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 65 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!

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Comments

  1. Hi Erin,
    Love your recipes! For this vanilla cake recipe, can yogurt substitute for the sour crea m?
    Thank you!
    Best,

  2. Hi just wondering how well this would freeze if I was ti make a couple of weeks out from when needed?

    1. I think that should work! I would let the cake layers cool completely then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Let the cake thaw at room temperature (not in the fridge) when you’re ready to use it. I hope this helps!

  3. 5 stars
    Loved it!!! Question, May I store the finished cake in a plastic container and inside fridge? Will it loose it’s soft moist bread? I am afraid to leave it outside since the frosting has cream in it.

    1. I usually leave it out at room temperature! I think it keeps better this way. I always refrigerate cakes with cream cheese frosting – but I find the cream in the frosting is fine at room temperature for a few days!

  4. If I make it as a 9×13 sheet cake, how thick is it when baked? Will I be able to split the cake to put frosting in-between the two “layers” or do I need to make two 9×13 layers to stack? Also, you recommend a glass 9×13 pan. Can I use a dark metal one? Is baking time the same for the 9×13 as for the 8″ rounds?

    Thanks!

    1. I would recommend using a light metal pan instead of a dark metal pan. You should be able to split a 9×13 into layers to stack it! The bake time should be about the same but be sure to check the center with a toothpick to ensure it’s cooked through. I hope this helps!

  5. Hi Erin,
    I’m going to use this recipe to make a wedding cake. Can I double or triple the recipe?

    1. Yes you can! It depends what size pans you’re wanting to use. You’ll just need to add time to the baking time for bigger pans and subtract for smaller pans. Let me know if you have any more specific questions!

  6. After icing, does this cake need to be stored in the refrigerator or on the counter? And how long after iced is it good for? The cake taste so good!
    Thank you!

    1. Yay I’m so glad you like the cake! I usually leave it out at room temperature. The cake doesn’t stay as moist when it’s refrigerated. It will keep for up to 3 days!

  7. 5 stars
    I love this cake but I am curious on the sugar it says 1 3/4 cup or 380 g my understanding is 1 3/4 cups of sugar is 350 g??

    1. This can vary based on the brand of sugar you use and how you measure it. If you’re making this recipe by weight use the 380 grams 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Outstanding Gluten Free Cake! Everyone loves it. Can it be made into a 9 or 10 cake without effecting the cake quality?

  9. Hi Erin. I had asked earlier on how I could make this a chocolate batter without changing the texture of the cake. This cake was spectacular!! My 70 year old uncle said it was the best cake he has ever had. My grandson is requesting chocolate cupcakes for his birthday and I would like to use this recipe. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you liked the cake! Yes! You can easily use 1 3/4 cups flour and 1/2 cup cocoa powder and keep the rest of the recipe the same to make this a chocolate cake. I hope this helps! Enjoy 🙂

  10. Can this cake be made not gluten free? I am making a wedding cake for a gluten intolerant bride , but only the small top cake will be gluten free. The other 3 tiers have to be “regular” cakes. This recipe tastes delicious, so I was wondering if it will taste the same as the gf one.

    1. I’m so glad you like the recipe! I’m not sure if this would turn out with regular flour. I haven’t baked with regular flour in years and it has different properties. Sorry about that!

  11. Hi! Going to try this recipe this weekend:) Quick question, does the lemon juice make it taste like a lemon cake? I plan on using chocolate frosting and don’t think it will go well if there is any lemon flavor in the cake. TIA!

    1. Great question! No the lemon juice doesn’t make the cake taste like lemon cake. You can’t even tell it’s in there!

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you! I made this for my birthday this past weekend and it was excellent! It surpassed the reviews on the regular, wheat-based cake I made alongside it–hurrah! Thanks so much. This will be one of our family’s new staple cakes!

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