White Mocha Red Cake - Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

Just north of Downtown Seattle, in Upper Queen Anne, is an amazing little cafe called Cederberg Teahouse. It serves lunch (including a gluten free bread option), South African baked goods (not low FODMAP or gluten free, unfortunately), delicious fair trade coffees and amazing teas. If you are ever in the area and feel like a good cuppa, I highly recommend them. I wish we lived closer than we do but, then, I'd probably spend way too much time and money there, so maybe it's a good thing we're 30 minutes away.

Our friend, Raymond, introduced us to Cederberg, then told us that he'd do the ordering and I'm so glad that we let him. He got us each a white mocha red - a rooibos espresso drink - which was delicious and really hit the (rather large) spot that my sweet tooth occupies. Unfortunately, it is probably not low FODMAP, as it contains normal milk and a "white chocolate sauce" of whose ingredients I'm not sure. I am personally fine with lactose in a typical serve and didn't react to it but I would not recommend this particular drink on elimination, unless they could sub in lactose free milk and the sauce was safe by ingredient. 

Fear not, though, as they have so many teas, including a plain Rooibos espresso and a Rooibos Americano (that'd be a Red Bush Long Black to an Aussie) that are worth a try. The bonus is that they are just a short walk away from Kerry Park, which gives an absolutely stunning view of Seattle. If you are visiting the area, or are local and have guests staying with you, combining the two makes a lovely morning out. 

Anyway, back to the recipe. I owed Raymond a 30th (shh!) birthday cake a few months ago and decided to pay homage to his favourite drink by turning it into a cake. Unfortunately, I don't have an espresso machine at home to make my own red espresso but I do have a healthy supply of rooibos tea, so I used loose leaf, instead. 

Fair warning, if you plan to make a double layered cake (as shown here), you will need two days to make it. This is because the cakes have to cool and settle before you slice off their domes to level them for assembly. 

Friendly Notes

  1. Butter is very low in lactose; dairy free butter is typically a blend of oils, which is usually low FODMAP but make sure you check the ingredients, to be sure. If the label says 0.0 g of carbs, it will be low FODMAP. I like the Nuttelex brand in Australia and the Earth Balance brand in the US, which were LFM at the time this recipe was published.
    Large amounts of fat, such as large serves of butter or a dairy free alternative, can affect gut motility. This cake is not intended to be healthy, it's a birthday cake, so if fat triggers your IBS, keep your serve of the icing small. 
  2. White, brown and raw sugars are low FODMAP in 1 tbsp. (approx. 14-16 g) serves. The amount of sugar called for in the cake itself is elimination safe but, if you have issues with large amounts of sucrose, or you are still in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, please use dextrose for the buttercream icing.
  3. Dextrose is pure glucose. Using dextrose will make this cake elimination safe, as glucose is not a FODMAP. To make your own icing dextrose mixture, simply weigh out the amount of dextrose called for and blitz it in your coffee grinder, into a fine powder, then add in 1 tbsp. corn/potato starch and mix it through. 
  4. Eggs are low FODMAP.
  5. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP. Please check the ingredients of any vanilla bean paste, as many contain inulin (a type of FOS).
  6. Gluten free flour blends can be low FODMAP, depending on the individual flours included. Watch for bean flours, soy flour, pea flour etc that could make a GF flour blend higher in FODMAPs. My recipe is safe for elimination.
  7. Xanthan gum is not a FODMAP, though, gums in general can cause IBS symptoms in some people.
  8. Milk is high in lactose, please use your favourite lactose or dairy free milk product (both work well in this recipe).
  9. Rooibos tea, commonly known as Red Bush tea in the UK and Australia, is a low FODMAP, caffeine free tea. 
  10. White chocolate is low FODMAP in 15 g serves; larger serves become high in lactose. The 50 g called for, once split amongst the 

White Mocha Red Cake

Single Cake - Serves: 10-12 | Time: 45 minutes active, 90 minutes inactive

Double Layer Cake - Serves: 20-24 |Time: 60 minutes active, two days total

Amounts called for below are for a single cake (10-12 serves) only. Double them for the larger cake pictured.


Red Cake

  • 150 g (4.4 oz) butter or dairy free butter, only add 115 g (4 oz) to the cake
  • 20 g (1/3 cup) rooibos/red bush tea
  • 3/4 cup dextrose (or sugar - see Friendly Notes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 250 g (8.8 oz) gluten free plain flour blend
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60 ml (1/2 cup) lactose/dairy free milk

White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

  • 125 g/4.4 oz butter or dairy free butter
  • 250 g/8.8 oz icing dextrose mixture (or icing sugar mixture - see Friendly Notes)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Optional - 50 g good quality white chocolate, melted


Red Cake

First, we infuse the rooibos tea into butter/dairy free alternative. I loosely followed these instructions from The Cupcake Project. This step can be completed the day before and the butter stored in the fridge (after straining) overnight, before allowing it to come to room temperature before use.

In a small saucepan, add all the butter (or dairy free sub) and the rooibos tea leaves. Steep on a low heat for ten minutes, before removing it from the heat and letting the tea leaves continue to infuse the butter for another 5 minutes (you should notice the colour become slightly red). Strain the butter through a sieve, pushing out as much butter as you can with the back of a spoon. You should get at least 115 g back from the 150 g you put in. Let it come back to room temperature (softened butter) before use. 

Grease and line an 8-9" cake tin (two, if you are making the double layered cake) or a 12 hole muffin tin. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the 115 g softened butter and the sugar on high for 3-4 minutes, until the butter noticeably lightens and becomes fluffy. Next add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined. 

While the stand mixer is doing its job, measure the GF plain flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt into a bowl and mix through, before sifting it into another bowl. This second step may seem overkill but it is especially important in GF cakes, to help with aeration and fluff. 

Gradually beat the dry mix and milk into the creamed butter mix, until your cake batter is ready. Depending on the milk you used, you may need a little more or less. 

Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9" tin, or the lined muffin pan. 

Bake at 180 C/350 F as follows:

  • 8-9" cake: 45 minutes, or until it tests clean in the centre.
  • Cupcakes: 12-14 minutes, or until a centre cupcake tests clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing. If you are making the double layer cake, they must cool over night, so they can firm up a bit before you slice the domes off.

White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

In your stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the room temperature butter (or butter sub) on high for 5-6 minutes. It should lighten in appearance and increase in volume. Add in the vanilla extract and pinch of salt, then beat on high for a further minute. 

Optional - meanwhile, melt the white chocolate and then add it to the creamed butter, mixing it through on a medium speed, until combined. 

Gradually, add in 50 g of icing sugar/dextrose mixture at a time, mixing on medium in between batches, until all 250 g is in. 


Cupcakes: Spoon or pipe icing onto the tops.

Single Cake: Spread icing over the top (sides optional).

Double Layer Cake: You will need two cakes and a double batch of icing. Carefully slice the domes off each cake, using a wire tool or a very fine (i.e. fillet) knife. Try to take as little as possible and cut in a level line. This creates a flat surface, which allows you to stack the cakes easily.

Put a little splodge of icing on the plate on which you will serve the cake (to help it stay still), then place the first layer down. Use just under a third of the icing on top of the base layer, then put the top cake into position and gently push it into place, ensuring the sides all line up. Use the remaining icing to spread evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

Garnish with something red, just because, and serve with a freshly brewed cup of rooibos tea, of course.

Enjoy! And don't forget to sign up to receive emails whenever a new recipe or resource article is published. 

Nataliya. Xx