Gluten free cakes are often dry and crumbly, but with this simple hack, you’ll have your friends and family questioning whether your cakes are actually gluten free or not! So keep reading to learn how to make gluten free cake mix taste like regular cake!
How to make gluten free cake mix taste like regular cake
My sister always asks me to make “regular” cake and cupcakes instead of gluten free because they taste better. Well, I can’t have regular cake, so if I’m making it, it’s going to be gluten free. But I know what she means because gluten free cakes are often dry and crumbly, so I got to work trying to figure out a way to make gluten free cake mix taste more like regular cake, and I nailed it!
I made cupcakes for a family gathering last weekend, and my husband, of all people, whispered in my ear asking me if the cupcakes were gluten free. He thought I had given in to my sister and used a regular cake mix because the cupcakes were so moist and delicious. He honestly couldn’t believe they were gluten free and told me to write up what I did to make them taste so good so all of you can have deliciously moist gluten free cakes too!
It’s quite simple really and something I wish I had done much sooner. Before I had to eliminate gluten from my diet, I would add to a regular cake mix to make it taste like it came from a bakery instead of a box. The lightbulb finally went off for me last weekend when I decided to use that same hack with a gluten free cake mix to help it taste like regular cake mix, and it worked wonders.
So how exactly do you make a gluten free cake mix taste like regular cake?
Well, the answer is easier than you’d think! First, choose a gluten free cake mix that tastes good on its own, like Pamela’s Gluten Free and King Arthur Gluten Free. Pillsbury makes a really good gluten free confetti cake as well. Next, take a look at what ingredients you need to add. Most cake mixes call for the addition of eggs, oil, and water. This is where we are going to change things up.
I do not like using vegetable or canola oil when baking. In fact, those are oils I do not keep in my house. I prefer to eat a diet that is 80-90% clean, and that means choosing healthier alternatives for those unhealthy ingredients. For cakes, brownies, pancakes, and waffles, I always use avocado oil or melted coconut oil. If I’m low on oil or out of it completely, melted grass-fed butter works in a pinch.
For this gluten free cake mix hack, you’ll want to use avocado oil. It’s loaded with healthy fats and doesn’t alter the flavor of the cake at all. You can use avocado oil in any recipe that calls for vegetable or canola oil because it has a high smoke point. That’s a fancy way of saying it handles well in high temperatures, like those used in baking and frying.
The next change we’re making is to add one additional egg to the recipe. So say your boxed, or bagged, cake mix calls for 3 eggs, you’ll add 4 instead. It’s a very simple addition that adds a ton of moisture to your boxed cake mix.
The third hack we’re going to use to make a gluten free cake mix taste like regular cake is to use milk in place of the water. If your cake mix calls for ¾ cup water, you’ll use ¾ cup milk instead. The kind of milk you choose is up to you. I have used whole milk and unsweetened almond milk with the same results, so please choose the milk you like best.
And lastly, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to your batter. The vanilla flavor will enhance the flavor of the cake mix, whether it’s white, yellow, or chocolate. And the pinch of salt helps to bring out the sweetness.
Do I need to use an electric mixer?
I like to mix boxed cake mixes by hand to ensure they aren’t over-mixed. But you can use a hand or stand mixer if that is something you prefer, or if you have issues with your hands. The trick to mix it on a low speed until the ingredients are incorporated and then stop.
You don’t want to over-mix your batter. When cake batter has been over-mixed, it creates a dense, lifeless cake, which is the exact opposite of what we’re going for here. To get a light and fluffy cake, mix the batter just until the ingredients are incorporated.
My favorite baking equipment for cakes and cupcakes
Having the right tools helps create better cakes. I prefer glass mixing bowls that I can easily see through to know when ingredients are incorporated. I also like using a rubber spatula to transfer to the batter to the baking dish.
When making cupcakes, the right cupcake molds can make a big difference in how your cupcakes turn out. You want to choose a mold that allows for even heating throughout. These are a few of my favorite cupcake molds:
For cake pans, you have to decide whether you want a sheet cake or a layered cake. Whichever you choose, I’ve got you covered with my favorite pans:
Baby food to make gluten free boxed cake mix more moist:
Yes, you read that correctly; baby food is great for creating a more moist gluten free cake.
While applesauce isn’t exactly baby food, it’s one of my favorite additions to cake mixes to add moisture. Just ½ cup is all you need to add moisture to a dry cake mix. Applesauce tastes great in any flavor cake mix.
For chocolate cake, I like to use baby food sweet potatoes. Again, you’ll want to add just ½ cup (4 oz), which is the size of most baby food jars. Mashed avocado is also a great addition to chocolate cake mix.
For carrot cake, try adding baby food carrots to the mix! It will enhance the carrot flavor AND add a ton of moisture.
Pureed pumpkin is another favorite addition that tastes great in chocolate cakes and in any cake with a fall flavor, like spice cake and pumpkin cake!
Get creative with your flavor combinations and create delicious gluten free cakes that are moist instead of dry and crumbly.
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