This gluten free cake is SO moist, SO soft, and SO spongy that you can’t even tell it’s gluten free! These fluffy layers of gluten free vanilla cake taste just like box cake mix (in a good way) and are completely smothered in smooth vanilla buttercream. Perfect for birthdays, celebrations, or a Tuesday afternoon.
What makes this gluten free cake recipe so good?
So my husband isn’t a very reliable taste tester because he rarely ever shows strong emotions toward food.
That being said, he tried a bite of this cake (even without the buttercream) and he said, and I quote, “Sh*t that’s good!”.
Nick’s review aside, this cake is in fact incredibly good and these are just a few reasons why:
- Texture – Gluten free flour tends to be pretty heavy, but adding cornstarch into this cake mix lightens everything up. It creates a soft and spongy consistency that feels SO similar to box cake mix.
- Moist – This cake is so so moist because it’s made with a combination of both butter and oil. Butter is there to add delicious flavor while the oil creates a very moist crumb. The right combination of the two always leads to a delicious cake!
- Flavor – A tablespoon of vanilla is mixed in to the batter to give this cake extra flavor. It’s a very vanilla cake which makes it very very good.
Not only do we have a delicious gluten free cake, but it’s paired with the smoothest vanilla buttercream. Using a really fun and easy trick, you will be left with the silkiest American buttercream you have ever had!
Tips for baking gluten free vanilla cake
To ensure your gluten free cake turns out pillowy soft, here’s everything you need to know:
- Butter & Sugar – When mixing the two together, give it a good 3 minutes. It’s important that the mixture is light and fluffy in order to create air bubbles. Baking powder feeds off of those bubbles to bake a more lifted cake (and gluten free cake needs all the help it can get).
- Eggs – Since a pretty decent quantity of eggs is going into this batter, it’s important that they are at room temperature. Otherwise, they can bring down the entire temperature of the batter which can lead to an uneven bake. In a pinch, let the eggs sit in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes before use.
- Gluten Free Flour – Make sure to use a gluten free flour that is 1, intended for baking and 2, includes xanthan gum in the mix. I also highly recommend weighing the flour instead of measuring. If you don’t have a food scale, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off because on the flip side, packed in cups of flour lead to dry cakes.
- Baking – To evenly distribute the batter between the two pans, it’s best to use a large scoop (like an ice cream scoop) and alternate scooping between the two pans. Then spread the batter as even as possible before baking.
- Cooling – Ensure the cakes are COMPLETELY cooled before frosting, otherwise the buttercream will melt.
How to make smooth vanilla buttercream
If you struggle with your buttercream turning out with tiny little air bubbles all throughout, this simple tip will easily fix that!
First, add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. This includes butter, milk, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. This goes against typical buttercream protocol but just trust the process.
Then mix on low speed just to combine everything. Be careful not to crank up the speed otherwise your entire kitchen will be covered in powdered sugar.
Once smooth crank up the speed to a notch below the highest setting and let it go for 10 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
This high and constant speed knocks out all of the air bubbles to leave you with an incredibly smooth vanilla buttercream.
The amount is just enough to frost the cake in a thick layer of buttercream. Alternatively, frost in a thinner layer and use the rest to pipe decorations on top of the cake.
Gluten Free Vanilla Cake FAQs
Any cup for cup baking flour will work as long as xanthan gum is in the mix. I personally use Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 gluten free baking flour.
Unfortunately the two aren’t a one for one swap, especially in baking. For the best results, stick with cornstarch.
If you prefer a 3 layer cake, the batter can be spread across 3 8″ pans. Just make sure to reduce the bake time by about 5 minutes as the layers will be thinner. Alternatively, it should be enough batter to spread across 3 6″ pans. The bake time should be similar to this recipe.
I haven’t tested it, but try subbing the eggs with an additional 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
I have a gluten free vanilla cupcake recipe that’s just as delicious!
Once the cake is decorated keep it in the refrigerator, preferably in a cake container. It should keep soft and moist in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
For more gluten free cake recipes, check out my:
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- Gluten Free Banana Bread
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make this gluten free cake recipe. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print