Gluten-free ginger cake slice on dessert plate.

Gluten-free Fresh Ginger Cake – FAIL

This week’s baking project was a near-disaster for me. I was really excited about this recipe – I love the spicy flavor of ginger in baked items. But I made several errors on this one and it came out pretty bad. I decided to go ahead and post it anyway – maybe someone out there will benefit from my mistakes. I’m sure this is a good recipe when followed correctly. All of the mistakes were mine.

The biggest mistake I made was I didn’t read the directions carefully enough and I chose the wrong size cake pan. I used a 1.5-inch deep pan that you would use for a layer cake instead of a 3-inch deep pan. I don’t know what I was thinking! When I put the batter in, it came almost to the top. I should have known it wouldn’t have room to expand. It overflowed the pan while baking and I was really glad I put a cookie sheet under it.

Cake with overflowing batter spilled out onto cookie sheet.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the oven and found this. Hmmm. Something is not quite right here!

The cake that was left in the pan was moist inside, but really crumbly. I think this might have been because of the changes I made to the recipe. I didn’t have any sweet rice flour (I can’t seem to find this at any of my local stores), so I used two cups of Carol Fenster’s gluten-free flour blend. (1.5 cups sorghum flour, 1.5 cups potato starch and 1 cup tapioca flour) I also had only 1/2 cup of corn syrup, so I made up the difference with some dark molasses. Additionally, I mixed the baking soda in with the other dry ingredients instead of putting it in with the syrup and hot water. I’m not sure what this is supposed to do, but it might have made a difference. Another thing that might have helped my cake was an adjustment for higher altitude. I live at 3600 feet above sea level and cakes sometimes turn out crumbly here if you don’t make adjustments.

Gluten-free ginger cake on a plate.

The cake was pretty crumbly around the edges when I took it out of the pan.

The flavor of the cake was very spicy with fresh ginger flavor. Even though the texture wasn’t great, it was still pretty good with some vanilla ice cream. I’m posting the original recipe below without any of my changes. I hope you have better luck if you try this recipe. Be sure to read all of the instructions carefully!

Gluten-free ginger cake in a yellow bowl with some vanilla ice cream.

The spicy taste of the cake went really well with vanilla ice cream – and it didn’t matter if it fell apart!


  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 2 tsp dried ginger powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 35g ginger root, finely grated (1/4 cup = 35g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (Beehive) corn syrup (you can replace with light molasses)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously butter an 8-inch round, 3-inch high spring form pan. Line bottom with parchment paper and place on baking sheet.

In a bowl mix together sorghum and sweet rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger powder and ground cloves.

In a small pan stir together boiling water, corn syrup and baking soda until completely dissolved.

Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and add olive oil, beating until just combined.

Add grated ginger and mix to combine.

Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the corn syrup mixture, scraping down as necessary. Batter will be very wet.

Pour batter into prepared pan and transfer to oven. Bake at 320-325°F for 50 minutes.

Let cake cool slightly before removing ring.

Serve warm or cold as it is or with a giant dollop of fresh whipped cream beside each slice.

Recipe from Simple Gluten-free Kitchen. (Sorry I made such a mess of it! I’m sure it’s great if you make it correctly.)


Milo graphic

Milo says….

Be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong!


6 thoughts on “Gluten-free Fresh Ginger Cake – FAIL

  1. I have had my fair share of disasters. Recently I made a soup – and while the flavour was atrocious, it was still edible. I’m so glad yours had a nice flavour even if it wasn’t cake-y!

  2. Mmmm…spicies and cake…sounds great….what about adding some xathan gum into your dough….this is making gf cakes less crumbling…or should I say more elastic….here is my language limitation with English….
    Sounds great anyway….
    As Milo says….be yourself…stay yourself…
    Bon appetit!!!

  3. Hi Maizey,
    I’m so sorry you didn’t have success with this recipe, however it’s been tested and made many times without fail. I also make lemon pound cake with same flour mix. Both cake freezes well and are not at all crumbly, though the ginger cake is bit sticky to eat because of corn syrup. You don’t need xanthum gum if you use sweet rice flour, its a glutinous rice flour. And, the total amount of flour you used in your cake recipe is way too much. My God, what were you thinking, Maizey? I am not a cake expert, but hot water helps the corn syrup to blend in more easily in the batter.
    Hope you will get better results next time!.

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