Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

Review: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix

 The search for the best gluten free cake mix continues.  The following is a review of the popular Betty Crocker gluten free recipes.  If you’re avoiding gluten, give these simple mixes a try.  

Graphic1Gluten – a true enemy to a small segment of people who suffer from celiac disease, and a major annoyance to more people who demonstrate a wheat intolerance.  Fortunately, the free market being what it is, there are hundreds of new products being introduced that allow for gluten avoidance.  Today, I’m testing Betty Crocker’s version of the Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix.2014-08-07 09.52.43

What is gluten, anyway?

Gluten is a water-insoluble protein that is formed when water is mixed with wheat flour.  Proteins are very large molecules composed of amino acids. Two of the naturally occurring proteins in flour are called glutenin and gliadin.

from the Cooking Science Guy.

Gluten forms in wet flours of wheat and certain other grains (barley, rye, triticale, bulgur, semolina, etc.)  The gluten forms a long, intricate, elastic network which suspends the starch in flour, giving bread that “stretchy” character, and allowing flour to be molded into shapes, such as in pasta.

Gluten strands under electron microscope
Gluten strands forming lattice in dough.

Gluten and cake are natural enemies, so it’s a pretty good bet that any gluten-free cake mix is going to have a nice, light texture.  And these Betty Crocker versions are no exception.

The Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix contains the following ingredients:

Rice Flour, Sugar, Potato Starch, Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Xanthan Gum, Salt.

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(Purists will note that the baking powder in this mix uses a different acid from the usual cream of tartar.  Sodium acid pyrophosphate is manufactured by a chemical process, where cream of tartar is a byproduct of winemaking – another chemical process.  Is one more “natural” than the other?  You’ll have to decide that for yourself!)

The instructions call for 2/3 cup of water, 1/2 cup of butter, 2 tsp of gluten-free vanilla and 3 eggs.  The high-altitude directions call only for adjustments in bake time, which caused a bit of a problem as you will see.

I baked the cake in a single 8″ round anodized aluminum pan at 350° F (the mix makes only half the normal cake batter from a mix).  Because I couldn’t flour the pans as I normally would, I used a parchment round on the bottom.  The directions called for only the bottom to be greased, but I did have a little trouble releasing after baking, so I would recommend greasing or parchment for the sides as well.

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The directions called for 41-46 minutes, so I tested at 40.  The toothpick came out clean, so I pulled it out at that time.  And here was the result:

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As you can see, the cake formed quite a high cracked dome, caused by rising too quickly in the oven.  If I’d had any rice flour on hand, I would have added 1/4 cup before baking and it would certainly have reduced this  by quite a bit.  Not a deal breaker (that’s what cake levelers are for, after all).

After cooling for about 10 minutes, I removed the cake from the pan and cooled completely.  The cake retained its high volume without sinking.  It was nicely browned, very even and attractive.

The taste and texture were very good.  I was expecting a bit of a gummy texture with the use of rice flour, but I didn’t detect that at all.  The texture is light and airy, with fine crumb.  The taste is sweet but not cloying, with a good note of vanilla (from my organic vanilla).  I iced it later with a toasted walnut cream cheese icing and it was a huge hit.2014-08-07 11.54.18

If you’re looking for a gluten-free cake mix substitute, and you don’t mind fudging just a bit on the natural ingredients, this mix should do the trick.

Looking for more reviews?  Check out what I found with Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix.  Click Here.


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