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White Cake, Gluten-Free Style

I have finally gotten a lot more comfortable in the kitchen again. I have a stack of handwritten recipes and other printouts with scribbles edits on them-about 70 so far. I have hundreds that are just not printed/written out yet, still stuck in the electronic stage. My standard Betty Crocker cookbook has post-its stuck to the pages of it with the proper GF edits throughout the book. 

Switching to gluten-free cooking was a hard reset in how to eat, how to cook and kitchen chemistry. It takes me hours to grocery shop because I read every food label to make sure the manufacturers haven't changed the recipe, to make sure that soy sauce isn't a hidden ingredient (aka MSG), to get ideas for my own mixes (srsly-not paying 3.50 for a box of rice-a-roni, no roni!).  To offset the amount of time it takes to shop, I have my shopping down to one big trip every two weeks-requiring about 4 hours of my time, and two smaller trips to get milk and bananas in between trips.  About every 8 weeks, we drive to a Whole Foods type store to stock up on GF basics like frozen pizza crusts, cereal, pasta, pre-made bread, tortillas and pretzels.  That trip is 4.5 hours (cartime only) roundtrip, with about 2 hours spent between two stores. 

I've been doing a food unit with the kids this week, showing them how to eat well-balanced according to the food pyramid, but doing it gluten-free. Rice, potatoes, cornmeal, sorghum, GF oats... They all have places on the pyramid, and a person can eat fine without the wheat filler-if you have the patience to shop that way. 

So today, Samuel is 7 years old. Its his birthday, and he can have whatever he wants as his cake. He wants a lego-cake. Le sigh. A white cake with white frosting and sprinkles Lego cake. As of 10 o'clock last night, i still hadn't figured out a *good* GF white cake. I have made a really dense, pound-cake type Chocolate chip cake, and figured out a deep chocolate cake (also very dense), but not the light, airy white birthday cake that Sam wanted. It's a good thing I perform well under pressure. 


So, without further ado, my Gluten-free White Birthday cake recipe.  

1/2 c. White Rice Flour
1/2 c. Sorghum Flour
2/3 c. Tapioca Flour
1/3 c. Potato Starch
1 c. White Cane Sugar
2 teas. Baking Powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. xanthan gum
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk-any type 

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Grease pans-this recipe makes 16-18 cupcakes, 2 6-inch round layers, 9-inch square, or a 10-inch round.  

Throughly combine the first 8 dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 

Place softened butter in mixer bowl and beat until fluffy.  Add flour mix to butter, blending on lowest setting until combined, then changing to setting "2" on the mixer until mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute.  

In small bowl, lightly whisk eggs and vanilla together.  Add eggs to mixer and mix until smooth and thick, about 1 minute.  Add milk and mix for 1 more minute.  

Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick is clean.  Time will depend on the shape of your pan, but should be about 24 minutes for cupcakes, 45 minutes for a loaf pan.  

Allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.  Frost when cool.  I am using Pillsbury French Vanilla Frosting, which is now GF.  


We couldn't wait last night.  I had to know if I was going ot have to try again first thing this morning, so we were eating cupcakes at midnight last night.  I ripped it open to find perfect air bubbles, a perfect golden-brown outer shell, and a perfect homemade cupcake taste.  This is definately NOT the icky Walmart-variety cupcake with the mile-high frosting on it.  No, it is soo much better!  Tapioca and sorghum are naturally sweeter than wheat, and bake up wonderfully.  

In the coming weeks, I will be publishing some of our favorite recipes so I can share them with my other GF mommy friends.  For the record, if you are GFCF, most of the recipes can be made CF by using the proper dairy replacements.  Please be patient with my updates--I homeschool three kids ages 7 and under, I am trying to run a home-based business and have a hubbie that needs some occasional attention too.    


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2008 09:29 am (UTC)
white cake
So how do you make it dairy-free? I can't use Spectrum shortening or Earth Balance, my only option is canola oil. Any ideas? Thanks!
May. 26th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
Re: white cake
Are you no soy or no corn too? Hmmm... To use oil, but to get the air into the batter, one would have to whip the egg whites and yolks separately-whites need to be just past "soft peak" stage, and the yolks need to be beaten in with the oil until that is lemony and thick.

Others please note: You can substitute GFCF shortening straight across for the margarine if you need to, and "milk" can be any type of milk: cow, soy, rice, almond, hemp, etc. Coconut Oil or Palm Kernal Oil (solids) can also be used instead of the margarine, but it is expensive and will alter the flavor of the cake.

Flavor notes: you can also substitute the vanilla extract for lemon, almond, or mint extract.

OK, re-write in order... For the following recipe, assume 3/4 c. oil instead of margarine.

Mix up dry ingredients in medium bowl, set aside. Separate eggs. Place egg whites in mixer and whip until just past soft-peak stage; place into "holding bowl" for use in a few minutes. Place yolks and 3/4c. oil together in clean mixer bowl, whip until thick; add milk and vanilla to yolks, stir together. Add all dry ingredients in two parts to mixer, stir together and scrape sides. Fold in egg whites throughly, preferably with a rubber scraper (not the mixer).

Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake. The cook time should change slightly. GF cakes that use oil tend to be very dense and the air bubbles can collapse if it doesn't reach the very most perfect "done" point, but can get dry if over-cooked. Just keep checking on it.

I have not tested this change yet--I will post when I do though. I have to make up a batch for Memorial Day BBQ, so a perfect opportunity for a test run.
Jan. 5th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
I made these tonight. They're awesome. Found you via google. :)

Jan. 10th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I'm going to test this recipe out today for my oldest's 6-yr party in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out. Hubby was dxed celiac in Sept. and both dd's have tested gluten sensitive so we are completely gf now and I am a baker and love to cook. Cooking not so hard but baking is a challenge. I've been researching cake recipes for hours now, lol! So far only about half of my own baked goods recipes have been succesfully modified and I just don't have the time to try to keep testing recipes for a cake at the moment. Thank you!
Feb. 8th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!
It's not without some trepidation that I try a new GF recipe from the 'web. There have been disasters aplenty, and I do not have the saintly patience of Amanda! But this cake is GREAT - even the batter was edible (no small feat for a GF product, though I didn't eat much, of course). Beautiful recipe - thanks for all the hours of hard work getting it right - you totally DID! love and peace and good digestion to you and your family!!
Feb. 12th, 2009 01:29 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you!!
No, thank you for the wonderful comments! I love helping out my fellow GF mommies, especially with something as important to a child like a birthday cake. Your comments motivate me to create and share more of my recipes. Thank you again.

Feb. 28th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
I'm going to practice this cake today. My son's 2yr. party is next weekend and my husband, his mom, and half of her 7 siblings are GF. Whew, this has been quite an educational experience.
Mar. 1st, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks!
This cake is perfectly fantastic!!!!! Our test run went beautifully and I could even make it look like a train. No more cross-contamination or "I can't have that" worries! Thanks!
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks AGAIN
If I haven't left this comment before, I have been remiss. This is a GREAT recipe, and I am making it right now for about the fourth or fifth time. EVERYONE loves it, even the wheat- and Costco cake-eaters. I've been using a buttercream icing, but am considering going with a Boiled Icing tonight to avoid the butter (though I will be crashing into the sugar...). I've told your beautiful story about staying up all night perfecting this recipe for your little boy, and it only makes the cake MORE delicious in the telling. Blessings to you and your family! Vita
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks AGAIN
Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Knowing that I am making someone else journey through this dietary minefield a little easier makes my heart so happy!!!
Jun. 4th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
pre-made GF flour mix?
Wondering if anyone has tried this with a premixed flour, like Bob's Red Mill GF flour mix? I use it for almost everything (Amazon has good case prices) so I don't even keep individual flours around. Want to make white cupcakes for DD's birthday this weekend... Any thoughts?
Oct. 27th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
I don't know if I'm the only one not to get it, but since I'm going to be using this recipe for my daughter's birthday party this weekend I figured I'd double check your "teaspoon" and "tablespoon" abbreviations since they're not the ones I'm used to (tsp, and Tbs). My husband and I have had miscommunications about this in the past and I don't want to have super-salty cupcakes :)

So, you're using "t." as Tablespoon and "teas." as teaspoon? Sorry, I'm not trying to be a jerk...I just know that people's abbreviations can vary and I want to be sure. Thanks so much. Also, I'm only posting as anonymous because I don't have the Open ID or LJ. Thanks.

Alissia from Mountain View

Feb. 11th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
I am excited I found this. My best friend who I have known my whole life Just found out she has celiac disease. Our time together often includes backing cakes together. White cake is one of her favorite foods and I know that it will make her SO happy to be able to eat cake together like we always have. I am in collage and I don't have time to figure out how to make a good Gluten free cake. I really appreciate it!
May. 28th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
Delicious, but...
I've made this recipe twice. The taste is phenomenal. The first time I made it, I neglected to follow the instructions and just mixed everything up together. And I used butter. The cake fell badly and came out denser than pound cake. The second time I followed instructions, used canola oil and it fell again... not as badly this time. NEXT week I'll be making it again and I really don't want it to fall. Any ideas?
Jun. 7th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
Birthday cake recipe big thanks :)
I've been searching for a simple white cake recipe for a few years. Had my fair share of failures. Chocolate cake's easy, but plain vanilla has been illusive. I did change up this recipe to lemon poppysead for fun (1 1/2 tbs poppy seads plus juice/zest of 1 lemon.)

My sister is celiac and I'm vegitarian. Below is what worked for me today. I will experiment with alternative sweetners later on ie. sucanet and agave nectar.

Gluten-free White / lemon poppy sead Cake recipe.  

1/2 c. White/Brown Rice Flour
1/2 c. Sorghum Flour (or Amaranth flour)
2/3 c. Tapioca Flour
1/3 c. Arrowroot Powder
1 c. Raw sugar (or Sucanet next time)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 c. softened butter (10-12 tbs coconut oil)
3 eggs (1 1/2 tbs Psyllium seed husks with dry ingredients + 9 tbs with wet)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk-any type (soy or almond next time)

Hearty thanks - Julia
Jan. 5th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
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Jan. 17th, 2011 12:25 am (UTC)
Tapioca Flour
This recipe sounds fabulous! I can't wait to try it.

Can you tell me what brand of Tapioca Flour you use? I received a recommendation for one that my area doesn't carry and have paid hefty shipping charges to avoid the bitter taste that some (suppossedly) have. But I would like to try a different brand. Thank you.
Jan. 17th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
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Feb. 2nd, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
Looks good. I'm looking for something with no butter, because we forgot to get it with the groceries, so I'll try the shortening. Big snow storm today, so I'm not going out to get butter! Roads are kind of bad.

We have gluten-free and homeschooling in common. I have two little guys. I haven't checked your other interests, yet!
Feb. 12th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Great recipe!!
This recipe is great!! I have tried many different recipes and this one is BY FAR the best!!! We made only slight alterations in the recipe because we had a bunch of pears that were about to go bad so this recipe turned into an upside-down pear cake. If you want a cake that is very moist and a little more healthy since it doesn't need any icing, try this alternative. It turns out great.
Prepare the cake batter as stated in the recipe.
Peel your fruit of choice (we used about 5 very delicious pears) and add a little brown sugar (2-3 tablespoons), cinnamon (1 tsp), and a half a stick of melted butter.
Pout the fruit mixture in the bottom of a large cake pan and then pout the batter over the top. Bake until lightly browned and enjoy!! I happen to think this cake tastes even better the next day!

Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipe!
Mar. 25th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
Apr. 13th, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
I can't wait to try this out! I've been looking for a good white cake. I'm MSG, soy, and GF, too. I'm surprised you can actually buy things! I am limited in where I can shop and can only buy four items from Walmart other than fruits and veggies. I've found that the prefab gf stuff is full of MSG. kudos on finding some clean brands, though! :)
Nov. 21st, 2014 08:46 am (UTC)
It sounds incredible, I can't wait to try it! 
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )