Baking & Desserts

Phil Vickery's gluten-free baking recipes

Photography by Tara Fisher, used with permission from Gluten-Free Baking by Phil Vickery (Firefly Books, 2011) Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Tara Fisher, used with permission from Gluten-Free Baking by Phil Vickery (Firefly Books, 2011)

Baking & Desserts

Phil Vickery's gluten-free baking recipes

Phil Vickery spent years developing recipes for people living with celiac disease. As one of the world's leading chefs in gluten-free cooking and baking, this British television mainstay, bestselling cookbook author and ambassador for Coeliac UK knows a thing or two about gluten-free diets.

We asked Phil to share some of his secrets to great gluten-free baking – including how to store ingredients, tips for baking with kids, and some of his favourite spices for baked goods.

What was your biggest challenge making gluten-free recipes?
It was getting the balance right for the product you were making. We've tried many combinations (of gluten-free flours). I've found that the high protein content in soy flour seems to help keep the structure in certain yeasted recipes, such as bread, for example.

How did you choose which recipes to include in your book Gluten-Free Baking (Firefly Books, 2011)?
It was a mixture of what I liked, plus what I think the public would want to cook. Some recipes work well with gluten-free flours, but others do not, so it was a real mix.

What do we need to keep in mind when working with xanthan gum (an agent that helps add 'stickiness' to recipes otherwise achieved with gluten)?
Be careful with the quantity you use. Recipes need very small amounts to be successful.

Next, only buy and use small amounts. This will ensure that you do not have the gum hanging around for long periods of time. Finally, be aware that this gum can be a mild laxative.

What about working with glycerin?
Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture and holds it. Again, very small amounts of it are needed. Measure very carefully, as it's too easy to over-measure.


Page 1 of 5 - Phil Vickery can't live without this essential item in his gluten-free pantry. Find out what it is on page 2!

Are there lots of gluten-free flours suitable for baking?
Yes, there are many other flours…by all means, try them. Bear in mind that some starches – such as potato, corn flour and arrowroot – are great at binding together, but tend to collapse easier when cooked, so it's always good to balance [your flour mixes] with protein-packed flours such and almond, chestnut, chickpea and soya. Quinoa flour is also very good.

I’m still experimenting like mad, and am always looking to improve the recipes for people living with celiac.

What are your favourite baking spices?
In the UK, we have a very rich cooking tradition using spices. [Some of them are] from our colonial days, with curry spices such as cumin and coriander, to spices we import from the Caribbean such as allspice, nutmeg, mixed spice and mace.

Cumin works well in biscuits, cakes and savoury dishes. Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and mace work especially well for celebration fruitcakes, such as Christmas and Simnel cakes, as well as (the always-popular) carrot cake.

Could you recommend recipes for baking with kids?

Tortilla chips and the Indian-style flat breads [from my cookbook] are real winners here. The Tangy Beet and Black Currant Muffins, as well as the Sweet Zucchini & Saffron Butterfly Cakes, are pretty well received – even with vegetables in! [Find recipes on pages 4 and 5]

What's the one ingredient you can't live without?
Xanthan gum was a real find and so helpful. Glycerin, too, is great for keeping foods soft and moist!

What item is essential to any gluten-free baker's pantry?
Patience, above all else! Apart from that, a good supply of all the flours to make your mixes.

Page 2 of 5 - Discover Phil's technique for freezing baked goods on page 3.


What do we need to freeze baked goods?
Good quality resealable plastic bags, or thick bags with good sealing clips, are essential to stop frost damage [for frozen cakes and pastries].

While testing your gluten-free recipes, what was the experience like?

If I’m being honest, very tough; I have cooked some of these recipes 20 times. But it's essential to get them right, or you can end up looking very foolish indeed!

In hindsight, it's all worth while when you get lovely comments.

What misconception do people still have about gluten-free cooking and baking?
This one's easy – they think they can just replace a normal recipe with gluten-free flour, and hey presto! But it doesn’t work that way.

Page 3 of 5 - Find Phil's recipes for Tangy Beet and Black Currant Muffins on the next page!

Tangy Beet & Black Currant Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins
Preparation: 15 minutes
Baking: 15-18 minutes

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz) superfine sugar
1 1/4 cups (6 1/2 oz) Gluten-Free Flour Mix A*
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
generous 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz) vegetable oil
generous  cup (4 fluid oz) 2% milk
1 tsp glycerin
generous 1/2 cup (3 ½ oz) sweet pickled beets, drained and finely diced
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) frozen black currants, blackberries, or other berries


Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C). Place 12 paper muffin liners in a muffin pan.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl for about 2 minutes by hand.

Mix all the dry ingredients really well together. Combine the oil, milk, and glycerin in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the beaten eggs and sugar, followed by the oil mixture, then mix well. Next stir in the beets and black currants.

Scoop the mixture into the muffin liners, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until well risen and baked through. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.

To store: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

To freeze: Once cooled, freeze in a plastic bag or airtight container.

*Gluten-Free Flour Mix A

Makes: 7 1/2 cups (2 1/4 lbs)
Preparation: 5 minutes

5 1/4 cups (25 oz) fine white rice flour
1 cup (7 oz) potato flour
1 cup (3 1/2 oz) tapioca flour

Mix all the flours together very thoroughly, or put into a food processor and pulse until mixed. Store in an airtight container.

Photography by Tara Fisher, used with permission from Gluten-Free Baking by Phil Vickery (Firefly Books, 2011)


Page 4 of 5 - See Phil's recipe for Sweet Zucchini & Saffron Butterfly Cakes on page 5!


Sweet Zucchini & Saffron Butterfly Cakes

Makes: 12 cakes
Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 15-20 minutes

1 good pinch saffron threads or powder
2 tbsp boiling water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
generous 3/4 cup (6 1/2 oz) superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Mix A*
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp glycerin
2 medium zucchini, grated and thoroughly squeezed to extract the moisture
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) confectioners' sugar, sifted
sifted confectioners' sugar, to dust


Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C). Place 12 paper muffin liners in a muffin pan.

Place the saffron threads or powder in a mug, add the boiling water, and leave to infuse and cool.

Next, place the eggs and sugar into a stand mixer, and beat on high speed for 5 minutes, or until thick and creamy.

Place the flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum together in another bowl, and mix well.

Once the egg and sugar are very thick, add the saffron water, glycerin, flour mix and zucchini. Fold together well, then spoon into the muffin liners.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until slightly brown and well risen. Remove, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together in a medium bowl.

Once the cakes are cold, cut out a small, fairly deep circle of cake from the top of each muffin with a sharp knife, then cut each circle in half. Spoon a little frosting into the hole in the cake, then invert the two half circles of cake, and stick onto the frosting to simulate butterfly wings.

Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve.

For a splash more colour: Try adding a little infused saffron (1 small pinch of saffron threads or powder infused in 2 tsp boiling water) to the buttercream for extra colour.

To store: Store, unfrosted, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

To freeze: Once cooled, freeze the unfrosted cakes in a plastic bag or airtight container.

*Gluten-Free Flour Mix A
Makes: 7 1/2 cups (2 1/2 lbs)
Preparation: 5 minutes

5 1/4 cups (25 oz) fine white rice flour
1 cup (7 oz) potato flour
1 cup (3 1/2 oz) tapioca flour

Mix all the flours together very thoroughly, or put into a food processor and pulse until mixed. Store in an airtight container.

Photography by Tara Fisher, used with permission from Gluten-Free Baking by Phil Vickery (Firefly Books, 2011)


Page 5 of 5 - Learn about chef Phil Vickery's gluten-free recipes and baking secrets on page 1.
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Baking & Desserts

Phil Vickery's gluten-free baking recipes

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