This GF cake is not a lie

Confession time!

I am not much of a desserts person. Particularly a cake person.

Sweets and sour candies I am all over, but cake? Eh, that’s not much of a temptation. Sure, I can admire the artistry of a wonderfully decorated cake, and Cake is part of my daily internet routine, but actually eating it?

Let’s just say GLaDOS‘s offer would fall on deaf ears.

I recall shortly after the first Portal came out and the ‘The cake is a lie’ meme was still on its first tour of the internet, my friends and I were discussing how we’d manage if the game was actually real and we were trapped in it. Conclusion: one friend would be hopelessly drawn in (she has never met a cake she didn’t love), a couple other friends would do okay, but my result? No temptation, therefore no problem.

Unless, of course, said offer was of yellow cake. Pillsbury yellow cake with creamy chocolate frosting.

Because, dangit, THAT CHANGES THINGS.

Along with donuts, yellow cake is one of the first and most-mourned edibles on my thou-shalt-not list. Devil’s food cannot tempt me, angel food doesn’t fare any better, confetti has nothing to celebrate, and white is just kinda meh. However, this last weekend, I had a craving. An absolute must-have-NOW craving that demanded obedience.

(Don’t laugh. I’ve had cravings that resulted in chocolate chip cookies at midnight. On a school night. When I taught class at 8am the next morning.)

(No, I am not pregnant. Just female, and kinda weird in the head.)

(Second thought, go ahead and laugh.)

So…Betty Crocker to the rescue!

Betty Crocker's Rich Yellow Cake

This recipe comes from my facsimile edition of the 1950 Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, a book that has been a staple of my grandmother’s kitchen, my mother’s kitchen, and now my kitchen. We’ve yet to encounter a recipe in here that we did not like.

Now, this is the original BC recipe, with the regular flour swapped out 1:1 for the Simply Savory GF mix. If you have another GF flour mix, it should work just fine, so long as you have a 1:1 ratio or can compensate for it. And, if you don’t need to be GF and want to make the regular cake, no prob there!

Note: If your GF baking mix or flour does not have xantham gum already included in it, you will need to add some. Rule of thumb seems to be 1/2 tsp xantham gum for every cup of GF flour, so for the larger recipe below, you’d need about 1 tsp and a pinch of xantham. (Yes, I did say ‘pinch.’ I was raised old school.)


For a 9″x13″ pan, or 2 9″ layer pans:

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups GF baking mix
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

For a 9″ square pan, or 2 8″ layer pans:

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups GF baking mix
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Grease and flour the pan(s). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening, butter, and sugar together until thoroughly mixed. It should look ‘fluffy’.
  3. Beat in the eggs with a hand mixer.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients (baking mix, baking powder and salt) together in a separate bowl, then slowly add to the wet mixture. Keep the hand mixer on the lowest setting unless you want your kitchen to look like a blizzard.
  5. Slowly add the milk and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter into pans.
  7. Bake layer pans 25-30 minutes; square or rectangular pan 30-40 minutes. Cake is done when you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

This cake does not cook up the same as a normal out-of-the-box yellow cake. Firstly, normal cakes raise in the middle; this one will deflate a little. Secondly, this cake tastes NOTHING like the out-of-the-box versions – it’s very moist, not as fluffy (because it doesn’t raise), and is a whole lot sweeter.

Still not my Pillsbury mix cake, but I am so not complaining.


About C.N. Wolf

Vaguely humanoid, often inquisitive, moderately bizarre. Also called a writer. View all posts by C.N. Wolf

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