Gluten Free Vanilla Cake

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Recipe

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).


What You’ll Need:

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

Make the Cake:

3.92 from 23 votes
Gluten Free Vanilla Cake
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Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 318kcal
Author: Diane Kittle


  • 1 cup butter, margarine or Spectrum Organic Shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs , room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 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
  • cups cow’s milk or rice milk , hot


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.
  • In 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.
  • In a separate bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
  • Add 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.
  • Divide batter equally between the two prepared pans, using an ice cream scoop. 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.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 318 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 346mg14%
Potassium 124mg4%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 450IU9%
Calcium 85mg9%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Mix the batter in a stand mixer.

Vanilla Cake Batter

Divide batter evenly between 2 pans.

Vanilla Cake in Pans

Cool the cakes before frosting.

Vanilla Cakes

Need a gluten-free all-purpose flour for this recipe?

Carol's Flour leaderboard 2017 with new packaging

Make the Frosting:

4.34 from 6 votes
Gluten Free Vanilla Cake
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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Buttercream Cake Frosting

This frosting is not too sweet. To vary the flavor, replace vanilla with another gluten-free flavoring extract, such as lemon or coconut.
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16 servings (enough for one 3-layer cake)
Calories: 536kcal
Author: Diane Kittle


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


  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and salt.
  • Using a whisk attachment, add boiling water and whip at low speed until smooth and cool, approximately 5 minutes.
  • 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.


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.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Buttercream Cake Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 536 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Fat 40g62%
Saturated Fat 13g65%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 151mg6%
Potassium 2mg0%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Sugar 44g49%
Vitamin A 265IU5%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Frosting the Cakes:

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)!

Slicing Vanilla Cakes

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. Spread the icing evenly.

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

Layered Vanilla Cake

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! Spread an even crumb coat over the entire cake.

Frosted Vanilla Cake

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.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Slice

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


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.

4 from 6 votes
Gluten Free Vanilla Cake
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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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Chill time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time16 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16 servings (2 cups)
Calories: 62kcal
Author: Diane Kittle


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


  • 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.
  • In a small bowl, place egg yolks and about 1/3 cup hot cornstarch mixture and stir together.
  • 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.
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Filling Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 40mg2%
Potassium 12mg0%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 9g10%
Vitamin A 65IU1%
Vitamin C 3.5mg4%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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.

This recipe was originally published in 2009. Originally published in Gluten Free & More.

Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Simply Gluten Free are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
Have you tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the Ratings & Reviews section below.
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  1. Penny
    March 30, 2021

    I just made this cake for my sister’s birthday. I separated the batter into 4 smaller bowls and added a different gel food coloring to each bowl. Then I spooned the batter into the cake pans, alternating the colors. It was a gorgeous tie-dye look when cut! I made a vegan orange curd filling for the middle but I didn’t use your frosting recipe. I found one made with vegan butter sticks and it was delicious with this cake. There’s a vegan bakery in our town that sells chewy, dense, over – sweet cakes starting at $25. This cake was nothing like that! This cake rose beautifully like a “regular” cake. It caramelized nicely on the top, giving it a great flavor. I couldn’t tell it from a “regular” cake! This will be my go-to from now on when I need a cake for someone with dietary preferences or restrictions. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Carol Kicinski
      March 30, 2021

      That sounds beautiful! So glad you like it!

  2. Anthony Rainsford
    April 8, 2021

    Hi, can this recipe be doubled for a 9*13 pan

    1. Carol Kicinski
      April 9, 2021

      Yes, that should work just fine! The cooking time might vary slightly, so just be sure to keep an eye on it.

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