When you want a delicious, gluten-free crowd-pleasing cake! An easy meringue (egg whites whipped with sugar) lightens the texture of this chiffon-style cake. I love splurging on a whole vanilla bean for special occasions. But vanilla extract works, too.
This recipe makes two 8- or 9-inch cakes. If you want just a single layer, you can wrap the second one in plastic wrap, and freeze it for up to a couple of months.
For a dairy-free cake, simply switch out the melted butter for your favorite oil. I recommend avocado, olive, or coconut if you don't mind the flavor. If you want to bake a classic wheat flour cake, replace the gluten-free, oat, and tapioca flour with 15 ounces (3 cups) of all-purpose or cake flour.
Frost this cake with American buttercream, whipped cream, and berries or fresh fruit.
- 7 ounces or 1⅓ cups gluten-free flour blend
- 5 ounces or 1⅓ cups oat flour
- 3 ounces or ⅔ cup tapioca flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 8 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 6 ounces or 12 tablespoons melted butter (or ¾ cup of oil)
- 10 ounces or about 1⅔ cups granulated or coconut sugar, split in half
- 8 ounces or 1 cup milk or plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean
Prep Ingredients + Pans
- Grease two 8 or 9-inch cake pans (round or square). I like to line the bottoms of mine with parchment paper and then spray the parchment with avocado oil cooking spray.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites, reserving the whites for the meringue.
- Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir or whisk about half of the sugar into the sifted flour mixture.
- In a large bowl or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the melted butter (or oil) with the egg yolks until frothy. Beat in the milk and vanilla.
- Beat in the sifted dry ingredients a little at a time on low speed. Then beat on medium speed for about a minute until the batter is smooth. Set aside (or transfer to a large mixing bowl if working solely with a stand mixer).
Whip Meringue + Fold Into Batter
- In a large clean bowl with clean mixer paddles or a clean stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the second half of the sugar until they reach soft to medium peaks. The whites will become smooth, glossy, and opaque. When the beaters are pulled from the meringue, the peaks of the meringue will curve over and flop down. This typically takes two to three minutes at medium-high speed.
- Mix one-third of the meringue into the reserved batter with a spatula, combining completely until no streaks remain.
- Gently fold the remaining meringue into the batter in two or three additions. Do this by scooping a helping of meringue on top of the batter. Then mix by scooping up from the bottom and over the top. Every few strokes, cut through the middle of the batter to the bottom of the bowl, then back up and over again. Turn the bowl as you fold.
Bake + Cool
- Pour and smooth equal amounts of batter into the greased pans.
- Bake 25 to 28 minutes, until the tops spring back a little bit when gently pressed, and a toothpick comes out nearly clean.
- Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack, if possible, for 10-20 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Remove the cakes from the pans by inverting the pans onto a plate, lifting off the pans, and then placing the cakes upright back on the rack. Cool completely before decorating.
Soak, Enjoy + Store
- Brush or drizzle simple syrup or liqueurs on the cake layers (optional).
- Decorated cakes can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator (if frosting is perishable, like Italian meringue or cream cheese frosting).
- Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for several months if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Bring chilled or frozen cake layers to room temperature before enjoying (but it's okay to decorate while the cake is still cold, it's actually easier).
Storing & Freezing
If you bake the cake layers ahead, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a couple of months. For a chiffon cake with a shelf-stable frosting, you can store it on a covered cake plate or in a cake box. If you are frosting your cake with a homemade buttercream or whipped cream, plan to store it in the refrigerator. But always serve cakes at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.
Tips on Mixing & Baking
Mix the batter well. Gluten-free flours don't have strong proteins that will develop during mixing. So mix away, and mix well.
Watch the baking carefully. The trick of testing a cake for doneness by gently pressing the top doesn't always work in gluten-free baking. Often, if you wait until a gluten-free cake does this, it's over-baked and dried out. I like a toothpick for checking gluten-free bakes. And pull the cake out when the pick is almost dry.
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