Gluten Free Perfect Yellow Cake
I taught Professional Baking and Pastry at a culinary school for a number of years. On the first day of the Cake module, I would give students homework to talk about the most memorable cake they ever had. Chance are that even if it was the simplest of cakes, the memory was attached with a Barbie 6th birthday, their wedding, bar mitzvah, baby shower, etc. My point was, we all have great memories of milestones that somehow cake sneaks in way in. So, of course as our children’s first birthdays approach, we get very excited for their first real birthday cake!
As allergy moms, those milestone cakes take a different meaning. Casey’s first anaphylaxis happened a week before his birthday. I was terrified to give him anything and his list of allergies and avoidances was so long. So, upon some great advice from a new allergy mentor and friend, I focused on what he could have and would like. When it was time to sing Happy Birthday, Casey blew out a candle inside a large baked sweet potato. He loved it (ignorance is bliss!) and it’s also a great memory of how far he’s come.
His second birthday allowed more things to add to his diet and he had a delicious chocolate wacky cake with cassava flour. By the time his third birthday rolled around a couple of months ago, he had this recipe which was born out of a dozen tries. I knew it could have baked milk and egg as he had just recently passed challenges for both, but I wanted a dairy free option as well. And, as always, it has to be free from wheat or any other gluten containing grain.
I altered a delicious recipe I had for a traditional sponge cake called a Hot Milk Sponge. I make two options, one with butter and milk, and then with safe milks and vegan butter, and the results were amazing. The gluten free flour didn’t not make a gummy cake which can be so common, and it stayed tender and moist for days. It can be made as cupcakes, layers, or as my family loves it, a simple Bundt with a light glaze.
It does contain egg, and I’m sorry that (as of now!) I cannot make it egg free for my friends with an egg allergy. This is a vital ingredient for the cake. I am working on it, though. Enjoy!💙
**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Milk (safe or regular) – The original recipe uses regular milk, but I also use Casey’s safe So Delicious coconut beverage. You can use your safe milk of choice.
- Eggs – As I said above, the eggs are absolutely necessary to this recipe. The cake needs the air whipped into the eggs for stability and rise in the cake, and even more so when made with gluten free flour. The yolks also help provide fat for moisture.
- Butter (vegan or regular) – Again, the original recipe uses regular butter. A form of melted fat is necessary to the recipe, like the eggs, but there is wiggle room here. Melted shorted or coconut oil did not work well, the best option here is safe vegan butter. Casey’s safe is Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks. You can use either regular or safe butter depending on your needs.
- Flour (gluten free or regular) – This was tricky as well to figure out with gluten free flour. It can be very gummy if the liquid proportion is incorrect. After a few tries I got it right, and the crumb is tender and not dry at all. Your gluten free flour must contain xanthan gum though. That helps provide the structure that is lacking from the gluten in wheat flour. I use King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour for best results. Remember that all blends are different, and results may vary. If you are fine with wheat, then all purpose flour is perfect here.
- Flavoring – I usually make a straight vanilla flavor, but you can also add flavoring extracts of choice like lemon, coconut or orange. Instead of 2 tsp. vanilla, use 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. flavoring.
Gluten Free Perfect Yellow Cake
Author: Katie Martino Lopez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 mins. /40 mins. /1 hour, depending on pan size
Total Time: 40 mins. /55 mins. /1 hour 15 mins., depending on pan size
Yield: 24 cupcakes, 2- 8” or 9” pans, 1 standard Bundt pan
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- ½ c. (4 oz.) regular butter or vegan butter
- 1 c. (8 fl. oz.) regular or safe milk (do not use canned coconut milk, I use refrigerated coconut beverage)
- 2 tsp. vanilla (or 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. flavoring extract of choice)
- 1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
- 2 c. gluten free flour with xanthan gum
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- Prepare pans- for Bundt, grease and flour corners well, for pans lightly grease and flour, for cupcakes use liners.
- Warm safe milk and vegan butter over a medium heat until melted. Do not boil! Set aside to cool. It cannot be hot, or it will deflate and cook eggs on contact, but it cannot be too cool, or the fat will begin to congeal and solidify.
- Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
- Whip eggs, vanilla/flavoring, and sugar at high speed until light, thick and pale yellow, about 4-5 minutes. Do not let the sugar and eggs sit together without mixing or the sugar will pull the moisture from the eggs and make little bits of yolk. The eggs are ready when it leaves a trail of itself when dripped, this is called “ribbon stage”.
- Working quickly, as to not deflate the air in the eggs, add in “milk” mixture, then flour mixture. A whisk may have to be used instead of a spatula to incorporate all the flour.
- Immediately pan cake batter out in chosen pans. Do not bang pans to remove air bubbles or it will deflate the mixture. Put in oven and don’t open door until close to finish time.
- Baking times are always approximate-check 5 minutes before end time. Cakes will spring back to the touch and be a nice golden brown. A paring knife will come out clean when testing.
- Cool cake on a rack, flipping cupcakes on their side so moisture doesn’t build. The cakes must cool completely before unmolding because they are very delicate and can break easily.
- When cool, cake can be wrapped and frozen for a month or iced with your favorite frosting. I keep cupcakes frozen, so Casey always has a treat available if we are having a dessert that is not safe for him.
- Room temperature storage is best but can be refrigerated if there is a perishable filling.
- The eggs whip best when room temperature, but not warm! If you need to speed the process, leave the eggs in a bowl of warm water while you prep the recipe.
As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…
Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.
And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!