Tips for Making Regular Cake Recipes Gluten Free

It seems there is so much searching for a good cake recipe that is already gluten free, when making a regular cake recipe with gluten free flours is usually quite simple. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but with my experience to date I find that cake recipes using the regular ingredients of flour, sugar, butter or shortening, eggs and a liquid of some kind are easily converted. If you have a good chocolate cake recipe, it will likely yield a good gluten free chocolate cake also. The same goes for a white cake, yellow cake or other flavor.

I made an old favorite recipe for a Caramelized Sugar Cake recently, and these days I am always curious how a gluten free version will come out. This cake is delicious, with caramelized sugar syrup made from scratch just beforehand. The syrup gives a light caramel flavor and color to the cake, and an added dimension to the texture. I have loved this recipe for so long that I decided, once we finished off the regular version, to try it again with gluten free flours.

So far, in my experience, I have been adding xanthan gum to any recipe using gluten free flour mixtures of any kind. If the recipe uses more than 2 cups of flour, I add 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the total recipe. If the recipe is small, as with pancakes, I use about a half teaspoon per recipe. Some feel that xanthan gum also causes them problems, so if this is the case and you know of another substitute for the thickening and structure that xanthan gum gives, please feel free to try that instead. Psyllium husks are a thickener also, and could possibly be used in place of xanthan gum, though I have no measure for how much at this time.

If you are gluten intolerant, you may already have a favorite gluten free flour mixture. For this cake I used a pre mixed batch of 6 cups brown rice flour, 2 cups potato starch and 1 cup tapioca starch. There are many good all purpose gluten free flour blends on the market also, and I have used some of them with perfect results. The gluten free options for this cake are the 1 to 1 substitution of gluten free flour, the addition of 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum and one added egg yolk, as the batter seemed too thin.

Caramelized Sugar Cake

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

Melt the sugar in a saucepan. Once completely melted, allow the syrup to become a deep amber. Remove from heat and add in the boiling water. Be very careful as it will splatter about and again become semi solid. Once back on heat, stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until liquefied. Reduce the syrup slightly. Set aside to cool.

1 stick butter

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

3 tablespoons caramelized sugar syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time until well combined. Sift together all the dry ingredients. Combine the water and the 3 tablespoons of sugar syrup. Beat in the dry ingredients, alternately with the liquid ingredients, in three stages. Beat well for a couple of minutes longer. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This cake is excellent with a simple buttercream or cream cheese icing. I filled my gluten free version with a coconut pecan mixture and topped it with a little buttercream icing. It could also be topped with the coconut pecan mixture, or even glazed with chocolate. Do try this recipe, whether it is the regular flour version or gluten free.

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