Whichever gluten-free flours you choose to use, ALWAYS ensure that the product is from a trusted source. If you’re extremely sensitive or have Celiac disease, only buy those that have been processed and packaged in a certified gluten-free facility. (For many grain- and bean-based flours and nut meals, you can also grind your own at home with a mill or high-powered blender.) I personally use mostly Bob’s Red Mill products because they offer a huge selection of gluten-free flours, the quality is excellent, and they’re readily available in all sorts of stores from independent markets to large chains. If you’re having difficulty getting gluten-free products locally you can pretty much always find what you need online.
All-purpose and “one-to-one” flour blends
Numerous manufacturers now offer these premixed flours. They’re a terrific option if you don’t have the time – or patience – to mix up your own flour blend, and are designed to be used as a direct substitute for wheat flour. I tend to mix my own blends, but I’ve tested out a few of the commercially available options and they’re effective and convenient. My personal recommendations for the premixed blends are Better Batter, Bob’s Red Mill One To One, King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, and Cup4Cup. Just be aware that King Arthur does NOT contain any binders, so you’ll need to add the appropriate amount of gum or other gluten replacer when you use it. The other blends already contain xanthan gum, so there’s no need to add more to your recipe.
Milled from the seeds of the amaranth plant, amaranth flour is more nutritious than many other GF flours. It’s high fiber and iron, and a good source of calcium, and lysine – an amino acid that’s lacking in many other starches. Its mildly nutty flavor makes it a delicious addition to bread and other baked goods, and it can be used on its own or in combination with other flours for making things like pasta and flatbread.
Arrowroot is higher in nutritional value than some other starches, and its mild flavor and easy digestibility make it an excellent substitute for cornstarch. It’s often used as a thickener in things like pudding and gravy, and it blends well and provides silky results. The one drawback to arrowroot is its tendency to break down with prolonged exposure to high temperatures. For this reason it’s not ideal in long-simmered dishes.
Not to be confused with all-purpose or one-to-one flour blends, baking mixes contain all the dry ingredients that are necessary for common baked goods such as muffins, cookies, cakes and quick breads. They typically contain an all-purpose GF flour blend plus leavening agents (e.g. baking soda or powder), gluten replacers (xanthan or guar gum or gelatin), sugar, salt, and flavorings or spices such as cinnamon, chocolate or cocoa. They’re convenient and easy to use because all you need to do is add wet ingredients, mix, and bake, but are often higher in sugar and sodium than recipes made from scratch. The finished recipe may turn out slightly gritty depending on the mix and how finely milled the ingredients are. The only convenience mix of this type that I can personally recommend after having tried it is the Pamela’s brand Baking and Pancake Mix. It turns out very good pancakes and muffins in a pinch. I’ve never used the other products from this brand, but based on the quality of the Baking Mix I’d say it’s a safe bet if you want to check out some of their other offerings.
Bean flour is produced from pulverized dried (or cooked and dehydrated) beans, and it’s a great way to boost the fiber and protein content of your baked goods. “Garfava” – a blend of garbanzo and fava bean flours – is popular and relatively easy to find, and can replicate wheat flour well when combined with starches such as tapioca and corn. It behaves particularly well in bread recipes. However, bean flours tend to taste, well…like beans. The flavor can really take over, so I usually don’t use these flours in regular baked goods and desserts. However, chickpea/garbanzo flour makes a wonderful type of flatbread called socca. (See my recipe here.) A word of warning, raw batter made with bean flour does NOT taste very good, so if you use it, resist the urge to lick the spoon!
Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is made from unpolished brown rice. Since it still contains the bran it can be a bit more coarse than other rice flours, which may lead to a dense and grainy crumb in your finished product. I recommend using superfine brown rice flour, which is very finely milled. If you can’t get your hands on superfine, try processing standard brown rice flour in a high-powered blender or food processor to grind it down a bit more. Just be sure to wait a minute or two before removing the lid to give the particles a chance to settle, or you and your kitchen may end up coated in flour.
Contrary to what its name might indicate, buckwheat is NOT related to wheat. It’s actually a relative of rhubarb! The flour is made from dried, milled buckwheat groats, and has a distinct, nutty flavor and earthy, sometimes speckled appearance. It’s high in fiber, protein, amino acids and vitamins, and is a common ingredient in many cuisines around the world. It’s the primary component of Japanese soba noodles, and a traditional ingredient in European pancakes and crepe, cake and bread recipes. Buckwheat flour is rather dense and heavy, so it’s best when combined with other gluten free flours to avoid weighing down the batter. Limit buckwheat to no more than 50% of the total flour to avoid undesirable heaviness or density.
Made from cassava root that is peeled, baked and ground, cassava flour is currently the darling of the grain-free/paleo baking world because it’s technically grain-free. It’s an excellent flour for gluten-free baking, and of all gluten-free flours is probably the closest in taste and texture to wheat flour. Don’t confuse it with tapioca starch/flour, which is just the isolated starch of the cassava root; this is the entire root ground into flour. Cassava flour is relatively new to the consumer mass market, so you may not be familiar with it and it’s difficult to find in stores (I order mine online).
Ground from coconut meat, coconut flour is higher in fiber than any other flour. It’s a staple of low-carb and paleo baking, and is gaining popularity in gluten-free circles for its nutritional content and versatility. Though higher in fat than standard grain flours, it’s a bit lighter than nut flour. It has a mild coconut flavor and aroma that dissipate slightly with cooking but may still be detectable in the final product depending on how much of the flour you use. It blends well with other flours for baking, and can be used to thicken sauces and soups. Use it for up to 25% of the total flour in baked goods, but be sure to increase the liquid in the recipe by an equivalent volume, as the fiber in coconut flour absorbs a ton of moisture.
Corn flour is milled from yellow, white or blue corn. It can be combined with other flours for baking, or blended with cornmeal for cornbread or corn muffins. Thanks its mildly sweet and buttery flavor it’s also a delicious addition to pancake or waffle batter.
Cornmeal is milled from yellow, white or blue corn. The grind may range from coarse to fine, and certain varieties are used to make polenta and grits. Use it to add another element of texture to baked goods, pancakes or waffles, or as a crust for chicken or fish. It also works well as a binder in recipes that call for bread crumbs.
This is a refined starch most commonly used as a thickening agent for puddings, sauces and gravies. It’s less prone to clumping than wheat flour, and can also be combined with other flours for baking. When adding cornstarch to warm or hot mixtures, be sure to dissolve it in a small amount of cool liquid first to prevent clumping.
Mesquite flour is the ground seeds and pods of the mesquite tree. It has a unique flavor – slightly sweet and spicy, with hints of cinnamon, coffee and chocolate, and it may be used as either flour or a spice/flavoring. It’s quite nutritious, providing fiber, protein and several important minerals. It’s best added to sweet recipes such as muffins, cookies and cakes, and you can use it for up to 30% of the total flour in the recipe. It also makes a delicious hot beverage – just heat up a cup of your favorite milk or dairy alternative, stir in a spoonful of mesquite flour, and drink up!
Millet flour is easily digestible, and high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It has a fine, smooth texture, and a mild, subtly sweet, almost buttery flavor. Used it for up to 30% of the total flour in recipes for baked goods in which a fine crumb is desirable. It’s a lovely addition to everything from yeasted and flat breads to quick breads, cakes and cookies, and can also be used as a base for quick cooked pudding.
Nut Meal or Nut Flour
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, nut meal and nut flour aren’t really the same thing. Nut meal is comprised of raw, whole nuts that still have their skins and are ground to a coarse meal. Nut flour, on the other hand, is made from skinned nuts that may have been blanched, and is ground to a fine powder. Nut meal and flour are popular in low-carb and paleo baking, and are high in protein and fiber. Whichever one you choose, these nut products are a delicious, nutritious and flavorful addition to cakes, cookies, quick breads, and batter for pancakes, waffles or crepes, and they make a wonderful tart, pie or cheesecake crust. Nut meal is coarser and more rustic in texture and appearance, while nut flour will look and feel more elegant and refined – it just depends on which attributes you’re going for in your finished recipe. Though almond products are the most widely available, you can also buy meal and flour made from cashew, chestnut, hazelnut, pecan and walnut. Technically, if you have nuts and a food processor or high-powered blender with a dry container, you can make any variety yourself!
Oats, Oat Bran and Oat Flour (Certified GF)
Though oats don’t technically contain gluten, historically they’ve been troublesome for those with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity due to cross-contamination. They’re often grown in fields adjacent to wheat crops and processed in the same facilities. Fortunately many manufacturers now offer certified gluten-free oat products, just check the label to be sure. Oats contain proteins that possess properties similar to those of gluten, so these products can often improve the texture of your GF baked goods. Just beware that some people have difficulty digesting avenin – one of the protein fractions found in oats. If you’re using certified GF products and still having a bad reaction, it’s probably the avenin and you’d be better off avoiding all oat products.
Peanut Flour (or Peanut Powder)
Though peanut flour has been used for a long time by the confectionary and industrial baking worlds, it’s only caught on as a consumer product in the last 10 years or so. Made from roasted, ground peanuts, the flour is high in protein, lower in fat than peanuts or peanut butter, and packed with flavor. Of course it’s a delicious addition to cookies, crusts and muffins, but it also has many savory uses, from Asian-inspired sauce to Mexican mole to African peanut stew. You can even add it to puddings, smoothies, yogurt, or hot cereal, or whip up fresh peanut butter – just add water, and maybe a pinch of salt. I personally can’t tolerate peanut products anymore so I probably won’t be posting any recipes that call for peanut flour, but feel free to experiment on your own!
Not to be confused with potato starch, potato flour is made from ground whole potatoes. It has a strong potato flavor that mellows and becomes somewhat buttery when baked, and the natural starch content helps retain moisture in the final product. It’s often used in combination with other flours in pancake and waffle batter, and in yeasted bread dough. It also contributes a desirable creaminess and somewhat sweet flavor to soups and stews.
Potato starch is exactly what the name suggests – the naturally occurring starch extracted from potatoes. Often used as a thickening agent, potato starch can be used in the same manner as corn or arrowroot starch, and its texture is ideal for achieving thick, creamy sauces, gravies and puddings. It’s also a common component of gluten-free flour blends, as it helps retain moisture in baked goods.
Milled from the highly nutritious quinoa seed, this flour is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It’s higher in fat than most grain flours, and has a mildly nutty flavor and delicate texture. Due to its protein structure quinoa flour can replace a very high proportion of the wheat flour in a recipe. You can add it to any baking recipe, where it will contribute a moist texture with a delicate, tender crumb.
Milled from a staple cereal crop in Africa and India, sorghum flour is increasing in popularity here in the U.S. due to its mild flavor and versatility in gluten-free baking. Though traditionally used in flatbread, pancakes and waffles, you can add sorghum to any flour blend for baking, and it combines well with bean and rice flours. Sorghum flour is fine in texture and contributes a crisp crust to baked goods – I’ve found this to be beneficial in bread recipes. Due to its low moisture and fat content, it can sometimes result in a dry, crumbly texture – you can prevent this by adding an extra egg or other fat, or combining it with higher-fat nut meal or flour.
High in protein and fat, soy flour is best used in combination with more mild flours, as it has a distinct, assertive “beany” flavor and aroma. As with other bean flours, start with a small amount to assess your tolerance for the flavor, and increase according to taste. Soy flour can be rather heavy and chalky, so I don’t recommend using it for more than 25% of the total flour content in a recipe. And again, uncooked bean flour does NOT taste very good, so sampling the raw batter is not recommended. I’m intolerant to soybeans so you won’t find any recipes here on the blog that call for soy flour, but you should certainly feel free to experiment on your own.
Sweet White or Glutinous Rice Flour (a.k.a. Mochi Flour)
Contrary to what the name might indicate, this flour does NOT contain gluten – “glutinous” means sticky. Milled from a different type of rice than brown or standard white rice flour, this product also behaves a bit differently in recipes than other rice flours. The texture is lighter, finer and more airy, and it has a mildly sweet flavor. It’s popular for thickening soups and sauces, and for dusting foods to be sautéed or breaded. This particular rice flour is used for making mochi, so it’s sometimes called mochi flour. When combined with other flours and starches in baked goods, it contributes to a tender crumb.
Tapioca Flour or Starch (a.k.a. Manioc or Cassava Flour)
Derived from the cassava root, tapioca flour is a featherlight, very smooth, fine flour with a mild, neutral flavor. It contributes a chewy, springy texture to bread, and helps achieve crispness in cookies and browning in baked goods. It’s ideal for flouring baking pans and dusting your counter or board (and pin) before rolling out dough. FYI, tapioca flour and starch are the same thing – the terms are used interchangeably. (Yes, GF baking is confusing sometimes.)
Teff flour is flour is made from milled teff seeds – a nutrient-dense dietary staple in Ethiopia (most commonly found in the form of a fermented flat bread called “injera”). The seeds range in color from white to reddish-brown, and the color of the seed determines the flavor, so the flavor of the flour can range from mildly nutty to earthy with molasses undertones. Like quinoa flour, teff flour can be used to replace a large proportion of the wheat flour in many recipes. Use it in pretty much any baked goods recipe, and to thicken soups, stews and gravies.
White Rice Flour
White rice flour is a common and very versatile staple flour for gluten-free baking. Milled from polished white rice, it has a mild flavor and relatively light texture, and combines well with other flours. As with brown rice flour, for best results look for “Superfine” products because they’re more finely milled and lighter in weight and texture.
As you probably know by now, gluten is a protein in wheat and certain other grains that provides elasticity and structure to batter and dough. Without gluten, baked goods tend to collapse, crumble, and fall apart. In gluten-free baking it’s essential to include other ingredients that provide the structure and stability gluten normally contributes.
Gums – specifically xanthan and guar – are the most common commercial gluten replacers. They provide stickiness and viscosity to your batter or dough, and help maintain the structure usually attributed to gluten. I personally prefer straight xanthan gum or a blend of the two, as too much guar gum causes digestive upset for me. But I know some people for whom it’s the opposite, so go with whichever one is best for you. Just understand that guar gum doesn’t provide the same level of elasticity as xanthan gum does, and may make your baked goods slightly tough.
When it comes to gums, less is more – too much will turn your batter into a slimy, gummy mess and render the finished product pretty inedible. I typically add a scant ¼ teaspoon of gum per cup of flour. If you’re measuring by weight instead of volume, that’s about 2 grams of gum per 140 grams flour, and it’s best to sift the gum into the dry ingredients before adding any liquid to ensure even distribution and prevent clumping.
Gums can also be used as emulsifying and thickening agents in sauces, soups, smoothies and puddings, particularly when omitting dairy products. As a general rule, add about ⅛ teaspoon per cup of liquid, and be sure to dissolve it completely by whisking it in a small amount of the liquid before blending with the remaining ingredients.
If you can’t tolerate gums, there are other options. Chia seeds, flax seeds and psyllium husks can all be used as gluten replacers to varying degrees of success. I’ve had good results using psyllium in yeasted bread recipes, but I’m not crazy about the way these ingredients behave as gluten substitutes in more delicate baked goods and pastries – I find that they tend to turn out slightly gummy and crumbly, and you can sometimes pick up a hint of the flavors from the powder. If you want to play around with this alternative, I recommend blending all three – chia, flax and psyllium – into a fine powder and using that in place of xanthan or guar gum. My preferred ratio is 1 part psyllium +1 part chia + 2 parts flax. Use 1 ¼ teaspoons of the powder per cup of flour, or 5 grams of powder per 140 grams flour.
The last options for replacing gluten are gelatin, agar, pectin, and pre-gelatinized (pre-gel) starch. I’m personally not a huge fan of the results you get from any of these as a stand-alone gluten substitute, but I’ve found that using a small amount in tandem with xanthan or guar gum can produce some pretty great results. Start with a ratio of 2 parts gum to 1 part gelatin or pectin, so you’ll add about one-eighth teaspoon of gelatin powder or pre-gel starch per cup of flour, or 1 gram per 140 grams flour. That’s *in addition* to the gum.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL GF BAKING
Gluten-free baking is its own science. Some of the ingredients have different properties than those used in conventional baking, so we need to adjust our techniques to account for the variation. Here are a few pointers and general tidbits that you may find useful in your GF baking endeavors.
Blend your flours
There is no single gluten-free flour that behaves exactly like wheat flour. In order to achieve great results you’ll always need to use a blend of different flours and starches in a single recipe.
You know how wheat-based recipes always caution not to over-beat the batter or handle the dough excessively because you might overdevelop the gluten? It’s usually the complete opposite when you’re working gluten-free. GF flours absorb fat ad liquid at slower rates than wheat flour does, and you can’t really over-mix gums. GF dough/batter benefits from a little extra tough love because it’s an opportunity to aerate and lighten it. Always follow the directions and mix/beat/whip/knead for the full amount of time called for in the recipe even if it seems excessive. There’s probably a good reason for it.
Increase the leavening agents
GF baked goods tend not to rise quite as well as wheat-based products, so it helps to boost the leavening agents whether you’re using baking powder or soda, eggs, yeast, or some combination. As a general rule, if you’re converting a wheat-based recipe to GF, increase the leavening agents by 25% or one-fourth.
Learn to bake by weight
Baking is a science. In science, accuracy is kinda the point. So shouldn’t we strive to be as accurate as possible if we want to achieve the best possible result? Baking by weight is far more accurate than baking by volume. Trust me on this – when I taught GF baking classes, this was the first practical lesson for each new crop of students. I set up a table with a bin of flour, a dry measuring cup and an inexpensive digital scale, and I asked different students to come up and measure out a cup of flour and weigh it on the scale. The result? The weight of every single “cup” of that flour was different. Seriously. We all measure out ingredients differently. How heavy-handed you are, whether you use the “direct dip” or “indirect spoon” method, and how you sweep/level off the top will all impact the weight you end up with in that cup, and it will rarely be the same twice. Yes, the same person – using the same method each time – will end up with cups of flour of varying weights.
It may not seem like a big deal if we’re just talking about a few grams of flour, but it really can make a difference – particularly when you think about all the other ingredients you’re measuring for the recipe. What if they’re ALL a little bit off? The cumulative effect can make a mess of things. So, this is my long-winded way of suggesting that you forgo those random measuring utensils you have strewn about in various kitchen drawers and cabinets, and get yourself a digital scale. There’s no need to make a huge investment here – you can buy a perfectly serviceable one online for $10. Believe me, it will pay for itself in the volume of expensive ingredients you’ll save when you don’t have to re-make recipes because your measurements were off and things didn’t turn out right. I always bake by weight, so that’s how I write my recipes. But I know that many people still prefer to use those utensils and measure by volume so I include those measurements for you as well. I ask just one favor of those of you who continue to measure by volume: please use the “spoon and sweep” method to measure your dry ingredients! By this I mean you should use a spoon to transfer the flour to the measuring cup, mounding it in gently (don’t press down or pack it in) until it’s full. Then level it off by lightly and evenly sweeping completely across with a FLAT object (like the spine of a butter knife). If you dip the measuring cup directly into the flour and/or use your finger to level it off, you’re not going to be happy with your results. One of these days I’ll post a video demonstrating the difference between the methods. In the meantime, if you’re confused or need a visual example I’m sure there are plenty of YouTube videos you can watch.
Since gluten-free flours and starches have varying weights and I want you to get comfortable weighing your baking ingredients in general, I worked up these reference tables for you…
One-Cup Weight Equivalents of Common GF Flours & Starches
Ingredient Weight (g) Weight (oz)
almond meal, coarse 120 4.25
almond flour, blanched 93 3.25
arrowroot starch 128 4.5
brown rice flour, superfine 125 4.375
buckwheat flour 120 4.25
cassava flour 120 4.25
chickpea flour 120 4.25
coconut flour 128 4.5
corn flour 116 4.125
corn starch 123 4.25
mesquite flour 200 7
millet flour 133 4.75
oat flour 98 3.5
potato flour 176 6.25
potato starch 153 5.375
quinoa flour 110 3.875
sorghum flour 115 4.125
sweet white rice flour 140 4.875
tapioca starch 123 4.25
teff flour 150 5.25
white rice flour, superfine 138 4.875
Weight & Volume Equivalents of Miscellaneous Dry Ingredients
Ingredient Weight (g) Weight (oz)
chia seed, whole, 1/4 cup 52 1.8
coconut palm sugar, 1/4 cup 39 1.3
dark brown sugar, packed, 1 cup 240 8.5
flax seed, ground, 1/4 cup 25 1.0
flax seed, whole, 1/4 cup 35 1.25
granulated sugar, 1 cup 198 7.0
light brown sugar, packed, 1 cup 218 7.75
psyllium husk, powder, 1/4 cup 48 1.7
psyllium husk, whole, 1/4 cup 72 2.5
Weight & Volume Equivalents of Common Liquids & Fats
Ingredient Weight (g) Weight (oz)
egg, 1 large, whole (no shell) 50 1.7
egg white, 1 large 33 1.1
egg yolk, 1 large 17 0.6
milk, 1/4 cup 57 1.9
water, 1/4 cup 56 1.9
vegetable oil, 1 tsp 5 0.2
vegetable oil, 1 tbsp 15 0.5
vegetable oil, 1/4 cup 60 2.0
butter, 1 tbsp 14 0.5
butter, 1/4 cup 56 2.0
butter, 1 stick 113 4.0
Okay, where was I?
Sifting is a step a lot of people skip, but it’s important. It gets rid of clumps, aerates the flour, and ensures that the dry elements of your recipe are evenly distributed. Gluten-free baking is challenging enough already, so let’s not make it even harder on ourselves. Sift your dry ingredients!
Scrape down the sides
This is one of those instructions you’ll see in nearly all baking recipes, whether GF or wheat-based. It can be tempting to ignore it, particularly if you’re in a hurry or just don’t want to keep turning off the mixer. But please, take the few extra moments to do it. Gluten-free batter tends to be stickier than wheat-based batter, so it requires a bit more care and effort to ensure that everything is incorporated properly. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl at regular intervals to make sure everything is coming together the way it should.
Punch up the flavorings
Gluten-free flours vary a lot in flavor – some are bland, while others are quite assertive. A properly balanced flour blend should have a relatively neutral, pleasing taste, but it should be mild, and will never have that distinctive wheat flavor. Use this “absence of wheat flavor” as a canvas to showcase the other flavors you’re adding to the recipe instead! I typically use about 50% more extract, spice, zest, etc. in my GF recipes than I would in a wheat-based version. If you’re playing around with this on your won, just beware that increasing potentially bitter or sour flavors such as cinnamon or citrus juice may require a slight bump in sugar to balance it out.
Cut the fat
Since gluten-free flours don’t absorb fat as well as wheat flour does, the ratio of butter or oil to flour often needs to be reduced slightly in GF recipes. If you’re converting a wheat-based recipe to GF and getting greasy results, it’s an easy fix. Cut the added fat by about 20% and you won’t have excess oil weeping out of your baked goods. Note that this is only a problem with fats like butter, oil and shortening, so if you’re missing a bit of richness from cutting back on them you can go ahead and replace what you removed with a different rich, fatty ingredient like egg yolk, cream or chocolate.
Use light-colored bakeware
The surface of dark metal pans holds more heat than light metal or glass pans. That excess heat on the surface of your baked goods can cause the exterior to brown too quickly, and the outside will be done before the inside has a chance to finish baking. This applies to cookie sheets as well – if you’re using a dark sheet pan the bottoms of the cookies may burn before they’re baked through.
Go for gold
I know I just said that dark pans may cause your treats to get too brown, but GF baked goods tend to be pretty pale in general, particularly in comparison to wheat-based products. Fortunately there are ways for us to encourage browning. Use a flour blend that contains a little powdered milk or buttermilk, brush the tops of biscuits, scones and breads with a bit of cream or an egg wash, and sprinkle sweets with a very light dusting of sugar. A freshly baked treat with a toasty golden glow is far more appealing than a pasty-looking pale one.
Store your flours in a cool, dry place, preferably the refrigerator or freezer if you have the space. Flour is perishable, and storing it properly will extend the shelf life. If you’re short on cold space, try to at least find room in there for the ones that are highest in fat such as nut flours & meals and coconut flour, because the fat is highly susceptible to breakdown and spoilage. Just give the flour a chance to warm up a bit before using it in a recipe – if it’s ice cold it can clump up and may not sift properly. Nuts and seeds should live in the freezer as well due to their high fat content. Speaking of chilling, if you’re not going to enjoy them within 2-3 days the freezer is also the best place to store your gluten-free baked goods because they tend to stale more quickly than wheat-based products. If you’re freezing something large that you may want to use piece by piece (like bread or a cake), slice it before freezing and just defrost individual servings when you need them.
I understand how tempting it is to tear into a freshly baked loaf of bread or slice right into a cake as soon as you pull it from the oven, but this is a big no-no with GF baking. If the recipe is composed properly, it likely contains a pretty good amount of moisture. When that pan of wet batter sits in a hot oven, some of the moisture turns to steam, and that steam builds up inside whatever you’re baking. You need to allow your baked goods enough time to cool completely and give the steam a chance to evaporate and/or absorb. If you don’t, you’re going to wind up with a sticky, gummy center and a disappointing finished product.
This GF thing can be tricky, so cut yourself some slack. It may take a while for you to get the hang of it, and even those of us who have been doing it for ages still run into problems and don’t always get it right. Just try to have fun with it and be willing to experiment, adapt, or try again when things aren’t going your way. Remember, pobody’s nerfect!