{Gluten-Free} Perfect Vanilla Birthday Cake

Chocolate cake is typically my preferred flavor of cake to eat and to serve but there is a special place in my heart for vanilla cake and chocolate buttercream, particularly as a birthday cake. It’s such a classic combination that I turn to again and again when I want to make a simple and delicious celebration cake. For this recipe I used a combination of five naturally gluten-free flours — admittedly a few more than I usually do, but despite the (brief!) extra steps it’s so worth it. The crumb is velvety and rich, the butter cream frosting smooth and satisfying. I made this last month for a birthday party to rave reviews (and no one guessed it was gluten-free).

I recommend bringing this cake to room temperature or almost before serving and if you have leftovers, it’s best to treat them the same way. Gluten-free cakes can have a tendency to dry out a bit more quickly than their all-purpose flour counterparts, but if you are diligent about keeping them well covered/wrapped in the fridge this will go a long way to extending their lifespan. Accordingly, letting the cake warm up a bit will soften the crumb and let you really taste how tender it it.

For layer cakes I bake the cake the day before and let rest overnight in the fridge so it’s very easy to frost and/or split the layers. The morning of the day I plan to serve it, I’ll fill and frost the cake and let it rest again in the fridge until about an hour before serving to let the flavors fully develop and the frosting to set. You can use the base cake recipe for any iteration of a layer cake along with your favorite fillings and frostings. Each layer also slices in half beautifully so you can do a four-layer cake.

Hope you enjoy this one!

Til next time – N x

Need substitutions? Swap sorghum flour for the oat flouralmond flour for the sweet rice flourmillet flour for the sorghum flour, and arrowroot for the tapioca. Swap white sugar for the maple sugar. Try two flax eggs in place of the eggs and your favorite non-dairy butter and milk to make dairy-free.

{Gluten-Free} Fluffiest Vanilla Cake

Recipe by Nicole SpiridakisCourse: Dessert



A yellow cake with chocolate frosting is a classic birthday cake flavor combination and this one is a real winner.


  • Cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 cups maple sugar or granulated sugar

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

  • 150 g/about 1 cup sweet white flour

  • 100 g/about 1 cup gluten-free oat flour

  • 80 g/about 1/2 cup sorghum flour

  • 50 g/about 1/4 cup tapioca starch

  • 50 g/about 1/4 cup potato starch

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

  • Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar or homemade powdered sugar

  • 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk


  • Make Cake
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan and line with a circle of parchment.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the butter is lighter in color, about 45 seconds. Then add the maple sugar in a steady stream and scrape down the bowl again. Continue to mix on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk the eggs. Slowly pour in the eggs a little at a time, and beat very well for about 2 minutes.
  • Combine the vanilla and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  • With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two doses, alternating with the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions.
  • Pour the batter into prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Place cake in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check after 35 minutes; you want the cake to lightly spring back in the center when pressed.
  • Remove cake from the oven and set on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the side of the pan to loosen the cake, then turn out onto the rack to finish cooling completely.
  • Make Frosting and Assemble
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the butter. Add the slightly cooled chocolate and mix to combine. Add 1 Tablespoon milk. Add 1 cup sugar and mix. Add more milk or sugar as desired for consistency.
  • To assemble cake, place one cake layer on a serving plate. I like to chill my layers in the fridge, well wrapped for a few hours or up to overnight, Spread one layer with about one third of the frosting, then top with the other cake layer. Use the remaining frosting to cover the cake.
  • Cake should be served at room temperature-cool room temperature. It will last up to 5 days wtap

Join the Conversation

  1. Always delicious…. Nice combo of flours. Comes together perfectly & gluten free as well!

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