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Gluten-Free Vanilla Birthday Cake

Gluten-Free Vanilla Birthday Cake

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This versatile cake, with a distinct vanilla flavor, is a crowd-pleaser and sure to become a go-to for any festive occasion.



  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups King Arthur Flour gluten free multi-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ingredient Info

  • Coconut flour and xanthan gum are available at natural food stores and some supermarkets, or online.

Recipe Preparation


  • Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly butter two 8"-diameter cake pans and line with parchment rounds; butter and flour parchment. Whisk coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 cups multi-purpose flour in a medium bowl.

  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat sugar and 1 1/2 cups butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Scrape in vanilla seeds (save pod for another use), add vanilla extract, and mix just to combine. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix just to combine (batter will be thick), then increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.

  • Divide batter between prepared pans, smooth tops, and bake until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–40 minutes.Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool in pans 10 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack and let cool completely.


  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter in a medium bowl until creamy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add sugar, beating until smooth. Mix in vanilla and salt, then add milk 1 Tbsp. at a time, mixing constantly until frosting is thick but spreadable.

  • Using a serrated knife, trim rounded tops from both cakes to make them flat. Place 1 cake layer, trimmed side up, on a platter. Spread frosting over top to coat. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.

  • DO AHEAD: Cake can be assembled 1 day ahead. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Reviews SectionWould this recipe work with almond milk in place of the buttermilk?AnonymousPonte Vedra Beach, FL12/21/18

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake

While I&rsquom not gluten free myself, I get a lot of request for gluten free recipes on social media. That&rsquos why I&rsquom sharing this gluten free vanilla cake recipe!!

I used to think that gluten free baking was super intimidating, but there are so many wonderful gluten free flour blends out there nowadays!! They make gluten free baking so much more approachable.

If you didn&rsquot tell me that this cake was gluten free, I&rsquod have no clue. The texture and taste are just like a regular vanilla cake!!

Vanilla Cake- Gluten Free, Dairy Free

When it comes to vanilla cake, I don’t know where to start. Ugh. Since going gluten and dairy free I had not enjoyed vanilla cake. After trial and error of soooo many recipes I had found, and none of them working out. Then I was wasting money on every box brand I could find I could find at the store. As a result of this frustration I knew I needed to take matters into my own hands. All I wanted was a gluten free birthday cake for crying out loud!

This Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Cake is going to rock your world!

Finally, I was tired of having to settle more less than decent cake.

Due to my frustration I decided to make the damn thing myself and I used the methods of how I used to make a regular glutenous cake. After I tweaked the ingredients and played around with it a bit to make it gluten and dairy free, voila! The worlds best tasting gluten free and dairy free Vanilla Cake!

Finally , I had a delicious cake with perfect texture! Could it be, cake that tastes like cake? The most noteworthy part of this recipe is how well it holds up and how comparable the texture is to a regular cake. Therefore, I literally have friends and family that request this for their birthdays when they could easily get a normal cake at a bakery.

As a result of this cakes popularity, this recipe is tried and true a million times over. It has been used as the base for anything that calls for vanilla cake, especially during the holidays. It is truly the perfect gluten free birthday cake recipe.

FAQs: Gluten-Free Sheet Cake

Can I make this into gluten-free cupcakes?

Sure can! Scoop the batter into 24 cupcake cups. Be sure to line the cups with paper liners or spray very generously with nonstick cooking spray.

Can I make this into a round gluten-free cake?

Yup! Divide the batter evenly between two 8-inch round cake pans.

Can I freeze the gluten-free sheet cake?

You can! Be sure to allow the cake to cool completely before freezing. And, bonus, you can frost the cake before freezing. Frosted cakes freeze really well. (The hardest part? You need room in the freezer for the cake.)

Can I omit the eggs?

Probably not. Cake recipes are hard to make egg-free. I don&rsquot think this one would work without eggs. Sorry.

Can I make this without dairy?

Yes! Replace the butter with either softened coconut oil or softened dairy-free margarine. And replace the milk with dairy-free milk. (Just don&rsquot use full-fat coconut milk. It&rsquos too heavy for the cake.)

Nut-free Flour

1. If wheat agrees with you, I recommend King Arthur all-purpose flour packaged in a paper bag, as they are milled in dedicated wheat-only facilities. If you are allergic, double check on King Arthur’s website as manufacturing practices may change.

2. For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free blend such as Namaste Perfect Flour Blend.

Products from Namaste Foods are allergen friendly and free of wheat, gluten, egg, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy. All their products are Top-8 allergen free and can be found in grocery stores and online. They have their own dedicated facility and offer regular as well as organic varieties.

I love that Namaste Foods is a women-owned and family-operated.

Gluten-Free Classic Birthday Cake

A golden vanilla layer cake filled and iced with fudge frosting — what could say Happy Birthday better than that? If you've been looking for the very best recipe for this classic cake-and-frosting combo, you've found it.

We know you’ll love this gluten-free version of our Classic Birthday Cake recipe, a long-time favorite here on our site. Substituting Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the flour in that original yields a tender, moist, chocolate-and-vanilla layer cake that’s sure to be a hit with friends and family following a gluten-free diet. Enjoy!


  • 2 cups (241g) Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (397g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional, for enhanced flavor
  • 1 cup (227g) milk (whole milk preferred)
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) butter, cut into pats
  • 1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (106g) natural cocoa powder, (sifted if lumpy)*
  • 4 cups (454g) confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (74g) hot water
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) vanilla extract
  • 16 tablespoons (227g) butter, softened

*Substitute Dutch-process cocoa if you like the frosting will have a more robust, bittersweet chocolate flavor.


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the center. Lightly grease two 8” x 2” or 9” x 2” round cake pans for extra protection against sticking, line the bottom of the pans with parchment rounds (you can cut these yourself or use precut 8” or 9” rounds), and grease the parchment. If your 8” pans aren’t at least 2” deep, use 9” pans.

Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, either using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, if using, until thickened and light gold in color, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed. If your stand mixer doesn’t have a whisk attachment, beat for 5 minutes using the paddle attachment. The batter should fall in thick ribbons from the beaters, whisk, or paddle.

Perfect your technique

Introducing our 2019 Recipe of the Year

Add the dry ingredients to the mixture in the bowl and mix — by hand or on low speed of a mixer — just enough to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then mix again briefly, to fully incorporate any residual flour or sticky bits.

In a saucepan set over medium heat or in the microwave, bring the milk just to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and oil, stirring by hand until the butter has melted.

Slowly mix the hot milk-butter-oil mixture into the batter, stirring on low speed of a mixer until everything is well combined. Scrape the bowl and mix briefly, just until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. You’ll use about 2 3/4 cups (about 580g) in each.

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top feels set, 36 to 40 minutes for two 9” pans, or 43 to 48 minutes for two 8” pans a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the cakes should read 210°F. Remove the cakes from the oven, carefully loosen the edges, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes in the pans. Then turn them out of the pans and transfer them to a rack, right-side up, to cool to room temperature.

To make the frosting: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together — by hand or mixer — the cocoa powder, 1 cup (113g) of the confectioners’ sugar, and the salt. Stir in the water and vanilla, scraping the bowl if necessary.

Add the butter and remaining confectioners’ sugar, stirring to combine. Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the frosting at medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until lightened in color and fluffy, stopping halfway through to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. When the frosting is ready, scoop out a bit on your spatula does it seem nicely spreadable? If it's too stiff, beat in water (1 teaspoon at a time) until it's the consistency you want.

To assemble the cake: Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate tuck pieces of waxed or parchment paper underneath the edge of the cake to keep the plate clean. Spread the bottom layer with about 1 cup of frosting, enough to make a 1/4” to 1/2”-thick layer. Center the second layer bottom-side up (for a flat top) over the frosted layer and press gently to set it in place.

If your schedule permits, place the cake in the refrigerator or freezer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) to firm it up. This will make the layers less likely to slide around as you work, and the cake won’t shed crumbs as you frost. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step.

To finish the cake: For the best-looking cake, do the frosting in two steps. First, spread a very thin layer of frosting around the sides and across the top this is called a crumb coat. You should be able to see the cake through the frosting in spots, it’s that thin. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes to let this layer set. Again, skip this step if time is a factor.

Once the cake is chilled, use the remaining frosting to coat it thoroughly and evenly our cake styling guide offers six pro-style options for "styling" your cake. If you have any leftover frosting, you can use it to pipe decorations on the top and/or around the base.

Store the cake, covered, at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your kitchen is hot. Let it come to room temperature before serving. For tips on slicing, see The best way to cut cake.

Storage information: The cake will keep at room temperature, covered with a cake cover, for up to three days in the refrigerator, covered, for up to one week, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to one month.

Tips from our Bakers

Be aware: some of your baking ingredients can be a hidden source of gluten. Learn more at our blog post: For gluten-free baking, think beyond just flour. For additional information on King Arthur-produced products, read the complete details of our allergen program, including our contact-prevention practices.

Make ahead tips: Cake layers and frosting can be made up to three days ahead, refrigerated, and the cake assembled the day you wish to serve it. For storing, wrap the layers in plastic and transfer the frosting to an airtight container, or tightly cover the bowl in which you made it. When you're ready to assemble the cake, remove the frosting from the fridge and warm at room temperature until soft enough to spread easily. The whole cake (assembled and decorated) can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.

To make a 9" x 13" sheet cake: Prepare the batter as directed. Pour it into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan, and bake in a preheated 325°F oven for about 45 to 48 minutes, until the cake tests done. You'll have excess frosting if you make the entire frosting recipe if you don't want to end up with leftover frosting, consider making a half recipe (which will frost the cake minimally), or a three-quarter recipe (which will frost it more generously).

When it comes out of the oven, you’ll notice little brown speckles throughout the crumb this is from the flax egg, an egg substitute I use in a lot of my vegan baking.

Flax eggs don’t impart a great deal of flavor, so they won't interfere with your enjoyment of the cake. And those little speckles get covered right up with a thick layer of frosting.

Yes. In this cake, the xanthan gum is not optional. While there are some recipes where xanthan gum is not required but will help with a lighter fluffier crumb (like my gluten-free chocolate cupcakes and gluten-free vanilla cupcakes), this gluten-free vanilla cake does. I tested this cake twice without xanthan gum and both times the cake failed. The batter was gritty and too runny and the cake baked up flat and dense.

If you’re just starting out with gluten-free baking, I understand that the hefty price tag on xanthan gum might steer folks away from using their own homemade flour blends that call for it.

If you're in that camp, just know it lasts for a long time! I keep it in my fridge and a bag lasts me almost 2 years, so if you plan on getting more serious about gluten-free baking, a little goes a long way. Each recipe typically only calls for ½-1 teaspoon.

Gluten Free Birthday Cake Recipe

That’s right, for ten years now, Wholesome! has been bringing us alternatives to regular, refined, bleached white sugar, brown sugar and artificial sweeteners. They introduced us to organic, fair trade, natural sugars, nectars and syrups and they now even sell organic stevia and in these ten years have become the leader in their field!! So please join me in wishing them a Very Happy Birthday! Here is to ten times ten, times ten, more years! And in celebration of their birthday we are giving away a whole basket filled with Wholesome! products! Just hop over here and enter to win!

Now, about that gluten-free birthday cake. I think everyone should know how to make a cake. Yes, we can now buy gluten-free cakes mix and I do use them sometimes however there is nothing as special as having someone make you a cake. This year for my birthday I received many wonderful gifts but the thing that touched my heart the most was that my husband made me a cake – his first one ever and he did it all himself!

So here are a couple of things to know about making the perfect gluten-free birthday cake.

Start with finely milled flours – this will keep your cake from being gritty. I like to use superfine flours.

Have all your cake ingredients at room temperature – take out the eggs, butter and milk about half an hour before you start mixing the cake. If you are using dairy free butter and milk, the same thing applies. Room temperature ingredients will blend better and the cake will cook properly.

Take the time to cream your butter and sugar properly and to beat each egg in one by one until it is fully blended, this will get some air in the cake and make it lighter.

Mix all your dry ingredients together and add it to your creamed butter mixture in batches alternating it with your liquid – put in half the flour mixture then the liquid and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Also, always give your batter a final mix by hand with a spatula, this will make sure all the ingredients are mixed properly.

Always preheat the oven and remember oven temperatures vary so check your cake before the stated cooking time in case your oven runs a little hotter then anticipated.

Your cake will only taste as good as the ingredients you put in it – I have taken to baking with organic sugar, it has a mellow sweetness and a richness you can’t get with white bleached sugar. Also, always use pure vanilla extract – imitation vanilla may contain gluten and is inferior in taste.