Meet your new favorite gluten-free red velvet cake! This cake is light and fluffy thanks to a combination of sour cream, oil and throughly whipped batter. It has the most perfect crumb and texture and turns out EVERY TIME!

On the hunt for the best gluten-free red velvet cake? You’ve found it! With a the perfect crumb and luscious cream cheese frosting, it will make a statement at any gathering.

Feel like cupcakes? Try these Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes!

gluten free red velvet cake on white plate with fork before serving

There’s a reason red velvet cake has endured the test of time. This classic Southern dessert is the perfect combination of tangy, buttery cream cheese frosting and sweet, fluffy cake with the perfect hint of chocolate.

Plus, the red appearance makes for a true show-stopper. It’s one of those cakes that doesn’t disappoint once you dive in!

Red velvet cake gets its name from its soft, velvety crumb. The texture was a welcome contrast to the coarse cakes typically served in the early 20th century, which is when the cake made its debut.

Naturally, I was set on making a gluten-free red velvet cake that could truly live up to the original version’s glory. And I’m proud to say I’ve finally achieved my goal!

This cake maintains a light, fluffy texture by swapping out butter for a combination of sour cream and oil. Give the batter a few extra minutes of whipping, and you’ll have yourself a velvety cake that will please a crowd.

You also might like this gluten-free birthday cake or this gluten-free pineapple upside down cake!

Reasons You’ll Love this Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake Recipe

  • Light, fluffy texture
  • Sturdy/non-crumbly, but tender and light!
  • Bakes up in less than an hour
  • Consistent results
  • Can also be made as a sheet cake

Ingredients You’ll Need

overhead shot of ingredients needed to make gluten free red velvet cake

The biggest trick to making a delicious gluten-free vanilla cake is to use a combination of sour cream and oil for richness instead of butter.

I also use this trick in this gluten-free vanilla cake. Butterfat causes gluten-free flour to clump up and make a denser crumb. Sour cream is also the key ingredient in this gluten-free chocolate sheet cake!

  • Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour: These gluten-free red velvet cupcakes turn out best when you use a high-quality 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. Look for a gluten free all purpose flour blend that contains xanthan gum so the cake has the structure it needs. This is my favorite brand for this recipe.
  • Cocoa powder: It’s best to use natural cocoa powder like Guittard or Ghiradelli for red velvet cake. The lighter brown color results in a more vibrant red cake, and the higher acidity reacts with the baking powder to create a more tender crumb.
  • Red Food Coloring: If you want an intensely red cake, you’ll want to use red gel food coloring, rather than natural or liquid food coloring.
  • Sour Cream/Oil: Adds richness and tenderness to the cake without weighing down the crumb.

Best kind of red food dye? I use Americolor “red red” or “super red”) If you leave it out the cake will be a pale brown in color. You can also 1 oz liquid red food coloring, but I prefer gel linked above.

How to Make Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

how to make batter for gluten free red velvet cake

Make the Cake

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Whip on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly drizzle in the oil. (You want to do this slowly so you don’t lose the air that you’ve mixed in.)
  • Mix in the red food coloring, vanilla and lemon juice.
more steps of how to make the batter for red velvet cake
  • With the mixer on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
  • Add the sour cream and mix to combine, then add another ⅓ of the dry ingredients and continue to mix. Add ½ of the milk followed by the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Add the remaining milk and stir until totally combined. (You want to add the dry ingredients alternately with liquid ingredients so the flour absorbs into the batter.)
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
red velvet cake batter in pans before baking
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
  • If using 8-inch round pans, let the gluten-free red velvet cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Then turn out the cakes onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Cool completely before frosting.
cream cheese frosting in glass bowl

Make the Frosting

  • Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • Beat on low, then switch to high for about three minutes, or until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for another 30 seconds or so.
  • Place one cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with the second layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Slice, serve, enjoy!
  • Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
slice of red velvet cake on gray plate

Storage/Freezing Instructions

TO STORE: Be sure to cover any leftover cake tightly to maintain freshness. Store the cake in the fridge for up to five days.

TO FREEZE: Want to prepare the cake ahead of time? No problem! Bake the cake as usual, let it cool, and then wrap it tightly before freezing. When you’re ready to assemble and eat the cake, take it out to frost and let it thaw for a couple hours before eating. (Don’t frost the cake before freezing.)

Recipe FAQs

Is red velvet cake mix gluten-free?

No, most red velvet cake mix is not gluten-free, unless specifically indicated on the box. (That’s another reason I was set on creating this recipe!)

Is red velvet cake just vanilla cake with food coloring?

No, red velvet cake is distinctive for its subtle chocolate flavor, which is achieved by adding a little bit of cocoa powder to a buttermilk cake base.

What makes a red velvet cake?

Most red velvet cake recipes call for cocoa powder and buttermilk, which creates a tangy and subtle chocolate flavor. This version uses sour cream in place of the buttermilk. The cake is made red by using either artificial red food coloring or natural coloring from beet juice.

fork taking bite out of red velvet cake

Tips for Making Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

  • Adding the dry ingredients alternately with liquid ingredients ensures the flour absorbs into the batter. This prevents dry, grainy gluten-free vanilla cake.
  • It’s best to make this cake using two 8-inch round cakes or one 9×13-inch cake. Here are my favorite 8-inch round cake pans, which are amazing quality for the price! I love this 9×13 glass pan too!
  • If you want amazing cream cheese frosting, be sure to whip the frosting thoroughly, then add a pinch of salt to even out the sweetness!

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

So there you have it—fluffy, velvety, gluten-free red velvet cake! If you try this recipe, be sure to leave a comment/rating below!

fork taking bite out of red velvet cake
5 from 13 votes

Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 12 servings
Meet your new favorite gluten-free red velvet cake recipe! This cake is light and fluffy thanks to a combination of sour cream, oil. It has the most perfect crumb and texture and turns out every time!

Video

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour 310 grams (I use King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure-for-Measure Flour)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 35 grams
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups sugar 380 grams
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 100 grams
  • 1 tablespoon red food dye (or 1oz red food coloring)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup sour cream 120 grams (regular or light)
  • 1 cup milk 250 grams (I use 2%)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter 226 grams (softened)
  • 16 oz cream cheese softened 452 grams (brick-style, not spreadable )
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar 780 grams

Instructions 

Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 8-inch round pans or one 9×13 pan. I also like to line the bottom of the 8-inch round pans with a circle of parchment paper then grease again.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Whip on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer running on low, slowly drizzle in the oil. (You want to do this slowly so you don't loose the air that you've mixed in.) Mix in the red food coloring, vanilla and lemon juice.
  • With the mixer on low, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix to combine. Add another ⅓ of the dry ingredients and continue to mix. Add ½ of the milk followed by the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Add the remaining milk and stir until totally combined. (You want to add the dry ingredients alternately with liquid ingredients so the flour absorbs into the batter.)
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
  • If using 8-inch round pans, let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Then turn out the cakes onto a wire rack to continue cooling. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting:

  • Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • Beat on low then switch to high for about three minutes or until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then mix for another 30 seconds or so.
  • Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Slice, serve, enjoy!
  • Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Cocoa powder: It’s best to use natural cocoa powder like Guittard or Ghiradelli for red velvet cake. The lighter brown color results in a more vibrant red cake, and the higher acidity reacts with the baking powder to create a more tender crumb.
  • Red Food Coloring: If you want an intensely red cake, you’ll want to use red gel food coloring, rather than natural or liquid food coloring. I use Americolor “red red” or “super red”) You can also 1 oz liquid red food coloring, but I prefer gel linked above.
MAKE IT A SHEET CAKE: You can easily make this cake in a 9×13 pan. You may need to add a few minutes to the bake time. 
MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Use dairy-free sour cream (I like Kite Hill) and almond milk to make this dairy-free. 

Nutrition

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 281mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 90g | Vitamin A: 152IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 1mg

Categories: , , ,

Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

    1. Yes it should still work fine! You might want to reduce the baking time by 5 minutes and the cake will be thinner. No problem though!

  1. I made this today for my boyfriend and I since I was craving red velvet cake and he has celiac disease so he can’t eat gluten….he was VERY impressed and happy he was able to share it with me! Super yummy!

  2. Hello, I made this cake for my nephew’s girlfriend. I admit that I was a skeptic about “Red Velvet Cake” (“it’s just food coloring”). I was wrong. It’s delicious and “not dry” (I don’t like the “m” word). I wanted a larger cake so I did it with 1 1/2 times the ingredients. I used 5 eggs, because how would I have 4 1/2. It worked perfectly with my 10″ cake pans. I will totally make this again. Thank you!!

  3. 5 stars
    I am making this cake for my daughter’s wedding cake, the top layer. I need three 6″ layers. Will this recipe work for that, amount wise? I already made this recipe into cupcakes for her shower and they were delicious. I’m just hoping I can make this same recipe and just bake it in three 6″ round pans. Thoughts?

    Thanks so much!!

    1. I’m so honored you’re making this cake for your daughter’s wedding! Yes this usually makes 2 8-inch layers so 3 6-inch layers will be slightly thinner – but will work great!

  4. Made the recipe just as written, even used the same GF flour mentioned. Then I made them into cupcakes. Seriously dynamite recipe. Tasted just like the gluten version of red velvet. Well done on this one. I’ll be making it again and again!

    1. I’m so glad the cupcakes turned out for you! Great to know it worked well as cupcakes. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hello Erin,
    Your recipe looks absolutely divine!
    I realized the size of the pans from your post. Can this recipe use two 10-inch cake pans? If so, how much longer could it be held in the oven and regarding the temperature is the same..Do I need to double the recipe for the 10-inch pans? Important to know about a wedding cake.
    Merçi,
    Linda

    1. I would add 5-10 minutes to the bake time. You can test the center of the cake with a toothpick to make sure it’s cooked through!

  6. 5 stars
    Hello,
    I’m once again making this Red Velvet cake! I’m not much of a baker and it turned out so well. Thanks so much for such a great recipe.

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