Since becoming gluten-free, we’ve faced many challenges, but one that seems most annoying is crumbly cake. I’ve made just about every gluten-free cake mix offered in local grocery stores and every time the cakes are dense and crumble once they’ve been bitten. So, I started making recipes from scratch by simply substituting gluten-free flour, and yet they’d yield the same results.
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If you’re new to baking with gluten-free flour, you might not know that gluten-free flour has a difficult time absorbing moisture and fats. So after many test runs, I discovered by adding boiling water, cooking them at a lower temperature, and allowing them to rest after cooking will result in the perfect gluten-free cake!
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THE GLUTEN FREE FLOUR BLEND
Let’s talk gluten-free flour. When baking this gluten-free spice cake, I highly recommend using a gluten-free flour blend. You will not yield the same results with strictly almond or cassava flour.
I’ve made this recipe with a few different gluten-free flour blends, and have been happy with the outcomes:
- Krusteaz Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
- Pillsbury Best Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- King Arthur, Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
My favorite gluten-free flour for this spice cake is Pillsbury Best Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour. But as I mentioned, this spice cake can be made with any gluten-free flour blend you can find at your local grocery store.
Most local grocery stores will carry some kind of gluten-free flour blend, and stores, such as Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s will carry multiple brands. However, if all else fails you can always find my favorite gluten-free flour on Amazon!
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT GLUTEN FREE SPICE CAKE
There are a few special things I did to ensure this free spice cake recipe produced a light, fluffy texture that we miss in gluten-free baked goods.
Tip #1 Boil The Water
Most standard cake batters are thick but still pourable. They have the consistency of wet lava, but when working with gluten-free flour there needs to be more. Your batter will appear soupy at the end, and that is what you want. However, adding more water is not what will give your gluten-free flour what it needs. The water needs to be boiling, unlike most boxed cake mixes that simply call for water not specifying the temperature of the water. The added heat from boiling water allows the gluten-free flour to absorb the moisture faster which in turn will allow for the cake to rise.
Tip #2 Lower Temperature for Baking
Unlike typical baked goods cooked at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, this gluten-free spice cake needs to be baked at a lower temperature. Consider it a slow burn, HA! You might worry when taking your cake out of the oven that the center is not cooked completely, but I assure you it is. If you bake this cake at a higher temperature or increase the time, the cake will become very dry and crumble.
Tip #3 Let it Rest
The idea of letting a cake cool and rest before icing it is not unheard of, but letting your cake slices rest before removing them from the cake pans is not something most practice. After baking, a gluten-free cake needs time to fuse. This happens as the cake slices cool. If you remove them from their cake pans while still warm you might have a hard time keeping the center together and your cake slices falling apart.
HOW TO BAKE GLUTEN FREE SPICE CAKE
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1 3/4 cup All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup Boiling Water
1.Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your baking pans by coating with non-stick cooking spray and dust with gluten-free flour.
2. Gather your ingredients. I like to set my large eggs out about 30 minutes before I begin cooking to give the eggs, cream cheese, and butter time to come to room temperature while I gather everything I will need.
3. Mix your dry ingredients. In a large bowl, I stir together gluten-free flour blend, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. The best part about using an all-purpose flour blend is that you do not need to add in extras like xanthan gum because it is already included in the flour blend. You want to be precise with measuring gluten-free flour, so I prefer to use a butter knife to level the flour off on my measuring cup.
4.Mix your wet ingredients. In a small bowl, whip together using a whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil. Do not add your boiling water just yet. The boiling water will be added at the very end.
5. Combine your mixtures. Slowly add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients. If you have a standing mixer, you could transfer your ingredients to your mixer, but I prefer using my good, old hand mixer. Setting your mixer to low speed, mix your ingredients until well blended.
6.Add boiling water. On your stovetop, boil one cup of water. Do not let the water boil for any amount of time because evaporation will begin and you will not have the full cup of water to add to your spice cake mix. CAUTION WATER WILL BURN YOU! Slowly, add one cup of boiling water to your spice cake mix. The water will be sitting on top of the cake mix, and you will need to stir it in with a spoon. Do not use your standing mixer or hand mixer for this step as the water can splash on you and burn your skin. Only stir until combined. The batter will now look very soupy, this is the consistency you want!
7. Pour into pans. Carefully pour your batter into your prepared pans.
8. Bake your gluten spice cake. Place your cake pans into the preheated oven for 35 minutes minutes. Be sure your oven is 350 degrees. Ovens can run hot or cold so to ensure you have the correct temperature, you can use an oven thermometer. Do not overcook your cakes or they will become dense and very dry, and in turn, crumble.
9. Let the cakes cool. After baking, allow your cakes to cool completely in the cake pans. Afterward. you can ice your gluten-free spice cake with cream cheese frosting to enjoy a perfect dessert!
- Gluten-Free Flour. This spice cake recipe turns out best with a great gluten-free all-purpose flour blend like Krusteaz Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour.
- Brown sugar. You can use either dark or light brown sugar in this recipe. I prefer to cook with light brown sugar, but either will work!
- Oil. Any flavorless oil will work for this recipe. I prefer to use vegetable oil, but canola oil will work just fine. I do not recommend using olive oil because it has such a strong flavor that will alter your end taste.
- Nuts: You can easily add chopped walnuts or pecans to this recipe to enhance the flavor.
- Carrot Cake: This recipe is a great base for a carrot cake. When blending your dry and wet ingredients, add 1 1/2 cups of finely grated carrots.
- Apple Spice Cake: This recipe is a great base for apple spice cake. When blending your dry and wet ingredients, add 1 cup of finely chopped apples. I love using Granny Smith apples for this, the sourer the better!
- Size: This cake recipe will work for multiple sizes. I baked mine in two 9-inch round pans for a double-layer cake. This recipe will also make 24 cupcakes, three 6-inch round pans, or even one 9×13 sheet cake. Perfect for any size gathering!
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
To top off this delicious spice cake that is full of cinnamon and nutmeg, layer on a light cream cheese frosting.
Last month when my daughter was playing around in the kitchen she came up with this simple cream cheese icing recipe which now has become a family favorite!
Using a large mixing bowl, cream together one 8 oz. block of cream cheese and one stick of butter with your electric mixer. The consistency should be light and fluffy. Scrape the mixture off the sides with a spatula.
Then add 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Whip the extract into the cream.
Time to add 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar. Adding a little bit at a time, and whipping the sugar into the cream is best. Continue until all the confectioner’s sugar has been added, periodically scraping the sides of your large mixing bowl with a spatula to ensure all is blended well.
Finally, add your 2 TBSP of heavy whipping cream. If your frosting is too thick for your liking, you can add another TBSP of whipping cream.
Turn your mixer on high speed and whip your frosting for 5-7 minutes.
My Favorite McGee & Co Kitchen Essentials
TIME TO FROST YOUR CAKE
I went with a crumb frosting for my gluten-free spice cake, but if you prefer to have more of that creamy goodness, you are welcome to layer it on.
I start by frosting adding a bit of frosting to my serving tray or cake stand to ensure my cake slices won’t slide on me. Then add frosting to the top of your first layer, and again to the top of your second layer. To coat the cake evenly, I slowly turn my cake stand while adding the frosting. I like to move my spatula in a circular motion to create a smooth top.
Frosting the sides can be a bit tricky, but you can do it! I add frosting a little at a time starting at the bottom and in a diagonal upward motion pull the frosting across the side of the cake. Then, I scrap the sides to create the crumb frosting look. Again, if you want more frosting don’t scrap off your excess, just smooth it out.
For added flavor, you can add 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts to your frosting.
You can decorate the top of your cake with chopped nuts or cinnamon sticks. The possibilities are endless.
I hope enjoy this cake as much as we did. I know we’ll be making this again for our Easter dessert!
LOVE THIS RECIPE, SAVE IT TO MAKE IT LATER
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