Dry sponges and poorly-risen cakes be gone with our 10 savvy gluten-free baking tips
1 When baking loaf cakes, divide the mixture between two 1lb tins rather than using one 2lb tin. The cakes will cook more quickly and are more likely to cook through evenly, rise better and be easier to cut once baked.
2 For moister cakes, put an ovenproof dish or tin of water in the base of the oven – the extra steam will stop the top of the cake drying out as quickly.
3 Gluten-free products often cook more quickly than wheat-flour based ones, which means they may not cook through as evenly. Reducing the oven temperature by around 10°C (gas ½) can help.
4 Use corn-fed eggs – the bright yolks will help recreate the traditional golden colour you get from wheat flour.
5 If a cake goes wrong (if it doesn’t rise or is too moist, for example), don’t waste it. Crumble it up and bake in a medium oven until you have crunchy clusters. Store in the freezer to sprinkle over cooked fruit, then bake for a tasty crumble. Red berries taste great with chocolate cake, or try apple or pear with a citrus or ginger topping.
6 To stop biscuits and bars breaking so easily, swap up to half the sugar for an inverted sugar, such as honey or syrup. Agave nectar and date syrup work well, too.
7 For cakes that stay moist, try swapping half the amount of fat in a recipe for a fruit purée – apple, apricot and banana all work well and add their own subtle flavours.
8 Swap milk in a cake or scone recipe for buttermilk – the higher acid content will react quickly with any raising agents and give more lift to your batter or dough.
9 Test your batter. If you’re unsure if your cake batter will rise, put 1tbsp of it in a cup and microwave for 15–30 seconds. It’s a good indicator of how the cake will perform in the oven – and whether you need more liquid or flour.
10 When a cake recipe uses eggs, separate them first. Add the yolks as normal, but whisk the whites until stiff before gently folding in. You’ll create more air and produce a lighter texture.