Shirlee Goodness Cakery

Making the world a sweeter place one cake at a time

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake

Gluten Free Fall Birthday Cake

This year for our family Thanksgiving meal, my sister-in-law requested a birthday cake celebrating the fall birthdays: her mom and sister’s birthdays and my son’s birthday.  Since my sister-in-law and her daughter are gluten- intolerant, I ventured into the world of gluten-free baking.

Leveled cake layer

I have eaten a few gluten-free baked goods in the past.  They are usually dense and rather dry.  Then I went to “Sensitive Sweets,”  a gluten-free and nut-free bakery in Fountain Valley, California.  Oh, my!  Their cakes and breads are delicious, and so pretty, too!  So I know that it is possible to make good gluten-free baked goods.

I searched on the internet for recipes.  I settled on a gluten-free red velvet cake.  The picture and reviews were what sold me…the cake had the texture of a “normal” cake and the reviews said that everyone liked the cake and couldn’t even tell that it was gluten-free!  To substitute for wheat flour, the recipe asked for brown rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and xanthum gum.  I figured that so many substitutes must help to approximate wheat flour!  You can find the recipe at Gluten Free Cooking School.

Putting together the cake layers

As you can see, the texture of the cake looks like a cake from a box mix.  It’s has a fairly coarse texture with large air pockets.  So far so good.

Then I tasted some of the cake crumbs when I leveled the cake.  Hmmmm, kind of gritty, a little chewy and healthy tasting. Also a little oily.  Note to self:  use butter next time for sure.  My husband said the cake tasted like oatmeal, and my daughter said it reminded her of some breakfast bars.  Definitely anyone who has eaten a basic cake could tell it was gluten-free!  Oh well.  As it was already Thanksgiving morning, I didn’t have time to make another cake, so I continued on.  I hoped the cream cheese frosting would help with the overall cake eating experience.

After I tasted the cake, I decided to use a different frosting recipe, one that was less sweet and had a stronger and more tangy cream cheese flavor.  This is the recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen. Basically, it asks for twice the cream cheese (two 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese) and half the sugar (2 cups or 8 ounces) compared to the Gluten Free Cooking School Recipe. Just to let you know the other ingredients, they are 10 tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Cream cheese leaves in fall colors

Speaking of cream cheese frosting, I think it’s hard to do much piping using cream cheese frosting because it’s so soft.  I decided to go with very simple decoration, using fall-colored cream cheese candies in the shape of leaves.  You can find the recipe in my previous post.

Me and the Birthday Girls

When the cake was served after the Thanksgiving meal, the overall experience wasn’t too bad.  The cream cheese frosting did compliment  the red velvet cake nicely.

Even though I was disappointed with the results, I was really happy that my niece, who is gluten-intolerant, really liked the cake.  My next goal is to try some other gluten-free recipes and see if I can make a better tasting gluten-free cake. It will be a challenge!

My niece enjoying the gluten-free birthday cake

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