Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Recipe

Gluten free vanilla cake recipe
Gluten free vanilla cake photo by Kerstin Meyne
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Calories: 324


This recipe was originally published in 2009.

Professional gluten-free baker Diane Kittle teamed up with Gluten Free & More Magazine to provide our readers with this truly stellar gluten- AND dairy-free vanilla cake. This is a cake that people of all diet restrictions can enjoy. Easily substitute eggs and milk, or vary the taste of this classic recipe by replacing vanilla with a different gluten-free flavor extract, such as almond, orange or maple. Frost with dairy-free “Buttercream” Frosting (instructions below).

lazy susan


What You’ll Need:

– a standing mixer
– an ice cream scooper
– 2 round 8-inch pans
– 2 round 8-inch cake boards
– a finely meshed sifter
– a lazy susan (optional)

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Cake Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add shortening and sugar to your standing mixer; mix on a low setting. Microwave or heat rice milk on stove until hot.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

2. Add 4 eggs to the mixer while it is running. You may need to scrape the mixer occasionally.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

3. Lay down a sheet of parchment paper. Using a fine mesh sifter, sift gluten free flour onto the parchment. Add baking powder, xantham gum, baking soda and salt to sifted mix. Then add vanilla extract to mixer while running.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

4. Slowly pour half the dry ingredients into the moving mixer.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

5. Pour half the hot rice milk into the mixer.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

6. Pour the rest of the dry ingredients in, then the rest of the milk.mixing wet and dry ingredients

7. Mix and scrape until the gluten-free batter is smooth and silky.

8. Grease both 8-in. pans and dust them thoroughly with gluten free flour blend.use ice cream scoop to evenly pour cake batter

9. Use an ice cream scoop to evenly split the batter into each pan. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.gluten free dairy free vanilla cake recipe

10. Pop your baked layers out of the pans. Slice the slightly domed cake tops with a long knife. This ensures your cake will stack nicely and be flat. Plus, you can use the tasty cake tops for other baking projects (think gluten-free tiramisu and bread pudding)!gluten free dairy free vanilla cake recipegluten free dairy free vanilla cake recipe

11. Place one cake layer onto a lazy susan. This handy kitchen tool is not absolutely necessary, but it sure simplifies icing! Spoon a generous scoop of buttercream frosting on the top of your first layer.using a lazy susan for cake icing

12. Spread the icing evenly.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

13. Place the second cake layer top-down onto the frosted first layer.

making gluten-free vanilla cake

14. Spread a light coat of frosting around the sides of the cake. This is what is called the crumb coat – it glues down any loose crumbs and ensures the top coat of frosting looks nice and neat!

making gluten-free vanilla cake

15. Spread an even crumb coat over the entire cake.

baking gluten-free vanilla cake

16. Using a butter knife this time, add your top coat of dairy-free frosting. The butter knife creates a thick, spackled texture. Do the sides of your cake first, then the top.

baking gluten-free vanilla cake
baking gluten-free vanilla cake

17. Now your cake is finished. Enjoy this gluten-free delight as soon as it’s done!gluten free dairy free vanilla cake recipe

TO MAKE EGG FREE: Replace 4 large eggs with 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder + 4 tablespoons warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon gluten-free egg replacer.


Coconut Cake: Substitute 1 tablespoon pure coconut extract for the vanilla; substitute coconut milk for milk of choice; then add ¾ cup coconut flakes (optional) to the cake batter, stirring until combined.

Lemon Cake: Substitute 2 teaspoons pure lemon extract for vanilla; reduce milk by 1/3 cup and add 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice; add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest to the batter when adding the eggs.

Special thanks to Diane and Heather at Dee’s One Smart Cookie for courteously providing this step-by step recipe! Dee’s One Smart Cookie is a dedicated allergy-friendly bakery in Glastonbury, CT. All of the goods made contain no gluten, dairy, soy, or nuts. Egg-free and rice-free products are available as well. 

Photography and videography by Kerstin Meyne-McCall. 

Yields 16 slices


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, margarine or Spectrum Organic Shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend + extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups cow’s milk or rice milk, hot


1Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.

2In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat margarine and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy again, scraping down bowl.

3In a separate bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.

4Add half the dry mixture to the sugar mixture and beat at low speed until combined. Add half the milk and blend. Then add remaining dry ingredients and milk. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth, approximately 2 minutes.

5Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes or until done. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in pans. Then turn cake onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

1 slice contains 324 calories, 13g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium, 49g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 25g sugars, 3g protein.

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Buttercream Cake Frosting Recipe

making gluten-free vanilla cake

This frosting is not too sweet. To vary the flavor, replace vanilla with another gluten-free flavoring extract, such as lemon or coconut.

6 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling hot water
2½ cups Spectrum Organic Shortening
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter or margarine, slightly softened, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and salt.

2. Using a whisk attachment, add boiling water and whip at low speed until smooth and cool, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Add shortening and margarine to the sugar mixture and whip at medium speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Add vanilla. Increase speed to medium high and whip until light, fluffy and increased in volume, approximately 10 minutes. Frosting will fill most of a 5-quart mixing bowl.
Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 538 calories, 40g total fat, 16g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 18mg cholesterol, 45g carbohydrate, 163mg sodium, 0g fiber, 0g protein.

TIP: Leftover “Buttercream” Frosting is great on cupcakes or cookies. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. Allow chilled frosting to return to room temperature before using. To fluff it up, whip for a couple minutes. 

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Filling Recipe


Delicious in layered lemon, coconut or vanilla cake. This recipe makes enough for a 3-layer cake with filling left over.

1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1½ cups water
4 egg yolks, beaten with a fork
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, optional

1. In a medium saucepan, stir cornstarch, salt and sugar. Add water and stir again. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, approximately 5 minutes. When mixture begins to boil, lower heat and continue to stir for 1 minute. Remove pan from the heat.

2. In a small bowl, place egg yolks and about 1/3 cup hot cornstarch mixture and stir together.

3. Whisk this mixture back into contents of the saucepan and return pan to medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture is very thick, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.

5. Pour filling into a bowl or container and let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for about an hour to firm. Remove from fridge and spread on cake layers.
Cake serves 16. Each serving contains 62 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 52mg cholesterol, 13g carbohydrate, 39mg sodium, 0g fiber, 1g protein.