Fluffy Gluten Dairy Free Vanilla Cake

dairy free gluten free cake

A gluten dairy free vanilla cake that is so fluffy and light, you wouldn’t believe it’s gluten and dairy free – promise!

dairy free gluten free cake


A few of you have been asking for gluten free recipes, I have one here for you today. I made this a couple of weeks ago when we were in still in Brno visiting friends, one of whom is gluten and dairy free. It got her tick of approval so thought I better share it with you all.

This recipe is actually my classic vanilla cake recipe but I transformed it into a gluten free and dairy free one. It’s a great recipe to use if you’re gluten and/or dairy free or if you know someone who is. However, you don’t have to be on a gluten free or dairy free diet to make and eat this cake. It is still just as light, fluffy and delicious as the original version and is probably healthier as it contains less sugar and healthier fats. 

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how to convert a gluten cake recipe into a gluten free cake. Below I’ll show you how I did it with this cake. As you’ll see, it’s super simple.

dairy free gluten free cake

Difference between fluffy gluten dairy free vanilla cake and classic vanilla cake

  • Gluten flour is replaced with a gluten free flour blend with a ratio of 1:1
  • 1 egg is replaced with 1 tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in water (this helps bind everything together and provides moisture
  • 1 cup rice milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar is used to replace the buttermilk (you could use any non-dairy milk)
  • Eggs are whipped with the sugar to create more air (instead of using the creaming method, as in the classic vanilla cake recipe).
  • Vanilla buttercream is replaced with whipped coconut cream and a couple of tablespoons of sugar

…and that’s it! I told you, not much to it right?

dairy free gluten free cake

Have you ever seen a gluten dairy free vanilla cake this light and airy before?

Prefer a different flavour?

This is a great cake to get creative with!

As with the classic vanilla cake, you can have fun with the flavours. For example, if you prefer lemon, omit the vanilla seeds and add lemon zest to the cake and frosting instead. Or if you want to stick with the coconut themed frosting, add 1-2 teaspoons of coconut essence or extract and use the coconut water instead of the dairy free milk or a combination of both. If you are a chocolate lover like me, substitute 30g (1/4 cup) flour with natural cocoa powder and add 2 tablespoons to the frosting.

dairy free gluten free cake

I was feeling extra girly the day I made this, can you tell? To make the decorations I simply swirled some pink food colouring on top of the cake and added sprinkles. Feel free to add whatever you have on hand – there are no rules when it comes to decorating cakes.


Be sure to place the coconut cream in the fridge a good couple of hours before making the frosting (best over night) so that the cream and coconut water can separate. The cold coconut cream also whips up a lot better when it is cold.

You might also like: How to make cake recipes gluten free 

The fluffiest gluten dairy free vanilla cake
Serves 12
A deliciously light and fluffy gluten and dairy free vanilla cake. No one will even know it doesn't have gluten or dairy in it!
Write a review
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 tablespoon white chia seeds mixed with 60mls (1/4 cup) cold water
  2. 310g (2 +1/2 cups) gluten free flour (make sure it contains xanthan gum)
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon scraped vanilla beans (optional)
  7. 300g (1 + 1/2 cups) castor sugar
  8. 3 medium eggs
  9. 125mls (1/2 cup), flavourless vegetable oil
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 250mls (1 cup) dairy free milk (I like using rice milk for this recipe)
  12. 1 tablespoon white vinegar (apple cider vinegar is fine too)
Vanilla Coconut Cream
  1. 1 400ml can coconut cream, chilled in fridge
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  5. A pinch of salt
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 175C (345F) and line 2 x 8 inch (20cm) cake tins with baking paper.
  2. 2. In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. 3. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer together until foamy. Gradually add the oil, vanilla, rice milk, vinegar and chia seed mixture and continue to beat until combined.
  4. 4. Add the flour mixture and fold until combined and there are no lumps.
  5. 5. Divide the cake batter among the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (or with a few loose crumbs). Leave to cool in cake tins for 5 minutes before inverting on a cooling rack.
  6. 6. Once completely cool, level the cakes with a serrated knife (optional). Place one cake on a cake board and using a off-set spatula, spread 1/2 cup whipped coconut cream on the cake. Place the other cake on top and apply the rest of the whipped coconut cream. Decorate as desired.
  7. 7. To make whipped coconut cream: Open the can of coconut cream upside down and tip the coconut water into a jar. Scoop out the coconut cream into a bowl of an electric mixer and along with the sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste (if using) and salt. Beat on medium speed until thick or you reach the desired consistency.
What Sarah Bakes http://whatsarahbakes.com/

27 thoughts on “Fluffy Gluten Dairy Free Vanilla Cake

  1. Making this for a second time right now. LOVED it the first time! We are dairy free so this was an awesome recipe find! Thanks so much for sharing. I love how it’s not so sweet that it makes you sick- it’s just the right amount of sweet ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll have to try your whipped coconut cream when it’s not so hot where I live!

    1. Hi Sierra! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this cake recipe. I hope the weather cools down for you soon so that you can try the whipped coconut cream ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Laurel, yes it does set hard once it has been refrigerated for a couple of hours. It should be fine to use for underneath fondant. Let me know how you get on! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Nori, yes the chia seeds are a crucial ingredient as they help to create a moist and tender cake as well as binding everything together.

      1. Would it work to add an extra egg or yolk to bind? I would like to make this for a friend who is gluten & dairy free but also can’t eat chia seeds!

  2. A few questions, I just finished a test run of this cake for the weekend and it turned out well! Instead of doing a final try, would I be able to frost this and have it keep in the fridge for two days? What was it’s lifespan for you?

    Also, I used applesauce instead of Chia seeds as I had none on hand. (Following your gluten free cake recipe that you linked elsewhere!)

    1. Hi Amber, glad you liked the recipe! The cake will taste best the day it is made but will also still be okay two days after. It just won’t be as fresh tasting that’s all ๐Ÿ™‚ Usually keeping cakes in the fridge dries them out a lot. If it is possible, you could wrap the cake in plastic wrap whilst it is still warm, store in a coolish dry place, then frost on the day you need it. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Have just make this cake and it is very yummy!!! I would like to make it for my sister in laws 60th birthday as a tall one tier naked cake.
    Would I need to put a cake board in the middle after the first 2 cakes with supports?
    Also do you have a gluten and dairy free white frosting recipe.
    Lastly… can this cake be frozen?

    Sorry for all of the questions ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I would strongly recommend placing a cake board in between half of the cake, supported with cake dowels. That way you can rest assured knowing that your cake won’t collapse.

      The coconut dairy free frosting in the recipe will be fine to use on the outside too.
      The cake can be frozen alone but I wouldn’t suggest freezing it with the frosting.

      Hope this helps!

      Good luck, and I hope your sister-in-law enjoys the cake ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Hi Sarah
    I made this cake last night and I loved it. One thing that kind of threw me off was that the cake had a bit of an aftertaste due to the chia seeds (I tried it right out of the oven, haven’t had it since then and without the frosting/icing) I saw in a previous comment that the chia seeds are a fundamental part of the process, however, I was wondering if there is a way to cut out that aftertaste?

    1. Hi Lorraine,

      I haven’t noticed an aftertaste from the chia seeds. Could you perhaps try a different type of chia seed? Or you could omit the chia seeds and use 1/4 cup apple sauce and 1 extra egg yolk ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Hi Sarah,
        After it cooled down, that aftertaste was gone! The cake was a hit. I’m so excited about the texture and flavor I can’t wait to make it again! Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. I made cake …looks yummy….but haven’t cut yet. A abt coconut cream frosting. How long will it hold outside the refrigerator?Thanks

    1. It depends on the temperature of the room it’s in. If it’s super hot, I wouldn’t leave it for more than an hour or so. If coolish, it should be fine for 3-4 hours ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply