Vanilla Cake- Gluten Free, Dairy Free

by Living Freely Gluten Free

One of the first baked good recipes that I created is this gluten free and dairy free Vanilla Cake. It is the perfect gluten free birthday cake recipe!

When it comes to vanilla cake, I don’t know where to start. Ugh. Since going gluten and dairy free I had not enjoyed vanilla cake. After trial and error of soooo many recipes I had found, and none of them working out. Then I was wasting money on every box brand I could find I could find at the store. As a result of this frustration I knew I needed to take matters into my own hands.  

This Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Cake is going to rock your world! 

First of all, nothing is more disappointing than all of your hard work and you end up with a brick. Chocolate never did me dirty, vanilla was a dirty creep.

Finally, I was tired of having to settle more less than decent cake.

Due to my frustration I decided to make the damn thing myself and I used the methods of how I used to make a regular glutenous cake. After I tweaked the ingredients and played around with it a bit to make it gluten and dairy free, voila! The worlds best tasting gluten free and dairy free Vanilla Cake!




Finally , I had a delicious cake with perfect texture! Could it be, cake that tastes like cake? The most noteworthy part of this recipe is how well it holds up and how comparable the texture is to a regular cake. Therefore, I literally have friends and family that request this for their birthdays when they could easily get a normal cake at a bakery.

As a result of this cakes popularity, this recipe is tried and true a million times over. It has been used as the base for anything that calls for vanilla cake, especially during the holidays. It is truly the perfect gluten free birthday cake recipe.

Note: It is also important to remember that your All Purpose Flour mix is a huge part of this process, since My AP Mix makes fluffy cakes and baked goods I would highly recommend using it. I have bought some pre-made mixes from the store that caused major recipe fails, so please keep that in mind.




My first thought was that I had gotten over my head, could I really pull this off? Gluten free and dairy free Vanilla Cake seemed like a tall order, but let me tell you- I nailed it!


My very picky Husband and Son whom are both partial to chocolate only love and request this cake often.

This cake literally melted in my mouth. The fluffy sweetness as it touched my tongue and began to melt, made my senses dance.

Even my non gluten free friends and family want this gluten free birthday cake every year!


Gluten Free Birthday Cake

How do I make gluten free cake moist an fluffy?

Please follow the recipe. It’s also very important to whip it up really well, therefore a stand mixer is the best way to do this. Sure, you could do things by hand, but your results might not be the same. 

Make sure to top it with the best ever Buttercream Frosting

4.07 from 32 votes

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Cake

This perfect Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Cake will melt in your mouth. It is so good that no one will know that it is gluten and dairy free. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free cake, gluten free vanilla cake
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 people
Calories 289 kcal


  • 2 ½ Cup GF All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Water Boiled
  • 1 Cup Dairy Free Milk
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • Cup Dairy Free Butter
  • 2 TBSP. Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBSP. Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¼ tsp. Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Boil the water in the sauce pan with ½ cup of sugar for 3 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3. In your stand mixer blend the other ½ cup of sugar with the butter and melted coconut oil.
  4. Add the milk and the cooled water and sugar mixture. (The mixer should be going the entire time)
  5. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and gluten free all-purpose flour.
  6. Beat on medium for about 5 minutes until your batter is almost a pudding like consistency.
  7. Pour into your greased pans. I use coconut oil to grease the pan.
  8. Cupcakes cook 16-20 minutes. 6 inch rounds cook about 27-30 minutes and 8 inch rounds cook 30-35 minutes. Watch after 20 minutes in case your oven runs hot. Test with toothpick. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 289 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 32mg11%
Sodium 457mg20%
Potassium 111mg3%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Calcium 68mg7%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Click HERE for the Best Ever Buttercream recipe. It is vegan too!





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I you like this recipe then you will love my cookbook, because it contains this recipe plus over 100 more. 


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Susie Cutter January 27, 2018 - 4:38 pm

That cake is amazing. My cakes never look that pretty. hahaha And, I understand your frustration when it comes to finding cook stuff to eat for us Gluten Free People.

livingfreelygf January 27, 2018 - 6:50 pm

Thanks Susie! We love this cake too. I make it all the time!

Beth Bennett April 17, 2018 - 11:56 pm

Well, I think it’s weird that I can your replies, but not people’ comments! Of course, it wouldn’t have done me any good, since I made the batter before I thought to read them. Anyway, the batter looks excellent and tastes nice. The cupcakes are in the oven, and I guess I can post again in about 12 minutes.
Thanks for the recipe!

livingfreelygf April 18, 2018 - 3:43 pm

Are comments not showing up? It could be that this recipe is one of my first, and since created it I have changed hosts and platforms. Anyways, please always reach out to me with questions. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram and I check my messages frequently.

Beth Bennett April 18, 2018 - 12:32 am

5 stars
Well, the cupcakes are out of the oven, and they are 22 absolutely beautiful, cupcakes. They all have perfectly domed tops, which is what I like when I make cupcakes! They tested done by touch, and then with a small, sharp knife (couldn’t fine my toothpick holder) at exactly 20 minutes. The second pan I put in 3 1/2 minutes after the 1st pan, but they all tested done at the same time. However, after cutting open and eating one from the 2nd pan, they should have stayed in that extra few minutes. Still amazing, but the tiniest bit not so perfect. A tiny bit too moist, which in GF baking can translate to gumminess. My fault entirely.

There are two things I would do next time: increase the salt, which would intensify the flavor, and use a better vanilla than I used. I don’t care for this vanilla I bought, which is too floral for me. A really good vanilla would really shine in this recipe! Oh, and I used Parrot brand coconut milk, which I got at Sam’s Club, and for the flour, I used Mama’s Almond Blend all purpose flour. For cakes, I think it is the best. If you can have almond.

NO ONE is going to know that these cupcakes are gluten free. They are substantial, yet fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth all at the same time. For my granddaughters birthdays, I have been trying recipes that are called, “The best GF DF cake in the entire universe!” blah, blah, blah. I have to admit, some of them have been good, but I really do think this is the best one. Delicious!
Now I am going to subscribe to your website! Thanks so much.
Beth Bennett

livingfreelygf April 18, 2018 - 3:41 pm

Hi Beth,

Nothing makes me happier than waking up to comments like this! I am so glad that you are happy with the cupcakes. I will try the salt and I am also going to attempt this recipe with my grain free all purpose flour blend recipe that is almond and coconut flour based. I want to give these a try with a scraped vanilla bean one of these days. I bet that would really intensify the flavor. Thank you for trusting me and giving my recipe a try. I hope you will try some more soon. Have a wonderful day.

Hunter Melissa August 15, 2019 - 12:02 pm

Help! I made these cupcakes last night in preparation for making my daughters engagement cake. They came out great except for a bad after taste and some flavor I can’t describe that is not good. What could I have done wrong. Again, they are so nice and fluffy.

Help! Missy

livingfreelygf August 15, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Hi Missy,
What flour did you use and what dairy free butter? I have noticed a flavor change depending on the butter I use. Some all purpose flours have beans, or other grains that can have strong flavors. You can also try scraping a vanilla bean in the batter for some extra flavor.

livingfreelygf August 15, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Also, did you frost them before trying them or just eat them plain?

Danielle October 26, 2019 - 8:43 pm

What is your suggestion for storing or cooling the cake overnight in preparation of frosting them? By the way they are in the oven and smelling heavenly!

livingfreelygf October 26, 2019 - 11:55 pm

Yay! Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. 🙂

Chris April 30, 2018 - 3:01 am

This cake looks delish! I will definitely try it out but I was just wondering what you use for your AP gluten-free flour mix? Your own mixture or a prepackaged brand?

livingfreelygf April 30, 2018 - 3:59 pm

Hi Chris,
I use my own blend. It is simple and inexpensive.

Angi Korte August 3, 2018 - 7:12 am

How do you think this would do as a tiered wedding cake? After reading the reviews for several recipes, yours appears to be the winner!

livingfreelygf August 3, 2018 - 2:02 pm

Hi Angi,

I have had professional bakers use this for birthday’s and weddings. If you use it for a tiered wedding cake would you please send me pictures that I can share? How exciting!

Angi Korte August 5, 2018 - 3:47 am

5 stars
I used this recipe for a tierbof a wedding cake. Easy recipe for a beginner gluten and dairy free baker. The cake turned out great! The frosting tasted amazing. I did have a little bit of a problem with the frosting sliding down, but I expected that as I had to transport an hour in 95 degree heat. I took extra frosting with me and touched it up which was easy since it doesn’t form a crust. I will definitely keep this recipe on hand as I am getting more and more “special diet” requests. Thank you so much!

livingfreelygf August 5, 2018 - 3:27 pm

Thank you Angi! I am so happy that it turned out great. 🙂

Angi Korte August 6, 2018 - 12:03 am

5 stars
I posted a picture on your pin. ☺

anthony rainsford August 15, 2018 - 8:45 am

Hi, I have two questons can this be made without eggs? and can it be baked in a 9*13 pan?


livingfreelygf August 15, 2018 - 1:54 pm


You can make this with egg replacer, but your outcome could be slightly different. You can bake in any size pan, but you will likely need to adjust the cooking time.

Jill July 27, 2019 - 7:44 pm

If you use a GF flour blend that has the xantham gum in it can I omit it?

livingfreelygf July 29, 2019 - 10:10 pm

Yes, do not use more xanthan gum if it is in the flour.

Salika August 20, 2018 - 7:21 am

This recipe is a keeper! Have tried so many gluten free recipes, but nothing has worked, until I stumbled upon this. Made a lovely frozen themed 2 tier birthday cake. Thank you for this!

livingfreelygf August 20, 2018 - 2:10 pm

YAY! Thank you Salika! I am so glad you enjoyed it. We had a Frozen themed birthday for my 4 year old this year too! 🙂

Kim October 20, 2018 - 1:59 pm

I’m not dairy free, if I make this exact recipe but use regular butter and milk is that fine? Or would I need to adjust anything?

livingfreelygf October 21, 2018 - 2:32 am

You can use the exact same measurements of butter and milk. Thanks!

Brooke March 15, 2019 - 10:53 pm

Hi there! This recipe looks like the best gluten free dairy free option out there and I am so excited to make it for a family birthday with dairy free and gluten free family members! I was curious how long it can be made ahead and how to store it? Covered at room temperature… fridge? Or does it need to be eaten the same day? Thanks so much!

livingfreelygf March 17, 2019 - 3:51 pm

I like to make this the day before. I refrigerate it, but then take it out a few hours before serving. You can make it up to 2 days ahead.

Amanda October 23, 2018 - 8:02 pm

What dairy free butter do you use? It doesn’t appear that Earth’s Best has one any more. Can you just use spectrum organic shortening, or would Earth Balance Vegan Butter be better, or do you prefer something else? Thanks!

livingfreelygf October 23, 2018 - 8:41 pm

I would use the earth balance vegan butter, or any dairy free butter. Too much shortening will give it a strange flavor.

Amanda October 26, 2018 - 5:40 pm

Thanks! And then, what size pans are you using, and how many? 2 9″?

Jennifer Bigler October 26, 2018 - 6:06 pm

I use 2 8 inch rounds.

Sahirah March 24, 2019 - 5:46 pm

how many 6 inch rounds would this make?

livingfreelygf March 24, 2019 - 5:54 pm

It will make 2 6 inch rounds, but they will be thick enough to cut lengthwise and get 4 layers. That is what I used for the cake pictured.

Sahirah March 24, 2019 - 6:08 pm

Awesome!! Thank you 😊

livingfreelygf March 24, 2019 - 11:38 pm

You’re very welcome!

Andrea November 26, 2018 - 10:55 pm

Hello! This looks delish. I’m excited to try it for my daughter’s birthday party, where both gluten and dairy allergies abound. Can you tell me why salt is listed twice? Is it 1/2 tsp salt total? Thank you! 🙂

livingfreelygf November 27, 2018 - 2:57 pm

I am excited for you to try it too! Thank you for bringing that to my attention, please only add 1/4 tsp. of salt. I will correct it now. Enjoy and please share some pictures with me when your done!

Andrea November 30, 2018 - 5:10 pm

Perfect! Thank you for replying! They will be kitty cupcakes and I’ll share pictures! 🙂

Jenna Murphy January 11, 2019 - 4:41 pm

Do you omit the Xantham gum if your blend already contains it? Or is the extra boost needed?

livingfreelygf January 11, 2019 - 5:41 pm

If the blend already contains xanthan gum you do not need to add more. 🙂

Lisa January 12, 2019 - 3:24 am

I’m excited to try this recipe! What can i sub for the coconut oil? My friend is allergic.

livingfreelygf January 12, 2019 - 4:39 pm

You can vegetable oil or olive oil in place. 🙂

Christine January 15, 2019 - 5:20 am

Hi, im alittle confused i thought none dairy meant no eggs? I think i can substitute applesauce but do you by chance know how much?

livingfreelygf January 16, 2019 - 4:43 am

Hi Christine,
Eggs are not considered dairy. Dairy is just products that come from mammals. If you want to substitute the eggs in the recipe I would recommend using Bobs Red Mill Egg Replacer. I’m afraid applesauce could change the texture and density of the cake.

Kate August 6, 2019 - 1:32 am

What would be your suggestion for substituting the sugar? I can use honey or maple syrup but would you suggest increasing the flour and if so by how much? Thanks.

livingfreelygf August 6, 2019 - 1:33 pm

Hi Kate,
I have never experimented with a liquid sweetener. I have used coconut sugar, but it will darken the color of the cake. What I would suggest is using a 1/4 of additional flour and if you get a nice consistency around the thickness of pudding or a little thinner then you should be good. If it is still really thin then add another 1/4 cup. I would not add more than a half cup. Another thing you could try is less water, maybe use 1/2 cup less of the water. However, I have never done this I am just thinking of what I would try. Please keep me posted!

Sherry January 27, 2019 - 7:02 pm

5 stars
My 82 year old uncle and my son made this cake and it was delicious!! This recipe is a keeper and we’re getting ready to make it again for a 50th birthday party. Thank you for your diligence on tweaking your efforts. You nailed it!

livingfreelygf January 28, 2019 - 11:54 pm

Thank you Sherry! I am so glad you are all enjoying vanilla cake again. 🙂

Nicole Morin February 9, 2019 - 10:27 pm

This is my absolute favorite gf df cake recipe! That being said, I normally make it the day of… does it make a difference if I make night before and the cupcakes sit overnight? Should I refrigerate?

livingfreelygf February 11, 2019 - 3:45 pm

Hi Nicole! I am so happy tp hear that you love the recipe. You can absolutely make the night before and I like to keep them out when I make them the night before. If its any longer than one night, or if its really warm n your house then I would suggest refrigerating. Have a great day!

FAITH March 4, 2019 - 9:25 pm

Omg this looks amazing! I am so excited to come across your site. I am GF and DF. I am planing my DIY wedding. For weeks I have been stuck on ideas for my cake. I can’t wait to try your recipe. I have just two questions. How long can it stay refrigerated? ( i plan on making it a day or two before the ceremony.)
How long before the icing starts to “melt” after refrigeration.. ( Ceremony starts at 3pm. The cake cutting is at 6pm.)

livingfreelygf March 7, 2019 - 4:36 pm

Congratulations on your wedding! I am so excited for you. You can fridge this for about 2-3 days before it loses its flavor. If it is warm out the icing will melt fairly quick, but if the temperature is cool then you should be ok for those 3 hours. I recommend taking it out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve it. Please please share pictures with me!!! You can always email me with any questions too

Dannielle March 11, 2019 - 6:10 am

Hi! Did you end up trying this with the paleo blend? I was thinking of trying that route but I wanted to see if you or anyone had done it yet? I’m on a cleanse at the moment and can’t really taste test , but I have an order coming to id like to use this for! My last grain free Vanilla cake had aftertastes of the coconut flour in them, and that’s not what I was going for !

livingfreelygf March 11, 2019 - 4:43 pm

Hi Danielle,
I have not had the chance to make it with the paleo blend yet. I can tell you this blend definitely does not have a coconut after taste. Please let me know if you give it a try.

Tabitha March 12, 2019 - 4:34 pm

I’m not sure if I did something wrong, but would there be a reason as to why my batter is coming out runny?

livingfreelygf March 12, 2019 - 5:40 pm

Are there any ingredients that you subbed for other things? I have never had the batter come out runny. It is usually a pudding consistency. Did you still bake it?

Brooke March 17, 2019 - 9:40 pm

I had the opposite problem with my batter. Mine seems a bit too thick, almost like a soft cookie dough. I’m thinking I may have accidentally added too much flour blend! Whoops! Well I’ve got two six inch rounds in the oven, so we will see what happens! But I think the thickness of the batter isn’t allowing the cakes to “puff” up? Lol great recipe I think there’s just some user error in my instance 😜

livingfreelygf March 18, 2019 - 3:29 am

Please let me know how it turns out. It might be a bit dense.

Colleen March 23, 2019 - 6:33 am

What kind of dairy free milk is best to use?

livingfreelygf March 24, 2019 - 3:44 pm

I prefer coconut milk, but almond milk works great too.

Mo & kids July 4, 2019 - 4:57 pm

Have you ever used soda as a sub and to make it moist? If so what would you omit for the soda? I’m getting ready to try this for the first time according to your recipe but just wondered.

livingfreelygf July 5, 2019 - 6:41 pm

No I have never used soda. This recipe is already super moist, so I have never looked for other options. I do have a poke cake recipe that uses sparkling water, or soda but this is the base and its already baked before the soda is added.

Cecile July 13, 2019 - 11:25 pm

I want to try your cake for afriend’s wedding cake. I need a 12×12 square pan. Should I double the recipe? Have you tried this?

livingfreelygf July 15, 2019 - 3:10 am

I have cooked these in sheet pans and I would recommend doubling the recipe. You will also need to adjust the cook time.

Julie McPherson August 24, 2019 - 1:26 pm

This cake looks delicious and with our new-found allergies and dietary restrictions, I’m looking for a homemade gluten, dairy and chocolate free recipe for my son’s upcoming birthday in September. A couple of quick questions…I am Canadian, so brands may vary, but what do you use for dairy free milk and butter? I have almond milk varieties and I also make my own ghee (remove the dairy off the top of a brick of butter, when melted). Suggestions please. Thank you in advance!

livingfreelygf August 24, 2019 - 4:24 pm

Ghee should work great in this recipe! I like So Delicious Coconut milk, but almond milk will work great as well. If you decide to buy vegan butter my go-to is Earth Balance, and Mioko’s.

Kathy Nuttall September 1, 2019 - 1:31 am

When you use this so delicious coconut milk, is it unsweetened, sweetened, vanilla flavor, or unflavored?

livingfreelygf September 2, 2019 - 4:08 pm

I use the unsweetened original

Kathy September 11, 2019 - 4:26 pm

5 stars
I made these into cupcakes for a birthday party. I used your gluten-free all-purpose flour as well as so delicious coconut milk and earth Balance dairy free butter. The feedback from the party was that the cupcakes were eaten within minutes and the store-bought cake was not touched. Thank you for a great recipe that was moist and delicious and helped make the birthday party a great success! I double the recipe and probably got about 36 cupcakes. I also added food coloring gel to the cake mix and the frosting to make it rainbow colored.

livingfreelygf September 11, 2019 - 4:47 pm

Thank you Kathy! I am so happy that everyone got to enjoy gluten and dairy free cupcakes! Thank you for this review 🙂

Brittany November 7, 2019 - 3:32 pm

I’m going to be making this cake with your vegan icing for my daughter’s birthday. I’ll make it on Friday for her birthday on Saturday. Should I store it in the fridge or keep it at room temperature?

livingfreelygf November 8, 2019 - 4:53 pm

If you ice it then store it in the fridge. If it is just the cake you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store at room temp. Please share pictures! I am @livingfreelyglutenfree on Instagram. Happy birthday to your daughter.

Cameron Bellestri January 9, 2020 - 12:26 am

My All purpose flour blend has Xanthan Gum in it. Should I omit the extra the recipe calls for or keep it? Thanks!

livingfreelygf January 9, 2020 - 5:23 pm

Omit what the recipe calls for if you flour already has it. 🙂


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