The Food Philosopher: Gluten-Free Recipes, Health and Nutrition, Diet and Weight Loss




A Living Legend

woman who was served a piece while she dined at the Waldorf Astoria in the 1940's. She loved the unique taste, texture and color so much that she asked for the recipe. The chef graciously wrote it down and then charged her $100 for it! True or not, our gluten-free version is moist and velvety and will make you a legend with your family and friends. It even has a bit of the authentic "tang" of the wheat version, due largely to our true-to-the-original addition of buttermilk and vinegar. We also offer a non-buttermilk version (below) for days when you don't have any buttermilk in the house; it is still delicious, although it's missing the "tang" and so it's slightly sweeter. Frost your cake with cream cheese icing (recipe below) or any other vanilla frosting you like. Take note: you can leave out the signature "red" food coloring without affecting the taste or texture.

Gluten–Free Archive




Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free


Makes two 9-inch rounds
0r 24 cupcakes

2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2½ cups brown rice flour mix*
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Canola oil
1 cup lowfat buttermilk* (dairy-free buttermilk instructions below)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring (optional)
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

*see Gluten-Free Mixes in our recipe archive

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Position rack in center of oven. Line two round 9-inch layer cake pans with parchment paper or waxed paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed for one minute. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, red food color, and vinegar; beat at medium-low speed for one minute.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Place in center of oven and bake about 35 minutes (18-20 minutes for cupcakes) or until center springs back to touch and cake has pulled away from sides of the pan.
  4. Cool cake layers in the pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Use a small knife to cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Invert cake layers onto a rack, peel off parchment paper, and cool completely.
  5. Place one cake layer on a platter. Spread 1 cup of frosting over top and sides. Place second layer on top. Spread remaining frosting over entire cake. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Cook's Notes:
Can be made a day ahead. Store frosted cake in refrigerator. Unfrosted cake layers can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator for 1 day. Unfrosted cake layers can be covered with plastic wrap and then with foil, and stored in freezer for up to three weeks. Best when eaten within three days of baking.

*Substitute 1 cup water and ¼ cup powdered buttermilk powder for 1 cup fresh lowfat buttermilk.

Dairy-free Buttermilk: combine 1 cup rice or soy milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled vinegar. Use only 1 cup of the combined liquid in this recipe!

Buttermilk-Free Red Velvet Cake: 2 cups sugar, 4 large eggs, 2½ cups brown rice flour mix, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup Canola oil, 1 cup milk, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon red food coloring. Proceed with Steps 1-5 from above (this version omits buttermilk, baking soda, and vinegar from ingredient list).


Makes 2 cups

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted if lumpy
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla and beat at low speed until well-blended. Add remaining sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy.

© 2009 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts