An easy gluten-free yellow cake recipe. Dairy-free. Perfect for birthdays and other special occasions.
Why You’ll Love This Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
This is an easy one-bowl gluten-free cake recipe. Unlike my gluten-free white cake, which is amazing, but requires several specific steps, this recipe is similar to a box mix. You mix all the ingredients in one bowl, give the batter a mix, and bake. It’s easy enough to make on a busy weeknight and yummy enough to be served at birthday parties. There’s a lot to love with this cake.
- Easy to make. It’s a one-bowl recipe.
- Moist (not gummy!).
- Tender with a tight, soft crumb.
- Perfect for birthday parties.
Gluten-Free Yellow Cake: Key Ingredients
Gluten-Free Flour. I developed this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour blend. This blend is easy to find and affordable. If you use a different flour blend, you might experience different results. Look for a flour blend that contains xanthan or guar gum. Without these ingredients, the cake won’t rise as high.
Granulated Sugar: For the best flavor, texture, and color, use regular granulated sugar. Cane sugar (also called sugar in the raw) may be used in this recipe. The cake will have a darker color and a slight caramel flavor. Brown sugar should be avoided as it contains moisture from the molasses that will affect the texture of the cake.
Vegetable Oil. This cake recipe uses liquid vegetable oil. It gives the cake a moist and tender crumb. Avoid olive oil or any other strong flavored oil. (Unless you want the cake to taste like olive oil, of course.)
Vanilla Extract. To achieve the classic yellow cake flavor, the recipe uses vanilla extract. If you prefer an almond flavor, replace the vanilla extract with half almond extract and half vanilla extract.
Gluten-Free Yellow Cake: Tips for Success
- Grease the cake pans. Coat the cake pans with nonstick cooking spray or brush with solid shortening and dust with gluten-free flour.
- Whisk the dry ingredients. Take a minute to whisk together the dry ingredients together. This ensures that the baking powder is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Folks tend to rush through this step. If I can encourage you to do one thing, it would be to slow down and whisk the mixture for a minute. And I mean a minute. Use the timer on your phone and whisk, whisk, whisk.
- Check the bottom of the bowl for dry flour. Gluten-free flour loves to cling to the bottom of a mixing bowl. Before pouring the batter into the prepared pans, take a spatula and scrape the bottom of the bowl. If you see streaks of flour, stir them into the batter.
- Cool the cakes on a wire rack. After removing the cakes from the oven, allow them to cool in the pan for about five minutes. At this point, they are really delicate. Removing them from the pan right away can cause them to break. After five minutes, turn them out onto a wire rack to cool. This allows the steam to escape from the cakes. If they remain in the pan, the steam can cause the cakes to stick.
- Let the cake cool before frosting. Before frosting your cake, make sure it’s totally cool. The center of the cake loves to hold on to heat. Take your hand and place it on the center of the cake, the way you’d place your hand on a baby’s back. If it feels warm, don’t frost it yet. A warm cake + frosting=melted, messy frosting.
Gluten-Free Yellow Cake: FAQs
Can I make this cake without eggs?
I haven’t tested the cake egg-free, sorry.
Can I make this cake with a sugar substitute?
I haven’t tested the recipe with a sugar replacement.
Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?
Yes. Directions for making cupcakes are included below in the notes section of the recipe.
Can I use this recipe to make a sheet cake?
You sure can! It makes a 9×13-inch sheet cake. Directions for baking are included below the recipe.
Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
For the Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend, see note (12 1/2 ounces; 355 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces; 298 grams)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil (7 ounces; 198 grams)
- 2/3 cup water or milk (5 1/3 ounces; 150 grams)
- 4 large eggs (about 8 ounces out of shell; 226 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (16 ounces; 453 grams)
- 3/4 cup Dutch-process or natural cocoa powder, sifted (3/4 ounce; 21 grams)
- 1 cup butter or dairy-free butter replacement, softened (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk, water, or coffee plus more as needed, see note (2 ounces; 56 grams)
Preheat oven and prepare the cake pans. Adjust oven rack to center position. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with gluten-free nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the Batter. Whisk together gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.
Bake the Cakes. Divide batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Cool. Remove pans from the oven. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for five minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare chocolate frosting. Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- Beat butter for 30 seconds on high speed until light. Stop mixer. Add powdered sugar mix and milk or coffee. Mix, on low speed, until creamy. If frosting seems dry, add additional milk or coffee until smooth and creamy.
Frost Cake. When cake is cool, fill and frost the cake.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend
This recipe was tested with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. Replacing the flour with another brand might change the texture of the cake. Be sure to use a flour blend that contains xanthan gum. If it doesn't, add 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the flour. Whisk to combine. Then use as directed.
Sheet Cake Directions
Lightly grease a 9 x13-inch pan. Bake the cake until golden brown about 40. Allow cake to cool in the pan. Prepare frosting as directed above and frost cake when cool.
Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Prepare frosting and frost cupcakes when cool.