Last Updated on February 5, 2023
Who doesn't love a cake pre-mix? But sometimes, it lacks flavor. Today, we will look at gluten free cake mix hacks.
In this jam-packed article, we will show you some fantastic gluten-free cake mix hacks; specifically, how to change the flavor of the recipe and choose your decorations strategically to make the mix taste better.
What is a Gluten Free Cake Mix?
Gluten-free cake mixes are truly an extraordinary and long-overdue product. Only recently has it become easier to find and more affordable. And, today, you can find a wide variety of delicious gluten-free products on the market - not only bland ones.
A gluten free cake mix doesn't contain any gluten-containing products. Gluten is a protein found in some cereal grains like wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. When it comes to cake premixes, manufacturers usually use wheat flour. The most common types include pastry flour, cake flour, or all-purpose flour. All of these contain gluten.
Now, the reason gluten free products have become so popular is that more and more people cannot digest gluten. They are either gluten-intolerant or have an allergy.
This led to people developing cake mixes that don't use wheat flour as a base. Alternative flours that are commonly used in gluten-free cake mixes include almond flour, rice flour, tapioca flour, quinoa flour, or brown rice flour. These are only a few and there are actually hundreds of gluten flour alternatives!
Recipes Using Gluten Free Cake Mix - How They Work
So, first things first, like regular cake mix, gluten-free cake mixes still require some other ingredients to make a cake batter. This usually includes something like oil, milk, or eggs. These wet ingredients help hydrate the dry cake mix.
As we have mentioned, today you can find a wide range of gluten free cake flavors and even types. From sponge cakes to pound cakes, carrot cakes to lemon cakes - there is arguably a gluten-free option for everything!
Not only can these mixes be used as-is, but you can also use them in other recipes. Cake mix can be used in many other cake recipes, like this Strawberry Pound Cake. You can even use it to make other baked goods like Petit Fours. Even though these recipes use a regular cake mix, you can easily substitute it with a gluten-free mix.
How to Make a Gluten Free Cake Mix Taste Better: Gluten Free Cake Mix Hacks
So, why do gluten-free cake mixes still have such a bad reputation? Well, the flour alternatives that are sometimes used completely change the texture and flavor of the cake. And not always in a good way either! Some of these wheat flour alternatives create extremely dense and rubbery products. And, some of these products have extremely overpowering flavors.
Here are a few ways how to make a gluten free cake mix taste better. All of the methods below are incredibly easy and relatively quick.
Method 1: Add Flavoring Ingredients
This is always our first suggestion. If you don't like the flavor of something, especially a gluten free cake mix, change it! And, there are a ton of ways you can do it. One thing to keep in mind before choosing which flavor you want to add is to make sure that it pairs well with the current cake mix flavor. If you choose additional flavors incorrectly, it could make the flavor even worse and enhance the flavors that you don't like.
The easiest flavoring to add is extracts and essences. Extracts have a much stronger flavor compared to essences. Vanilla and lemon extract are always relatively safe choices. But, again, you can choose flavors that pair with your gluten free cake mix.
For example; you have recipes using gluten free cake mix that have berry flavors in them. You can choose an extract like peppermint, orange, lemon, vanilla, and white chocolate. All of these will pair very well.
Then, you can also use freshly squeezed juices, like lemon or lime juice. And, if the boxed mix calls for water to make the batter, substitute it with juice. Just make sure it will help the flavor. Don't substitute a cup of water with a cup of lemon juice.
Another great gluten free cake mix hack for changing the flavor is by adding spices. This works especially well for spices mixes like carrot cake, banana bread, or spiced rum cakes, etc.
Method 2: Substitute the Butter for Oil
You can substitute the oil for butter using a one-to-one ratio. Both of these are fats, however, they do function in slightly different ways. Butter will add a much richer flavor to your cake mix. And, it will also give the mix a creamier and softer texture.
You can use either salted or unsalted butter. We recommend using unsalted butter if you are making the gluten free cake mix as-is. But, if you are using the mix in another recipe that calls for additional salt, remove the salt and use salted butter instead.
Method 3: Use an Alternative to Water
As we have briefly mentioned before, you can substitute the flavorless water with something a little richer. This can be something as simple as milk or cream. These dairy products will enrich the cake and give it a better texture.
You can also substitute the water with juice or coffee. Both will still help moisten the cake and add additional flavor to make the gluten free cake mix taste better.
Method 4: Add Extra Moisture
Sometimes, a gluten free cake mix can be very dense and dry due to the type of gluten free flour used.
You can easily fix this by adding an egg, or a dash of extra oil, butter, milk, cream, or water. But, be careful to not overdo it. Start with a smaller amount and add more to get a "regular" cake batter consistency.
You may need to bake the cake for a little while longer, but just keep checking it inside the oven.
Method 5: Choose Your Decorations and Garnishes Wisely
Sometimes, your garnish or decorations can make or break the cake. You can make a gluten free cake mix taste better by choosing a decoration that counters the "bad" part of the mix.
If you don't like the flavor of the cake mix, then choose a very flavorful garnish, glaze, or frosting.
Or, if you think the cake is very dry, choose a moist fluffy, and light frosting, drizzle the cake in a thin flavored syrup or add some glaze.
Does Gluten Free Cake Taste Different?
When it comes to gluten free cake, it can be quite different. Although when it comes to taste, there is very little difference between gluten free and gluten-containing. This is because gluten-free flours are quite neutral in taste and won't change much about the taste of the cake itself.
However, one major difference is the texture. The gluten-free cake tends to be more crumbly. This is because gluten-containing products are great at binding the cake together, whereas non-gluten-containing products don't do this as well. However, there are ways you can make your gluten free cake less crumbly.
How to Make a Gluten Free Cake Mix Moist
There are many ways to make a gluten free cake moist and make it taste better. Here are some of our top tips and tricks:
- Add fillings or toppings to your cake. You can add a selection of fillings to your cake, including jam, caramel sauce, fudge sauce, lemon curd, marshmallow fluff, and chocolate ganache. You can also add fresh fruit in your fillings too; just make a dam of frosting around the edges, and place your fruit into the middle.
- Add frosting to your cake. There are many frostings to add to the top and sides of your cake. Some of my favorites include vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, cream cheese frosting, and Swiss meringue buttercream.
- Don't overfill the cake pan. This will lead to your cake not baking correctly, and your cake being less moist.
- Use a good quality cake mix. Use cake mixes such as Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Pillsbury. They make an amazing gluten-free moist cake.
- Add flavorings. To make your cake moister, you can add flavorings. This helps the taste, as well as the texture. Some of my favorites include fruit puree, fruit juice (such as lemon or lime), applesauce, espresso powder, brewed coffee, and extracts (such as vanilla and almond).
- Replace oil with melted butter. This helps to keep the cake moist and adds richness.
- Replace water with milk. Directly replace the water with milk 1:1; this adds moisture and creaminess.
- Add instant pudding mix. Adding one sachet of pudding mix makes the cake light and fluffy, but also helps to retain moisture.
- Add an egg. Adding one single egg adds moisture and richness. Do not add more than one egg, as this will hurt the overall cake.
Best Gluten Free Cake Mix
There's a huge selection now available when it comes to gluten free cake mixes. But I've found that some are better than others. Let's take a look at some of our top picks.
Betty Crocker is a well-loved and trusted brand. As well as a range of gluten-containing products, they also have gluten-free products available too, including devil's food cake mix, yellow cake mix, and other mixes including cookie, muffin, and chocolate brownie mixes.
Simple Mills is a brand that makes gluten free products from almond flour. Their gluten free products include vanilla cupcake and cake mix, chocolate muffin and cake mix, brownie mix, cookie mix, and bread mixes.
King Arthur Baking
King Arthur Baking has over 100 gluten free products available, including cake mixes. They have both a chocolate cake mix and a yellow cake mix. They also stock bread, muffin, brownie, pancakes, and cornbread mixes.
Bob's Red Mill
Bob's Red Mill is amazing for gluten free mixes. They have both vanilla and chocolate cake mixes. They also have other mixes, including brownie, muffin, pie crust, bread, cookie, and cornbread mixes.
Gluten Free Cake Mix Hacks - Conclusion
As you can see, there is no shortage of options when looking at how to make a gluten free cake mix taste better. You can change the flavors of the cake itself or use a flavor-packed decoration.
Let us know what you think and how you like to alter the flavor of your gluten free cake mix. Do you have any other gluten free cake mix hacks? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.