GF East Indian Sand Cake | Riceflour Cake

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4.80 out of 5 Stars by 10 readers!

Sand cake is a gluten-free East Indian cake made of rice flour. Grainy and buttery, it’s the perfect tea-time snack! And it goes well with ice cream too!


I love sand cake. The soft grains melting in your mouth, the strong taste of butter… It tastes yummier than regular cake. And it’s so light and airy that you can’t stop at just one piece.

What is The East Indian sand cake?

Well, it’s definitely not cake made of sand. Sand cake is the traditional East Indian name for a cake made from rice flour or cornflour along with wheat flour.

But, there’s always a but, right? The traditional cake uses a mix of rice flour or cornflour with processed wheat flour. It’s easy peasy, but back to the ‘but’. My friend is on a gluten-free diet and can’t really eat too much wheat. So after a bit of experimenting, I perfect my version of the sand cake, without wheat. Yes, a perfect gluten-free rice cake recipe!

And it’s time to share it with you. Smile… Here’s my gluten-free rice cake recipe from scratch.

What Ingredients Do You need to make Sand Cake?

All you need to make this sand cake is butter, rice flour, eggs, vanilla essence or extract, fine sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

How to make a sand cake from rice flour?

Just 7 ingredients. Cool, isn’t it?

Anyways, here’s how to make this simple gluten-free cake with rice flour.

Mix the butter and sugar together - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Mix the butter and sugar together

Mix the butter, vanilla extract, salt, and sugar together. Use a spatula or even an electronic beater. The salt is optional, but I always add salt. It just reminds me to thank Abba that we have the means to make cakes and eat them too.

Add in the eggs and beat lightly - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Add in the eggs and beat lightly

Add in the eggs and beat. Nope, I don’t do that thing where you add in the yolks first and the whites later. I just add them all in together.

Stir in the rice flour - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Stir in the rice flour

Next, and this is the important one. Stir in the rice flour and baking powder by hand. You can use a spoon if you want, but don’t beat it in. Just gently fold it in with a little TLC. This adds some air into the batter and doesn’t let it get all squidgy.

Add the batter to the lined cake tins - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Add the batter to the lined cake tins

Next, add in your food colors. I made mine cyan in color, and filled in two small tins that I had already lined with butter paper and kept ready. That pink one in the background is my sister’s nutmeg cake. I’ll get you the recipe for that soon!

Beautiful sand cake or gluten free rice cake - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Beautiful sand cake or gluten free rice cake

And after about 50 minutes in the oven at 210 degrees Celsius, the beautiful gluten-free rice cake is ready. You can see that some of the sugar has formed a crunchy layer on top. I love that. That only happens with the sugar on top. The sugar inside melts perfectly. So don’t worry about it.

We served our gluten free sand cake along with a nutmeg cake - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
We served our gluten free sand cake along with a nutmeg cake

We served my rice cake for dessert along with my sister’s nutmeg cake when we had guests over. And they loved it!

Time to enjoy our sand cake and nutmeg cake - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate
Time to enjoy our sand cake and nutmeg cake

There have also been times I’ve made rice cake madeleines with an almond-flavored fondant glaze. Yeah, I thought they were petit-fours, like tiny little pieces of cakes. But nope, the French baker friend corrected me and said they were madeleines.

Fondant glaze on the rice cake madelines - AbbysPlate
Fondant glaze on the rice cake madelines

Well, okies! Here are some of my erstwhile rice cake madelines! I can’t find the pics of after I had decorated them with icing. But these are from just when the almond fondant glaze is dripping on the tray below.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

  • Avoiding use of maida or all purpose flour makes this recipe gluten-free.
  • You can use powdered sugar, so you do not have to worry about the sugar granules melting.
  • Adding a pinch of salt brings out the flavour.
  • You can make it any colour you like!
  • Add sprinkles on top for a burst of color!

FAQ’s about Sand Cake or Rice cake

How long can you store Sand cake?

You can store sand cake in an airtight container so it does not get dry; this will last in a refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days or in a freezer for about 3 months.

Why is it called Sand Cake?

This East Indian Sand Cake is called a cand cake for a very simple reason, because it has a grainy texture.

Can I use wheat flour to make this cake?

Yes, you can. The original sand cake recipe does make use of a mix of rice flour and wheat flour. You can use a mix of both like that recipe. Mine does not include rice flour since so that it’s gluten-free.

Do I need to beat the egg whites and yolks separately?

If you have the time you can do this, beat the yolks and add them and then beat the whites separately and then add them. However, if running short of time, do what I do, beat both together and add them in. Same difference!

Can you make sand cake without rice flour?

No, sand cake is so-called because of the grainy texture that the rice flour gives is. So you need at least a bit of rice flour to make sand cake.

What Else Can I Make With Rice Flour?

Rice flour can be used to make chitaps (gluten-free rice crepes), or as part of the mixture in foogias and orias.

What other Cake Recipes Can I Try?

Well, there are so many. You can try making a custard powder cake (I’ll add the recipe soon), coconut cake, semolina date and orange cake, bol de coc, date and walnut cake, chocolate chunk coconut cake, nutmeg cake and so many more.

Other Recipes You Might Like

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Beautiful sand cake or gluten free rice cake - Pic by Abby from AbbysPlate

East Indian Sand Cake – Riceflour Cake

Abby
This twist on the traditional East Indian sand cake is a gluten-free East Indian cake made of rice flour. Grainy and buttery, it's the perfect tea-time snack! And it goes well with ice cream too!
4.80 out of 5 Stars by 10 readers!

Click the stars to add your rating!

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine East Indian, Indian
Servings 30 Slices
Calories 190 kcal
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Desserts icon on Abbysplate website.
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Ingredients
  

  • 375 g Butter
  • 330 g Rice Flour
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract Essence will also do.
  • 360 g Sugar Fine
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt

Instructions
 

  • Mix the butter, vanilla extract, salt and the sugar together.
  • Add in the eggs and beat. 
  • Gently fold in the rice flour and baking powder by hand or with a spoon. Don’t beat it or it will lose air.
  • Add in colour if you want to.
  • Add the batter to your pre-lined baking trays.
  • Bake for 50 minutes at 210 degrees Celsius. 
  • Serve. You don’t have to wait for it to cool. It tastes yummy when warm too!

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Stuff You Might Want To Use

Loaf or Cake Baking Liners
Round Cake Pan – 6 by 3

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.

If you try this making this simple gluten free rice flour cake recipe, come back to let me know how it went. Happy eating!

Gluten Free Sand Cake (Rice Cake) Recipe - By Abby from AbbysPlate

12 thoughts on “GF East Indian Sand Cake | Riceflour Cake”

  1. The colors are lovely and I can see the graininess in the pics. I think I’m going to make exactly the same colors. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

    Reply
  2. Sand cake! Really! I almost skipped it till I saw the recipe! Going to try this next week. I’ll let you know how it turned out.5 stars

    Reply
  3. Would love to try it, but I need to make it for someone with gluten and dairy allergies, so I have try with oil. Fingers crossed that it works! FYI I’ve made Swedish sand cake with all cornmeal before, no need to add wheat flour. It works.4 stars

    Reply
  4. Hi Mitali,
    Although the traditional East Indian recipe from Mumbai calls for wheat, we don’t use wheat. So it’s already gluten free. If you want to make it diary free as well, use an oil such as rice oil which doesn’t smell. If you use peanut oil, it will smell different and add a sort of different taste to it. We’ve experimented on dad, so we know. šŸ˜‰
    Abby

    Reply
  5. I have a large stock of rice flour,I want to try this sand cake recipe, but you don’t say what size or shape baking tins?

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer,
      In the images in this post, we’ve used one round tin of 7-inches diameter and one rectangular tin that’s 8-inch by 2-inches.
      At other times, when we use square tins, it’s 2 each of 5-inch*5-inch. You can use this option.
      Abby

      Reply

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