If you’re newly adapting to a gluten-free diet, cakes and cookies may still be difficult to navigate. Anne Byrn, best-selling author of The Cake Mix Doctor, has done a gluten-free book – The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-free – which I notice has a (rare!) five-star rating on Amazon.com. I’m giving a copy away – plus the recipe for this Snickerdoodle Cake, inspired by the cinnamon-scented cookie of the same name.
The crunchy top and sides slathered with cinnamon cream cheese frosting make this even more reminiscent of the snickerdoodle cookie – you could streamline things and make a 9″x13″ cake to cut into simple, uniced squares, but the layers are far more festive.
Gluten-free Snickerdoodle Cake
From The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-free, by Anne Byrn
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, slightly chilled and cut into pieces
1 15 oz pkg. yellow gluten-free cake mix
1/4 cup (half a 3.4 oz pkg.) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz (half an 8 oz pkg) reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tsp. pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350F. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Trace the bottom of one of the pans onto 2 pieces of parchment, then cut along the trace marks and line the bottom of each prepared pan.
To make the topping, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and cut in the butter using a fork or two knives or a pastry blender until well combined and crumbly. Spoon half the topping into each of the prepared cake pans, spreading it evenly over the bottom of each.
To make the cake, place the cake mix, pudding mix and 1 tsp cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the milk, melted butter, eggs and 2 tsp vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed for a minute or two, until the batter is smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, spreading the batter over the topping and smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake until the cakes are golden and the tops spring back when lightly touched – 18-22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge of each cake and invert onto the wire rack to cool completely, topping side up, about 20 minutes longer.
To make the cream cheese frosting, place the cream cheese and butter into a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners’ sugar a bit at a time, beating on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy, about 1 minute longer.
To assemble the cake, peel off the parchment paper and transfer one layer, topping side up, to a serving plate. Spread the top with about 1 cup of the frosting. Place the second cake layer, topping side up, on top of the first layer. Frost the side of the cakes. To make slicing easier, place the uncovered cake in the refrigerator until the frosting sets – about 10 minutes.
About the Cake Doctor: Growing up in Nashville, Anne Byrn was raised on her mom’s Southern cooking – fried chicken, squash casserole, homemade yeast rolls, and chocolate cake – she learned the joy of fresh, seasonal, homemade food. Anne was food editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 15 years, where the weekly food guide grew to a 30 page section. In Atlanta, she was a restaurant critic for three years and hosted a weekly food and restaurant show on WGST Radio, and authored her first book, Cooking in the New South. She learned to cook with Julia Child and Marcella Hazan, among other instructors. After her stint writing about food she took a leave of absence to study cooking in Paris at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine. She’s now back in Nashville with her husband and three children, baking cakes and creating a best-selling series of cookbooks to follow her New York Times bestselling book, The Cake Mix Doctor.
To enter to win a copy of The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-free, leave a comment here! Do you follow a gluten-free diet? What are your best tips for gluten-free baking? I’ll do a random draw on Friday, March 4, at noon EST.
Photo credit: Ben Fink