This Easy Vanilla Vegan Gluten Free Cake is made in 1 bowl and requires only 8 ingredients. It’s fluffy, moist, tender and bursting with vanilla flavor. Plus there is no added oil to the cake itself!

Close up of a slice of vanilla cake being removed from the cake

After creating the most perfect vegan vanilla cake, I wanted to help my gluten-free friends by baking a version they could enjoy. Of course, it works quite well to simply replace the all purpose flour in the original recipe with a quality gluten free flour mix, but this cake recipe was created from the start to be gluten free. 

You’ll want to dig into slice after slice of this fluffy, tender, and moist cake. You can’t even tell that it’s gluten-free or vegan! I’ve had plenty of dry gluten free vegan cakes, so I wanted to avoid that outcome at all costs.

All you need to make this cake is 1 bowl and 8 ingredients. Even without any oil, dairy, or gluten, this dessert is exceptionally delicious! It’s beautifully decorated with my simple vanilla frosting and sprinkles, or use my chocolate frosting if you’d prefer! I’ve included a very simple vanilla icing recipe as well.

The magic of almond flour

Aside from being 100% gluten and dairy-free, this cake is also oil-free! Most cake recipes contain vegan butter or oil to enhance moisture. Instead, this recipe calls for almond flour.

The ground almonds are loaded with natural fats and oils, creating desserts that are rich, moist, and full of healthy fats. Unfortunately, there is not a good substitute for it in this particular recipe. Without it, the cake will taste gummy, low fat and dry.

Make sure to use almond flour (blanched is preferred, fine texture) and not almond meal in this gluten-free cake recipe. Almond meal will completely change the texture.

Close up of a slice of white cake with sprinkles on top on a white plate

Ingredients Needed

  • Almond flour – Provides fat and richness in oil-free cakes. Without it, the cake will taste gummy and fat-free. There is no substitute for it here.
  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour – This will stabilize the cake and help it keep a consistent texture. You can replace this with all purpose flour when you don’t need the cake to be gluten free.
  • Sugar – Use coconut sugar if you prefer.
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Almond milk – Use any plant-based milk you prefer.
  • Apple cider vinegar – To help the cake rise and bake evenly.
  • Vanilla – In addition to vanilla extract, you can scrape out the inside of a vanilla bean to add natural flavor and beautiful black specks throughout the cake.
Fork taking a bite out of a big slice of white cake on a plate

How to make Vegan Gluten Free Cake

Preheat the oven and prepare the pans: Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Cut out 2 round pieces of parchment paper and place them on the bottom of the pans for easy removal.

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  2. Next, pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir well but do not over mix. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re done, remove the cake from the pans and let them cool completely. 

How to decorate the cake

My 4-ingredient simple vanilla frosting is probably the best tasting option for the cake! It’s rich, buttery and smooth. One batch will cover the entire cake and satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Or you can make the simple vanilla icing I’ve included in the recipe. It only has 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, and if you really needed to you could leave it out. For the simple icing, you can mix all of the ingredients in just one bowl. If the frosting is too runny, stir in more powdered sugar, and if it’s too thick, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until you reach the desired consistency. 

Check out my Cashew Vanilla Frosting if you’re looking for a low sugar and oil free frosting.

This is an easy cake icing that can be made in just 5 minutes. Therefore, it’s perfect when you’re in a rush or just need something simple! You can always create an extra fun design with colorful sprinkles, shredded coconut, or crushed Oreo cookies.

Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

Of course! Make the cake batter using the same instructions. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

You should end up with 18 to 24 cupcakes using this recipe. To decorate, swirl the vanilla frosting on top using a piping bag or simply spread it on with a butter knife.

Close up of a slice of white cake with a fork taking a bite

How to store

The cakes can be baked well ahead of time and are even freezer-friendly! Wrap them in plastic and either freeze for up to 3 months, refrigerate for 5 days, or keep them at room temperature for 2 days.

Make the frosting up to 1 to 2 weeks ahead of time and store it in a sealed container in the fridge. It will firm up as it sits in the fridge, so let it sit on the kitchen counter for around 30 minutes before frosting the cake.

Leftovers are best stored covered in the refrigerator. Leftover cake should stay fresh and moist for around 3 days.

Want more vegan cakes?

Close up of a slice of vanilla cake with sprinkles on top being removed
4.75 stars (56 ratings)

Easy Vanilla Vegan Gluten Free Cake

My Easy Vanilla Vegan Gluten Free Cake is made in 1 bowl and requires only 8 ingredients. It’s fluffy, moist, tender and bursting with vanilla flavor. Plus there is no added oil to the cake itself!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

Vegan Gluten Free Cake

Simple Vanilla Icing

  • 2 tablespoons softened vegan butter OR omit and use more almond milk for oil free
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • sprinkles, optional for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat to 350 degrees F and lightly grease 2 8-inch round pans. I also put a round parchment paper piece in the bottom for easy removal.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the almond flour, gluten free flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then add the almond milk, vinegar and vanilla. Stir well but do not over mix. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
  • Make the icing: Place the softened vegan butter, powdered sugar, almond milk and vanilla in a bowl and mix on low, then high until creamy and smooth. Add more milk or powdered sugar as needed to make a spreadable frosting.
  • Frost the cake as desired and top with optional sprinkles. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. For the frosting, you may also use vegan shortening instead of vegan butter. Or leave it out completely if needed but you will need to add a bit more milk.
  2. May also bake the cake in a 9×13 inch pan, but it will take longer to bake, about 40-45 minutes. Check the middle with a toothpick to make sure it’s cooked through.
  3. I used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour mix which worked great. Bob’s Red Mill also works. Almond flour is essential here since there is no added oil, so don’t try replacing it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. I made this cake for my sister’s birthday 40th birthday party. However, I made a raspberry filling and Whipped vegan chocolate ganache for frosting, and added about a half teaspoon (maybe more I didn’t really measure) of almond extract. It was a HUGE hit!!! It disappeared really fast! I love the addition of the almond flour. This cake has such great consistency and you can’t even tell that it was GF or vegan. This is my go-to recipe for vanilla cake moving forward.

    1. How awesome the cake was a hit! I’m thrilled it’s your new go to vanilla cake recipe! Thanks for your stellar feedback and review!

  2. Doubled this recipe to make a 4 layer (8″ round) cake for our daycare administrator who eats gluten and egg free. I did a strawberry filling in between the layers and vanilla frosting on the outside. Everyone loved it! Definitely will keep for future use( I own a cottage baking business).

  3. Looks a great recipe and I’m looking forward to making it tomorrow. I’ll be using the cashew frosting as I want it low sugar. Can you suggest a low sugar vegan filling for sandwiching the cakes? Would a fairly thin marzipan work? Or could I use a thicker version of the cashew frosting?

    1. I’m not really a low sugar expert when it comes to frosting, so I’m not totally sure, sorry! Maybe a thicker cashew frosting, or sliced fruit and the cashew frosting? Or try googling ‘low sugar vegan frosting’ and see if you can find something else.

    1. Yes, they’re delicious! You can find directions on how to use this recipe to make cupcakes in the blog post above. Happy baking!

  4. Hi Nora
    I found your site during covid quarantine, where i was cooking and baking alot.
    Your easy vanilla vegan gluten free cake recipe is the best for my cupcakes and cakes..
    My family and friends love the flavor and texture. And they’re so surprised when I tell them it’s vegan and gluten free too!
    Thank you for sharing with us..

    1. You are welcome, Lucia! Thank you for sharing your most wonderful comments and review! I am thrilled you are loving my recipes! I appreciate you, and wish you happy cooking!

  5. First of all this is fantastic! Such a big hit and this is my first time baking VGF!
    I used KAF One to one measure and it sunk quite a bit in the middle. I filled layer with blueberry puree which was fantastic and the icing was great!
    There is some difference with King Arthur GF all purpose and the 1:1 flour. The 1:1 has xanthum gum and some vitamin additives. I’m going to try again using the GF all purpose and report back!

    1. Hi Cathy. I’m thrilled you loved the cake! Thanks for sharing your fantastic review and baking experience! I look forward to your results!

          1. I’ve made this cake for someone’s anniversary. I am told its the best cake they’ve tasted. Usually the free of everything cake is dry. But they said it wasn’t. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  6. Amazing, simple recipe once again!
    I made this as a taste test….. I did a batch of this cake, and a batch of your regular vanilla cake subbed with gluten free flour. I have a friend who recently went gluten free so I’m trying my hand at gluten-free baking and seeing what works.

    This recipe not only had better texture, but was a lot simpler too….. just one bowl! My friends said they couldn’t tell it was gluten free. On the other hand, your regular vanilla cake modified with GF flour came out tasting good, but definitely had a more dense/gummy texture. It still passed for cake and was yummy, but I’d make this one again if I had the choice!

    Thanks for making recipes that everyone can enjoy!

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend replacing the gluten free flour with anything else, like more almond flour or coconut flour. It’s a must for the structure of the cake.

  7. This was very yummy. Don’t expect a fluffy came and it’s perfect!
    It’s so simple that my child made it with some supervision just for measurements. It’s also in one bowl so that’s my favorite kind of recipe. This time we didn’t do the frosting, it was just fine without it but would make it fancier if someone wanted a birthday cake or something.
    For the gluten free fours I didn’t have enough so we used about a cup of a gluten free mix (has tapioca, pea powder, things like that) and some gluten free pay flour I had in the freezer, then we wizzed up some quinoa in a blender to come up with the rest of the amount.
    Also for the sugar we put demrara. Next time I would even try putting a little less to see how it comes out.

  8. The picture looks like a fluffy cake. I followed the recipe to a T and mine seems mushy instead, not cake like?

    1. It should be pretty fluffy, but the texture is different than a regular cake. It’s more dense I’d say. But it should not be mushy. What flour did you use?

      1. In one night I tested 4 recipes. First two went in bin as they came out soggy 3rd was little better, but bit brown in appearance. Your’s was great. It has great flavour. Best part was no oil. Also want to tell you I used almond meal (did not read your notes before 😀 but not sure what difference it would have made?). My question is even though it is soft and moist, it will be different to the appearance to the cakes with egg and normal plain flour? Right?

        1. Yes, that is correct. It has a different texture than a normal cake with flour, oil, etc. Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. I made this tonight for my husband’s birthday, and it was delicious! We haven’t had much success with gluten free stuff, so we were all excited to find this recipe. It’s excellent. Thank you Nora! Your recipes are my favorite.

        1. You are welcome, Sarah! I’m glad you are loving the cake, and that is gets to be a part of all your family birthdays! Thanks for sharing your terrific feedback!

  10. Made this cake for my moms birthday and was so good! Everybody loved it!

    The middles collapsed after they finished in the oven, is that normal?

    1. Hi Sarah, I’m so glad everyone loved the cake! Some sinking is normal, but it would be minimal if the ingredients were measured accurately and the cake was baked long enough. Underdone cakes tend to cave in more. Hope this helps!

    1. I’m glad the cake turned out moist and delicious for you! Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback and baking experience!

  11. I’ve made gluten free, vegan cakes before. They always turn out ‘heavy’. Will this recipe reveal a ‘light’ cake?

    1. This one is a bit more heavy than most cakes. It might be better to try my vegan gluten free chocolate cake, which is light and perfect. Or my vegan vanilla cake and substitute a quality gluten free flour like Better Batter.

    2. This cake was very gummy in texture. Baked at the 350 degrees. Cupcakes the same. Followed directions.
      Not a good texture.
      Eating it is like gum!
      I’ve been baking gf/vegan for awhile. Thought I’d try something new. Almond flour just isn’t for a fluffy cake texture.

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