This gluten free vegan vanilla cake recipe is THE recipe to have on hand if you have any kind of food allergy or intolerance, or if you follow a vegan lifestyle. With a fluffy, moist sponge cake (no egg substitutes!) and a delicious coconut cream frosting, this basic recipe can be modified to make other types of cake, as well (think coffee, or red velvet)… but this simple vegan vanilla cake version with summer berries is pretty spectacular on its own.
A cake with no eggs, no butter, and no wheat flour. Huh? Yes, we’re kinda removing the crucial bits that make a cake… a cake. And listen – I get your scepticism and your doubts. And if you’ve had a gluten free+vegan cake fail before, I feel your frustration too. But here’s the thing: even if you can’t eat gluten, eggs and/or dairy, you still deserve an epic kickass cake.
This is it. It’s a basic gluten free vegan vanilla cake recipe, that can be modified and tweaked to your heart’s content. You can add flavours and colours and layers, and go absolutely nuts with the toppings. But the basic recipe itself is ridiculously easy and quick – and 100% reliable. It works every single time, and anyone can make it. There’s no fancy techniques, no weird hard-to-pronounce ingredients, and… no egg substitutes.
That’s right. No chia eggs. No flax eggs. No whateverelse eggs. *gasp*
You still get a wonderfully fluffy, moist cake at the end. It doesn’t crumble away to nothing, it isn’t dry and it most certainly doesn’t taste like cardboard. (The latter seems a common expectation when it comes to anything bearing the title “gluten free + vegan”. So not true, though.)
Have I mentioned it’s super duper pretty?
I flavoured my vegan vanilla cake with extra lemon zest because it was all grey and dreary outside, and lemon zest always brings summer and sunshine to my mind. (And it tastes so good, I definitely recommend you do the same!) I kept the flavours simple, with a vanilla coconut cream frosting, and a whole heap of summer berries both in the layers and on top of the cake.
And… it looks like summer, doesn’t it? Like it should be the centrepiece at a July picnic or a summer party, surrounded by flowers of all colours, chilled lemonade and the kind of sunshine that makes you squint and laugh.
A question I often get is whether my recipes are actually easy to make. Like if it looks that good, surely it can’t actually be simple to prepare. And… sometimes it’s difficult to answer, because I don’t know what your baking experience is. Have you made a bazillion birthday cakes and chocolate chip cookies, or are you at the “burns water” cooking skill level?
That’s not the case for this recipe. I know the answer for this one. If you can measure the ingredients, stir them together, set the oven to the correct temperature and bake the cake for 35 minutes – then you can make this recipe. That’s all there is to it. Measure out the dry ingredients, measure the wet ingredients, stir, bake.
I seriously can’t think of an easier recipe.
This gluten free vegan vanilla cake contains no eggs, no dairy and no gluten. It’s fluffy and moist and it tastes like cake. The coconut cream frosting is delicious. And when you eat this gluten free vegan cake – it doesn’t feel like deprivation, or like you’re missing out. It feels… normal and tasty and, yes, that second piece is totally a good idea.
Recommended products + tools
To make things easier for you, here are the products I’ve used and recommend for this recipe! So often, I get asked about what kind of gluten free flour I use or which kind of baking pans are best – and I know that the baking/cooking world can be overwhelming, what with the bazillion different products available out there. Well, no more.
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- When it comes to gluten free flour blends, I recommend using one with a very simple ingredients list. I use a Lidl Brand “Just Free” (available in UK), that only contains rice, potato and maize flour. However, people have had excellent results using Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF flour and 1-to-1 baking flour. Alternatively, you can mix our own blend from rice flour, potato flour and maize flour.
- I get many questions about xanthan gum. This is a common ingredient in gluten free baking, acting like “glue” (the binding agent) in the absence of gluten. It gives your baked goods elasticity and flexibility, so that they don’t crumble away to nothing.
- When it comes to the frosting, you can either use a high quality coconut milk with few/no additives to get the coconut cream… or just buy straight-up coconut cream, if you want to avoid the extra step of separating the cream from the milk.
- You want your coconut cream frosting to be as fluffy as possible – I like to make it in my KitchenAid stand mixer, but a quality hand mixer will work just as well. I recommend the VonShef hand mixer, it works like a dream.
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Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cake with Summer Berries
This gluten free vegan vanilla cake recipe is THE recipe to have on hand if you have any kind of food allergy, or if you follow a vegan lifestyle. With a fluffy, moist sponge cake (no egg substitutes!) and a delicious coconut cream frosting, this recipe is both quick and easy!
For gluten free vegan vanilla cake:
- 2 cups (240 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used a simple store-bought blend of rice, potato and maize flour with no added xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 2/3 cup (150 g) granulated sugar (Note 1)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- zest of 1 lemon (optional, but recommended)
- 3 1/2 tbsp (50 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 1/3 cups (300 mL) non-dairy milk (for instance coconut milk, rice milk or almond milk if not sensitive to nuts)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
For coconut cream frosting:
- 2 cups (400 g) coconut cream (Note 2)
- 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
You will also need:
- ~2 cups berries of choice (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
- 2 round 6 inch (15 cm) cake tins
For gluten free vegan vanilla cake:
Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and grease two round 6 inch (15 cm) cake tins with vegetable oil. You can also line the bottom of each tin with some baking/greaseproof paper.
Sift all dry ingredients together.
Mix all wet ingredients together and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
Divide the cake batter evenly between the two greased cake tins and bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the cakes out of the tins as soon as possible and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
(Leaving the cakes in the tins can lead to condensation, and a soggy cake bottom.)
For the coconut cream frosting:
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer with the double beater attachments, whisk the coconut cream, powdered sugar and vanilla paste together until fluffy.
Place one of the sponge cakes on a cake stand or plate, and spread 1/2 of the coconut cream frosting on top.
Scatter a handful of berries on top of the frosting in an even layer.
Place the other sponge cake on top of the berries, and spread the rest of the frosting on top of it.
Top with a heap of berries, and enjoy!
The gluten free vegan vanilla cake keeps well in a tightly closed container (or wrapped in cling film) in a cool dry place (even the fridge) for 1 - 2 days. After that, it tends to dry out slightly.
Note 1: If you’re a vegan who’s concerned about bone char used in refining sugar, you can see a list of companies that don’t use bone-char filters on the PETA website.
Note 2: You can get coconut cream by putting coconut milk (the type from a can, with a high coconut content and without too many stabilisers/preservatives) into the fridge for a few hours – without shaking! The coconut milk will separate into coconut cream (that you'll need in this recipe) and coconut water (which is great in smoothies).
Looking for more sweet VEGAN awesomeness? I’ve got you covered!