How To Fix The Top 5 Mistakes When Baking Vegan & Gluten-Free (2024)

By Sara Kidd 2 Comments

Vegan baking can sometime feel a little daunting if you haven’t done it before but then throw gluten-free into the mix and it can get a little scary. Here are the top 5 issues that happen with vegan gluten-free baking and how you can fix them.

1. YOUR CAKE IS SINKING IN THE MIDDLE OR NOT RISING

a. You may not have used enough raising agents. I do recommend experimenting with double action baking powders. Otherwise try using 25 percent more chemical raising agents (baking soda or baking powder) if you’re converting a recipe to gluten free.

b. Your cake may
not have enough structure due to using only one type of gluten-free flour. I recommend using a combination of gluten-free flours and starches to create a strong structure for your cake. I would also suggest to review what your egg replacer you’re using. For gluten-free baking I usually use xanthan gum or a flax seed egg as my egg replacer if I’m wanting to help create structure and bind the ingredients together.

b. Over beating your mixture. Even though it’s gluten-free and doesn’t have a gluten structure that we need to be delicate with, over beating your cake can still cause issues. So be very gently with your batter and beat only until just combined.

c. Your bake is too large. I always recommend making cakes no larger than 6 to 7 inchesor thinner larger layers. I find that the smaller the cake, the better the bake.

d. Your oven is too hot and it’s causing the cake to rise too quickly before it’s had time to create the cake structure underneath to hold it up. I bake in a convection oven and I usually bake at 160C/320F in a convection oven. I find this temperature doesn’t bake my cakes too quickly and stops that hard brown crust from forming.

2. YOUR BAKE IS DENSE AND LIKE A BRICK

a. This can also be caused by only using one type of gluten-free flour. Using a combination of gluten-free flours will assist with giving your cake a better structure as each flour can action different results. As an example I will use almond meal to create a fluffy cake crumb, I will use rice flour to help create structure and a starch will hold onto moisture and assist to bind the ingredients together.

b. Your cake has too much moisture or too much fat.

c. Using the wrong egg replacer. An example of this is if you’re using apple sauce as your egg replacer. It will add moisture but won’t add structure by assisting the binding process causing it to be more prone to a dense result.

3. WEIRD FLAVOURS

a. Creating a great tasting gluten-free vegan cake can be tricky. It’s all about the gluten-free flour. All flours taste different. An example of this is buckwheat flour is quite nutty so I will use this flour in a chocolate cake as it pairs well with this flavour. If I’m making my famous vegan vanilla gluten free cake I want to use a combination of flours that is more neutral tasting like white rice flour mixed with potato starch for structure and an almond meal to help create that fluffy texture.

b. Because we tend to use a lot of nuts and seeds in gluten-free baking I recommend using extra high quality vanilla bean paste when baking. It will help balance out those nutty, sometimes bitter flavours.

4. TOO DRY

a. If you’re finding your gluten-free cake is coming out dry, try using oil instead of vegan butter as your main fat source, this can add extra moisture. Adding a thick vegan coconut yogurt or whipped aquafaba is also another option.

b. This can be caused by over baking or your oven is too hot. Don’t be afraid to under-bake your cake slightly. You want to retain extra moisture in your cake as gluten-free cakes can be a little dry. I usually bake it for 5 minutes less and test it with a skewer. If the skewer still has a few crumbs and a tiny bit of moisture on it, it’s ready to come out of the oven. If you’re converting a recipe to gluten free, experiment with adjusting the temperature of your oven 10C/50F lower. Also, it’s good to remember some gluten-free flours absorb more moisture than others. An example of this is coconut flour, it absorbs more moisture in baking than rice flour.

5. TOO CRUMBLY

If your baking is falling apart once baked this can be because you have used the wrong egg replacer, or not enough of an egg replacer. You want to make sure your egg replacer is acting well as a binding agent and binding all the ingredients together to give a firm result. I would recommend a flax seed egg or xanthan gum for this issue.

If you want to learn more about gluten-free baking check out my Recorded Gluten Free Baking 101 Workshop

Here is a list of my Gluten Free Recipes to get you started:

VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE RECIPES
Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cake
Vegan Gluten-Free Shortbread
(Halloween Special)

How To Fix The Top 5 Mistakes When Baking Vegan & Gluten-Free (2024)

FAQs

What is the trick to baking with gluten-free flour? ›

Use xanthan gum or guar gum: Gluten-free flours lack the elasticity and structure that gluten provides, so adding a binder like xanthan or guar gum can help to hold the ingredients together and give your baked goods a better texture.

What adjustments should you do when baking with gluten-free flour? ›

Gluten-free flours often contain fine starches, so they absorb more liquid than conventional flour. To address this, gluten-free recipes usually call for more liquid and produce looser batters. They may also call for a larger quantity of leavening, like baking powder, to help add volume and lighten the texture.

How do you make gluten-free baked goods less dense? ›

Gluten-free baked goods often benefit from extra liquid to hydrate the flour blends, eliminate grittiness, and achieve a less dense or dry texture. However, it's very important to drive off this extra moisture during baking, or you'll wind up with a gummy texture. The best way to do this? Longer baking times.

Why is my vegan cake not fluffy? ›

Over mixing batter is another reason which causes over development of the gluten and a dense result. If your oven isn't heated to the correct temperature before you put your cake in, it can cause it to not bake properly. Using too much flour and not aerating and sifting your flour before you bake can be another reason.

What is the closest gluten-free flour to all-purpose flour? ›

Brown rice flour is about as close to a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour as it gets since it provides structure and a “wheat-like” flavor.

What is the best flour for gluten-free recipes? ›

Best Overall: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour

The cookies themselves were buttery, crisp and delicious, and held together perfectly (some brands yielded cookies so fragile that they shattered with one bite). Pancake batter poured easily and cooked up into light, fluffy flapjacks.

What to use instead of xanthan gum? ›

9 Substitutes for Xanthan Gum
  • Psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is made from the husks of Plantago ovata seeds and is sold ground for baking purposes. ...
  • Chia seeds and water. When soaked, chia seeds form a gel much like xanthan gum. ...
  • Ground flax seeds and water. ...
  • Cornstarch. ...
  • Unflavored gelatin. ...
  • Egg whites. ...
  • Agar agar. ...
  • Guar gum.
May 13, 2020

How much longer do you bake with gluten-free flour? ›

Gluten-free goods tend to brown faster and take longer to cook through. So they need to be baked at a slightly lower temperature, for a slightly longer time. Every recipe is different, but in general, try lowering the temperature by 25 degrees and baking the item for 15 minutes longer.

Can you over beat gluten-free flour? ›

While conventional wisdom has taught us not to overmix our batters, we've found most gluten-free batters simply need to be stirred for longer. If you're worried this will turn your muffins and cakes rubbery, have no fear. Gluten-free recipes need to have more structure.

How do you make gluten-free baking less crumbly? ›

If the flour you are using doesn't already contain xanthan gum, combining quarter of a teaspoon to every 200g/7oz of gluten-free flour will help to improve the crumb structure of your bake. You can also use guar gum or a combination of the two.

What are the challenges of gluten-free baking? ›

One of the challenges is that when gluten-free dough is thickened with additives like starches and gums, it becomes sticky. Some bakers dust sticky dough with flour, but that's problematic with gluten-free formulations.

How do you increase moisture in gluten-free baking? ›

Honey and agave as a sugar substitute can enhance moisture as well, but be aware that you should cut down slightly on the other liquids you are using in the recipe, as honey and agave are not solid ingredients. Adding an extra egg or oil can also help, but use caution.

Why use vinegar in vegan baking? ›

It's all in the chemistry: the acidity in the vinegar reacts with the baking soda creating bubbles and making your batter rise.

Why is my vegan cake flat? ›

In vegan cakes, the absence of the egg makes it so that it's all about taking advantage of gluten formation to build structure. This means that when you take the egg out of a cake recipe, you're going to be taking out the primary structure builder, which means that the cake is going to fall flat.

What is the secret to a fluffy cake? ›

The most crucial tip? Instead of buying an entire box of cake flour, simply incorporate two tablespoons of cornstarch into 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. This blocks the formation of gluten in the flour, which produces a lighter, fluffier cake.

Does baking time change with gluten free flour? ›

Remember, baking times for gluten-free foods vary greatly, and it's important to keep a constant eye on your creation to monitor for the colors and textures that indicate doneness. These recipes often call for longer baking times at a lower temperature compared to traditional recipes.

Does gluten free flour rise the same as regular flour? ›

It's not all good news though as gluten-free flours simply cannot fulfil this same function of leavening which is why you might have experienced flatter and denser bakes when using these flours. At this point you will need to turn to other sources to help your gluten-free baked goods to rise.

How do I substitute gluten free flour for baking? ›

Use an All-in-One Gluten-Free Flour

They have been tested for versatility and produce optimal results. Measurements: All-in-one gluten-free blends are usually a one-to-one swap with regular flour, allowing you to substitute one cup of all-purpose flour with one cup of gluten-free flour.

How do you get gluten free flour to bind? ›

Xanthan Gum

Because gluten-free flours have less protein than wheat flours and are not capable of forming the same network required to stretch and surround starch granules, they need reinforcement. Xanthan gum strengthens these networks and also makes them more elastic.

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