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
4.69 stars (45 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 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
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. Hi, I made this recipe for my sons birthday, it was Amazing, everyone loved it. Even better 3 days later. For sure be keeping for future.
    Thank you!

  2. My mom and I made this for my birthday yesterday and it was fantastic!! I was cautiously optimistic. Vegan and gluten-free combined doesn’t always work well, but I knew if anyone could do it, it would be Nora! I haven’t tried anything from this website that I didn’t like. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Hi Jessica. Thank you for your wonderful review! I am so glad the cake turned out fantastic for you. Thank you for using my recipes!

  3. Hi
    Is it really 2 tablespoons of baking powder, it seems a lot. Do you mean teaspoon.?
    Camilla

    1. It’s actually correct, tablespoons not teaspoons. I know it sounds like a lot, but it helps to add more when you aren’t using eggs in a cake, and this is what I found worked here.

  4. Just to clarify, would you suggest using King Arthur’s Measure for Measure or All Purpose GF flour? I’m looking forward to making this for my my first birthday since finding out about a gluten sensitivity ? Also, thank you for making this oil-free!

    1. I haven’t tried anything else so it’s hard for me to say. I’m not sure how using rice flour will turn out, sorry!

  5. What a great recipe!! I was so scared since another blogger’s biscuit recipe failed for me this week. I would say the only thing I would change is a little less sugar for us. The sweetness was dead on if you aren’t using frosting. But definitely could be lessened with frosting. Absolutely moist and not gummy! Love having a non chocolate cake recipe!! Thank you so much!!!

    1. Hi Betsy. I’m glad the cake worked well for you! Thank you for taking your time to share your comments, and for using my recipe!

  6. I have made this cake 3 times now, the first one I under baked, it still tasted fab though so persevered. Made one for my mums birthday decorated with fresh raspberries was so good. Made a second one for my dad’s birthday and decorated it Bakewell style it was gorgeous. A note to anyone making it for the first time don’t overmix there will be lumps in the mixture. And I cooked the cake for an extra 10 minutes it’s worth it as its a lovely cake, about to make another one for me though its not my birthday.

  7. Yum! The flavor and texture were delicious! I didn’t try the icing, but the cupcake on its own was excellent!

  8. Hi Nora,
    I was wondering if I could use this recipe and colour the batter to make a coloured, layer cake? Pinata cake actually for our 4 year old boys who are obsessed with cakes and watching cake videos. We’re vegan, SIL is GF.
    Look forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂

    1. Hi Rebecca! It might work, but I’m not sure as I haven’t tried making more layers. It’s a little more dense than most cakes, that would be my only concern, but it might work. How fun!

  9. Help. I made the cake and the taste and texture is not appealing to me. It’s very moist and tastes more like uncooked batter or dough than cake. I madeit last night, hoping to give it to a friend who’s birthday is today. I am thinking about trying again with a different all purpose gluten free flour mixture and cooking it a bit longer. Your thoughts?

    1. Sorry to hear that, Mark. What flour did you use? It shouldn’t taste uncooked, so it sounds like maybe you did not cook it for long enough. I wonder what kind of gluten free flour you used? And did you use almond flour as well? This cake is a bit different tasting than most cakes, so if you are looking for a very traditional tasting but gluten free cake, I would make my Vegan Vanilla Cake and substitute gluten free flour mix for the regular flour. This particular recipe is healthier and contains no added oil, while the other one does but can be made gluten free. Hope that helps!

      1. I followed the recipe exactly. I used Kirkland blanched almond flour. For the first cake, I used Simple Truth all purpose gluten free flour and cooked it for 35 minutes. For the second cake, I used Krusteaz all purpose gluten free flour and cooked it for 45 minutes (10 minutes longer). I monitored the oven temperature with a thermometer. The second cake was much better. It still had a little bit of batter taste. I surmise that the cooking time, not the flour, made the difference. In my opinion, the second cake was good, not great. It was very moist, which I liked. I think it probably could have been cooked even longer. What do you think?

        1. Interesting. I’m not sure what the batter taste is about, is it possible you just don’t like the taste of this cake? Like I said, it is a rather “healthy” cake, though I think it’s very good, it’s different than a traditional vanilla cake. So unless you need an oil free cake, I would try my other Vanilla Cake, subbed with a gluten free mix. You might like it better!

  10. Followed the directions to a T, and probably the worst cake I’ve ever made.  To each their own, but the apple cider vinegar makes the cake taste horrible.  Maybe good for some, but not for me or my family.  

    1. Sorry you didn’t like the cake! It definitely has a different texture than most traditional cakes, as it has no oil and uses almond flour. You would probably enjoy my Vegan Vanilla Cake much better, which no one would be able to tell is vegan. You can even use a gluten free mix there if needed.

  11. This was so good! My first attempt at making a vegan and GF cake because I’ve been scared.  I switched to vegan and GF for GI issues, and it’s been hard to find good recipes. This recipe looked simple and like it would actually turn out, and it did. Sooooo happy, so thanks for sharing! 

  12. This cake was super easy to make. I can’t wait to taste it. Where do store it until tomorrow’s party, fridge or counter?

  13. Hey Nora!

    I wanted to make a gluten free lemon cake for my mum and was wondering, would this recipe work? How can I change it in order to make it a lemon cake? 

    Originally I thought to ask on the lemon cake recipe but since this cake is specifically gluten free and won’t be dry like the original lemon cake may be (if I sub it with gluten free flour) I thought it’d be better to ask here (hopefully you agree). 

    Oh and also, if I cannot get lemon extract what would you suggest? Lots of lemon zest, lemon juice, or if you know specific quantity please let me know.

    Thank you so much!!!

    1. You could go either way. I actually think it would be better to make my Vegan Lemon Cake, but substitute a gluten free blend. It works quite well. But if you want to use this recipe, you could. I would add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and a teaspoon of lemon extract to the cake batter. Then add a little lemon zest or juice to the frosting as well (you could also use the lemon frosting recipe from my lemon cake). Hope that helps!

  14. I am going to make this cake and icing over the weekend.  If I want to omit the vegan butter and use almond milk, do I add 2 tbsp of the milk in place of 2 tbsp of the butter? Thank you 

  15. This is a wonderful GF cake recipe! I used this to make a 4-layer cake with raspberry, lemon, and blueberry curd fillings and the vanilla frosting “naked cake” style. The 1st batch I baked came out gummy. I saw your comment about over stirring causing this so for the 2nd batch I: mixed the wet ingredients separately, made a deep well in the dry ingredients, then poured the wet into the dry and gently combined just until there were no dry spots. The cakes rose a good 1/4″ higher and were not gummy. Thanks so much for this tip! The cake has a nice consistency and the flavor is great. GF cakes just aren’t going to have the same lightness as regular cakes. But this held up really well, tasted awesome, and was a hit with the family. It was also very easy to make once I stopped over stirring. Thank you for another lovely recipe!!

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I think it should work okay. It will probably take 50 minutes or so. Check with a toothpick to make sure it’s done. Thanks!

  16. I just made this and it tastes great, but the texture of it was a bit gummy and less fluffy. I followed the exact recipe, except I chose to make as cupcakes. When I did the toothpick check, it came out clean so I don’t think I under baked them. Any suggestions on how to fix this?

    1. I have two thoughts about why they make have come out gummy and not fluffy. Most likely, you simply over mixed the batter. You want to mix until just combined, and no more, or the cake/cupcakes will become tough and gummy. Also, you maybe have cooked them too long as cupcakes. Cupcakes take much less time, so try even 20 minutes, and don’t cook too long. I haven’t tested them as cupcakes so I don’t have an exact time. Hope that helps!

      1. It could be the over mixing because I baked them for 22 mins, which is the same time I use to bake your other cupcake recipes and they come out perfect. Thanks for your help! 

        P.S. Every recipe I’ve tried so far have been huge people pleasers (including skeptical non-vegans)

    1. Unfortunately, it won’t work that well. The almond flour adds fat since there is no oil, and without it I’m afraid the cake will turn out rather dry.

  17. I’m SO excited for a Nora Cooks gluten free vegan cake recipe!! Im making this on Friday for my birthday weekend and I’ll report back.  

  18. I made this cake with regular flour as we are not gluten free.  I love to use almond flour,  and I love that there is no oil or butter in the cake.  Bravo!  Great cake!  I always enjoy your work.  Thank you.

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