No Gluten, No Problem!

June 22nd, 2012 by Carla Schuit

Whether it is for a family celebration, holiday, school bake sale or just for the fun of it, baking is a great activity. Plus, we all know there are few better smells than the scent of fresh baked cakes, breads or cookies filling the house. This enjoyment can seem out of reach for those who have to stick to a gluten-free diet. Have no fear! I am here to help you “sift” through some of the guidelines to gluten-free baking.

There isn’t really a 1:1 ratio of an individual gluten-free flour to substitute for flour in baking. In fact, the majority of gluten-free flours available in stores are mixes of different flours. All flours have their own flavor profile and physical make-up that works best when combined with a group of flours as opposed to alone in a recipe.

Baking Tools

The gluten-free flours vary greatly in origin as well. Amaranth flour comes from the seed of African Spinach and is very high in protein. Brown/white rice flours are created by drying and grinding grains of rice. The rice flours by themselves can create a heavy grainy textured product.

There is Buckwheat flour, which despite its name, isn’t actually made from wheat at all but the seed of a rhubarb plant and may add a bitter taste. A commercial gluten-free flour mix currently on the market combines garbanzo bean, fava bean and tapioca flours and is recommended for any baked good. Cornmeal is gluten-free but not easily substituted for wheat flour and wouldn’t be recommended for cakes or pastries where a lighter texture would be desired.

Soya flour, potato flour and cornstarch (also known as corn flour) are used less for baking but recommended to add flavor or as a thickening agent to sauces or other recipes. To alter any recipe from fried chicken to chocolate chip cookies, you can use the same homemade or store-bought gluten-free flour mix. To decide which flour mix to use would be based on what final flavor profile is desired.

Here are a few examples of flour mixes that work well together.

  • 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour.
  • 2 cups white rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and a teaspoon of xanthan gum.
  • 2 cups rice or millet flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 1-2 tsp. of xanthan gum.

Gluten-Free Decorating

Adding a gum (either guar or xanthan) to a flour mix will make for a chewier finished product. Gluten being the protein in the flour adds the elasticity and texture to breads, pizza dough, and other baked products. To obtain a similar texture substitute 1/2 cup of water with egg or liquid egg whites.

Once you have your baked your delicious gluten-free treat, it needs to be decorated! Wilton has many colorful items that you could use to decorate your masterpiece that do not contain gluten.

These are just a few of the fantastic items Wilton has available for that gluten-free baker!

As you feel more comfortable with gluten-free baking, begin experimenting with your favorite recipes. You will be surprised at how many delicious and beautifully decorated baked treasures you can make!

Carla Schuit Carla is a Food and Product Regulatory Specialist. Before coming to Wilton, she was a Dietitian in Long-Term Care and Dialysis. Carla is new to cake decorating. In her free time, Carla likes to run, take her dog to the forest preserve, and ride horses.

48 Replies

  1. tmana says:

    Thanks for some basics. There are several GF-related threads in the forum. It would be great if Wilton could post a FAQ listing its gluten-free products (and whether or not they are certified gluten-free by any of the major certifications), with updates, for those bakers and customers living with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or any of the other major *medical* requirements for a gluten-free lifestyle. (See http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/newsletter/2011/07/18/comparing-gluten-free-certification-programs-in-north-america/ for details.)

  2. I agree,tmana!

    A list of those items that are gluten-free and tested under 20ppm (parts per million) would be wonderful. Alternatively, if no testing is done, perhaps post a statement stating which ones do not contain gluten, and state that they are not tested; whether or not they are made in a gluten-free facility; or whether the lines have been thoroughly cleaned after producing products with gluten, etc.

  3. Can wheat flour be replaced by bajri starch to provide gluten free biscuits????

    • Carla says:

      Sharmilee
      It depends on what you are trying to make. If you are making a flat bread or another simple baked good the Bajri starch would be ok. I recommend to add a binder like xanthan gum to it for a better end product. In any bread, cake or more complex baked good you will need a combination of starches and flours to make up for the subtraction or gluten in the wheat flour. Most gluten-free baking uses a mixture of flours.

  4. Auddie Wzynski says:

    Do gluten free cakes bake ok in the 12X18 sheet cake pan? Do you have any tips for baking gluten free cakes in large pans?

    • Begonia says:

      Inside Icing decoration I have seen this “Pre-Baked Spooky Pops Cookie Kit”, that I supossed is made with gluten. So now I´m not sure is every thing you say is gluten free, is gluten free indeed.
      Thank you.

      • Carla says:

        Begonia
        Thank you very much for your comment. The icing decs in the kit would be gluten free but you are correct in guessing that the entire kit may not be due to the other items. We put no claim on it so the consumer does need to read the ingredient statements and allergen advisory statements to be sure.

    • Carla says:

      Yes they can be. I recommend Wilton bake even strips just to be sure that the heat is evenly distributed. Due to some of the ingredient substitutes you may need to monitor the baking time. Start at the lower end and add time as needed. A baking core is also always a good idea for larger cakes.

  5. Leah says:

    Are the wilton icing mixes (royal, whipped, buttercream) gluten free?

    Thank you!

    • Carla says:

      Leah
      The items themselves are gluten-free but they are manufactured in an environment that also processes wheat. Our facilities practice good manufacturing practices and proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

  6. Jenny says:

    Is wilton fondant gluten free?

    • carla says:

      yes the fondant is gluten free. However it is manufactured in a facility that also handles wheat products. They have good manufacturing practices in place and allergens are stored in a separate area.

      Happy Baking!

      • Michele says:

        I just picked up Wilton’s fondant in black and it says “Wheat Syrup” on the ingredient list. How can that be gluten free?

  7. [...] Gluten-Free Food Coloring. Wilton’s are not all-natural but are gluten-free. We recommend the Wilton Icing [...]

  8. Terry says:

    Are the candy melts gluten free?

  9. Shannon says:

    Just wondering about using the Mickey Mouse cake pan. Do I use 1 or 2 gluten free cake mixes? i have heard varying information.

    • carla says:

      Shannon- we instruct to use 1 2-layer cake mix for the pan which is about 16.5 OZ of cake mix. I am not sure what the net wt of the gluten – free cake mix is but you would need as many as it would take to get to 16.5 OZ. Does that help?

  10. homeschoolnc says:

    Can you tell me if there are any special preparations I can do to ensure that a grain free cake will come out of a character pan? Using the carriage cake pan to make a cake made with coconut flour. It seems grain free cakes are harder to get out of pans. Just wondering if there is something I can do so the shape is not ruined by a cake that won;t leave the pan. This pan is a tradition in our family and we don;t want allergies to ruin this sweet tradition. Thanks in advance.

    • carla says:

      Coconut flour is incredibly absorbent. In order to be sure the cake would come out of the pan correctly you would want to greasy liberally with a solid fat. Shortening is best because of the low water content but butter or margarine would work as well. This should allow your cake to come out of the carriage pan with ease.

  11. I’ve been asked to prepare a gluten free cake (I am some what unfamiliar with GF diets). Is the homemade Wilton buttercream (shortening, merengue, flavor, powder sugar) gluten free?

    • carla says:

      The items themselves are gluten-free but they are manufactured in an environment that also processes wheat. Our facilities practice good manufacturing practices and proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

  12. Stephanie McCarrick says:

    Are the pearlized sprinkles (silver jimmies) and the Lemon yellow Icing colors gluten free? My sister in laws baby shower is this weekend and I making her some cupcakes to match the nursery!

  13. Razia says:

    Good day
    I am new to the baking scene and need more recipe with wheat / gluten free.

    Please assist as really desperate?

    Thanking you in advance

    Razia Allie
    +27 83 3093282

    • carla schuit says:

      Razia,
      I agree it can be overwhelming at first.
      We unfortunately do not have specific gluten-free recipes at Wilton but there are a ton of resources out there on the web that have great tips and tricks for gluten-free baking. Also check out pre-made mixes in your local grocery store.

  14. Bonnie says:

    I didn’t see fondant or other flavorings mentioned.

    Can you please confirm these or post a location for the information?
    Sugar Sheets
    Sprinkles and other sugar decors
    Imitation Vanilla
    Icing and candy Colorings

    Thank you, Bonnie

  15. Larni Dupuy says:

    Is it possible for a list of the gluten free products that you do sell including the following, it would help greatly when designing cake recipes and decorations to know

    Sugar Sheets
    Sprinkles and other sugar decors
    Imitation Vanilla
    Icing and candy Colorings
    Fondant

    Thanks

  16. Elena says:

    Is the fondant gluten free? I’m making a cake for a kids party this weekend and two of the kids cannot have gluten.

  17. Diane says:

    Is your meringue powder gluten free?

  18. Amanda says:

    I am making halloween cupcakes for my kids school. the wilton pearls state they are gluten free. However the halloween cady decor (spiders, pumpkins) do not say it, they just state they are made in a facility with wheat products… these need to be delivered in the morning and i cannot find any information if they are truly gluten free. I do not need any thing to happen to this child.

    • carla says:

      The candies themselves do not contain gluten but the facility that they are manufactured in does also produce other product that contain wheat. We have processes in place to prevent any cross contamination but include the statement so tha the consumer who is more educated on their allergy can have all the information and make an educated purchase. I hope that helps.

  19. Mona says:

    Are Wilton chocolate Jimmie decorations and 6 assorted color Jimmies gluten free? Also, is the meringue powder gluten free?

  20. Mona says:

    Are the chocolate Jimmies and 6 assorted color Jimmies gluten free?
    Also, is the meringue powder gluten free? Thanks

  21. Ann says:

    Are your Large and Small Candy Eyeballs gluten free?

  22. Krissy says:

    Are your Shape N Amaze Modeling Doughs gluten-free?

  23. […] Kinnikinnick S’moreables Gluten-Free Graham Style Crackers, the baking is done for you. I used Wilton Decorating Sprinkles, which are […]

  24. miranta says:

    Are all icing colors gluten free? Thank you

  25. […] la Wilton, marchio principe e reperibile quasi ovunque, anche se non nella GDO, dichiara (ma negli U.S., dove […]

  26. Kat says:

    Hi,

    I noticed that for some of the products you simply state they are gluten free and for some that they are gluten free but made in a facility that handles wheat products. Does that mean that the items you listed above and where you only say they are gluten free (like meringue powder) are not made in a facility that handles wheat products? Sorry to be this particular, but I am a super sensitive celiac and react even to small amounts. Thanks!

    • Carla says:

      Kat,
      It does depend on the product. All of our manufacturing facilities practice proper allergen isolation and good manufacturing practices but we do provide the facility information for our consumers. The meringue powder is gluten-free but is manufactured in a facility that also handles wheat products. We take all precautious to prevent cross contamination but we want our consumers to be fully informed.

      • Kat says:

        Thanks Carla for your response. How about the Food Coloring and rolled fondant? Is it made in a facility that handles wheat products?

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