This light and fluffy gluten-free vanilla cake recipe is perfect for birthdays, special occasions, or any day really! Enjoy this moist and delicious yellow cake with your favorite frosting or the included chocolate sour cream frosting recipe.
If you've been searching for the very best gluten-free vanilla cake recipe, one with a moist tender crumb, search no more! This classic yellow cake is made from scratch but so easy to do! Just a few ingredients and you're on your way to a light and fluffy cake that no one will ever know is gluten-free!
Sure, you could buy a box yellow cake mix, but it feels so good to make something from scratch! Besides, this foolproof gluten-free yellow cake recipe is just as easy to make as a box mix and you most likely have all the ingredients you need in your pantry!
You can use whatever frosting you like on this cake, such as American buttercream or chocolate buttercream frosting. I definitely recommend homemade if possible, it always tastes so much better! Pictured and included below is an easy, homemade chocolate sour cream frosting. It's the perfect chocolate frosting if you don't like frosting that's overly sweet.
Make this gluten-free vanilla cake for your next special celebration, like a birthday or a graduation, or make it just because you deserve a sweet treat!
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Ingredients
- Gluten-Free 1:1 Flour: I used King Arthur Measure for Measure in this cake recipe. After trying so many flour blends, this blend comes with my highest recommendation. Other gluten-free flours may work as well, as long as it is an all purpose flour blend for baking and includes xanthan gum or another binder.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch lightens the flour which makes it similar to cake flour for a light and airy crumb.
- Canola Oil: You can use any neutral flavored oil including vegetable oil or coconut oil in this recipe. You can also use butter but the cake will be slightly more dense.
- Milk: I used regular 2% milk. I also tested this cake with unsweetened almond milk for a dairy-free option and the results were great!
- Whole Eggs: This recipe is reliant on eggs. If you need egg-free, I would suggest searching for a vegan vanilla cake recipe.
- Cake Batter Flavor: This is the secret ingredient that will give you that classic "yellow cake" flavor. I used McCormick brand. You can find it right in the spice aisle near the vanilla extract. Substitute vanilla extract if you don't want to buy this ingredient.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting Ingredients
Only four ingredients are needed to make this frosting: semi-sweet baking chocolate, butter, sour cream, and powdered sugar.
I have not tested this frosting with dairy-free butter or dairy-free sour cream.
How to Make Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
- Blend oil, eggs, extracts, and sugar together on medium speed for two minutes using a hand mixer or stand mixer. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Blend after each addition until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Divide batter amongst desired cake pans and bake.
How To Make Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- Melt butter and semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler.
- Stir over the heat until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in the sour cream.
- Gradually blend in the powdered sugar. The mixture may look lumpy at first but will smooth out and thicken by the time you've added all of the powdered sugar.
If the frosting seems thin at first, don't be alarmed. The frosting will thicken more as it sets. Allow the frosting to cool to room temperature before frosting the cake. Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed to reach desired consistency.
There is enough frosting in this recipe to frost a 9x13-inch cake, 24 cupcakes, or a double-layer 8 or 9-inch cake.
- Although I find it's best to bake and serve gluten-free goods as soon as possible, the frosted cake will stay fresh and moist for at least 3 days.
- To make it ahead, you can freeze the cake after it has baked. Cool the cakes. Then wrap each layer in a double layer of plastic wrap before freezing.
- You can make the frosting up to a few days ahead as well. Keep it in the refrigerator until needed.
- Once the cake is frosted, it should be kept refrigerated. The cake can be left at room temperature for 1-2 hours for serving purposes.
McCormick cake batter flavor is not labeled gluten-free but does not contain any gluten-ingredients. McCormick labels for all sources of gluten, including wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Also, they do not hide ingredients in "natural flavors" or "spices". McCormick encourages consumers to check labels for the most accurate product information and reassures consumers that they have allergen programs in place to minimize cross-contact of ingredients.
The ingredients at the time of posting in McCormick Cake Batter Flavor are: Water, Propylene Glycol, Artificial and Natural Flavor, Gum Tragacanth, FD&C Yellow 5, and FD&C Red 40.
As always, double-check labels to ensure nothing has changed.
This chocolate sour cream frosting is perfect for you if you don't like super sweet desserts. The frosting is sweet but thanks to the sour cream it's not overly sweet. The frosting is slightly tangy, akin to a cream cheese frosting.
Yes! I have tested this recipe as an 8 and 9-inch round layer cake, a 9x13-inch pan, and also cupcakes! The cake turns out beautifully each way. Check the recipe for baking times.
Yes. Feel free to make the cakes a day or more ahead of time. If more than 1 day in advance, it's best to freeze the cake to maintain freshness. To do this, level the cake if desired. Then wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. You can even frost the cake while it is still frozen. It will thaw within a few hours at room temperature.
Yes. If you make the frosting ahead be sure to refrigerate it until you need it. The frosting will stiffen considerably in the refrigerator so you'll need to bring the frosting back to room temperature and blend again before you can frost the cake with it. You may also need to add a little milk to thin it to the proper consistency.
- Use the spoon and level method or weigh your ingredients. It's important to correctly measure the flour. Fluff up the flour before spooning it into a measuring cup. Use a straight edge to level off the flour with the top of the cup. You can also click the "metric" button at the top of the recipe card for measurements by weight (grams).
- Allow the cake to cool before consuming. Something about gluten-free flour blends give vanilla cakes a strange flavor when they are warm. Rest assured, this cake will taste completely normal and absolutely delicious once cooled.
- Cool before frosting. Never frost a cake that is warm as this will only lead to melting the frosting. Pop the cake in the fridge or freezer if needed to cool faster.
- Check the temp! Ever have a cake look done, yet sink a little in the center when it cools? It could be simply because you didn't bake it quite long enough. Gluten-free cakes take longer to bake than traditional cakes and often times they look done but aren't actually quite done yet. But there's a simple solution! Check the temperature.
That's right! Using a digital instant read thermometer to test for doneness is the perfect solution for all of your gluten-free baking! Just poke the thermometer in the center of the cake. If the internal temperature reads 210°F, it's done!
Supplies Needed For This Cake
Here are some quick links to the products used to make this cake successfully.
- King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- McCormick Cake Batter Flavoring
- 8-inch cake pans, 9-inch cake pans, 24 cup muffin tin, or a 9x13-inch pan
- Parchment paper rounds, sheets, or cupcake liners
- Hand-held mixer or stand mixer
- My favorite digital instant read thermometer or this smaller version
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Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
- 2 cups gluten-free 1:1 flour blend, King Arthur Measure for Measure preferred
- ¼ cup cornstarch, or tapioca starch
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cake batter flavor, or vanilla
- 1 cup milk
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
- ½ cup butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 ½ - 5 ½ cups powdered sugar, about 1 pound
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare baking pans; grease and line bottoms with parchment paper or fill muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and cake batter flavor for two minutes on medium speed.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until just combined.
- Divide the batter equally amongst prepared pans.
- Bake at 350°F referencing times below: 9x13-inch pan: 35-40 minutes(2) 8-inch pans: 35-40 minutes(2) 9-inch pans: 30-35 minutes(24) Standard Cupcakes: 20-25 minutesTo check for doneness, the tops should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. The internal temperature of the cake should be 210°F on a digital instant read thermometer.
- Cool cake completely before frosting.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- Gently melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat using a double boiler.
- Stir continuously with a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.
- Remove the bowl from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the sour cream to the chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined.
- Using a mixer, gradually blend the powdered sugar into the chocolate mixture. It will look a little lumpy at first but should smooth out by the time the frosting is finished.
- Continue to mix until the frosting is thick and smooth. Allow the frosting to cool to at least room temperature before frosting cooled cakes.
- Store frosted cake in refrigerator. The cake can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 hours for serving.
- Cake layers can be made ahead and frozen before frosting. Wrap tightly before freezing.
- Frosting can be made in advance and refrigerated but will stiffen in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and blend again before frosting the cakes. Add milk to thin if needed.