I have been dreaming about making a gluten-free red velvet cake for about a month now. And as it turns out, my son has also been dreaming about cake. He literally had dreams of pouring liquid into the cake mix and making pink (what’s its called again, mommy?) FROSTING! Of course, he is three-years-old (almost four) and what boy that age doesn’t dream about cake? :) But that fact that we were both dreaming about cake at the same time meant it was serendipitous.
I’m not much of a baker. I mean I really enjoy baking, and before I knew I had to be gluten-free, I would bake all kinds of things. Zuchinni and banana breads, savory herb breads, cookies, e’claires, pies and of course cakes. But I was never as experimental in baking as I am in cooking, because I know that chemistry has to be exact when baking, and to be honest, I was never really good in chemistry. So I just stuck to the recipes and things turned out fine.
Then when I found out that I could no longer eat gluten, I was completely put off by the idea of baking at all. Learning about gluten-free leavening agents and binders was just a whole new learning curve that I never had time for. There are many talented gluten-free bakers out there who know all about the chemical processes involved in creating the perfect gluten-free baked good, and they are building upon their knowledge continually as they head toward perfection. If you are inclined to bake from scratch and are not afraid to be experimental, nor afraid of the occassional baked mishap, you should read the blogs of these talented women, and play along. Here are some of my favorites: Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef, Celiac Teen, Jules Gluten Free, All Day I Dream About Food, Simply Gluten-Free, and Cannelle et Vanille.
If you are like me and don’t have the time for experimentation in your current life situation, then find your favorite cake mix and work from there. I look forward to one day in the future having the time to experiment with gluten-free baking from scratch. Until then, tried-and-true cake mixes will work just fine for me.
I have tried a couple of different name-brand gluten-free cake mixes in the past and was not satisfied. So I really loved the way my first cake turned out with the Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mix. I’m not saying this is the best one out there. Its just the third one that I ever tried, and as they say, third time’s a charm.
If you are a timid, lazy, or time-crunched baker, here is the perfect gluten-free red velvet cake recipe for you. This recipe is for one cake, so please double it if you want a two-layer cake.
P.S. I will post a picture of the inside of the cake tomorrow, after we cut it open tonight. But I had to scrape off the top of the cake for a pleasing shape, so I already know how it tastes. Its good!
Easy Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake
1 box of your favorite gluten-free cake mix (I used Betty Crocker’s yellow cake mix)
PLUS the ingredients listed on the cake mix instructions
1 3.5 oz box of (non-instant) pudding mix
red food coloring
Put cake mix plus the ingredients that it calls for in a mixing bowl. Add pudding mix, and red food coloring to your visual taste. Mix all the ingredients together with a cake mixer, following the instructions on the box for mixing times and baking.
Berry Buttercream Frosting
1 7/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons milk (I used almond milk, since I cannot handle cow’s milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 package frozen raspberries or strawberries, thawed
Pour sugar, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add a half a Tablespoon of the juice from the thawed berries, and 1 Tablespoon of milk. Begin mixing on a medium setting, adding either more juice for deeper color or milk, a 1/2 a Tablespoon at a time, until you get a color and consistency that you like. Be sure not to add too much liquid or you will have a goopy frosting that will not spread on the cake. Not enough liquid will cause the frosting to be crumbly, also not easy for spreading. But its always easy to add more liquid, so that’s why you should add the liquid bit by bit. When you are happy with the consistency and color, spread it on the cake and decorate!
Oh yeah, – so you have a whole package of unused berries, and extra berry juice. I thought about using the berry juice as the food coloring for the cake, but I had already made the cake. I also thought about putting the berries inside the cake, but only after the cake was already made. Next time I will try this. But if you get to it before me, let me know how it goes! Otherwise, just use the berries and juice in tomorrow morning’s (gluten-free) oatmeal. You could use the juice to draw a heart in your sweetheart’s bowl. :)