The BEST gluten-free vanilla cake you’ll ever make! This cake is fluffy and has a pillowy-soft crumb. Topped with a creamy vanilla buttercream, it’s worthy of any celebration.

I tested this recipe dozens of times to get it just right! The secret to delicious gluten-free cake is skipping the butter and using a combination of sour cream and oil instead. Whipping the batter also makes a light and fluffy cake!

This post has all the details and tricks you need to make a delicious gluten-free vanilla cake every time.

slice of gluten free vanilla cake on white plate

I’ve had this gluten-free vanilla cake recipe in the works for a few years now and I’m excited to finally be sharing it!

Like this gluten-free chocolate cake and this gluten-free carrot cake, I tested dozens of variations to get this recipe just right. It truly has the most amazing crumb of any gluten-free cake I’ve ever made!

Jump to:

Why this Gluten-Free Cake Recipe is the BEST!

  • Soft and pillowy crumb
  • Made with easy-to-find gluten-free ingredients
  • Bakes up in under an hour
  • Makes a stable and reliable cake
  • Can be made as a layer cake or a 9×13 sheet cake
  • Perfect for any special occasion!

VIDEO: How to Make Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Ingredients You’ll Need

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. This give the cake that wedding cake consistency!

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

You also might like this full collection of gluten-free cake recipes.

overhead shot of ingredients to make the vanilla cake

Here are a few more notes on the key ingredients. If you have any additional questions feel free to leave me a comment below!

  • Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour: This gluten-free cake turns 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.
  • Sour Cream/Oil: Adds richness and tenderness to the cake without weighing down the crumb.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice helps to tenderize the crumb. It’s the secret ingredient in my gluten-free pumpkin bread as well.
  • Baking Powder: I use a good amount in this recipe for the perfect rise.
  • Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best results and that real vanilla flavor.

NOTE: I use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour for this cake. I use King Arthur Flour for many of my recipes but I really like the consistency I get from the Bob’s flour for this recipe!

How to Make Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

step by step photos of how to mix together the gluten free cake batter
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl, 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. This will create a light gluten-free cake!)
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
step by step photos of how to make add the dry ingredients to the cake batter
  • With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
  • Add the sour cream to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and continue to mix.
  • Add 1/2 of the milk followed by the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
  • Add the remaining milk and stir until totally combined on medium speed.

Note: Adding the dry ingredients alternately with liquid ingredients ensures the flour absorbs into the batter. This prevents dry, grainy gluten-free vanilla cake.

cake cooling on black cooling racks

Once your batter is ready, pour it into your pan of choice and bake. I recommend making two 8-inch round cakes or one 9×13-inch cake with this gluten-free recipe.

These are my favorite 8-inch round cake pans. They are great quality for the price! For a 9×13-inch gluten-free cake I recommend this glass pan. Bake and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

vanilla buttercream frosting in bowl after being whipped together

Gluten-Free Cake + Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Once the gluten-free cake layers are cooled on a wire rack, you can make the frosting. I’ve included my favorite recipe for vanilla buttercream frosting in the recipe card.

The combination of the soft, tender crumb of the gluten-free vanilla cake and the whipped vanilla buttercream frosting is simply dreamy!

The main tricks to amazing vanilla buttercream are to whip the frosting throughly and add a pinch of salt to even out the sweetness of the powdered sugar. I add a pinch of salt to any frosting I make now!

frosted gluten free cake with vanilla icing on gray plate

Gluten-Free Cake FAQ

How do you make a gluten free cake more moist?

The trick to making moist gluten-free cake is to use a combination of sour cream and oil for richness. Sour cream and oil work better than butter as butterfat causes gluten-free flour to clump up and make a denser crumb.

Which gluten free flour is best for cakes?

Gluten-free cake turns out best when you use a high-quality 1:1 gluten-free baking flour. Look for a blend that contains xanthan gum so the cake has the structure it needs.

How long can I store gluten-free cake?

This gluten-free vanilla cake will stay moist and soft for up to 2 days. To store simply cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature. This cake keeps much longer than other gluten-free cakes, which is another reason I love this recipe!

slice of gluten free cake on white plate with fork taking bite

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

I hope I’ve set you up for success to make the best gluten-free vanilla cake you’ve ever tried! If you try this recipe, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. It helps me and others so much! Happy Baking!

slice of gluten free vanilla cake on white plate
5 from 74 votes

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Recipe

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 12 people
The BEST gluten-free vanilla cake you’ll ever make! This cake is fluffy and has a pillowy-soft crumb. Topped with a creamy vanilla buttercream, it’s worthy of any celebration.
I tested this recipe dozens of times to get it just right! The secret to delicious gluten-free cake is skipping the butter and using a combination of sour cream and oil instead. Whipping the batter also makes a light and fluffy cake!

Video

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour 350 grams (I like the brand Bob's Red Mill for this cake but King Arthur Flour will also work)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar 380 grams
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 100 grams
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 120 grams (regular or light)
  • 1 cup milk 250 grams (I use 2%)

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk more as needed to adjust frosting consistency
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

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, 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 vanilla and lemon juice.
  • With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix to combine. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and continue to mix. Add 1/2 of the milk followed by the last 1/3 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 golden and 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:

  • In a stand mixer (or large bowl to use with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. (I recommend adding 1/8 teaspoon.)
  • If the frosting looks too thick add a little more cream/milk. If the frosting looks too thin add more powdered sugar to get a spreadable consistency.
  • Frost the cake as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour: This gluten-free cake turns out best when you use a high-quality 1:1 gluten-free baking flour. Look for a blend that contains xanthan gum so the cake has the structure it needs. This is my favorite brand for this recipe.
Storage: This gluten-free cake will stay moist and soft for up to 2 days. To store simply cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature. (This cake keeps much longer than other gluten-free cakes, which is another reason I love this recipe!)
Recommended Baking Pans: These are my favorite 8-inch round cake pans. They are great quality for the price! For a 9×13-inch cake I recommend this glass pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 362mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 70g | Vitamin A: 597IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 107mg | 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!

You may also like

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this for my 70 year old uncle for his birthday. He said it was the best cake he has ever had. I agree! A wonderful recipe. I’d like to use this recipe to make chocolate cupcakes for my grandson. Can you advise on what I would need to do to make it chocolate without changing the texture? And how long would I bake if making cupcakes? Thank you!
    Dottie

  2. 5 stars
    I have a small home based baking business and for years I have avoided gluten free recipes because I couldn’t find any recipes that tasted good and had a good texture. I made this cake yesterday and I was truly amazed at how well it tasted and how lovely the texture was. I used the Red Mill as recommended and it turned out wonderful

    1. I’m so honored you like the recipe! Glad it turned out for you 🙂 Thanks for the comment and happy baking!

  3. Hi I am just wondering if it would be ok to use self raising gluten free flour? Or normal gluten free plain flour ? I can only get Sr or plain GF flour at the supermarket 🙂 Thank you

    1. I would use plain gluten-free flour! Make sure it has xanthan gum – but if it doesn’t I would add 3/4 teaspoon.

  4. 5 stars
    This is the BEST cake I’ve ever eaten. The flavors and texture are top notch.
    I made it on Christmas Eve & again on New Years Eve! So good!

  5. I’m so excited to hear about your trick of replacing butter with sour cream and oil!! Is this just got cakes or other GF baked goods as well? Do you have a general rule of thumb for how much sour cream and oil you use for GF recipes that call for butter? Thanks for your wonderful website!! I’m on a quest to “master” GF baking and your ideas and recipes have been SOOO helpful!!!

  6. Could I add orange extract, orange zest and cranberries? I know it’s basically just turning the whole recipe around, but I need to find a good gluten free winter cake. Thanks!

    -Renata

  7. Hello! This recipe looks really great! I am wondering if there is a way to make this a white chocolate cake without loosing the integrity of the rise and crumb? I feel like often gluten-free cakes are dense because they don’t rise well – this one looks perfect though!

    1. I need to experiment before I can say for sure! I suspect using 3 egg whites instead of the whole eggs would work great. Let me know if you try it!

  8. 5 stars
    I used this recipe to make my daughter’s 3 tier wedding cake with great success! Thank you for the information on gluten free baking as well as the recipe. It was delicious and my first attempt at gluten free baking. Knowing the reasons for the difference in the method are just important to me in addition to a tried and true recipe!

  9. Erin – You have the best GF recipes. I”m searching for a gluten-free red or blue velvet cake. Can I use the recipe as the base substituting buttermilk for the milk and adding in 2 Tablespoons of natural cocoa powder?

  10. 5 stars
    Really is the very best gluten free vanilla cake. Perfect texture and flavour. Leftover slices also freezed really well, perfect for lunchboxes. Thank you!

  11. This cake recipe is lovely I used Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream worked great and monkfruit instead of sugar so yummy! I found that the middle was dense compared to the fluffy outer ring of the cake could this be the yoghurt? Also I used Almond milk. All flavours combined beautifully.

    1. I’m glad the cake worked out with those substitutes! Using monkfruit can cause the cake to sink in the middle since sugar provides some structure to the cake. Glad it turned out otherwise though!

  12. 5 stars
    This is a great cake recipe! I used this one for my wedding cake. It was perfect texture and I received many compliments!

  13. We do not have access to no dairy sour cream, for a dairy free option could I use oat Yogurt and almond milk?

    1. You could try unsweetened almond milk yogurt. I haven’t tried it with this so I can’t say for sure! Let me know if you try it 🙂

  14. Will this work for cupcakes? My son has celiac, so hoping to do cupcakes for his birthday rather than a full cake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating