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. Hello, this is the third time I make this wonderful cake, my daughter has almond allergies, so I substitute the almond flour with millet flour, and sometimes with oat flour, and always turns out very nice and good. Thank you Nora.

  2. Delicious! The cake was dense but moist with great flavor. I will definitely make again. I was skeptical since there was no butter or other type of fat. I used Bob’s Red Mill Cup for Cup for GF flour blend. 
    Thank you so much for sharing! You made a family birthday celebration s success! 

  3. Could this be easily converted into 3 8 inch pans with thinner layers? What do u suggest for baking time? Thanks. Have been having a difficult time finding a decent gf eggless recipe. Hoping this is the one

  4. This was GREAT. It was my first ever gluten free cake, and everyone loved it. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!!

  5. I am not vegan, but I am allergic to eggs and also gluten free. I developed my egg allergy only a few years ago along with my gluten intolerance, so I’ve done lots of experimenting with different egg free baking recipes. None of them compare to this one! Hands down the best cake I’ve had since developing my allergy! I can’t believe how simple the ingredients are, and yet how amazing it tastes. We used your chocolate frosting recipe and layered strawberries on top. Excellent! My only tip to others is absolutely do NOT over mix. That makes it dense, gummy or undercooked in the middle, and it deflates as well. I’ve learned this the hard way with other recipes. Very good cake! Turned out perfectly. Will definitely be my go-to recipe now.

    1. Hi Allison. I’m so glad you love the cake! We all need a little cake sometimes, and I’m glad this is one you can enjoy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments! I’m thrilled this will be your go-to cake recipe!

  6. I’m following the recipe as exactly as I can, I even bought an oven thermometer, but the issue I’m having is the cakes rise really well in the oven but then the centre collapses (while also still in the oven) and the finished result is a cake that’s still undercooked and goey in the centre. I’ve tried reducing the temperature and baking for longer but the cake still seems to rise dramatically while baking then collapses in the middle. Is the amount of baking powder correct as 2 tablespoons seems a lot? I’m new to baking so any input or advice?

    1. It sounds like your cakes just aren’t fully cooked. Make sure to test with a toothpick; if a toothpick (or even a sharp knife) comes out clean with NO wet batter, then the cakes are done. If not, you need to cook them longer. Also, always bake in the center rack of your oven, if you aren’t already doing so. The baking powder is correct. Normally that is a lot for a cake, but this one is rather special because it’s using almond flour and has no eggs.

    2. Great flavor but mine fell in the center while cooking as well-creating a more dense cake- this usually happens due to over mixing. 
      I’m unsure for THiS recipe, however for other gf/vegan recipes I have found mixing then adding vinegar (or lemon or other acidic ingredients) last helps because it sets off the baking powder helping create the rise-
      Scientifically thinking imagine baking soda and vinegar volcano-big rise and quick fall- —-baking powder similarly reacts because of the sodium bicarbonate——-just don’t sub baking soda for baking powder-? ?. 
      Also, making sure you use fresh baking powder-silly as it sounds -check the expiration date on this one- fresher will react better than older. 

      Good luck! 

  7. How long should I mix it for? Can you use a mixer for this recipe or is it better to do it by hand?

    1. I make this cake recipe by hand. You only want to mix it until just combined, don’t mix it for any longer. It should only take a few minutes. Thanks!

    1. No, it shouldn’t be really fluffy, but it is pretty moist. I wonder if your almond flour is really thick grains instead of a finer flour? That’s all I can think of that could be causing this, unless you forgot or mismeasured an ingredient.

  8. What almond flour do you recommend?
    It keeps coming gummy texture, we use blue diamond almond flour, is that ok?
    Any help is appreciated

    1. Hi Kristina. Any almond flour should work. It could be that the batter is over mixed, and that is why it has a gummy texture. I hope this helps.

  9. Hi, thanks for this recipe, it looks & sounds soo good. I’d like to try it.
    But 1st. Would you know if I use Lemon juice instead of vinegar., Would that be OK? (I’M allergic to vinegar & DON’T even keep any in the house). I understand it needs that acidity to help lift the cake. Thanking you in advance for your reply!.

  10. Hey Nora I’d like to do this with 2 or 3 layer 6 inch how long for baking do you think ? ? also I have the 1 to 1 bobs red mill GF flour is that ok ?

    Oh and one more thing have you paired the icing with some Coulis before? am thinking of doing the buttercream and rasberry in the centre if you think that would work

    thanks for the great recipes !

    1. If you made 3 6 inch layer cakes that would work. I would check with a toothpick to make sure they are done in the middle, it might take a little less time in the oven. I haven’t done that but it sounds so yummy!

  11. Is it possible to replace the sugar with date syrup for a refined sugar free recipe? If so, how much would you suggest to equate to the amount of sugar this recipe calls for?

    1. That’s a little tricky because it’s a liquid sweetener. I haven’t tested it so I really don’t know, but you will likely need to take liquid out from somewhere to add in all that liquid sweetener.

  12. Hi, I tried it out but unfortunately it was too moist, so I baked it much longer and then it turned to be horrible dry. Is the bake temperature for fan or regulary?

    1. It should work the same more or less for both fan ovens and other ovens. But, each oven is a little different so I always check with a toothpick in the middle to make sure there is no wet batter. It sounds like you baked it for far too long.

  13. Yay!! This is the second cake I’ve baked today. The first one, from a different blog, tasted straight up like baking soda. My gluten loving family I planned on serving it to would been so disappointed (as was I, but I know how good GF can be!) Unfortunately I used all but one of my lemons in the first one so I didn’t get to turn this into the lovely blueberry lemon cake I was imagining but I scraped a little off to get a taste and so far it’s delicious! I can’t attest to the texture yet but it doesn’t seem weird by looking at it lol. We’ll find out at my daughters party tomorrow. Thanks for an easy straightforward recipe!

    Oh, I do have one question for next time, do you spoon and level the almond flour or do you compact it? I compacted mine and it seems fine, but figured you’d have a specific way.

    1. Hi Sarah! I really hope you and your family loves this gluten free cake. 🙂 Good question for the almond flour, I just scoop and level it actually, but hopefully a bit more won’t alter the cake too much. Thanks!

      1. My family loved the cake so much I only got two bites! Thank you 🙂 I also have a friend requesting  I make it for her birthday and she’s not gf or vegan lol

  14. Hi Nora
    I love love love this recipe!
    I do gluten free vegan cup cakes for my family of about 25 people and they also love them.
    I’ve made the icing 2 ways …vanilla and chocolate and put toasted almond slices ontop.
    (For chocolate icing I add unsweetened cocoa powder to the vanilla icing)
    The best.
    Thank you
    Lucia

    1. Thanks Lucia! I’m so glad you are loving the recipe, and having fun with it! Thanks for taking time to share your review!

  15. For a wedding cake I’d like to make this into 10 in rounds. Do you think one and a half recipes would do two 10 in rounds? Thanks for this beautiful recipe!!

    1. Thanks! That would probably work, but I can’t be completely sure because I haven’t tested it. Hope it turns out beautifully!

  16. Love this recipe! I’ve made it a few times but just made as cupcakes. The cake stuck to the paper cupcake liners really bad. Any idea why or how to avoid this?

  17. I’m back…….the cake was delicious!  Now rating with five stars.  I noticed when putting the batter together the amount of vanilla in the recipe. I accidentally read it as 1 1/2 teaspoons instead of tablespoons.   I can only imagine the increase in flavor had I not skimped in the amount.   Oh well…..next time.

    1. Hi Denise! I’m glad the cake turned out and that you loved it! Thanks for sharing your great rating, and comments! Happy birthday to your daughter!

  18. Would this fill three or four 6” pans you think? I want to make this as my birthday cake next week and like tall cakes 🙂

    1. Hmm I’m not sure, I think it would fit at least 3, but maybe 4 if the layers were a bit thin. I’m sure it will work, I just can’t help much on times as I haven’t tried it, so watch it closely. 🙂 Happy birthday!

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