All images: courtesy of Teresa

Tips on cooking the perfect gluten-free cake

Nelly wink 3

I was recently contacted by Teresa, who was looking for some help with taming a gluten-free cake recipe.

She wanted to cook a vanilla cake, but was struggling with making sure it rose while in the oven. She reached out for some help!

Here’s Teresa’s message to me:

Hi Nelly Baker, I sure could use some help! Ok dramatics over 🙂

I’m baking my first wedding cake using GF flour. They don’t want anything changed in my recipe, just the flour. So I tried my vanilla cake recipe using “Namaste GF flour”. The Cakes were moist great flavor. Only problem, they deflated after coming out of the oven and I don’t know what to do!

I took the cake I baked to my customer and they said the cake was DELICIOUS, but I need to fix the deflating issue. Could you please help?

Teresa sent me a picture of what had happened:

Gluten-free cake - needs some love! Gluten-free cake batter

I was more than happy to give some advice.

Hi Teresa, I’d love to try and help! Firstly, let me say that I’m so glad that your clients said the cake tasted great – it tells me you’re on the right track.

Adapting recipes can be a challenge, especially when substituting GF flour into a ‘normal’ recipe, but there are a couple of things I can think of which may help (in order of importance).

  • I notice the recipe doesn’t specify exactly how long the cake should be cooked for. This is important with gluten-free recipes, as GF cakes take longer to bake properly. For example, if you do the ‘toothpick test’ too early you almost guarantee the cake to fall once you lose the heat by opening the oven door. Consider raising your oven temperature a little (maybe 15-25 degrees F) and/or leaving it in the oven a little longer than you would a ‘normal’ cake – maybe 15-20 minutes.
  • When you think the cake is finished, open the oven door, turn off the heat and leave it in the oven to let it cool slowly. Gluten-free cakes are a bit more temperature sensitive and sometimes need to cool down slowly in order to not fall.
  • Do not over-mix your batter. Gluten-free baked goods do not rise as much as it is, so over-mixing can deflate your batter and ruin your rise. I know your clients didn’t want you to change anything in the recipe other than the flour, but you may need something to replace the ‘gluten-effect’ Gluten-free baked items need some sort of “gluten-replacer” in order to behave well. I like to use xanthan gum.
  • Don’t add extra liquid to the recipe, even if it seems too thick – gluten-free cake batter tends to be thicker than ‘normal’ batter.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature, especially your eggs and your flours! Keeping them on the counter for about 30-45 minutes prior to using them should be fine!
  • Because you have substituted GF flour into the recipe, make sure you stick to the volume specified, rather than weight. Each gluten-free flour mix has a different weight – I have found that volume is key to success.

I hope this helps – the key is not to get overwhelmed and think you need to change all of these things at once if you don’t want. You may only need to try the first couple of things on the list to make a difference. Try let me know how it goes!

Later, I got an update from Teresa:

I did as you recommend! I didn’t overmix, I kicked up the temp 25 degrees, I used room temp eggs, Flour. However…. On accident as I was posting the different weights of sifted and non-sifted GF Flour (it was 3 cups), I wasn’t thinking and dumped the sifted in verses just going by volume and I meant to follow your directions to the letter! I’m getting ready to flip it out and will send a picture. GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!

Perfect gluten-free cake

I waited with baited breath for the final picture…

Perfect gluten-free cake!

WOW WOW! I’m impressed!

Teresa’s final comment:


Well done, Teresa – you did a fantastic job!

love, Nelly xxxooo

PS: You can find out more about Teresa and her fantastic cakes at her ‘Baking Rock Stars and Rookies Welcomed’ Facebook page –  for baking professionals and those just getting started!

PPS: Check out my gluten-free desserts cookbook below!

Make Me Gluten-Free… 101 Desserts!

Make Me Gluten-Free… 101 Desserts!

YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREATING MOUTH-WATERING GLUTEN-FREE DESSERTS IN NO TIME AT ALL! Would you like to whip up inspiring gluten-free pies, muffins, brownies and puddings without raising a sweat? Then you are going to LOVE this no-fuss stress-free gluten-free dessert cookbook! Includes simple step-by-step instructions, cooking tips and clearly-formatted easy-to-read recipes for 101 original and scrumptious gluten-free desserts in no time at all! BONUS: EXTRA COOKBOOK INSIDE! More info →