Isn't this just the nicest looking yellow cake?

Close/fine texture, yet still moist; high-rising, not crumbly... and the crown of chocolate doesn't hurt, either!

I've surveyed a number of people recently (friends, family, colleagues) and have discovered a surprising number list yellow cake with chocolate frosting as their birthday cake of choice.

I'm a pure chocolate fan, through and through – and the darker, the better.

Yet I've read that vanilla and chocolate are neck and neck for top honors as "America's favorite flavor." And that milk chocolate gets more votes than dark in any kind of chocolate poll.

Thus, when I think about it, it stands to reason that yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting would be a favorite. And the following version really takes the cake.

Want to know something surprising? I've gotten this far in the cake's description without mentioning that it's gluten-free.

Usually folks writing about gluten-free baking start right out with, "This gluten-free [cake, cookies, brownies, bread...] is as good as regular [cake, cookies, brownies, bread...]."

AS GOOD AS. Like the comparison is inevitable.

Gluten, good; gluten-free, also-ran.

Not so with this moist, tender cake. It's gluten-free, and it's GOOD.

Period.

Let's bake!

Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.

The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.

Whisk together 6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature.

Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it'll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).

Here's another ingredient you'll want to keep on hand when you're baking gluten-free: xanthan gum, which adds structure to your baked treats in the absence of gluten.

First, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease two 9" round cake pans. Line the pans with parchment, and grease the parchment; this extra step, while not strictly necessary, will insure your baked cake won't crumble if/when you turn it out of the pan.

Next, whisk together the following in a small bowl:

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or brown rice flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons gluten-free King Arthur Cake Enhancer, optional, for moistness and keeping qualities

Set the mixture aside.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1 3/4 cups sugar
16 tablespoons soft butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Use an electric mixer to beat everything together for 45 seconds at medium-high speed, until smooth.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and add 1 large egg.

Beat for a minute or so at high speed, until fluffy.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Beat in another large egg; the mixture should become quite fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl again.

Add two more eggs (for a total of four), repeating the beating/scraping process.

Next, you're going to add the dry ingredients you whisked together earlier, and 1 cup milk, at room temperature. Do this alternately; with the mixer running at low speed, add some of the dry ingredients first...

...then about half the milk.

The mixture may look curdled once you've added some milk.

That's OK; adding more of the dry ingredients will smooth it out.

Add the remainder of the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

There! Doesn't that look better?

Scoop the batter into the prepared pans.

Spread it right to the edges.

Bake the cakes for about 32 to 36 minutes.

They should rise nicely.

You want to bake the cake about 3 to 4 minutes past the point where it springs back when touched lightly in the center, and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean; this extended bake time will help prevent gumminess. The finished cake's internal temperature should be about 210°F.

After about 10 minutes, loosen the edges of the cake...

...and turn it out onto a rack.

Peel off the parchment.

Pretty good - just one little air hole. Doesn't matter; I'll just flip it over and no one will be the wiser.

Next up: chocolate frosting. A simple milk chocolate ganache will do nicely.

Combine 12 ounces chopped milk chocolate with 6 ounces (3/4 cup) heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl, or small saucepan.

Heat until the cream is very hot: it'll be steaming, and small bubbles may have formed around the edge.

Remove from the heat, and start stirring.

Gradually, the mixture will come together as the chocolate melts.

Stir until it's completely smooth...

...then drizzle atop the cake.

Use a spatula to push the icing to the edge and over the sides of the cake, if necessary.

At this point, you can use your spatula to smooth out the dribbles; or just leave them. I think they're pretty, actually.

You can either make two single layers, or stack the rounds atop one another. I like to make two: one to keep, one to give away.

Enjoy your fine-textured, high-rising, wonderfully yummy gluten-free yellow cake!

PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!