So my baby boy is nearly 12 months old now! I honest to god have no idea where the time went. I know all new Mums say that but really it freaking disappeared on me. Somehow here I am with a ‘not so little boy’ about to turn 1 in a few weeks and naturally I got a little bit excited to plan his First Birthday Party!
Actually I’ve been way too excited for quite a few months now and I’ve been tossing around ideas and making my mind up and changing it again every few days as to what I was going to be doing for it. The one thing I did know is which cake I would make him. As any good Aussie kid knows, all the great birthday cakes are made out of The Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book. It was always a really big deal to choose your cake out of this book and have your Mum make it for you. So I’m sure you can imagine how I felt once Mister L was born. I couldn’t wait to do the same!
With the not-so-hard decision of which cake to make out of the way, it came down to what flavour of cake would I bake and would it be gluten free? So far my munchkin is luckily showing no signs of gluten intolerancy (unlike myself and my Mum) so I thought perhaps I should bake a gluten cake for him and our guests and just something small for Grandma and I to have. My husband though, said “Who cares? The baby won’t care what type of cake he’ll be eating so why not make it something Mummy can enjoy!”. After all, his first birthday isn’t just a celebration about him… it’s about us too, making it through this first year in (somewhat) one piece.
So OK, decision made. I would make a gluten free birthday cake…. but sadly almost all the white and yellow gluten free cakes I’ve tried have turned out average…. or worse. Much, much worse actually. So a few months ago I went on the hunt to find the honest to goodness BEST Gluten Free cake and I have to let you in on this little secret. I FOUND IT!
The genius comes in the form of Yammie’s Glutenfreedom. A fabulous blog I found with an array of fabulous sounding recipes, including one awesome white cake. Naturally I had to try it out and naturally (like most decent gf cakes) it calls for you to make up your own All-Purpose flour blend. This, I admit, is something I’ve never really gotten around to doing. Oh I understand the benefits don’t get me wrong. But I just never really had the time or well, inclination to do so. However given my recent failures in the fluffy white cake department I thought if I’m going to do this, I need to do it right.
So I embarked on the adventure of mixing my own flour blend. I say adventure as I had to hit 5 stores before I could find all the ingredients and that included travelling to Perth to do so. The unfortunate side-effect of living in a small country town you see. But it didn’t take me too long to hunt down the elusive ingredients thanks to a wonderful little health food store in Midland Gate shopping center. With that out of the way I went about popping them together in just the right blend, again thanks to some helpful bits I picked up from Yammie and the lovely blog she directed me to. (You can find the flour blend I used here. But there are heaps of make your own flour blends on the web, just have a look!)
With my Gluten Free All-Purpose flour blend all mixed up I could finally start on my practice cake. Now to make my Number 1 cake I need 2 long loaf shaped cakes and this recipe will make three round ones. So this was really what I was practicing, to see how long and if the cake would work in a loaf pan, but I didn’t really want to have to eat two loaf cakes! So what was a girl to do?
Cupcakes. When in doubt, make cupcakes. (I’m thinking I need this printed on a t-shirt! Don’t you reckon?) The recipe should make 24 or so cupcakes, or in my case 1 loaf pan cake and 12 cupcakes! One loaf pan for us to trial and twelve cupcakes that I decided would have to be sent with my hubby to his work. Because god forbid twelve cupcakes are left in the house with me …. on my own!
So here I am with a recently repaired oven (got to love rentals don’t you?!) that still just doesn’t seem to be quite right, attempting a new recipe with a grizzly baby 4 weeks out from his birthday. Hell if this doesn’t work!
Well I can tell you now…. it didn’t. Not the cupcakes though, they were spectacular. Cooked beautifully and tasted AH-MAZING! (Even all the people at hubsters work thought they were the BEST cupcakes they had EVER tasted! Most said they couldn’t even tell they were gluten free!) The loaf pan though? Hmmm yeah. That just wasn’t cooking. I even thought it was cooked at one stage and pulled it out only to realise a few minutes later that it was still raw in parts, even after the skewer test! Sadly the problem my oven seems to have now is leaking hot air, making it hard to gauge the temperature and creating hot spots. Also the sheer fact that a loaf pan is drastically different in the size and density of cake it normally would create.
So after an additional 20 minutes at 150º Celsius (that’s on top of the 30 minutes at 180º the recipe called for) it eventually came out cooked. It was still quite a gamble pulling it out but what the hell! Let’s give it a whirl. Luckily this time it was cooked and even after all that messing about it was freaking delish! I let the cupcakes and the cake cool and then covered them in a lightly pink buttercream icing and WOLLAH! Beautiful, moist, light, fluffy cake covered in sugary icing goodness. It was then and there that I decided this would not only definitely be the cake I would use for Mister L’s birthday cake but probably also now my go-to white cake for literally every occasion. (A big claim I know!)
Now I suppose after all this hype and talk I should probably share with you this wonderful recipe! Well OK! Here it is.
The Best White Gluten Free Cake…. EVER!
2 + 3/4 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used this one here.)
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1 + 2/3 Cups Sugar
1 Tbsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
170g Salted Butter, softened (yes you read right, salted!)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 + 1/4 Cup Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Egg Whites
Let’s get this party started and get you tasting this beautiful cake right away!
Now the recipe says this will make 3 x 20cm (8 inch) round cakes or one 22 x 33cm (9 x 13 inch) cake. It will definitely make 24 cupcakes too! So pick your poison and grease and line your cake tins. I always prefer to use baking paper in mine, just to make removal easier.
Preheat your oven to 180º Celsius and pull out your stand mixer. In a large bowl pop your flours, sugar, baking powder and salt and give them a slow spin with the mixer just to incorporate them.
Now pop in your softened butter (a few seconds in the microwave will help if you haven’t thought ahead and pulled it out earlier), throw in your vegetable oil and beat well until thoroughly combined. Now go ahead and add your egg whites one at a time, beat well after each one to ensure thoroughly mixed through. (Remember, not using the yolks is what makes this a white cake and not a yellow cake!) I really recommend taking your time and making sure you add the eggs slowly and beating well, it honestly does make a difference. No point rushing huh!
Go ahead and add your vanilla extract and then add your milk a 1/4 cup at a time again mixing till just incorporated after each addition. Once all of your milk is worked in turn your mixer up to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Your batter should be thick, sticky and quite fluffy! Now you can spread your mixture evenly into your prepared tin/s or spoon into lined muffin tins. If making muffins, really top the mixture right up to the top of the liner.
Bake in your oven for 20 minutes if making the three round or the cupcakes. If you are making the large rectangle cake I suggest cooking for a touch longer, maybe 30-35 minutes and maybe knock your oven down a few degrees too (this is a tip from someone else, I have yet to try it, though I will be shortly). A skewer inserted into the middle can be used as a guide, however I found it to be unreliable in this case.
You’ll know they’re done when the cake is a golden brown on top and slightly firm to the touch. If it doesn’t bounce back bake it longer!!
Once cooked pop your tins onto a cooling rack for 15 minutes or so, your cakes should be relatively cool to touch before attempting to remove them from your pans. Once fully cooled go head and ice in your choice of icing. I love to use a rich buttercream on these as it just makes it that bit more like a kids birthday cake, hehe! Who doesn’t love a good sugar overload every once in a while?
So that’s it! What I consider to be THE BEST white gluten free cake I have ever tasted and I would definitely venture to say, the Best cake I may have ever baked! I am really looking forward to whipping up Mister L’s birthday cake… as long as the stress of it doesn’t kill me first. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks for my run down on his birthday cake and party, though if you don’t hear from me? I may be dead. But hey as long as the cake tastes great huh! haha
So who’s going to give this fabulous recipe a try? And have you made your own flour blend before? As usual let me know by clicking on ‘leave a comment’ at the top!