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Slice of gluten-free vanilla cake on a plate.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

This gluten-free vanilla cake is moist, rich, and very vanilla. It’s a perfect cake for birthdays, weddings, or any celebration. Thanks to the gluten-free flour, butter, and sour cream, it remains soft and fresh for several days.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free
Keyword gluten-free cake, vanilla cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

  • 2 ½ cups gluten-free flour, Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour recommended. (12 ounces; 340 grams)
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar (12 ¼ ounces; 346 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk (8 ounces; 226 grams)
  • ½ cup sour cream (4 ounces; 113 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup butter, softened (6 ounces; 170 grams)
  • 3 large eggs (6 ounces; 170 grams)

For the Gluten-Free Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened (8 ounces; 226 grams)
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (16 ounces; 454 grams)
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk or cream, plus more as needed (2 ounces; 56 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick gluten-free cooking spray.

  2. Whisk gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    In a small bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside.

    Gluten-free flour for vanilla cake.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light, about 45 seconds. Add granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

    Add the eggs, one at a time. Let each egg mix into the butter-sugar mixture before adding the next.

    After you add the last egg, stop the mixer. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Tun the mixer to medium-high and mix until light and fluffy, about two minutes. You want the butter-sugar mixture to look like frosting.

    Gluten-free vanilla cake batter.
  4. Stop the mixer. Add half the gluten-free flour mixture. Turn mixer to low. In a slow and steady stream, add half the milk-sour cream mixture. Increase mixer to medium. Mix until the batter is smooth.

    Again, stop the mixer. Add the remaining flour. Turn mixer to low. In a slow and steady stream, add the remaining milk-sour cream mixture. Increase mixer to high speed. Mix until the batter is smooth, about 45 seconds.

  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Use a small spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the batter into the pans.
    Gluten-free vanilla cake batter in two round cake pans.
  6. Bake the cake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
    Gluten-free vanilla cake cooling in pans.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven. Place the pans on a wire rack. Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool completely directly on the rack.
  8. Make the frosting: In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Turn mixer to low. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix on high speed until fluffy, about two minutes.

  9. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate, frost top of cake, about 1½ cups of frosting. Top with the second layer. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.

  10. Store cake loosely covered. Cake keeps at room temperature for about four days. Freeze cake, frosted or unfrosted, for up to three months. Wrap cake well in plastic wrap before freezing.

Recipe Notes

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.

Butter. Salted or unsalted butter works in this recipe. 
Butter Temperature. Use softened butter, about 65°F. Cold butter turns into a paste. Warm/greasy butter doesn’t get fluffy.

Egg Temperature. Use cool eggs. Remove them from the refrigerator before measuring the rest of the ingredients. Cool eggs prevent the butter-sugar mixture from getting too warm.

Sheet Cake Directions.

Lightly grease a 9 x13-inch pan. Bake the cake until golden brown, about 40. Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Frost cake when cool.

Cupcake Directions.

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.