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Slice of gluten-free vanilla chiffon cake on a white plate with whipped cream and berries on top.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake (Dairy-Free)

  • Author: Christina
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2, 8 or 9-inch cakes 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Diet: Gluten Free


When you want a delicious, gluten-free crowd-pleasing cake!  An easy common meringue (egg whites whipped with sugar) lightens the texture of this classic. I love splurging on a whole vanilla bean for special occasions, but loads of vanilla extract works, too.

This recipe makes two 8- or 9-inch cakes. For a single-layer cake, cut the recipe in half. 

If you want to bake a classic wheat flour cake, replace the gluten-free, oat, and tapioca flour with 15 ounces/3 cups of all-purpose or cake flour.  

Frost this cake with American buttercream, whipped cream, and berries, or do what I did for my son's half birthday: Whip up a simple Italian meringue (AKA homemade marshmallow fluff) for a "cotton candy" cake!

For a dairy-free cake, simply switch out the melted butter for your favorite oil. I recommend avocado, olive, or coconut if you don't mind the flavor.  




Dry Ingredients

  • 7 ounces/1⅓ cups gluten-free flour blend (tested with both Bob's Red Mill 1:1 and Simple Truth All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flours)
  • 5 ounces/1⅓ cups oat flour
  • 3 ounces/⅔ cup tapioca flour
  • 3½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 6 ounces/1½ sticks/12 tablespoons melted butter or ¾ cup avocado/olive oil
  • 10 ounces/about 1⅔ cups granulated or coconut sugar, split in half
  • 8 ounces/1 cup milk or plant-based milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean


Prep Ingredients + Pans

  1. Grease two 8 or 9-inch cake pans (round or square). I like to line the bottoms of mine with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  3. Separate the eggs, reserving the whites for the meringue.

Mix Batter

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk about half of the sugar into the sifted flour mixture.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter (or oil) and egg yolks until frothy. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. 
  3. With a hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle (or a whisk), beat the sifted dry ingredients into the wet on low speed until well combined. Then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

Whip Meringue + Fold Into Batter

  1. In a large clean bowl with clean paddles or a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the beater on medium speed, slowly rain in the remaining sugar. 
  2. Beat the whites to soft to medium peaks, when they turn smooth, glossy, and opaque. When the beaters are pulled from the meringue, the peaks will flop over. This typically takes two to three minutes at medium-high speed.
  3. Mix one-third of the meringue into the reserved batter with a spatula, combining completely. 
  4. Gently fold the remaining meringue into the batter. Do this by scooping up from the bottom and over the top. Every few strokes, cut through the middle of the batter to the bottom of the bowl, then back up and over again. Turn the bowl as you fold.

Bake + Cool

  1. Pour and smooth equal amounts of batter into the greased pans.
  2. Bake 25-28 minutes, until the tops spring back a bit when touched AND a toothpick comes out nearly clean.
  3. Cool cakes in the pans, on a rack, if possible, for 10-20 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. 

Soak, Enjoy + Store

  1. Brush or drizzle any simple syrup or flavorful liquid on the cake layers, then decorate or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. 
  2. Decorated cakes can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator (if frosting is perishable, like Italian meringue or cream cheese frosting).
  3. Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for several months. Bring chilled or frozen cakes to room temperature before enjoying. 


Food Coloring. I recommend natural, plant-based food colors. I like Nature's Flavors from a professional standpoint, but there are plenty of great natural colors in national grocery chains. If using a liquid color, mix it in with the milk, if using a powdered color, whisk it into the dry ingredients in the second step.

Keywords: gluten free cake, gluten free vanilla cake, easy gluten free cake, gluten free vegan cake, gluten free baking