my new favorite blog. :) And I LOVE this super simple, adaptable recipe. You're the best!

  3. Hi Elizabeth! I have used this recipe three times now - as a cake, cupcakes and mini-cupcakes. The first time (cake) I think I over-baked it - it was still delicious, but a little dry. When I used it for the cupcakes and minis, I added a bit more liquid in the form of yogurt and sour cream (not together though!). The result was so good; soft, spongy cupcakes with amazing taste. My kids and husband devoured them, and when I shared them with my book club friends, they couldn't believe they were gluten-free. I even used your combination of flours/starches to turn a regular banana cake recipe gluten-free and it came out beautifully. Thank you for sharing! ~ Amanda in Amaranth, ON Canada :)

  4. Hi, I'm planning on making your cake for my boyfriend in a few days. Neither of us have to be gluten free, but I'm dedicated to losing weight before our cruise in a month, and I realized gluten free cakes are much lower in calories than flour based ones. I have a question about the frosting, do you have to refrigerate the leftover cake because of the frosting? Or can it sit out in an air tight cake saver?

  5. This "cake" came out more like a muffin. I have made many gf cakes over the years and this one was way to gummy. Such a waste to because I doubled the recipe. I knew as soon as I was mixing it something was not right, the batter acted more like dough. so sad.

  6. We made this cake for wife's's wonderful..thank you for helping make it special for her

  7. I have learnt how to make cake, with the help of this recipe. It’s taste was fantastic!!! I would like to recommend this cake to all my siblings.
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