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I've tried 5 recipes for gluten free lemon cake and all of them have a tight brick like texture.

What would make a cake fluffy if it is gluten-free? How do I recognize a recipe which produces a good cake?

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Recipe requests are off-topic, as described in the Help center, cooking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. You will have to search for a recipe somewhere else. But choosing a good recipe is hard, as you have already found out, especially for a thing for which actually no perfect solution exists (the texture of a gluten free cake will never be as good as the one of a flour cake). So I hope that it will help you if we look for answers how to recognize which recipe is likely to produce something decent. So I edited your question instead of closing. –  rumtscho Feb 18 at 18:32
    
@rumtscho thanks for doing this, its just been really hard to find a good one. –  jelly46 Feb 19 at 9:11
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have no trouble making lovely light lemon cake gluten free, and many other gluten free cakes too, I make them for a living. There is a substitute for gluten and it's called Xanthan Gum. You can buy this separately to add to your flour (about a teaspoonful for every 250g), or in a ready mixed flour blend, at least you can in the UK. A mixture of flours such as rice, potato starch, tapioca and maize/cornstarch works much better than a single flour when substituting for wheat flour. Each flour has its own unique characteristics and brings different properties to the cake. The combination of these, if got right, makes a light, moist and tasty cake, often better than wheat flour ones - this is feedback from my customers who are not coeliac!

There are recipes to be found on the web for making one's own flour blends if needed, but look for a recipe that contains Xanthan Gum and it will not turn out like a brick. And there's no need to cream the fat with the sugar and whisk the eggs separately etc. I just use an all-in-one everything in the mixer bowl and mix.

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For the all-in-one sponge I use a soft spread as the fat. In the UK the good ones are Flora, Utterly Butterly, Bertolli. I Can't Believe It's not Butter works but tastes way too salty in my opinion. If you want to use pure butter, it has to be very soft for this method to work. –  user23358 Feb 22 at 10:43
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You could try separating the eggs, whipping the egg whites, and folding them into the batter. Aside from that, perhaps some buttermilk and extra baking soda would help give additional lift.

The flour should be sifted, and a lighter flour should be used, as suggested by Daniel.

You could even replace some of the liquid in the recipe with club soda, but I'm uncertain of how well the batter will hold on to the extra air.

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Gluten is what traps the air bubbles during baking thus making a cake "fluffy". I don't really think there's a substitute...the best way I can think of is to mix some sort of lighter flour (cake flour, tapioca flour) in with the current recipe to decrease the density of the cake.

What sort of flour are you using currently?

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Cake flour is downright dangerous - it contains ca. 5% gluten and will make gluten sensitive people violently ill. Gluten free recipes are very hard to get right in texture, so randomly adding tapioca starch to one of them is unlikely to do anything good. –  rumtscho Feb 21 at 12:45
    
Ah, I wasn't aware that cake flour contained gluten. And I wasn't telling him to randomly add ingredients to a current recipe... –  Daniel Chui Feb 21 at 17:24
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