Gluten-Free Cakes – How to Bake for all Kinds of Cake Lovers
Anyone who has been told that they have celiac disease is always on the lookout for gluten-free food products and many wonder whether they would be able to bake any of their favourite cakes again. It’s heartening to know that it isn’t that difficult to bake delicious and scrumptious gluten-free cakes and other goodies. As a matter of fact, it can be an excellent method to experiment with a variety of flours, flavours and baking aids.
Gluten – It’s Role in Traditional Cake Baking
Gluten is essentially the protein found in all traditional wheat flours that are used in making cakes. This protein gives cakes a distinct structure and without it the cakes are more crumbly and drier. However, even if you want to go gluten-free, it’s not difficult to bake cakes without regular white flour. Take a look at how to bake gluten-free cakes:
- Sure, you will find a large number of flour-free cake recipes online, but the key to great gluten-free baking is experimentation. You can replace regular flour with ones made of potato, tapioca or rice, quinoa or even almond; all of these add texture to your cakes.
- Today, you will find a number of plain and self-raising flours available in the market that you can use to make delicious gluten-free cakes.
- Xanthan gum is a very useful ingredient used in gluten-free mixes; not only does it improve the texture of your cakes, but increases their shelf life too. It works somewhat like gluten and binds the ingredients while the cakes are being baked, and gives them a conventional texture. When it is added to different gluten-free flours, it lends them the “stretch factor” that gluten provides. Xanthan is available in powder form and dissolves very easily in water. Ideally, you should add it to the flour mix before you add any other liquid. It has a natural thickening quality, but doesn’t get affected by higher oven temperatures, which adds to its versatility.
Gluten-Free Cakes – Tips for Getting the Right Texture
You can easily make gluten-free cakes which are fluffy, light and flavourful and have a tiny and soft crumb. Here are a few tips you can follow to avoid heavy and tough gluten-free cakes:
- To get tender and moist cakes just add some extra leavening. Keep in mind that flours that are free of gluten are heavier and so hold more moisture compared to wheat flour. Add a wee bit more baking powder and baking soda to the mix; this will give your cake a lift and the crumb will be tender and fine.
- These batters will have to be aerated well, for a minimum of 3-5 minutes; the starch and protein in the eggs and flour will then easily form around all the air bubbles.
- It’s best to use flours that have low protein content. The best way to attain this is to use a 50:50 mix of flours and starches; this will give your cake a fine texture and a good structure.
- Substitute some of the liquid with soda pop or sparkling water; this will add more air to the cake batter and give the cake a lift.
- Use brown sugar in place of white sugar. The former has more moisture than the white variant and adds to the moistness and tenderness of the cake crumb. It’s also a good idea to add more sugar as it’s hygroscopic (attracts more water). This gives you a cake with a finer crumb and one that is more tender.
- If you want your gluten-free cakes to be more flavourful, simply add more vanilla, chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves fruit puree etc (depending on your recipe). The latter will also add moistness to the cake.
- If your cake recipe calls for cocoa powder, bloom it in hot water, this helps accentuate the flavour.
For the best results, it’s best to use a kitchen scale to weigh flour, instead of using a measuring cup. A cup of all-purpose flour weighs approximately 140 gms; when you use gluten-free flour, make sure you keep the cup-for-cup gms weight the same.
As you can see, it isn’t so difficult to bake for all kinds of cake lovers; and of course, don’t be scared to experiment. No matter what ingredients you are baking with, trying and testing is the only way to come up with some delectable desserts.
Thanks for reading,
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