A little while ago I posted about the The Hands Down Best White Gluten Free Cake…EVER! and how it has changed my gluten free baking experiences… well today I want to reiterate it again! Just in case you missed it.
Most people I speak to about being gluten intolerant have this perception that all gluten free foods are horrid and taste disgusting whether they’ve tried any at all. Well my goal here is to prove to you that they’re not! How do I do that you might ask? Simply put, I bake awesome food. I just happen to make it gluten free, then I don’t tell the unsuspecting guinea pigs that are my friends and family anything. Once they’ve eaten my fabulous food and told me how good it was and raved over it, I then tell them it was gluten free. Most don’t believe me.
This was very much the way with the cake above that I made for my son’s 1st Birthday party. Even better though this cake took it to the next level, it was beyond amazing and not a single person could tell it was GF. That all came back to one thing….. MAKING MY OWN GLUTEN FREE FLOUR BLEND!
If you are gluten intolerant, Coeliac or have a family member that is and you normally can’t be bothered with making your own blend you NEED to try it NOW! I used to be one of those people. I thought “My food tastes OK to me, it can’t matter that much can it?”. Oh how very wrong I was.
Since discovering this fabulous GF All Purpose flour blend I have tried it in several of my recipes and they’ve all worked beautifully, tasting just that much better. But the true test came when I wanted to try it in a gorgeously light red velvet cake recipe for my Dad’s birthday. The recipe in question came from an awesome blog I have followed for some time now Gluten Free on a Shoestring. Nicole is pure genius with some of her recipes but if I’m being totally honest here most of my attempts at them have failed pretty drastically. That is until now!
Enter her Classic Red Velvet Cake.
Now let’s not get too carried away with ourselves just yet. I believe the whole reason this cake worked out so well was thanks to the awesome flour blend (and for once not using store bought mixes). Nicole does recommend you make up your own and she has a wealth of knowledge on the topic on her blog however I really wanted to try my own as it doesn’t contain any potato starch or flour.
So let’s start there.
Making your own gluten free flour blend is incredibly easy. You simply head to the supermarket and pick up an arrangement of flours, mix them together in the correct portions and pop it in the fridge. Voila! All Purpose GF Flour on hand for whenever you need it. I then just sub it in instead of my standard store bought plain flour mixes where ever the recipe calls for it.
Enough flabbergasting, you can find the flour recipe here:
Now enough talk of flours I’m sure you want to hear about my experiences with the red velvet cake. Well here goes.
Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake with Sweet Cream Cheese Icing
2 Cups of the above GF All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Cornflour (ensure it says gluten free!!)
1 tsp Salt
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarb Soda
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
154g Unsalted Butter
1 1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
3 Eggs, Beaten
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Full fat Milk
Red food colouring (Gel colouring preferably)
Preheat your oven to 180º Celsius and grease and flour two 22cm round cake tins. Now I like to use the silicone tins for cakes these days just as they’re so much easier to get out, especially if you grease and flour them before hand. Now what do I mean by grease and flour? Simply grease the bottom and up the sides a little of each pan by rubbing butter around with a piece of grease proof paper. Then grab a small handful of your flour and sprinkle around the inside, toss this around little until a fine layer of flour sticks to the butter. This will create a non stick edge and the cakes will turn out perfect almost every time, I swear!
Set your tins aside and in a medium bowl mix up the flours, salt, baking powder, bicarb soda and cocoa powder. All you’re doing here is ensuring your flours are mixed through well and that your cocoa has no lumps in it, it just makes mixing your cake batter a little easier.
Pop a large bowl in your stand mixer and add your room temperature butter, beating until it changes to a lighter colour and becomes a little fluffy. Now add in the sugar, and then your eggs one at a time, beating very well to incorporate before adding the next. Throw in the vanilla extract and ensure everything is thoroughly mixed through. Pop in the apple cider vinegar next and your food colouring, beat well.
A tip on the food colouring! I had no red gel food colouring on hand (and couldn’t be arsed going to Perth to get some) so I used your good ole classic Queen liquids. If like me you only have this type of food colouring you may find you need quite a bit of it to develop a nice rich red colour. Otherwise just add a few drops of the gel stuff. I ended up going back and adding more to really give it a rich red texture but we’ll cover that in a minute.
Now that you have a lovely bright red eggy mix you can start to incorporate your flour mix and the milk. Nicole’s suggestion here really did work for me so I suggest you do the same. The other take away? Make sure your kitchen mixer is on a medium speed and that you even slow it down as your cake batter thickens…..otherwise you end up with flour and milk bits flying everywhere. Yeah just ask my son about the pile of cocoa and flour that ended up all over the kitchen floor!
Nicole’s suggestion at this point is to add a scoop of flour (I did a rough 1/4 Cup), let it mix in, then add a splash of milk again allowing it to mix well, then finishing with more flour. This flour-milk-flour combo worked really well and is something I’ve taken away for other cake mixes. Once you’ve finished adding them all in you should have a beautiful thick, glossy looking cake mix…. which is rather delicious too.
Now just before we pour into the tins have a look at your colouring. Is it red enough? I found mine to be lacking, but like I said I had the wrong kind of food colouring. So just before I finished mixing I added in some more to get it to that beautiful rich red/dark maroon colour! Now go ahead and separate your mix between the two cake tins, which I never get perfectly even no matter how hard I try and pop them into the center of your hot oven. 25 minutes later, a clean skewer through the middle and bang they’re done! Leave them to cool for 10 minutes in the tins before inverting onto wire racks and fully allowing to cool before we start the icing.
Ooooh yes onto that icing!
Sweet Cream Cheese Icing
450g Philadelphia Cream Cheese (annoyingly short of two blocks!)
56g Butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
5 Cups Icing Sugar
A couple of drops of White gel food colouring
Now I have not made this sweet cream cheese icing since I was in the Yummy Chummy’s (yes that was the name for our Home Economics catering/cooking group) in High School! I had honestly forgotten how awesome it is. I used to make it all the time for orange and poppy seed cake. God it’s yummy stuff!
Now even though I have listed the full ingredients here (as Nicole suggested them) I actually wouldn’t use all of that Icing sugar next time. I would simply stop at roughly 2 1/2 Cups, but it really depends on how sweet you like your icing! In this instance start with half and keep on adding until you get the sweetness that you and your family like.
In a new bowl on your kitchen mixer (or hand beaters if you don’t have a stand) with a paddle attachment NOT the whisking attachment (trust me on that one!) beat the cream cheese with the butter until soft and fluffy. Throw in the salt and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
Add in half of the icing sugar and beat thoroughly until fully combined. This is where I would stop and taste it and see what you think of the flavour! Personally I don’t think I would add much more but it really is up to you. If you want a sweeter punch to your cake continue to mix in the remainder of the icing sugar (or as much or little as you like!) a cup at a time, again mixing well between additions. Also if you really like that snowy white icing look you can add a couple of drops of white gel food colouring too. I did this just to punch it up a little.
Next we need to ice the cake!
Ensuring both cakes are totally cool (otherwise you will melt your cream cheese!) start by covering the bottom cake with a thin layer of cream cheese icing and pop it into the freezer for 10 minutes or so. This is called a crumb layer, a term you’ll often see in cake decorating. It’s basically going to give you a smooth, semi hard layer to keep your crumbs in check while you frost, ensuring you end with a smooth beautiful icing job.
Once this has cooled and hardened sufficiently you can get to work covering your cake. Dollop a good heap of icing on top and spread thickly across, this will be your delicious filling! You can also ice down the sides of the cake in either a smooth finish like below or you can just pile it on and pillow it. Either way looks pretty fab!
Now place your second cake on top (you can square it off if you like but it’s not strictly necessary) and follow the same steps above. Finish by piling the rest of the icing on top and cover in a thick even layer all over. You really can’t have too much of this stuff, it is de-lish! Your cake should then ideally sit in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes before serving just to set all over. I needed my cake for lunch time Saturday so made mine the Friday before and it sat in the fridge overnight and it was perfect to go the next day.
As you can see it went down a treat. Not a scrap left by the end of the day and no one ever guessed it was gluten free! As for my final decision about using my gluten free flour blend in almost any cake? It works! It really, really works. I don’t think I’ll be using your standard store bought plain or self raising flour mixes ever again!
So what do you think? Will you be giving this wonderful cake a try? Or maybe I’ve convinced you to ditch the store bought flour mix and try whipping up your own flour blend! Either way let me know in the comments below 🙂
Ciao for now folks! I think I might go find myself some dessert… this cake is making my mouth water! xx