The other night a buddy of mine texted “got a killer gluten-free sponge cake recipe?” I did not, and told him so. To which he replied something very snarky, questioning my Dusty Baker title. I snarked back. We’re really mature.
I’m a proud lady, and quite stubborn. So the next morning I headed into my kitchen and made this.
I can’t take full credit, of course. I’d made a gluten-free sponge cake before but never recorded it, not being quite content with the flour combination (quinoa made it too bitter, teff too dry for some reason). So for this I went back to the basics for my flour blend: soft brown rice, arrowroot and tapioca. Nothing else.
And then I went back to the Cooks Illustrated recipe I’d made glutenously for a friend a few years ago, adapting it only slightly and using the same method. Perfect. And incredibly easy. A flawless cake that when I asked my roommate “could you tell that was gluten-free?” she chirped back, “no, I can never tell with yours that they’re gluten-free”.
I’m never moving.
So here ya go. Gluten-free Sponge Cake.
Oh, and I topped it with Chardonnay Blackcurrant frosting (recipe posting soon). I’m not a huge fan of frosting in general, but was short on time and this vegan frosting whips up quickly. But this light cake would benefit more from a custard or lemon curd, so if you have a killer recipe for one, I’d say go bonkers with it instead.
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter or Earth Balance (butter flavored)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated beet sugar
- 1 cup gluten-free cake flour (I used my cake flour blend but used only brown rice, which I find less grainy than white rice. It basically works out to 2/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/6 cup arrowroot, 1/6 cup tapioca starch)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8″ cake pans and line bottoms with cut parchment.
- Separate 3 eggs. Place whites in bowl of standing mixer, and add remaining 2 eggs to the yolks in a separate bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix cake flour, xanthan gum, nutmeg and salt.
- On stovetop, combine almond milk and butter, heat to melt, then add vanilla and remove from heat. Allow to cool only slightly.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy, about 2 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons of beet sugar one at a time and continue to soft, moist peaks, about 3-5 minutes (don’t over-mix to stiff, keep them soft and billowy). Remove to a large bowl.
- Beat remaining eggs with remaining sugar on high for about 5 minutes, or until pale yellow and creamy. Add to egg whites (don’t fold yet).
- Sprinkle flour mixture on top and fold in gently, trying to keep the mixture as light as possible, 8-10 folds.
- Make a well and pour in milk mixture, continue to fold until egg mixture is combined. Do not over-mix.
- Pour evenly into pans and bake for about 22-25 minutes, until slightly firm and springy to the touch.
- Use a small icing spatula or knife to loosen edges, then cool in pan for 2 minutes.
- Invert onto cake plate to release, then back onto cooling rack.
These will cool very quickly, giving you just enough time to whip up an icing or a custard. Because of the delicate nature of the cake, the lighter the accompaniment the better.