This gluten-free dairy-free yellow cake with chocolate buttercream is soft and fluffy! If you're looking for a gluten-free birthday cake recipe, look no further. Top this delicious cake with festive sprinkles and just try to stop at one slice!
My kids wouldn't stop begging me for this gluten-free dairy-free cake. They devoured a slice, then gave me puppy-dog eyes for more! I took this as a good sign and had myself a slice, then two, and three...
All that to say, this gluten-free cake is dangerously delicious! Forget the gluten! Forget the dairy! With a cake this delicious, who needs it? Not this girl.
It's simple, it's covered in silky, chocolate buttercream, and it tastes divine. Colorful sprinkles and candles transform it into a festive gluten-free birthday cake, but it can just as easily be made into cupcakes!
This cake is made with simple ingredients found at your local grocery store. Here's what you'll need:
For the gluten-free dairy-free cake:
- Vegetable oil - Vegetable oil keeps the cake moist without the need for butter!
- Sugar - To sweeten the cake! It seems like a lot, but this makes a big, beautiful, tall cake! It's sweet but not overkill.
- Brown sugar - I like to use a small amount of brown sugar for richness.
- Vanilla - You can't have a vanilla cake without vanilla! Trust me when I say, don't skip this ingredient. It makes all the difference. And be sure to use a whole tablespoon.
- Eggs - Eggs provide structure and a tender crumb.
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour - I specify in the recipe card to use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour. I love this brand for it's gluten-like taste and texture, but more importantly, all gluten-free flour blends are different! If you use a different brand, I can't guarantee the cake will come out right. Please don't substitute cup4cup because I find it's not a 1:1 substitute with Bob's Red Mill's brand.
- Baking powder & soda - To encourage the cake to rise!
- Almond milk & vinegar - This basically creates a vegan buttermilk.
For the dairy-free chocolate buttercream:
- Vegan butter - Based on a recommendation, I made this buttercream with Miyoko's creamery brand and it didn't disappoint! At first I was skeptical, but the frosting ended up so creamy and delish.
- Powdered sugar - To sweeten the frosting and make it silky smooth!
- Dark cocoa powder - To get that lovely dark and rich chocolate flavor, use dark or dutch process cocoa powder.
- Unsweetened almond milk - A small amount thins out the frosting for a nice, spreadable consistency.
How to Make Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
For the gluten-free dairy-free cake:
Preheat oven: Preheat your oven and spray your round baking pans. Combine the almond milk and vinegar, then set aside.
Measure dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
Combine wet ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the vegetable oil, both sugars, and the vanilla.
Add the eggs: Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat until well combined. The batter will be very thick at this point.
Add dairy-free buttermilk: Pour the almond milk mixture into the cake batter and mix on low at first so it doesn't splatter everywhere. Increase the speed to medium and mix until incorporated.
Bake cake layers: Divide the gluten-free cake batter between two greased 8-inch cake pans. Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
How to Make Dairy-Free Frosting
Whip the dairy-free butter: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for 30 seconds.
Add powdered sugar and milk: Add one cup of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of almond milk to the butter. Beat for 30 seconds. Repeat until all the powdered sugar is combined.
Add cocoa powder: Add the cocoa powder and two more tablespoons of almond milk to the frosting. Beat until incorporated.
- For best results, use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour. I haven't tested this recipe with another brand.
- Try not to overbake the cake layers. An overbaked cake is a dry cake, and dry cake makes me sad! I like to feel the top of the cake first. If it's very soft, it needs more time. If it feels done, I stick a toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready!
- Don't remove the cakes from the pans while still hot. Let them cool for a few minutes first or else they may fall apart.
- Never frost a warm cake! If you do, the frosting will melt! Let the cake layers cool completely before frosting.
- Frosting: You don't have to use chocolate buttercream! If you want vanilla buttercream, omit the cocoa powder and two tablespoons of almond milk. Add a teaspoon of vanilla instead.
- Filling: Jam, nutella, vegan caramel, marshmallow cream, and ganache are great filling options!
- Toppings: Sprinkles, crushed cookies, chopped nuts, fresh berries, and crushed candies make fun and festive toppings!
- Store the cake at room temperature for up to two days in a cake holder.
- Gluten-free dairy-free cake freezes well! You can freeze it frosted or unfrosted. I like to freeze the cake in slices so I can defrost one slice at a time.
- Let the cake defrost at room temperature or microwave in 5-second increments until the cake slice is defrosted. Be careful not to melt the frosting!
More Delicious Gluten-Free Cake Recipes
If you love this gluten-free dairy-free vanilla cake, try one of these delicious treats too!
- Gluten Free Marble Cake
- Gluten Free Chocolate Pound Cake
- Gluten Free Italian Cream Cake
- Gluten Free Whoopie Pies
- Gluten Free Sour Cream Pound Cake
Gluten Free Dairy Free Yellow Cake
- Stand mixer with the paddle attachment or hand mixer
- 8-inch round cake pans
- Measuring cups & spoons
For the cake:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 3 ¼ cup Bob's Red Mill 1:1 All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
For the frosting:
- 8 ounces vegan butter, room temperature I used Miyoko's
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp dutch cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
For the gluten-free cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Stir the almond milk and vinegar together then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the batter and beat until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the almond milk mixture to the cake batter and beat until all of it's incorporated. Divide the cake batter between the greased cake pans.
- Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean - around 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.
For the dairy-free frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 30 seconds.
- Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of almond milk. Beat for 30 seconds. Repeat until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated.
- Add the cocoa powder and the last 2 tablespoons of almond milk. Beat until incorporated.
Assemble the cake:
- Make sure the cake layers are completely cool before frosting! If they are slightly warm, the frosting will melt.
- Top the first cake with an even layer of frosting. Stack the second cake on top of the first with the flat side facing up.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake, then top with sprinkles. Enjoy!