Soft & fluffy, this gluten free vanilla cake is the perfect treat for your next celebration or just because! Dairy free + nut free recipe.
This gluten free vanilla cake is moist, flavorful, and not too sweet so you can enjoy that second slice! 🙂
If you love vanilla, you are going to LOVE this cake! It’s packed with vanilla flavor and is so easy to mix up in one bowl.
Now, gluten free vanilla cakes can sometimes have a bad name for themselves, being labeled “dry”, “gummy”, or worst of all, “boring”. Which is pretty much the exact opposite of what this cake is like. This cake is moist, has a delicate crumb, tender, fluffy, and did I mention it’s perfectly flavored with a vanilla punch???
Free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein, fish, shellfish, soy, sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, corn, celery, and more
Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and you may view my full disclosure by clicking here.
The true beauty of this cake is in the simple ingredients. Nothing weird or esoteric here!
Butter of Choice – Room temp butter is the base of this cake. Use a good quality of butter for the best results. You can make this with the dairy free butter of your choice as well. Just make sure that you have one that will cream together nicely with the sugar. Earth Balance soy free is my personal favorite.
Eggs – Eggs help to bind the batter together and gives the cake lift. Make sure they are room temperature so they can mix with the butter and sugar easier.
White Sugar – Only half a cup is required for this cake making it pretty low in sugar content. When mixing with the butter, you want to make sure that it gets super light and fluffy.
Brown Sugar – I love mixing brown and white sugar together in my gluten free baking. The brown sugar adds a depth of flavor and color that white sugar alone just doesn’t have.
Milk of Choice – Just like the butter, you want to make sure that you have room temperature milk to mix in this cake. For a dairy free option, stick with unflavored options so that nothing competes with the vanilla you add to the cake. Rice milk is my go-to!
Vanilla Extract – The namesake ingredient! Make sure you have a high quality vanilla extract and never vanilla flavoring. Watkins is my favorite brand to use as it is gluten free, non-GMO, and corn free.
Baking Powder – This helps the cake rise in the oven. If avoiding gluten and wheat, make sure that you find one that is gluten free! Bob’s Red Mill is one of my favorite gf baking powders. However, it does contain corn so you need a different one if avoiding corn.
Gluten Free Flour – Pamela’s Artisan Blend, King Arthur Gluten Free Flour, and my own DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend all work perfect in this recipe!
Make sure your ingredients are all room temperature. This is so important!! Having them all the same temp allows for the ingredients to mix together better, giving you that perfect fluffy cake you are looking for.
Use high quality vanilla. This is a vanilla cake after all so you don’t want to be skimping on the namesake of the cake! Use vanilla extract and never vanilla flavoring.
Use a light or glass pan. Dark pans can become too hot in the oven and will cook the outside edges of the cake more quickly. Using aluminum cake pans allows for a more even bake.
Best Flavor Combos
Now comes the really fun part, how to spice up your vanilla cake! Vanilla cake makes such a great base for other flavor combos. Here are some of my favorite frosting and cake recipes to mix and match.
Double Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – This chocolate frosting is rich, luscious, and oh so creamy.
Marshmallow Frosting – Vegan! For a fun treat, try some marshmallow frosting on top!
Use this cake as the base layer for making zebra cakes!
How to Store this Cake
Gluten free cakes keep better in the fridge for a few days when covered in an airtight container. Store them in the fridge for up to 5 days before they become too dry.
Cakes can be frozen before frosting and after baking if wrapped well for up to 3 months.
- mixing spoons
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- hand mixer / stand mixer
- baking pans
- parchment paper
- cooking oil
- ½ cup butter of choice room temperature
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup milk of choice room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 ¾ cup gluten free flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 six-inch or eight-inch pans with parchment paper and lightly grease pans. Or, line cupcake tray with 15 -18 cupcake liners, depending on how full you want final cupcakes to be. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the room temperature butter of choice with both white and brown sugar. Whisk on medium-high until very light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, making sure that eggs are fully incorporated before adding next egg.
- Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix well.
- Turn the mixer to low speed and begin to add the flour and milk in alternating steps. Star by adding half of the flour as well as the salt and baking powder. Let mix well and add half of the milk. Mix again. Add remaining flour and remaining milk slowly, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until golden brown and no wiggle remains. For 8 inch cakes, bake 35-38 minutes. For 6 inch cakes, bake 48-42 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 23-25 minutes.
- When done, remove from oven and let cool completely before decorating.