This gluten free vanilla crazy cake is made with no butter and no eggs, but it's still moist and tender and rises beautifully. What a crazy cake!
You need this vanilla cake recipe say, when you're dairy free (minus the cream cheese glaze, of course) and even egg free, since there's no butter and no eggs. You need it when you haven't planned ahead with room temperature eggs and room temperature butter (it happens!).
My favorite way to make it, unlike our chocolate crazy cake, is with vegetable shortening. I use Spectrum brand healthy, sustainable nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, but Crisco would work fine, too. It makes for a lighter cake than oil does.
But I have tested the recipe with oil, and provided you use less (as directed in the recipe below), it still makes for a lovely, moist cake.
I know that adding the seeds of a vanilla bean to the glaze sort of defeats the purpose of a super economical Depression-era cake. I know!
But you can of course just use vanilla extract. And in place of the cream cheese glaze, a simple white glaze made with confectioners' sugar, a bit of vanilla extract and juuuust enough lukewarm water to make a very thickly pourable glaze.
You can even make this cake with flavor variations. My favorites so far:
- Carrot Cake: Add 2 cups of peeled and grated carrots, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and about 4 ounces white chocolate chips to the batter. Perfect for Easter!
- Chocolate Chip Cake: Or try adding 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips and making it a chocolate chip cake. Perfect for, well, any time.
Do you have any other ideas? Share them in the comments below!
Gluten Free Vanilla Crazy Cake
For the cake
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)*
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 cup (144 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
14 tablespoons (168 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening**
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (16 fluid ounces) lukewarm water
For the glaze
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (or seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean)
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
*Cut It In Half: To make one 8-inch or 9-inch round cake, simply cut all of the ingredients in half and follow the same instructions. Baking time for an 8-inch cake should be at least 30 minutes; for a 9-inch cake at least 25 minutes.
**In place of 14 tablespoons of shortening, you can use 10 tablespoons (140 g) vegetable or canola oil. Pay close attention to the recipe instructions, as the method will be different as well.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour a standard 12-cup bundt pan, and set it aside. Into a medium-size bowl, sift (yes, sift!) the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt and baking soda, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the shortening, sugar, vinegar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the water, and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. (If you are using oil, place the oil, sugar, vinegar and vanilla in a blender and blend until very well-combined.)
To the beaten shortening and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients and the remaining water in 3 to 4 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating until just combined in between. (If you are using oil, add the oil and water mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.) The batter should be soft, and relatively fluffy. (If using oil, the batter will be heavier.)
Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan and spread into an even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted halfway between the center of the bundt pan and the edge comes out clean (about 40 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese glaze, place the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, salt, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer). Beat on high speed until very smooth and thick. You can add more water by the 1/2-teaspoonful if it seems too thick to spread. Spread the glaze on top of the cooled cake, then allow it to set at room temperature until mostly firm (it won’t dry completely). Slice and serve.
Adapted from my Crazy Cake Gluten Free Chocolate Cake.