The Daily Dietribe

Gluten Free White Birthday Cake (Refined Sugar Free, Vegan)

Hi Folks,

It’s Iris here.  First of all, I cut my hair! This has nothing to do with being gluten free, but everything to do with body image and how we women perceive ourselves. Thinking I may end up writing a post on it (but it will be on if I do). I’ll put up some pics on Facebook soon because I don’t have any to share here today.

It’s been very strange to be setting up posts every day this month, yet not be writing my own here. I have been writing the Mind*Body*Spirit Exercises of the Week, so I hope you’re trying them out and finding them useful.

I would love to get some feedback on how you’re getting along with the Gluten Free Health Challenge so far: what you like, don’t like, want more of, less of. This is all an experiment (isn’t all of life, really?) so I imagine I’ll be tweaking things as I go along. I have to thank all the coaches and challengers for committing themselves to this, and I’d also like to thank everyone who’s joined the GF Facebook support group. If you haven’t joined the group yet, we’ve been sharing a lot of ideas, recipes, and support around the ideas of body image and taking care of your body without being unkind to yourself or getting into the “guilt trap” around food.

(Speaking of food and guilt, I’ll be running a program soon on releasing emotional eating, and those of you in my GF Facebook support group or on my Fairy Angel mailing list will hear about this and other upcoming programs first. I haven’t finalized all the dates yet, but I can tell you that I will only be accepting a very small number of people into the program this time around, so if it sounds like something you might be interested in, make sure you’re getting the info first!)

Friday was my birthday, and so I made a cake. A gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan cake of course. My goal was to make one with minimal ingredients and not too many “fancy” ingredients. I didn’t want you all to have to go grocery hunting in order to bake this. It didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped. I was going for a lemon cake, but found the amount of lemon I used barely lent any flavor at all. And it’s not particularly sweet, so for those of you who like a lot of sugar in your cake, you’ll want to add a sweet frosting. I’m sharing the recipe with you, not because it’s perfect yet, but because it’s a really good base to start with. With so few ingredients, it would be easy to tweak this to your liking. I’ll include some ideas on that below, including how you might turn it into a chocolate mocha cake… I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Wondering how I turned this into a 2-layer cake? I had some not-so-perfect moments with this recipe. First, I baked it in a 9 inch cake pan and it overflowed. Not pretty. Then I ran out of ingredients and didn’t want to buy more for a second layer. So I just cut it in half and made half a cake. I spread blueberry jam in between the layers, and frosted it with a version of this vegan frosting from Whole Life Nutrition.

Basic White Cake (Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan)

2 2/23 cups white rice flour* (300 grams)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk, room temp
1/2 cup maple syrup, room temp
1/4 cup lemon juice, room temp
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Start by having all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and rice flour a 10 inch cake pan (if you only have 9 inch, fill it about 2/3 full and make cupcakes with the extra).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, maple syrup, lemon juice, applesauce and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly combined. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing.

Makes 1 10-inch cake layer.
*Superfine white rice flour is ideal. I find mine at the Asian grocery store.

Substitutions: Keep in mind that I haven’t made these substitutions. They’re just a guess at what might work.

Rice flour: I think you can replace this with a gf flour blend or another light flour like teff or brown rice flour. You may have to adjust the amount of liquid. You want a typical cake batter (sort of like the thickness of pancake batter).

Coconut milk: Replace this with any liquid. If you use juice, it will increase the sweetness of the cake. You might want to use a little less liquid since full fat coconut milk is so thick.

Maple syrup: Replace with honey, agave nectar or coconut nectar. Or use a granulated sugar instead, increasing the amount to 3/4 cup of sugar, and increase the liquids used by 1 tablespoon.

Applesauce: Any puree or fat will work here. Pureed sweet potato, pureed pear, yogurt, butter or oil are all options you can try here.

Lemon Juice: Just like with the coconut milk, you can replace this with any liquid. If you want a cake with more lemon flavor, you can also try adding lemon zest to ramp it up.

Pure vanilla extract: Try a different extract like almond or lemon.

To make this chocolate: Try using 2 cups of white rice flour and 2/3 cup of cocoa powder. Replace the lemon juice with room temperature coffee for a mocha cake.

To make it completely sugar free: Try this recipe, which is very similar and uses stevia.

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