Gluten-Free Tuesday: Buttermilk Pound Cake Recipe

Photograph: Elizabeth Barbone

Since spring hasn't fully arrived in my neck of the woods, strawberry tarts, shortcakes, and other spring-treats aren't coming out of my kitchen. Yet I'm still craving something spring-y. This buttermilk pound cake satisfies my craving. The delicate flavor and lemony icing hints of light spring desserts, while not requiring any unavailable seasonal ingredients. And, of course, if berries are in season where you live, serve some with this cake.

While this loaf is easy to make, paying attention to two things while preparing the batter ensures success every time:

  • From the beginning of the mixing process, stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to clear the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl. Scrape the adhered butter into the bowl and mix until it's thoroughly combined. This way, you won't have chunks of butter in your finished batter.
  • Add the buttermilk in stages. To prevent the batter from "breaking" (not emulsifying and appearing curdled), add one-third of the dry ingredients, mix well and then add half the buttermilk. After you add the buttermilk, stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Repeat this process until all the dry ingredients and buttermilk are incorporated. The finished batter should be light and fluffy.

Recipe Facts



Active: About 20 mins
Total: 90 mins
Makes: 1 loaf

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  • For the Cake
  • 5 ounces (1 1/4 cups) white rice flour
  • 2 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
  • 1.5 ounces (1/3 cup) cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Glaze
  • Juice of one large lemon (about three tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) confectioners' sugar


  1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9- by 5-inch baking pan with cooking spray or grease with solid shortening and dust with white rice flour. Set pan aside.

  2. In medium bowl, whisk together white rice flour, sweet rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Set aside.

  3. Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. After one minute, stop mixer. Scrape paddle and sides and bottom of bowl.

  4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stop mixer. Scrape side and bottom of the bowl. Mix an additional minute.

  5. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with buttermilk. (Begin and end with dry ingredients.) Mix thoroughly after each addition of dry ingredients and buttermilk. Stop mixer. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Add vanilla extract and blend to combine, about 30 seconds.

  6. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan.

  7. Bake for 45 minute or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

  8. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow loaf to cool in the pan for five minutes. After five minutes, turn loaf out onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely.

  9. For the Glaze: In small bowl, slowly whisk confectioners’ sugar into lemon juice. Once the loaf has cooled, place a piece of parchment under the wire rack and glaze each loaf.