October 17, 2013

Brick Cake (heirloom Red Velvet)

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my aunt brought to a family dinner the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted. My siblings & I dubbed it “brick cake” because of its appearance when we were served a piece flat on the dessert plate.DSCN8774That incredible cake graced a good many happy family dinners in the years that followed. (A couple times my mom substituted green food coloring for St. Patty’s day… Smile)
My first solo attempt at this dessert masterpiece was as a newly-wed wishing to impress my husband & family for his birthday. The cake was a triumph; alas, the frosting was not. It looked something like this:borrowedfromcupcaketakesthecakeRemember: read recipe thoroughly & follow each direction. (…or you might end up with a hot roux melted butter mess…)
When I first went gluten free, I made these Red Velvet cupcakes. But, I’ve been craving the flavor of Aunt Ruth’s authentic recipe; so when Kristen announced that October’s Improv Challenge would be CAKE & FROSTING, I knew I had to challenge myself to make a genuine Red Velvet tastefully gluten free. (I am not going to go off on the ubiquitous boxedmixwannaberedvelvetsomethingfrostedwithcreamcheeseicing…)
First thing I did was to call my cousin and beg for pictures of her mom’s recipe card. (So love seeing Aunt Ruth’s writing in green felt-tip pen. Can you tell she was a teacher?)ruthsrecipe(OH! And thank you, Laurel!)
Next I did a bunch of research on flours, their weight and protein content. I detailed that thought-process in a blog post here: (well… it will be as soon as I finish it…)

¡voilà! My recipe for you:ejRVrecipe

 (I realize the format looks a little strange, but it helps me see how the individual steps work together.)DSCN8740

Rounded up the ingredients, then prepped my pans…

DSCN8744So thankful to have Colby (our cobalt KitchenAid) fully functional thanks to my resourceful daddy. This recipe would’ve been difficult to manage “by hand”.DSCN8745

After the initial “wet” ingredients were mixed, I weighed my flours.DSCN8746

The batter was a little thick going into the pan…DSCN8747

but baked with a decent rise.DSCN8749

Frosting attempt was next.DSCN8753

Here’s my obligatory steam shot.SmileDSCN8754

The rice flour thickened the milk quickly.DSCN8755

I managed to split the layers, but could tell I was going to have to work around a lot of crumbs.DSCN8756

Took me so long to frost that the butter started melting.DSCN8757

Glamor shot:DSCN8769

Aside from the frosting looking slightly lumpy (it actually felt fairly smooth in the mouth...) I was pretty pleased with my final product.DSCN8771

…except for the taste.
My guys all loved it (but they’d never had a chance to sample Aunt Ruth’s stellar cake). There was just something lacking for me in the flavor department. DSCN8790

So I baked another one this morning. I decided to ditch the brown rice flour and use more of the sorghum, some tapioca starch plus a little potato flour.
The texture seemed right & the batter tasted pretty good; but the cakes didn’t have much rise. DSCN8794The texture was finer, but the layers didn’t split well.DSCN8797Thus, I didn’t frost them & am “forcing” myself to eat them in pieces. Actually, I do like the flavor much better and the texture appears to be the right densityDSCN8796 so I’ll be working the balance of ingredients to see if I can’t get some better loft next time I bake Red Velvet.
My Improv Challenge companions would love it if you would check out their cake & frosting links here:


  1. I love that you've named your mixer...and that you've created a fantastic gluten free red velvet cake!

  2. I like sweet rice flour, too, for roux and thickening. Your first cake has such great height for a gluten free version. I am looking forward to your final recipe. It's such a process to bake gluten free.

  3. Bravo Melody! Bet the 3rd try is going to be the bestest ever and tasting like your Aunt Ruth's cake. I sooooo admire you for your diligence in taking on the challenge of creating a homemade gluten-free Red Velvet...P.s. If I had those luscious slices on my plate, I'm pretty sure I'd give it a 2 thumbs up review =)

  4. Yum, this cake looks great! Love that you made it gluten free

  5. Hi Melody! Thanks for stopping by! I love your red velvet and though it's hard to create gf versions, you did a fantastic job! Sorghum flour is great in gf goods, it has a nice sweet flavour but looks like it didn't rise as much. I
    Try sweet rice flour, I heard its a glutinous product and does well in baked goods without the grittiness. Good luck! I look forward to seeing your results!


  6. Yum. That's what I think! And since I was diagnosed with Celiac almost 6 years ago, I haven't had a piece of red velvet cake. I wonder if my Pamela's flour would work?

  7. Yum! It looks delicious. I'm sure your "boys" have eaten it all by now!


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