“Let Them Eat Cake”

Do you know Marie Antoinette never actually said that?  (History nerd fact.)

Marie Antoinnette didn't really say those famous words.

Marie Antoinnette didn't really say those famous words.

I’m not a natural born baker.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake, especially when I have the time, but made from scratch cakes aren’t always at the top of my to-do list.

Thankfully more and more companies are making gluten-free baking mixes.  If you, walk down the baking aisle at Whole Foods, search on Amazon, or google ‘gluten-free baking mixes,’ the choices can even be a little overwhelming.  These mixes can also be costly so you don’t want to spend lots of money on ‘not so edible’ cake mixes.  It’s hard to know which one to go with when they’re all staring at you from the shelf.

A couple of months ago, I had a bunch of girls over to celebrate a fellow gluten-free friend’s birthday.  Of course, gluten-free cake is a must for a birthday celebration!  I decided to bake two cakes, using two different brands because, well, why not?

pamelas mix

My first cake was Pamela’s Classic Vanilla Cake Mix.  Pamela’s brand is a family favorite, especially when making chocolate chip cookies, Sunday morning pancakes, or communion bread (yes, that’s right, communion bread).

When I lived on a high school dorm, I often made Pamela’s cakes for dorm parties and advisory birthdays.  Pamela’s is one of the pioneers of GF baking mixes.  I enjoy her cakes, but they can be a little on the dry side…my solution for this, lots of icing!  Pamela’s also makes an icing that you make, adding butter, but I find it too much effort for not that great of icing.  (I would rather make homemade or use Betty Crocker’s, which are now labeled gluten-free.) pamelas cake undec

Pamela’s is easy to make and not many additional ingredients.  It bakes correctly if you follow the instructions, but no matter how much I try to flatten out the batter in the cake tin, it still tends to come out unevenly high in the center, which sometimes affects baking time and baking consistency.  After a few days sitting on the counter, the cake becomes a little dry.  (Solution: heat in the microwave for about 7 seconds, not too long or the cake will melt.)

Pamela's cake with chocolate frosting: Don't judge the cake by its decorator.

Pamela's cake with chocolate frosting: Don't judge the cake by its decorator.

I won’t turn down a slice of Pamela’s cake, but I think I’ve found something better and simpler… betty crocker box

The second cake for the festivities came from the mother of ‘glutenful’ baking, Betty Crocker.  Betty’s gluten-free line of baked goods, which hit shelves last year, offers a-mazing brownies and chocolate chip cookies.  I love the brownies but the jury is still out on Crocker’s cookies.  (I go with Pamela’s if I’m making GF cookies from a mix.)

betty cake undec 2

So I tried the expert and went with Betty Crocker’s gluten-free Devil’s Food cake mix.  This cake was so easy to make and cooked perfectly.  With both Pamela’s and Betty’s cake mixes you need to use a mixer, but it’s worth it.  The cake was perfectly moist and flavorful.  Very chocolatey but not too sweet.  I normally prefer yellow cake over chocolate, but this devil’s food cake is my new cake of choice.  It was delicious.  Of course we all had some of both, but my heart was with the chocolate.  (It looked prettier too.)

Betty Crocker Cake: M&Ms make everything look better.

Betty Crocker Cake: M&Ms make everything look better.

As I mentioned before, I just used Betty Crocker icings for the two cakes.  So easy.  Making your own icing is fun too, but it means two more times cleaning the mixer.  (Why do I hate washing that dish so much?)

Two pieces are better than one!

Two pieces are better than one!

What are your favorite gluten-free baking mixes?  Recommendations or hesitations?

  1. Lucy G says:

    Good to know the Betty Crocker GF cake is good! I love her brownies. Last week my roommate and I had a little dinner get together at our house, and I made GF brownie sundaes for dessert with the Betty Crocker gluten free brownie mix. It wasn’t until our friends noticed me devouring a sundae that they realized it was gluten free. Even our guy friends loved them and could not tell the difference between these gluten free brownies and “regular” ones.

    Also, I am in love with the Namaste brand mixes. My favorites are the chocolate cake and the brownies. (I also use Namaste pizza crust mix.) My friends and I have had Namaste chocolate cake for my birthday every year of college. It is the most delicious cake ever! The best icing for this cake is the Cherrybrook vanilla icing, which is labeled gluten free. They absolutely love it, and one of my friends requested this chocolate cake for her birthday instead of “regular” chocolate cake.

  2. Becky says:

    I like the King Arthur Flour gluten-free chocolate cake mix (they don’t have yellow). It is dense and fudgy, and even gluten-eaters rave about it. It also stays moist for 3 to 4 days after baking. The King Arthur cookie and muffin mixes are very good, too. I like the Namaste gluten-free spice cake mix, I add in canned pumpkin for extra moisture. I have only used the Betty Crocker mix in making cakes from “The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free”, which specifically recommends Betty Crocker. I highly recommend the book, I made a mocha espresso cake that vanished at an office party. I have always been the baker among my group of friends, so now they are all getting gluten-free cake for birthdays, etc.

  3. Kristin says:

    Hey Betsy! I stumbled across your blog the other day, and I’m glad I found it. I don’t have celiac disease, but I have gone “paleo” which means no grain or sugar, among other things. Do you ever use coconut flour, and if so, is there a specific brand you like? I’ve found a ton online (I keep forgetting to look in TJ’s or WF) but thought I’d ask before blindly picking one. Thanks!

  4. Betsy says:

    Hi Kristin,
    Thanks for checking out Gluten Freedom! I haven’t really used coconut flour but I do use almond flour which I believe fits with the Paleo diet. I use Bob’s Red Mill. They’re flours are great and I’m guessing they have a coconut one too. Have you been to Urban Pl8 yet?
    Happy cooking!

  5. Betsy says:

    Hi Lucy,
    Thanks for the comments. I like Namaste’s spice cake mix a lot. I haven’t tried their pizza, cake or brownies. David loves the Betty Crocker brownies too. The only downer is that I don’t feel like they keep as well as the Bob’s Red Mill brownies.

  6. Meri says:

    I just picked up the Devil’s Food mix tonight and can’t wait to make it. I have made the brownies and the cookies. The brownies are pretty good, as long as you eat them warm. I didn’t care for the cookies. They ended up cooking kind of funny and had a very, very strong vanilla flavor. That was just my experience, though. I’m looking forward to the BC Devil’s Food. :)

    I love your site, by the way! I have been GF for about a year, with some intermittent cheating (giving up pizza may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done). I love your recipes and restaurant reviews! And I have to tell you – I was so excited about your site and then I went to the “About Me” section and found out that we are close in age, both married and I am a History Ed. major at my college in metro-Atl. How crazy!

    Thanks so much for this blog. It makes things a lot easier on me and a lot of other people!

    Have a good weekend!

  7. Lindy Jones says:

    Betsy,
    Thanks so much for all the recipes and resources on your site. My husband found your blog right after I was diagnosed last August with Celiacs. Whew, it has been a whirlwind and change…BUT I feel SO much better so it is totally worth it. I have two young children so cooking for all of us GF has been a challenge but doable for sure. I did make the Betty Crocker cookies and they didn’t turn out too good. So flat and runny.

    I really am so thankful for your blog… Yeah! Burger is now my new favorite place to eat and I have tried a couple of your recipes. The new Anthropologie on Howell Mill is now selling some GF cookbooks, so let us know if you try any out! Also, the iPad has an awesome GF recipe app if you wanted to ever try that out. I have gotten some great meals out of that one!
    Thanks again!
    Lindy

  8. Betsy says:

    Lindy,

    Thanks so much following Gluten Freedom. I always love hearing that it is a helpful site! Funny you should mention Anthropologie because I was just there today and bought Karen Morgan’s Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free. I’ll let you know how it is.

    Great to hear that you’re feeling better too. It takes time to get back to your old self, but you’re right, it’s totally worth it.

    Take care,
    Betsy

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