Vegan baking can sometime feel a little daunting if you haven’t done it before but then throw gluten-free into the mix and it can get a little scary. Here are the top 5 issues that happen with vegan gluten-free baking and how you can fix them.
1. YOUR CAKE IS SINKING IN THE MIDDLE OR NOT RISING
a. You may not have used enough raising agents. I do recommend experimenting with double action baking powders. Otherwise try using 25 percent more chemical raising agents (baking soda or baking powder) if you’re converting a recipe to gluten free.
b. Your cake may not have enough structure due to using only one type of gluten-free flour. I recommend using a combination of gluten-free flours and starches to create a strong structure for your cake. I would also suggest to review what your egg replacer you’re using. For gluten-free baking I usually use xanthan gum or a flax seed egg as my egg replacer if I’m wanting to help create structure and bind the ingredients together.
b. Over beating your mixture. Even though it’s gluten-free and doesn’t have a gluten structure that we need to be delicate with, over beating your cake can still cause issues. So be very gently with your batter and beat only until just combined.
c. Your bake is too large. I always recommend making cakes no larger than 6 to 7 inches or thinner larger layers. I find that the smaller the cake, the better the bake.
d. Your oven is too hot and it’s causing the cake to rise too quickly before it’s had time to create the cake structure underneath to hold it up. I bake in a convection oven and I usually bake at 160C/320F in a convection oven. I find this temperature doesn’t bake my cakes too quickly and stops that hard brown crust from forming.
2. YOUR BAKE IS DENSE AND LIKE A BRICK
a. This can also be caused by only using one type of gluten-free flour. Using a combination of gluten-free flours will assist with giving your cake a better structure as each flour can action different results. As an example I will use almond meal to create a fluffy cake crumb, I will use rice flour to help create structure and a starch will hold onto moisture and assist to bind the ingredients together.
b. Your cake has too much moisture or too much fat.
c. Using the wrong egg replacer. An example of this is if you’re using apple sauce as your egg replacer. It will add moisture but won’t add structure by assisting the binding process causing it to be more prone to a dense result.
3. WEIRD FLAVOURS
a. Creating a great tasting gluten-free vegan cake can be tricky. It’s all about the gluten-free flour. All flours taste different. An example of this is buckwheat flour is quite nutty so I will use this flour in a chocolate cake as it pairs well with this flavour. If I’m making my famous vegan vanilla gluten free cake I want to use a combination of flours that is more neutral tasting like white rice flour mixed with potato starch for structure and an almond meal to help create that fluffy texture.
b. Because we tend to use a lot of nuts and seeds in gluten-free baking I recommend using extra high quality vanilla bean paste when baking. It will help balance out those nutty, sometimes bitter flavours.
4. TOO DRY
a. If you’re finding your gluten-free cake is coming out dry, try using oil instead of vegan butter as your main fat source, this can add extra moisture. Adding a thick vegan coconut yogurt or whipped aquafaba is also another option.
b. This can be caused by over baking or your oven is too hot. Don’t be afraid to under-bake your cake slightly. You want to retain extra moisture in your cake as gluten-free cakes can be a little dry. I usually bake it for 5 minutes less and test it with a skewer. If the skewer still has a few crumbs and a tiny bit of moisture on it, it’s ready to come out of the oven. If you’re converting a recipe to gluten free, experiment with adjusting the temperature of your oven 10C/50F lower. Also, it’s good to remember some gluten-free flours absorb more moisture than others. An example of this is coconut flour, it absorbs more moisture in baking than rice flour.
5. TOO CRUMBLY
If your baking is falling apart once baked this can be because you have used the wrong egg replacer, or not enough of an egg replacer. You want to make sure your egg replacer is acting well as a binding agent and binding all the ingredients together to give a firm result. I would recommend a flax seed egg or xanthan gum for this issue.
If you want to learn more about gluten-free baking check out my Recorded Gluten Free Baking 101 Workshop
Here is a list of my Gluten Free Recipes to get you started:
VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE RECIPES
Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cake
Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread
Vegan Gluten-free Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling & Cream Cheese (Halloween Special)