GF Ratio Rally: Confetti Cake

gluten free confetti cake with blue frostingI can’t believe that it has been a month since I posted about making gluten-free pasta from scratch. Or, that just 2 months ago, I was making cream puffs and apricot dumplings.

gluten free ratio rally logo

This month’s challenge: white or yellow cake. It is the host’s daughter’s birthday, and we are all bringing cake to the party.

When I was a younger, my mom brought me up with a general disdain for baking from boxes. And I loved funfetti cupcakes when they were brought in as treats to school. Especially when they were baked in sugar cones.

As a kid, I had a cake that was decorated like a hamburger and one that was ballet shoes. I had the kind of cakes that you normally don’t get when your mom bakes your cake. Really cool cakes that taste good. But I remember being envious of those kids and their funfetti cupcakes.

I was envious of the sprinkles inside the cupcakes. Not the actual taste.

gluten free confetti cake cross sectionWhen I heard it was Kate’s daughter’s first birthday this month, I couldn’t wait to put sprinkles inside my cake. Because, really, they are better when they are inside.

I used a modified version of Ruhlman’s ratio. I couldn’t remember baking a cake without liquid. And his ratio somehow forgot that. I found an article on fine cooking about cake ratios. It was a bit less straightforward than a 1:1:1:1 ratio, but that’s ok. I did all the math for you. You can thank me later. When you squeal with delight because there are sprinkles inside your cake (or cupcakes), and you didn’t use a box mix.

My ratio ended up being 2:2:1:1:.75… flour:sugar:eggs:butter:liquid

Now, let me explain the wonky ratio. Yes, I said wonky.

Complex ratio math:

  • flour = sugar
  • eggs ≥ fat
  • eggs + liquid = sugar
  • add chemical leveners, flavorings and gums as needed.
Oi, that’s complex. What does it mean? It means that it is a good thing I paid attention in math. If you have 300 grams of flour, you have 300 grams of sugar plus some eggs and liquid that weigh as much as the sugar. Got it? Me either. I kind of winged it. Meh, it happens.
This month’s rally was hosted by Kate at Gluten-Free Gobsmacked. See all the other fabulous cakes:

Britt  @ GF in the City made Boston Cream Pie
brooke @ B & the boy! made White Cake with Apricots & Blueberries
Caleigh @ Gluten Freek[k] made White Chocolate Cupcakes
Caneel @ Mama Me Gluten Free made Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Cake
Caroline @ The G-Spot made Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Charissa @ Zest Bakery made White Russian Cake
Claire @ Gluten Freedom made Banana Rum Cupcakes with Rum Glaze (alcohol-free!)
Dr. Jean Layton @ GFDoctorRecipes made Mocha Buttercream Yellow Birthday Cake-Gluten-Free
Erin @  The Sensitive Epicure made Chocolate Hostess CupCakes Dupes
gretchen @  kumquat made coconut boston cream pie cupcakes
Karen @ Cooking Gluten-Free! made Traditional Birthday Cake
Kate Chan @ Gluten Free Gobsmacked made GF Basic White Birthday Cake
Kate @ KateAliceCookbook made Lemon tea cake
Lisa @ Gluten Free Canteen made Frangelico Cupcakes with Nutella
Marla @ Family Fresh Cooking made Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Shauna @ Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
The Healthy Apple made Gluten-Free Chocolate Pistachio Pound Cake
TR Crumbley@ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Gluten Free Tiramisu Cake
Winnie @ Healthy Green Kitchen made Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Rachel @ The Crispy Cook made Czech Cherry Bublanina 

Gluten Free Confetti Cake
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 10
Even better than my classic yellow birthday cake is a cake with sprinkles baked inside. This cake is easily made vegan with a couple of simple swaps.
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) sweet white rice flour
  • 50 grams (scant 1/2 cup)tapioca starch
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) brown rice flour
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) sorghum flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups)sugar
  • 150 grams (6 T) butter, softened, or earth balance
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 (150 grams) egg whites, or 4 flax eggs
  • 1 cup cold milk (I don’t drink milk, so I only use So Delicious when I bake)
  • 1/4 cup non-pareils
  • 225 grams (2 sticks) butter, very, very soft (again, sub Earth Balance for vegan)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered, dry milk, or powdered dry soymilk (Whole Foods carries this)
  • food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & prepare pans by greasing them and lining with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg whites and beat for a minute or two on medium.
  5. Add the flours and mix a bit more, scraping down the sides. The batter should look a little thick.
  6. Add in the milk and mix until combined.
  7. Add in the nonpareils and give it a quick mix. Over stirring here will cause the color to spread throughout the batter and not be in concentrated little flecks.
  8. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes.
  9. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. For the frosting: whip together the powdered sugar, soft butter and powdered milk. Add food coloring as necessary and add additional powdered sugar to get the desired consistency.
  11. When the cake is cool, spread a filling (I used lemon curd) on one of the layers and stack the cakes. Frost and top with more sprinkles!

Vegan swaps: use 4 flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flax dissolved in 3 tablespoons water). Use Earth Balance Buttery Spread in place of butter and powdered, dried soymilk in place f the powdered dry milk.

To use a gluten free flour blend (or if you can bake with gluten flour), you need 1 1/2 cups of flour. (For a non-gf cake or if you use Jules Nearly Normal Flour, you can omit the xantham gum).

Google Recipe View Microformatting by Easy Recipe


  1. Britt says:

    Gotta love funfetti–and even better gluten-free and homemade. 🙂 And, btw, I too questioned the lack of liquid. While it definitely worked without, I’m with you and will be using liquid in my future cakes. Good work!

  2. You made the cake I truly wanted to make and eat! 🙂 I ended up coming across the “hot milk cake” recipe instead of the white russian cake, but the confetti (and blue frosting) really appeals to the kid in me. Wish we were close enough to do some sample swapping! 🙂

    Best, charissa

  3. GFAngel says:

    This looks fabulous! Thank you so much for posting vegan options, too. I am gluten intolerant and vegan, and it’s so hard finding good cake recipes. I do use So Delicious Coconut Milk and Earth Balance in all of my baking, and they work great!

  4. Connie Kiser says:

    This looks absolutely YUMMY!! I’m currently searching for a gluten-free, dairy-free (I use coconut milk), naturally sweetened cake (using honey, stevia, or agave, but no white sugar) for my grandson’s first birthday. Along with that, I also need one with a frosting recipe that’s made with natural sweeteners vs. white sugar/powdered sugar. While I can substitute stevia for the white sugar in the cake, I don’t think that would work well in the frosting. Any ideas on where to find a recipe for a naturally sweetened cake frosting?

  5. Lindsay says:

    Hi, your recipe looks great! I just have a quick question.. don’t most cake recipes call for salt? Do you use salted butter in the cake recipe? Does this take the place of needing salt? I recently made a GF chocolate cake (from a different blog), but it did not call for any salt, and it was very noticeable! It lacked that depth of flavor. Anyway, if you have any insight, I would appreciate it! Thanks!!

    • maryfran says:

      I did use salt, and I think it is just a typo that I missed it. I almost never write it down when I am scibbling in the kitchen. Use 1/4 teaspoon of salt and add it with the flour. I have updated the recipe.

      Salt adds a depth of flavor to cakes and it is very noticeable when it is missed. I would use salt when baking a cake even if the recipe didn’t call for it out of habit. (Is it bad to have habits for baking cakes?).

      And NEVER bake with salted butter. The salt levels vary from brand to brand, so you never know exactly what you are getting flavor-wise.

  6. jen says:

    hi maryfran – i found your blog from the gluten free ratio rally links and have noticed your ratio above for the confetti cake varied from the standard 1:1:1:1. i’m trying to convert a carrot cake recipe to a gluten free version using the ratio method and am completely at a loss for figuring it out and i wonder if you can offer any tips to help me figure out how to do it. ANY advice would be greatly appreciated – my husband’s birthday is this week and he has asked for the 3rd year in a row for me to convert it to GF, and since my past 2 attempts did not work out, i’m hoping to figure it out this year. thanks in advance!


    Carrot Cake
    2 cups sugar
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 eggs — beaten
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 cups grated carrots
    1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    8 ozs crushed pineapple drained
    1 1/4 cups coconut

    Buttermilk Glaze:
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup butter
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Cream Cheese Frosting:
    8 ounces cream cheese — softened
    1/2 cup butter — softened
    1 pound powdered sugar — sifted
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Cake: Combine first 5 ingredients; beat well.
    Mix flour, soda, salt and cinnamon; add to creamed mixture; stir well. Add carrots, walnuts, pineapple and coconut; stir well.

    Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

    Bake at 350~ for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

    Immediately spread Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers. Cool in pans 15 minutes; remove from pans, let cool completely, then spread cream cheese frosting on top of cooled cake.

    Buttermilk Glaze: Combine first 5 ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat; add vanilla.

    Cream Chese Frosting: Mix cream cheese and butter; beat until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla

    • maryfran says:

      Do you have a kitchen scale? Or a preferred gluten-free flour blend? If you can get to a Williams-Sonoma Cup4Cup flour ( or the Jules Nearly Normal Flour () will make this cake perfect for you without any modifications.

      You are looking for the equivalent of 280 grams of flour.

      That said, if you need to mix up your own flour blend at home, I would try 1 cup sorghum flour (135 grams), 1/3 cup sweet rice flour (65 grams), 1/2 cup tapioca starch (65 grams), 1 tablespoon ground flax (15 grams). Sorghum is one of my favorite gluten-free flours to use as I think it has a fairly mild taste. I gave you a pretty much 50/50 blend of grains and starches so this should work out reasonably well. Also, there is no need for xantham gum if you use flax!

      I hope this helps! Carrot cake is one of my faves! I will be sharing my grandmother’s recipe closer to easter!

  7. jen says:

    hi maryfran – thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! since you gave me the total gram of flour i need, i’m very hopeful that i might be successful this year. i have a kitchen scale. i also have Cup4Cup and it’s worked fine, but i like to mix my own flours most often, so i’ll probably follow your suggestions and see how it goes. thank you again and i’ll keep my eyes out for your grandmother’s carrot cake recipe:-).


    • maryfran says:

      Please make sure you let me know how it goes! And I know the Cup4Cup is expensive – it has just lead to many fewer utter failures in my kitchen 🙂

      And kudos to you for having a kitchen scale! It makes all the difference in gluten-free baking!

  8. jen says:

    hi maryfran – i wanted to stop in again to let you know that your suggestions to make the carrot cake gluten free worked PERFECTLY!!!! I used your substitutions/weights with the ground flaxseed.
    i’ve made this cake for my husband’s birthday for years (although i haven’t been able to eat it the past 2 yrs) and we both agreed that this year it’s just as good as any other – we couldn’t detect that it is GF at all!

    for furture reference if i need to figure out a substitution again, it seems that you took the weight of the original recipe’s cups of flour and substituted equal amounts of GF flours, is that correct? how did you figure out the flour to starch ratio? also, does flaxseed always work as a substitute for xantham gum? how do you know those amounts?

    if there is a resource you can direct me to instead of answering here, just let me know where i should look. thanks again for your help!


    • maryfran says:

      I did just take the weight of flour. The trick is to start at a 50/50 blend of grains & starches and work from there. I usually end up at about 60% starch, 40% grains. As for the flax, I use 5-10% of the weight of flours and count it as a grain.

      There is a new cookbook called the Essential gluten free baking guide by Brittany Angell & Iris Higgins that talks about the properties of all the different flours.

      I am glad your cake turned out!

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