Gluten Free Vanilla Sponge

I must admit I’m not that experienced with Gluten Free baking. As I’m now finding more and more are needing to follow Gluten Free diets, I would like to learn how to bake more with GF products.

What does make me annoyed is that gluten free products cost far more to buy. How is that fair to those who have to follow a GF diet through no fault of their own? I was genuinely horrified when buying GF flour, oats and other products. This is another reason why, as a baker I didn’t offer a huge variety of Free From cakes and bakes as the flour, or dairy free chocolate would cost far more. But I’m getting asked about GF products so much now, I have decided to take the plunge and make more. Not only that, but I have a work colleague who is GF and I don’t want her to feel left out when everyone else is enjoying my bakes.

Last year I treated myself to Becky Excell’s first two books. How To Make Anything Gluten Free and How To Bake Anything Gluten Free. These two books proved that you don’t have to have a plethora of weird, expensive ingredients or food which tastes odd to be gluten free. I don’t know why it took me so long to use them but that will change now.

The only thing I found strange is the way the sponge cake batter reacted when I was whisking it. It stuck to the beater on my mixer and the batter also reminded me more of bread dough. It was so strange and I hadn’t expected it to behave like that. To be honest I wasn’t sure what it would look like as I had never made a GF sponge before. The only extra addition was the xanthan gum but since then I’ve had a couple of friends on Instagram telling me they don’t add it to their cakes but they simply swap the free flour and baking powder for gluten free alternatives. It is great to see that Dr Oetker baking powder is labelled as GF anyway, so I don’t have to go out and buy more.

The only annoyance I had with the recipe in Becky Excell’s book is that the birthday cake recipe shown was for a cake with triple layers. But the recipe clearly was for two layers. So my cake didn’t look as exciting as the one in the photo.

What I also didn’t realise is that so many sprinkles are not Gluten Free as they contain wheat! I was genuinely shocked to read this- I thought they were pure sugar! So I looked through my baking cupboard and found these gold stars. These were the only decorations which were GF so they would have to do.

I wasn’t impressed with the appearance of the cake. In fact I’m ashamed of it. But it was impossible to get the icing to spread neatly and there definitely didn’t seem to be enough to cover the cake beautifully. I love a smooth cake but this certainly was anything but.

The cake was a great success, thankfully. I am always nervous and anxious with trying out new recipes on people. I’m going to try out a chocolate sponge soon, so watch this space!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

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