Gluten-Free Single-Layer Yellow Cake

[Photographs: Elizabeth Barbone]

This simple layer cake only takes about an hour to make. It goes well with chocolate buttercream. However, if you don't want to finish the cake with buttercream, a citrus glaze works well. To make, start by zesting your favorite citrus fruit. Then, in a small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar with 2 tablespoons milk or citrus juice, like lemon or grapefruit. Stir. Add one teaspoon of citrus zest. Thin, as needed, until the glaze is pourable but still thick.

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking. and "How to Cook Gluten-Free".

Gluten-Free Single-Layer Yellow Cake

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 8 to 10
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:60 minutes
This recipe appears in: Gluten-Free Tuesday: Perfect One-Layer Cake


  • Gluten-free non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) white rice flour
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup milk or water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the Chocolate Buttercream
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) powdered (confectioner’s)sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons milk plus additional as needed


  1. 1

    For the Cake Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8x8x2-inch square cake pan or a 9x2-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set pan aside.

  2. 2

    In large mixing bowl, whisk together white rice flour, granulated sugar, potato starch, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Add butter, milk (or water), eggs, and vanilla. Using a handheld mixer,mix until a thick batter forms, about one minute. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Place cake, in pan, on wire rack to cool. If desired, ice with buttercream icing when cool. (Or glaze with citrus glaze. Recipe above.)

  3. 3

    For the Chocolate Buttercream In medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. In large bowl, beat butter until light. Add powdered sugar-cocoa mixture and milk. Cream until smooth. Adjust thickness, if needed, by adding more milk, one tablespoon at a time. Icing should be thick and spreadable.


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