· Food & Recipes · Baking Recipes · How To Make {Gluten-Free} “Crash Cake”!

How To Make {Gluten-Free} “Crash Cake”!

crash cake

In honor of all the cake I ate yesterday on my birthday….I am sharing a cake recipe today! But not just ANY cake….Crash Cake! This idea comes from Linda D. who shared it with us in one of my past “One Good Thing By You” contests!  That was back on January 7th…and I’ve kept it filed away ever since.

Here is Linda D.’s “One Good Thing”:
linda d comment

The thing I was most excited about when I read this idea…was the potential it had for making a good gluten-free dessert!  Sadly, the gluten-free cake mixes you can buy at the store really aren’t very good all by themselves. But I figured that if I could mix the cake in with some other yummy ingredients it might actually work! Boy was I right on this one! *patting self on back*

How to make Crash Cake:

Mix and bake one gluten-free (or regular) boxed cake mix according to package directions.

crash cake

When the cake has cooled, break it up into (or cut it up) into cubes. Put a layer of cake in the bottom of a bowl (I put mine in my Mom’s trifle dish that she left here a couple of months ago…and I have yet to get back to her! oops.)

Add a layer of whipped cream.

crash cake

Add a layer of frozen berries, then repeat all 3 layers again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

crash cake

I made this for dessert last Sunday and everyone really enjoyed it! You would have been hard-pressed to tell it was gluten-free unless you already knew. I am becoming quite skilled at the art of disguising gluten-free ingredients. ;-)

No. 2 son even took the leftover cake to a friend’s house later that night where a group of teenage boys finished it off. Pretty good endorsement I’d say.

Thanks to Linda D. for sharing this idea with us. Can’t wait to try it again with other flavors…and possibly a layer of pudding too! :-)

crash cake 2

A gluten-free chocolate trifle in a glass on a table.

Gluten-Free “Crash Cake”

Jill Nystul
Ever had a (gluten free) cake that turns out too dry and flavorless? This recipe provides a simple and tasty solution!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 191 kcal


  • 1 Boxed Cake Mix
  • Whipped Cream
  • Frozen Berries


  • Mix and bake one gluten-free (or regular) boxed cake mix according to package directions.
  • When the cake has cooled, break it up into (or cut it up) into cubes. Put a layer of cake in the bottom of a bowl (I put mine in my Mom's trifle dish that she left here a couple of months ago...and I have yet to get back to her! oops.)
  • Add a layer of whipped cream.
  • Add a layer of frozen berries, then repeat all 3 layers again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Calories: 191kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 299mgPotassium: 60mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 95IUVitamin C: 2.6mgCalcium: 108mgIron: 0.9mg

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

Read This Next


Food & Recipes

  • I was diagnosed last week with Hashimoto’s and I am waiting for to see if I have celiac diease. It is very limited even with Hashimoto’s what I can eat. No sugar, butter, milk, all meat has to come from grass fed animals. So Thank You! Right now I am overwhelmed and didn’t have any idea where to start!

    • Sherrie, I know what you mean about being overwhelmed by change in diet. I’d like to suggest doing a web search for the words ‘paleo diet’ or ‘primal diet’. It’ll most likely fit in with your new regimen and you will find hundreds of blogs with great recipes. Wishing you the best.

      • Just a note probably only real interesting to me. We were born the same day but I am older by a few years. Bill is a friend. Today okay for a few days I have been overwhelmed and was feeling sorry for myself. Many times in my life at the exact right moment I meet people in what they think is nothing for them, but it is a life turner for me. I recognize it the moment I see or hear or read it. Today is that day for me. The right thing and the exact right time. And sometimes I feel the need to tell that person. Thank You for that!

    • It gets easier in time. If you start talking about the diet issues with friends, you are likely to find you know many people in a similar boat. I have learned that cooking with friends or family is the best cure for the diet blues. It does not even matter if they eat a Standard American Diet (SAD). It is just nice to experience learning this new way of life with some friends, laughter, and a good glass of wine.

      Chin up,


      PS I am a gluten-free vegan

  • Looks delicious. I think this would be wonderful with an egg white icing and some fresh strawberries. I’m gonna have to try it tonight! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Oh Jillee, do try it with pudding! I haven’t made it in a long time, but I used to make this basic dessert layered with pudding mixed with a little cream cheese. It was amazing! Great idea for gluten free. It would make it much moister and richer. I have 2 people in my life that have to eat gluten free and I can’t wait to try this for them!

  • Looks yummy and oh so simple..you said to put frozen berries on the whip cream topping, so you don’t have to let them defrost first to drain off excess liquid?

  • My family calls this “Punch Bowl Cake” since we serve it in a punch bowl. My usually recipe is yellow cake made with pineapple juice for the water. Layered with whip topping, strawberries and pineapple chunks. Another favorite is chocolate cake layered with whip topping, hot fudge, caramel and toffee candy bits or other favorite candy topping. Yumm!! This dessert is on the menu this Saturday with a girls group. So easy and tastes so good.

  • ..
    I make this cake with storebought angel food cake, whip cream and fruit of the season.
    You can use cool whip…but real whip cream is the best. Any fruit. we usually use strawberries
    If you add 2 tab. regular flour and 2 tab. confectioners sugar when whipping the cream, it will not
    break down and will hold for several days. I found this hint solely by accident when I thought I
    put powdered sugar in and it was cake flour. Now I just use regular flour …it has no taste and the
    cream is great, holds it’s shape and you have it for several days just fine…like the first day.

  • This looks delicious! I will add, however, that we have used the chocolate Pamela’s Product cake mix IF we use the option of adding a container of sour cream, as instructed in the options section on the package.

  • Here is a variation that is simply TO DIE FOR!!! The recipe is from my cute friend Nickie.
    One box of White cake mix. Follow instructions on the box and substitute:
            1/2 C. of apple sauce instead of 1/3 oil. 
            Add 1 C. of Vanilla Yoplait yogurt. 
            Add one package of vanilla INSTANT (not cooked) pudding (large box).
    Split cake mix between 2 round cake pans and cook same as box instructions.
    Let cakes cool completely.  Over night is good if covered.
    Mix another box of vanilla instant pudding (as per instructions)
    Split pudding into 2 portions.

    Put one of the round cakes in a large bowl that can be covered.  (A large punch bowl or glass trifle bowl will work.) 

    Pour half of the pudding mixture over the first layer of cake.
    Next, put a thick layer of cool whip on top of the pudding.

    Cut up a large container of strawberries and place them on top of the cool whip. 
    Follow the process again. – Cake on top of the strawberries, the other half of the pudding, whip cream, and then the last layer of strawberries.
    Refrigerate 5 hours or so before serving. Enjoy!

  • I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog and you can be sure I will be purchasing your book!
    I became acquainted with Pinterest only this year, and I kept noticing that a huge amount of my “pins” were written by you, so I subscribed for your emails.
    I have not been disappointed!
    I am especially excited today as I was diagnosed gluten intolerant last year – at age 53! So I will be having Crash Cake this weekend!!
    Keep up the good work.

  • WhenI make a trifle, my layers conist of: cake, pudding mixed with cream cheese, whipped cream, and fresh fruit. It is a huge hit in our house!! Thanks for the GF version!

    I am always trying to put another “ace up my sleeve” and this would be a great bake ahead, cube & freeze for unexpected guests. I was thinking this would be really cute in a sundae cup (kinda like the mason jar desserts you made for an open house once)–it would keep the portion control in check for me–mine have more fruit and just a bit of cake.

    Just a thought about the whipped cream toppings out there (I am not trying to start a blog war)– real cream (if you whip your own) only has 52 cal/TB before whipping and you control the sugar; (so 1/4C of whipped is only 52 calories). IMHO real cream will satisfy the dessert expectations so there is no need for second helpings.

  • I also do a “punch bowl cake”. I make jello with less water and poke holes in warm cake & pour on the jello. Let cool and tear up layer with fruit and whipped topping of whipped cream. I have also done it with angelfood cake for those who need less sugar.

    Your choclate would be good with hot fudge poured over the cake cubes also.

  • We call ours triffle. If I’m short on time I use store bought pound cake. I layer it with straberries soaked in OJ and some sugar, vanilla pudding, and more cake. I save the cool whip for the top layer only and garnish with more berries. This is also great if you make a cake and it won’t come out of the pan or breaks. No one will notice if this is the finished product.

  • I don’t get it. why not just put whipped topping on it, then berrries and then eat it? why do you have to break it up and put in another dish? Like I said, I don’t get it. Maybe I’m just anti-dirtying-more-dishes.

    • Well, I think she meant when the cake falls apart if you try to do anything with it. I have made that kind of cake before. I call it “fall-apart” cake. ha ha My homemade cakes usually never fall apart, but the box cakes tend to be very soft and fragile, especially if I am trying to make layer cake, not pretty! ;0

  • Happy Birthday! Your cake looks yummy and beautiful. I’d like to make that so I’m going to look for a nice bowl. Thanks for making my stomach go….grrrrrowl!

  • We are a gluten free household too (thanks to my thyroid issues). And even before we adopted a GF lifestyle, my boys enjoyed randomly “unliking” certain meals in the hopes I would turn into a short-order cook (they know better now). We have done the “crash” method on a lot of things here, only we call them “Chop-Chop” methods. Son: “Mom, I don’t like lasagna!” Mom: “oh, that’s too bad because tonight we are having Lasagna Chop-Chop.” It goes on from there…worked every time.

    This started when my husband accidentally dropped a birthday cake on its way to the table but caught it in mid-fall. We threw it in a trifle dish and the rest is history!

  • It’s really good if you drizzle some sauce between the layers, too. Chocolate syrup or caramel sauce on a chocolate cake; strawberry glaze on a yellow cake with strawberries on top; etc. And top the chocolate version off with nuts or chopped candy of choice.

  • Ooo! Thanks for the idea! My mother and I both have to avoid wheat and dairy. Trying to find desserts we can have that the whole family can enjoy is challenging. I think I will make this for Easter Dinner. Mom and I can have frozen whipped topping since it doesn’t have actual cream in it. True it’s not as good as real whipped cream but it’s not too bad.
    Oh! Before I forget the Cake Mix Doctor has a book out that uses gluten free cake mixes. I just got my copy so will be trying things from there (cakes, muffins, cookies, etc.) in hopes I can make things at home for less than what I have to pay at the gluten free bakery.

  • I’ve been requesting a similar thing as my birthday cake for years, although the last few years I’ve had to make it for myself :) I a black forest version though – chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, cherry pie filling and whipped cream! Not healthy, but delicious.

  • Okay, definitely, can’t stand the gluten free boxed cakes or the price, so I have found the best recipe to make my own from scratch. Amazing and it comes out moist and fluffy everytime. I got it from Food.com, so I don’t want to steal anyone’s original recipe, but it’s wonderful.

    3/4 cup white rice flour
    3/4 cup tapioca flour
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking soda
    3/4 tsp xanthan gum
    5 tbsp cooking oil (or melted coconut oil)
    1 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 egg
    1 cup water

    Mix all dry ingredients together, add all liquid ingredients, mix well. Bake in a greased 9 inch square baking dish at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Yummy!!!

  • Looks great, but…gluten is not the whole answer. Fructose, sugars, and grains can cause blood sugar to rise and ill health due to increased inflammation. I use soaked, dried, ground almond flour and then use stevia, or in rare cases a tiny amount of raw honey. Coconut flour and oil are also a good choice. Using gluten-free flours can be like eating sugar, as many are high carb-white rice flours, potato, etc. which may help gluten allergies, but in the long run, are not optimal for good health.
    You can make great brownies with almond flour, eggs, cocoa, coconut oil, and stevia- or if you must a small amount of honey.

  • I hope you had a great birthday thanks for all the things you do for us, but!

    This cake looks amazing too bad I cannot have chocolate or berries, I guess it would not be too good with vanilla cake and bananas and cream?

  • Every occasion has a cake to celebrate its festivity. Gourmet cakes come in a number of varieties and a large variety of usable ingredients. Gourmet cakes usually compliment special occasions like weddings, farewells, anniversaries, ceremonies, birthdays, etc. This is not the only use a cake can be put to. Cakes can be served with everyday meals as tasty deserts. But cake making is not an easy thing. People are always puzzled on how to make a cake that looks perfect and tastes great whether it’s have had as an everyday desert or gourmet cake. If you are still wondering on how to make a cake, simply take our experienced suggestion. Different recipe of cake are available online on different food related websites or blogs for free. You can also take advice on how to make a cake from an experienced source like your mother or grandmother or whosoever has been an expert in recipe of cake.”

    Look into our personal internet page too

  • Having recently been advised I now need to adhere to a gluten free diet. I have been searching for gluten free cake recipes that I can enjoy with my family. This certainly hit the mark. It was simple to prepare and delicious ! Thanks for sharing.

  • Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is awesome,
    nice written and come with approximately all important infos.
    I’d like to see extra posts like this .

  • >