This is very much a quick, no-frills affair: utter simplicity and great flavour; what more is needed? The cake takes literally a couple of minutes to mix together, about 20 minutes baking and a few minutes to assemble the cooled sponges.
Using xanthan gum or not
This cake is softer than a cake made with traditional flour and crumbles more easily, but I find it holds together very well when sliced and eaten.
It doesn’t really need extras in it that you often have with gluten-free baking to bind it together, but you can add an extra egg yolk, which doesn’t affect the flavour or ruin the cake.
However, if you prefer a closer, firmer texture, you can use xanthan gum: just mix 1 teaspoon with the flour. However, don’t over-beat as the gum will make the mixture very sticky and harder to spread out.
Top decorating tip
Freeze the cooled cake and fill it and/or cover it while frozen, leaving the cake to defrost in the fridge.
As with traditional cakes, the freezing ensures you don’t get crumbs everywhere and there is no risk of the cake breaking, particularly if your filling is quite firm: but the filling should ideally be very soft.
The filling here is whipped double cream, slightly sweetened with some vanilla icing sugar, and chopped strawberries. The top is dusted with vanilla icing sugar.
Ideas for further cakes or decorating cakes are on my post here.
A light sponge
This gluten-free cake is very light and melt-in-the-mouth and eats very easily! I added some finely grated lemon zest to the mixture: it really lifts a sponge such as this in a subtle way.
If making the cake non-gluten-free, only mix the ingredients until it just comes together for the lightest sponge: over-beating will develop the gluten in the flour, thereby making the cake heavier.
A gluten-free cake sponge: makes a 6″ cake with generous depth
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g gluten-free self-raising flour
- 1.5 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
- 175g caster sugar
- finely grated zest of one large lemon, optional
(1) Grease and base-line two 6″ sandwich tins and preheat the oven to 160C(fan).
(2) Put the cake ingredients – making sure they are at room temperature – into a bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until incorporated: it will only take a minute or so. As the flour is gluten-free there is no danger of over-beating the mixture!
(3) Transfer to the cake tins and bake for about 20 minutes until well risen, light golden brown and the cakes are just coming away from the sides. Leave to cool for a few minutes in their tins and invert to a cooling rack until completely cold. Peel off the greaseproof.
(4) Sandwich together with whatever you like: jam, cream, buttercream, fruit curd………..