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Yellow Gluten Free Cake

This yellow gluten free cake is never dry, crumbly or gummy and only needs a simple gluten free baking blend to reach success. The perfect birthday cake, this version is moist, flavorful and the closest to a Duncan Hines you’ll ever get your hands on. 

yellow gluten free cake

Oh sure, you could buy a gluten free boxed cake mix. Yep. You could. You could dump it in a bowl, add some stuff and stir the gritty, gloppy batter.

You could bake it, and have it break into dry chunks as you try to get it out of the pan, and attempt to glue it back together with frosting. After all, enough frosting might cover up how gritty and bland it is.

Like slimy sand in your mouth, you hope it’s good enough for your grand baby’s birthday or a special something you wanted to make for a friend–or for yourself.

Even though this blog isn’t a gluten free one, I want to let you know about something: I’ve been toying with gluten free cake recipes and gluten free baking for almost a decade thanks to some health problems my doctors felt could be resolved if I’d cut gluten.

So I’m no newbie to how hard gluten free baking can feel. How expensive it is, and how totally unsatisfying it is to expect the flavor and texture of “regular” cake, cookies or bread only to have it fall really flat.

yellow gluten free cake

Tips for the best yellow gluten free cake:

  • Even though I never, ever do this, I’m going to recommend a specific brand of gluten free flour and tell you that you can’t ever swap something else for it. That’s because baking is specific, and in this case, this particular flour is very finely ground so you don’t get the grit. I HATE the grit. Use (affiliate link) Authentic Foods super fine brown rice flour. It’s worth every penny to pull off a gluten free yellow cake that makes you forget you’re on a special diet.
  • You’ll need to blend your flour with a couple of other cheap(er) ingredients, and you’ll need some xanthan gum for the recipe. I don’t add xanthan gum to my main baking mix because how much you use depends on the recipe, so make sure you have some on hand. AKA: read the recipe all the way through and get what’s on the list.
  • Take your time getting air into the shortening and sugar and after you add the eggs. Your batter should be lighter and smooth. Don’t rush these steps.
  • These cakes take a fairly long time to bake as cakes go. Check the center with a toothpick, and if it’s wet AT ALL, put your yellow gluten free cake back in the oven in three to five minute increments until the toothpick is dry. You may not see crumbs or a gob of batter on the toothpick and it still may not be done. Check for moisture. Ask me how I know this.
  • I have found that my cheap-0 baking pans from Walmart don’t heat evenly and make my cakes have huge mounds in the center. For this recipe I used my (affiliate link) 6-inch Wilton pan that was a bit of a splurge, but it’s made so much better that my gluten free yellow cake cooks evenly and FLAT so I’m not cutting off 1/3 of my hard work when I frost it. Also very worth it to have a few of these.
  • If you need help with your cake baking skills in general,  check out my complete collection of cake how-to’s. 
  • I haven’t included a frosting recipe with this recipe. I just used a classic chocolate buttercream.

This yellow gluten free cake is an adaptation of a version from the single best gluten free baker I’ve ever found. Her name is Cybele Pascal and her recipes are hands down better than any I’ve tried. This gluten free yellow cake’s original version is made without any allergens like eggs, diary, gluten or nuts. If you’d like to have a copy for yourself, you can find her baking book, (affiliate) The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook here.

yellow gluten free cake

Yellow Gluten Free Cake

Gluten free baking can be frustrating, but this classic yellow gluten free cake is never gritty or fussy and tastes as close to a classic Duncan Hines I've ever had!
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 438kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

For the flour blend

  • 3 cups super fine brown rice flour Authentic Foods Brand only
  • 1 cup potato starch not potato flour
  • 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons tapioca starch also called tapioca flour

For the cake

  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the flour blend

  • Blend the brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch together well. NOTE: YOU ONLY NEED THREE CUPS OF THIS BLEND FOR THE CAKE. Set aside. 

Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325. Grease three 6-inch cake pans or two 8-inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, and sprinkle a bit of your gluten free flour in the pan. Shake it around and dump out any excess. Line the bottom of your cake pan with parchment paper if you have it, and add a bit of vegetable shortening to coat the parchment. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, mix 3 cups of the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside. 
  • In another small bowl combine the yogurt or sour cream and lemon juice. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, add the shortening and sugar and use a hand mixer to blend until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and a bit fluffier--about 4 more minutes. 
  • To the shortening and egg mixture, add 1/3 of the flour and beat until no raw flour remains--about 30 seconds. Add 1/3 of the yogurt or sour cream and mix. Continue to alternate and mix wet and dry ingredients, ending with the flour. 
  • Divide the batter between the two pans, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Spread the batter evenly with a knife or offset spatula. 
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Start checking it at 20 minutes and go from there. 
  • Loosen the sides of the cake with a sharp knife and turn the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 438kcal

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Recipe Rating




Suzanne Murphy

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Do you have a Chocolate recipe as good as this one ?

Rachel Ballard

Sunday 7th of March 2021

I don't right now but I'll work on one! This cake is so good!

Suzanne Murphy

Thursday 13th of August 2020

This IS the Best GF Cake ! Family members that do not have to eat GF , ate this like it was a Duncan Hines cake . Everyone raves about how moist and delicious. Worth the time !

Rachel Ballard

Friday 14th of August 2020

Thank you Suzanne! I agree totally! It's a delicious cake. --Rachel

Kim

Saturday 18th of January 2020

How do you make this dairy free?

Rachel Ballard

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Simply swap in a non-dairy yogurt. You could use a vanilla cashew or coconut based yogurt and it would be great! Siggi's has a new line of coconut ones and Trader Joe's cashew vanilla is delicious! --Rachel

Morgan Rateliff

Saturday 4th of May 2019

Our family only eats organic, what brown rice flour can I substitute since Authentic Foods does not have an organic version?

Rachel Ballard

Saturday 4th of May 2019

Hey Morgan, I understand. I'd say if you can find an organic brown rice flour to just go with it. I did some searching to see if I could find one I liked but I couldn't come up with one that was both organic and super fine. Using a version that's not super fine may give you more of that gritty texture, but it won't be a deal breaker in the cake. --Rachel

Michelle

Sunday 21st of October 2018

I'm looking forward to trying this cake today, but I noticed the number of eggs are not listed in the recipe. Could you tell me how many eggs to use? Thanks so much!

Rachel Ballard

Sunday 21st of October 2018

Oh shoot Michelle! It's 3 eggs and I've updated the recipe. I'm so sorry about that! --Rachel