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Gluten-free Cake Flour Corn Muffins

Gluten-free Cake Flour Corn Muffins

If you don’t like corn muffins, you simply haven’t had the right ones. Don’t argue. You know how it gives you wrinkles.

Corn muffins should not be dry. If they’re dry, someone should be embarrassed. They should be tender & moist, plus just sweet enough that they can be for dinner just as easily as they can be for breakfast.

I have taken it upon myself to do them proper. Using gluten-free cake flour in place of all-purpose gluten-free flour ensures that the muffins aren’t hard and dense.

Gluten-free Cake Flour—say what?

1 cup of gluten-free cake flour can be made by combining 115 grams high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour with 25 grams cornstarch. But I wouldn’t use Cup4Cup, since it is already very cornstarchy.

Cake flour is a good thing to have in your back pocket (metaphorically speaking). Use it in cakes and muffins, 1:1 in place of your general high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour. Here’s how I used it this time:

Gluten-free Cake Flour Corn Muffins
Recipe Type: Muffins
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 7 mins
Cook time: 22 mins
Total time: 29 mins
Serves: 12
Gluten-free corn muffins made with cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) gluten-free cake flour (173 grams high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour + 37 grams cornstarch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 1/2 cup (66g) coarsely ground gluten-free cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (112g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, scalded* and then allowed to cool briefly (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not)
  • 1 extra-large egg at room temperature, beaten
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well.
  3. Add the butter, milk and egg, and mix until combined. The batter will be thick but soft.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, and shake back and forth to even out the batter in each cup. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins are lightly golden brown on top, about 22 minutes.
  5. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*To scald milk, heat it in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it just begins to boil lightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool briefly. Remove and discard any skin that forms on the top of the milk.

I served these muffins with a pancetta and spinach frittata, drizzled with a roasted tomatillo-tomato sauce.

I love tomatillos (they come nature-gift-wrapped), but we can still be the best of friends even if you don’t love them. And I love you even you can’t say you love me. Still waters run deep.


P.S. Love the recipe? Pick up a copy of My Cookbook. Support the team, so I don’t have to get a job at McDonald’s. They’re probably not hiring anyway.

Like this recipe?

Comments are closed.

  • Penny Oesterling
    May 31, 2012 at 8:56 AM


    My question is concerning the cake flour. I obviously don’t bake much, but how do you convert grams into ounces for measuring? Thanks.

  • jackie fretwell
    May 26, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Nicole, just made these last night, made the pretzel rolls last weekend. Both were a huge success, these rolls were heavenly, tasty and oh so fluffy. Had to post pics on Facebook of these. My husband went on and on about them and my daughter loved the pretzel rolls. I just cannot praise you enough and I wonder how I made it without you. Tons of love and thanks..

    • May 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      I’m really glad, Jackie. Sounds like you’re on a roll (pun intended). ;) Thanks for taking the time to let me know.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Melissa Rose
    May 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    I made these this afternoon! They turned out really well considering I literally threw them together!!! I will definitely be making them again with some other ingredients added! They seem very versatile! :)

    • May 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      So glad, Melissa Rose. Don’t you love a new keeper recipe?
      xoxo Nicole

      • Melissa Rose
        May 26, 2012 at 5:18 AM

        I do indeed! And I love that so many of your recipes I want to make again (and again and again!) My favourite so far is magic blondie bars, I refuse to share them with anyone!! Thanks for posting so many awesome recipes, it makes being GF so much better!
        xo Mel

      • May 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM

        Good for you, Melissa. Nothing wrong with hoarding a favorite recipe’s spoils. I do that with the Maple Almond Granola. It’s the only thing I make that’s just for me!
        xoxo Nicole

  • May 25, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    I have to thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I recently went gluten free for a number of reasons and was mourning the loss of my beloved fluffy bread. I tried some of the mixes… but we know how those are. Then I found your site and became obaessed with baking. The most baking I did in the past was cake out of the box. I knew bothing about baking. I still know very little but feel ready to take on the challenge with your recipes. I had my first success tonight with your french bread recipe. And it’s all due to your blog and the simple recipes you’ve created as many of the recipes i found had me running in fear. I look forward to cutting into my French bread tomorrow!

    PS I loved the pastry dough how to video, I am a very visual person so it helped greatly. And i love your dorkiness as i mylf am a huve dork. I’m thinking I’m going tl try this corn muffin recipe next!

    • May 25, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Wow, Addy. You really hit the ground running! Glad to know a fellow dork. So glad you’re having early success. It’s the key to a bright future. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Susan
    May 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Dear Nicole,

    Hi! I had made several of your recipes, have your first book, and in general, love what you do! However, yesterday one of your recipes seriously FLOPPED for me. This is hard to take, cause I used to make all our own bread, and these Pretzel Rolls,. which looked so great on my screen, just did not work. First of all, hard to know exactly how much flour to add. Then when I set them to rise close to the wood stove, they just grew sideways and spread all over the pan, did not rise UP! So when I put them in the boiling soda bath, pieces broke apart and floated all over the pan. I threw the entire mess out. Loss of time, energy, ingredients.
    And no, I don’t have a proofing pan, and do they even made one large enough for a big pan of rolls, like on a large cookie sheet?
    I need help with this one!! Did anyone else have trouble???


    • May 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Hi, Susan,
      So sorry it turned out that way for you. That must have been frustrating. I hope the next time you try the recipe it goes much better because it is a tested recipe and will work. If you would like to tell me in detail what you used for ingredients and how you prepared each step as there are so very many variables in baking (especially in yeast bread baking), I’m happy to review it to see where you differed from the original recipe as written. Because a “flop” means that you somehow deviated from the recipe as written, even though you seem pretty sure that I am somehow at fault. Let me know, and again, so sorry it didn’t work for you.

  • May 22, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    What a lovely blog…. Just subscribed and I’m looking forward to your posts – and your food!

  • Peggy
    May 22, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    This sounds great to go with a bowl of beans with chopped onions & grated cheese! I know what I’m making this week for our quilting get together potluck this Friday evening! Would also be good with my taco salad…hummm…may have to reconsider the beans dish. LOL

    • May 22, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      Peggy! I’m so happy to “see” you! I’ve been wondering about you, hoping you were just busy with quilting and your kids and grandkids. :) These would be great with taco salad. A good corn muffin is a versatile thing indeed.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Peggy
        May 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM

        Yes, Nicole, I have been quilting, house sitting, & spending time with my son & his family! Between Mother’s Day & birthdays…have much to do! However, I was looking for something a little different for our monthly quilting get together & saw this recipe for the corn muffins! I love corn muffins! You are right…they are very versatile! Peggy

  • Cass
    May 22, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Do you think this recipe would work without the egg? I use applesauce and other things, dependent on what I am making.

    • May 22, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      Hi, Cass,
      No, I don’t, I’m afraid. You might be able to replace the egg with something that has both moisture and protein (applesauce just adds moisture), but you’ll have to experiment!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristi
    May 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Sometimes I think you read my mind. Some days it freaks me out and on other days I just embrace it and love it for what it is. Cake flour! Yeah.

    I won’t argue. I hate dry corn muffins. It is like eating a bunch of Saltines with no liquid. Bleh. And double bleh since they are glutenous.

    I am loving your hacks on the flour. Thanks so much! My friends think I am a scientist but not compared to you my friend. ;-)

    • May 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      I know these hacks are right up your alley, Kristi. :) Dry corn muffins are just awful. They’re everything that people who haven’t had good gluten-free baked goods think that all gluten-free baked goods taste like.
      xoxo Nikki

  • Rebecca
    May 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Oh my goodness! Now I am hungry again. But also inspired… We have a monthly wine tasting and I usually do without most of the goodies being served. This month it is Chilean wines, so I think I will make these in mini style adding green chilies and a bit of cheese to them!

    • May 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      That sounds great, Rebecca. I’m so glad you’re inspired. And it sounds like you’ll make ’em all jealous. Enjoy your wine tasting!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Patti
    May 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    This is my next muffin to try! btw, I made your banana bread this week-end. Turned out awesome. I had to cook it WAY longer though. Oven temp was good (used my new oven thermometer……….that was a first, but I needed to check it out. I really am trying!) Anyway, I cooked it in a le creuset loaf pan dd gave me for Mother’s Day. Would that have made a difference? I tented the loaf and baked for a full extra 30 minutes. Seems like a lot of extra time. But it turned out perfect. Just perfect. Served to all my non g-free relatives and they had no clue.

    Thanks for your hard work Nicole!

    • May 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Hi, Patti,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the banana bread. The size and material of your loaf pan could easily make a difference in baking times. If it’s a more compressed loaf, it could take longer to bake. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though, since you’re pleased with how it turned out. I really can’t tell exactly why you felt like you needed to bake it longer, as baking has so many variables and I wasn’t there by your side.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Patti
        May 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        Thank you for responding Nicole. I baked it longer because every time I tested the center it came out way gooey.

        Good point on the baking variables. Noted on recipe what I did and we’ll see how it goes next time!

  • Laura
    May 22, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Does it make sense that any of your cake/muffins recipes would work better with the cake flour rather than straight Better Batter?

    I made your coffee cake muffins for the second time yesterday. And wondering if I should have used the Cake flour. Unfortunately, for me, my first attempt was a success and my second time sorta flopped… It was my dang oven temperature. It really is hard having an oven with temps that are off by 75-85 deg. I even have a thermometer, but was in a hurry. That’ll learn me. Next time, TAKE YOUR TIME! :-) Oh well, they still taste yummy even if they sank. I think I’m the only one who’ll eat ’em.

    Anyway, the cake flour is supposed to make it light and fluffy? Hope so, I like light and fluffy!

    • May 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Hi, Laura,
      Yes, cake flour should help to make cakes lighter. I wouldn’t use the cake flour for the crumble topping in the Coffee Cake Muffins, though, as you want that to be dense.
      And you learned a good lesson the hard way. In baking as in life, the long way is the short way!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jackie Fretwell
    May 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Hello Nicole, those corn muffin cakes look very yummy. I want to make some for dinner tonight. For the high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour can I use better batter flour? Please say that I can…It’s all I have in the house, I bought 2-25lb bags of it so I need to use it up.



    • May 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Yes, of course you can use Better Batter, Jackie. I do most often (and I did for this recipe). I just don’t want people to feel limited to using Better Batter, is all.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jackie Fretwell
        May 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        That’s a big GROOVY right here in the wonderful state of Texas. I’m yankee born though so I have never heard of this Texas Sheet Cake, maybe Margaret is willing to share?? One can only hope. :) but I am totally doing these muffins tonight!!



      • Margaret
        May 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        It is interesting that my original recipe (probably from the late 50s or very early 60s is actually called Hawaiian Sheet Cake. There is nothing Hawaiian about it. But I am happy to share. And I most definitely want to try it with Nicole’s new cake flour blend. I will be doing that as soon as I go to the grocery store and get pecans. It isn’t the same without that ingredient. Email me at mlbat@att.net and I will send you the original recipe. I hope it is ok to post this here Nicole!

      • May 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        Hi, Margaret,
        You did great. I ask that readers not post recipes here on the blog, so I really appreciate your offering your email address to Jackie instead!
        xoxo Nicole

  • Margaret
    May 22, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Nicole, I have a chocolate cake recipe that I have made literally hundreds of times–but not since I finally made the switch to absolutely-completely-without-a-doubt-gluten free. It took some time to make the change. But this is a cake that I miss. It is made in a jelly roll pan and the chocolate icing is poured over the hot cake so it soaks in. I live in Texas and in the 60s it was called a Texas Sheet Cake. But I would love to make it again. It didn’t call for cake flour but I am wondering if I can make it with this cake flour or will other changes have to be made. I know it’s hard to tell without the full recipe, but I am asking anyway.

    • Anneke
      May 22, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Oh my gosh! I love, love, love Texas Sheet Cake! I have never been to Texas, by the way, but my mom raised me on that cake. I have made it since going GF (it is my husband’s favorite for his b-day) and I think it works fine. My guess is that it might be better with cake flour, but give it a try either way, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. You are the first person outside my family to ever mention it, you just made my day! Might have to go make one . . .

    • May 22, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Hi, Margaret,
      I don’t really convert other people’s recipes to gluten-free (too many variables, and I am more comfortable building a recipe from the ground up), but if you are using Better Batter, you can contact them directly at contact@betterbatter.org and they can help you convert your recipe.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Lacey
      May 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      First, Nicole, THANK YOU for this blog. My 6 year old was diagnosed with Celiac’s almost a year ago and the last 11 months have definitely been educational and challenging. I’ve been trying out different flour blends and different recipes from all over the place. Your recipes and baking tips are a God send to our family. I too have 3 kiddos and the Better Batter just makes life SO much easier. I just bought your book and a 25lb bag of Better Batter and have been baking up a storm :)
      Secondly, Margaret – I too live in Texas and just yesterday was wondering about making the sheet cake with the fudge icing…it’s a family favorite at all get togethers….to die for!

      • May 22, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        Hi, Lacey,
        It sounds like you really have made tremendous strides in gluten-free baking over the last year. That first year is, by far, the hardest. So glad you’re emerging from it so strong.
        I’m not from Texas, but I have had Texas Sheet Cake before and I’m a fan, too. The cake in my Gluten-Free Ho-Hos is very similar (although the cake is made mostly with melted chocolate, rather than mostly cocoa). Just leave it flat and ice it rather than filling it with cream and rolling it up. It seems like there is a consensus, though. I might just need to post a recipe for Texas Sheet Cake. :)
        xoxo Nicole

      • Lacey
        May 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        Mmm..Ho-ho’s..will have to try that one! Thank you for the encouragement. It’s been a hard year but all of the struggles are completely worth it to have my son in good health and pain free! I’d be happy to share our family’s recipe for the Sheet Cake if you are interested :)

      • Elizabeth
        May 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM


        I love, love, love your website but I’ve never commented before….now. Can I join the begging for Texas sheet cake? It’s my husband’s favorite treat. I’m a celiac and I have to watch DH eat it in front of me when my MIL makes it for him… which is often. I would love to make a gluten free version that I could enjoy as well! You’re the best!

      • May 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        Hi, Elizabeth,
        So that’s what it took to get you to come out of the shadows, huh? Texas Sheet Cake? Well, then that settles it. It’s on the top of the list! And my heart is breaking for you, for real, having to watch your husband eat his mom’s sheet cake right in front of you. Clearly, our version has to be better even than his. ;)
        xoxo Nicole

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