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Cup4Cup Devil’s Food Cake

Cup4Cup Devil’s Food Cake

The Great Gluten-Free Flour Test continues! In case you weren’t here yesterday (where were you? I was looking everywhere), here’s the 411.

In a nutshell? 4 all-purpose gluten-free flour blends (Better Batter, C4C, Jules, Tom Sawyer), 4 recipe categories (cake, pastry, yeast bread, cookies), 10 ratings categories.* I’ll do the math. Later. When you’re not looking. And I can count on my fingers. And potentially my toes.

*Scroll all the way down for today’s results.

Today? Devil’s Food Cake, same exact recipe as yesterday to the gram, but with Cup4Cup. You can read about the Cup4Cup story here, and you can buy it at Williams Sonoma.

To the touch, the C4C flour feels somehow thinner than Better Batter to me. Silkier. More starch in there, maybe.

Now you may know that I have a long history with Better Batter, but Better Batter has a lot of market competition these days. And different regions have different flour availabilities. I’ve tried many of them – but far from all – yet I’d never before done a controlled side x side comparison. Until now.

You should know that no one provided me with any free flour for this experiment. Or any money. Or even a pack of gum in exchange (if they did have gum, they’d have to share; you can’t have gum and not share everyone knows that). My views are my own. That’s why they’re called mine.

So here’s the Cup4Cup devil’s food cake batter. I wonder if you notice anything – especially if you compare it to yesterday’s batter. Visually, it’s kind of … bumpy. It doesn’t feel bumpy. And it tastes great raw (yup. I always taste the raw batter – if you don’t hear from me for a few days, call 9-1-1), just like it should. But raw … it looks kinda funky.

It bakes up nice, though. The surface is a bit shinier than I’m used to, but it still looks pretty fab.

So I cooled it. Cool it, would you, devil’s food cake?!

It tasted great. No real difference. A little smoother mouth feel, maybe. But not much. Same great flavor. Same great chocolate cake smell. The house smelled like it should when you’re baking cake. Like a bakery! No funny aftertaste. No funny smell. Normal. That’s good.

And this time I made vanilla buttercream frosting. To change things up, so I don’t get bored. So you don’t get bored. If we’re both bored, our minds might wander. And if our minds wander, we might get into trouble. I might lead you into trouble. I do that.

Trim the tops, just like we did yesterday, and place one cake on parchment, cut side down. Then frost generously.

Place another cake, again, cut side down, on top.

Cover with a messy crumb coat.

Then clean up the crumb coat, using the thin layer to fill in gaps between the cakes and seal in any crumbs.

Freeze the assembled cake with the crumb coat, and you’ll easily frost the cake generously on the top and sides. Be swirly. It shouldn’t be perfect.

Then slice a mini piece of the mini cake. And share. I gave my husband a whole mini cake, and he couldn’t even watch me compiling this post. Too much of a good thing. Practice safe cake-eating.

Here are the Cup4Cup Results in the cake category. Should we get Thomas Keller a sash to go with his chef whites, and ask him to get dolled up for the swimsuit competition? No one said this would be easy…

Cake Challenge

Score (1-10)

Cup for cup replacement claim10
Cup for cup replacement result9
Ease of use10
Raw texture8
Cooked texture9
Finished appearance9
Finished taste10
Mouth feel10

Once I’ve priced out all 4 flours to the gram, I will swap out the actual price/cup for a price score on a scale of 0-10.


P.S. Remember, for a detailed description of this series, including the recipe itself and the complete meaning of the categories, see the first Great Gluten-Free Flour Test post.

P.P.S. Next week, Jules Gluten-Free and Tom Sawyer Gluten-Free Flour face off, as the series continues. Oh, the humanity! Tomorrow, no more cake. Something different. And fun.

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  • […] to come in the Great Gluten-Free Flour Test. So far, I’ve tested both Better Batter and Cup4Cup in a Devil’s Food Layer Cake. Tom Sawyer and Jules Gluten-Free are still to come, same cake, […]

  • […] Dutch Baby with Kahlua Bananas from Bob’s Red Mill.Compost Cookies from Kumquat.Cup4Cup Devil’s Food Cake from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.Dark Chocolate Coconut Biscotti (DF,Grain Free) from Gluten-Free […]

  • March 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I’m new to gluten-free baking and living. But in the past month, I’ve probably bought more cookbooks, read more blogs that have been recommended than I can shake a stick at. So, this side-by-side is something that really is appreciated since those who are new to being gluten free are honestly looking for a flour mix to be their AP flour from old. We want something that we can easily cook with and get decent if not great results with some tweaking. Yes, we know that we’ll have to do more work for breads and the like, but when we want quick brownies or a cake (and now I want cake!) this is great to see! Thanks, Nicole! I loved your book, so bookmarking the website came late into my mind. LOL

  • March 23, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    I have a gluten free bakery in Denver, Colorado, and we also have our own gluten free flour blend, called Cheatin’ Wheat Gluten Free Flour Mix. It substitutes cup for cup in traditional recipes (never use gluten free cookbooks anymore – just dig up my old wheat flour recipes and use this flour). My business partner is a pastry chef who was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and created the blend so that she could still make all of her favorite recipes that she had developed through the years. Is it too late to enter in the competition? Probably yes, but maybe you could give it a try next time? Thanks!

    • March 25, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      Hi, Kathy,
      I’m really flattered by your interest! So glad you can provide the Denver area with great gluten-free pastries. No room in the test this time around. Maybe in the future, though!
      xoxo Nicole

  • March 23, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Yes, Jennifer Heimer Bridges. It does.

  • March 22, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    Thanks for trying out all the different flour blends! I loved reading about what you found out.

    I tried Cup4Cup’s brownie mix. Iwrote about the results on my blog. The brownies were great, moist and very chocolaty. But a pretty expensive mix.


    I’ll read on to see what else you’re up to.

  • March 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    This looks really decadent…and that frosting reminds me of yummy french vanilla bean ice cream :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

    • March 21, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Me too, Heather. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sharon Bowler
    March 21, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    This is a great post, series, and blog! I’ve only been doing gluten free baking for about 10 months so I don’t have as much experience as some here. I have never seen any of the products you are testing here. For a while I was using a blend I made, following advice on glutenfreegirl. It was OK, but nothing great. I have also tried a Bob’s Red Mill one and Avec. But just recently I learned about Manini’s, have you heard about them? I like their bread mixes and I just bought some of their all purpose flour. The Bread mixes are the best we’ve found anywhere, it’s real bread not the gross simulations offered in the grocery stores. (Udi’s, Rudy’s)
    Where do you find the flours you are testing here? We live in Seattle.
    Thanks, I’ll keep reading!

    • March 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      Hi, Sharon,
      Welcome to the blog! Bob’s Red Mill “all purpose” flour is a bean blend, which smells bad and doesn’t behave at all like conventional flour. I’ve never heard of Avec, or of Manini’s. I’ll have to look those up.
      The flour blend I use generally is Better Batter, and you can find it on their site or on amazon, and in some stores. The flours I am testing are all linked to in the first post in the series, from yesterday. You can just click on each link for information on how to purchase them. Cup4Cup is sold in Williams-Sonoma stores. Jules is sold in some stores, I believe, as is Better Batter. I don’t think Tom Sawyer is sold in any stores.
      Glad to have you here!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Sharon Bowler
      March 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      thanks! I just checked, Manini’s is a Seattle company. Their products are available here, but also online. http://maninisglutenfreeblog.com/

      I don’t work for them or get anything for telling you about them. It seems expensive to me. But I haven’t figured out the cup price. I bake by weight and I have noticed that 2 cups of Manini’s flour doesn’t weigh anywhere near what the recipe calls for in grams.

      I agree with you about Bob’s red mill. I like some of their products, but this one is pretty terrible.

      I’ll look up the other flours you listed.


    • March 21, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Thanks, Sharon! I don’t think you’re trying to stump for them or anything. We’re just 2 girls, sharing info. :)
      Bob’s is great for component flours, and I’m grateful that they have certified gluten-free versions of so many products that might be difficult to impossible to come by otherwise. But not the blend!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Megan Alethea Brown Hull on Facebook
    March 21, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    The bread is baked and has been tested. Still great!

  • March 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    I’m loving this series, and I’m learning a lot. And drooling a lot, too! :) Thanks!

    • March 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Thanks, Cindy! I’m learning, too. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sarah
    March 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Are you able to provide a breakdown of what’s in each flour mix?

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Hi, Sarah!
      I linked to each product (yesterday, I linked to all 4 of them), and all of the ingredients in each product are listed on those sites.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Amy
    March 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Loving this series. Can’t wait for the rest. I have been using Jules for a couple of years and can’t wait to see how it compares to the rest. I may have to give Better Batter a try.

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      Hi, Amy,
      I’ve actually never tried Jules. I’m excited to put it through the paces! So glad you’re enjoying the series. I think it’s my first official “series” in 3 years of blogging. Exciting!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy Ford on Facebook
    March 21, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    The price difference will a strong deciding factor for me. I had thought I might try the C4C but not at their prices. I am usually able to keep a good supply of better batter around at all times! However, it is a good thing to do a comparison from tme to time to see what is available with the best price & taste! Thanks, Nicole!

  • March 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Hi, Hazel Clements. Bob’s is a great company for component flours, but I won’t use a bean flour blend. :( Pamela’s is NOT intended to be an all-purpose flour. It’s a multi-ingredient baking mix, like Bisquick (it has leaveners).

  • Hazel Clements on Facebook
    March 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    This blog series is a great idea! I was curious, I have used Bobs Red Mill GF All purpose blend, but I felt it had too much bean flavor and I havent used it sense. I have been using Pamela’s Blend and I havent heard much about that flour blend on any blogs….Do you have any thoughts on Pamelas blend? I have considered purchaseing Better Batter based on your blog, however Cup4Cup I would not purchase based on price alone.

  • March 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Those little vanilla bean flecks are making me want some of that cake! Looks great. And yep. Pricey. I hear they are doing bulk but not sure it is through WS but I’m guessing the price is still pricey.

    • March 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      Hi, Lisa!
      Are they doing bulk for regular people, not just wholesale? If they are, and it’s available, I’d be happy to revise the price down. Very happy! If anyone has info, please let me know and I’ll edit.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Chris Cole Humberger on Facebook
    March 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Just want you to know that I’m loving this series! Can’t wait for you to do Jules Nearly Normal. That’s the flour I started with
    (and have used a lot of!) and most recently I got Better Batter. I think both are great, but can’t wait for your side by side.

  • March 21, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Yup. Totally pricey. I tried really hard not to editorialize about the price, but I was kind of shocked. I didn’t inquire about bulk pricing, since that seemed like a bit of an extraordinary measure, something others wouldn’t do. So I just priced it by their Williams-Sonoma price. And, yes, their mix contains dairy.

  • Anneke
    March 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    So funny that this is the recipe you are doing this week, as today is my son’s birthday (14! How did that happen?) and he always wants chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Today I will be using a KA mix, as it was free. I love free! However, next month, when the next child wants chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, I will be using this recipe. I love the “crumb layer” of frosting, never thought of that, but I will do it today. You are so clever! Looking forward to the next test.

    • March 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM

      Hi, Anneke,
      Happy birthday to your son! 14 is a big number. I have zero idea how that happened, but I wouldn’t mind if you could put in a good word for me to make sure it doesn’t happen to my oldest. Thanks.
      I can’t claim the crumb coat as my own, by the way. It’s a tried and true technique, but I’m glad you think it will be helpful to you! It really does make a smooth frosting layer possible. Without it, it’s near impossible.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Anneke
      March 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      I’ll see what I can do , Nicole! I will say that he is in a good place right now, so I have high hopes for 14. 13, on the other hand, pretty much kicked my butt!

  • Karen Langley on Facebook
    March 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Wow – it’s quite a bit more expensive. I wonder if it would come down in price if you bought it in bulk like it says on the web site? They don’t have prices so maybe that’s only for commercial customers? Also interesting that it says the mix contains milk. Fine for me but that would count a lot of people out I’m sure.

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