The Most Delicious Gluten Free Vanilla Cake with Mixed Berry Buttercream

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake: Tender and delicious gluten free vanilla cake layers with mixed berry buttercream and mixed berry compote.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cake

I’m so excited about this gluten free vanilla cake with mixed berry buttercream! When I set out to make a gluten free cake several years ago, I wanted to make sure the texture and flavor of the crumb were just as tender and delicious as any non GF cake of mine. 

I sampled a lot – A LOT – of gluten-free flours and landed on a couple I love and think create a cake that tastes just as scrumptious as my regular ones. 

This is definitely the most delicious and easy to make gluten free cake I’ve ever had. 

What Is The Best Gluten Free Flour?

Going into my testing years ago, I had heard the brand Cup 4 Cup, which makes an all-purpose gluten free flour. As I read reviews, I was excited to learn that it was apparently a great alternative to regular all-purpose flour.

I was intrigued and tried it in some chocolate chip cookies first. The result? Very impressive substitution, in my opinion! I had tried almond flour, coconut flour, and several other gluten-free alternatives and didn’t think any of them came close to the texture and flavor of good ol’ all-purpose flour.

Gluten Free Flour in Vanilla Cake

The next step was to try Cup 4 Cup in one of my cake recipes. With my Peach Crisp Cake being my latest obsession, I decided to use the vanilla cake from that recipe as the test run with Cup 4 Cup. I followed the recipe almost exactly, just substituting the Cup 4 Cup flour for my regular cake flour.

I made the cake exactly as if I was using cake flour and found the batter to be just as flavorful and tasty as the regular version. The one difference I noticed was that the batter was somewhat sticky. I feared this meant the texture of the cake would be rubbery, but I was wrong. (Yay for being wrong sometimes!). The cake bakes beautifully and tastes delicious. The layers are tender, moist and full of that wonderful vanilla bean flavor.

Other Favorite Gluten Free Flour

Over the years, I’ve played around with Bob’s Red Mill One-for-One GF Baking Flour and several others. For me, Cup 4 Cup and Bob’s Red Mill are my favorites to sub in my cakes when I need to make a gluten-free cake. 

Many of you have also mentioned you love King Arthur Flour GF Flour. I found that one to be slightly grainy, but if you love it, use it. 

With these GF flours, you don’t have to add anything else to the cake. 

NOTE: you may want to reduce the amount of GF flour by ¼ cup when subbing it for cake flour. It’s not a must, but I notice my cakes come out just a tad fluffier when I do. 

Importance of Baking Time

As with any cake, you want to watch the baking time closely. For me, this cake was perfect at 23 minutes. I like to see a little crumb on my toothpick when I give it a poke. I’m always worried I’ve over-baked my cake if the toothpick comes out totally clean. You can also tell that your cake is about done baking when the edges of the cake start to pull away from the pan. Just remember that your cakes continue to bake for about 5 minutes while they cool in the pan.

Having just made the peach filling for my Peach Crisp Cake, I stuck with fresh fruit for this cake as well. This time I made a mixed berry compote and used it for my filling and in my frosting. But don’t feel limited to pairing this cake with fruit. This vanilla cake would be just as yummy with a chocolate buttercream!

Can’t wait to hear your reviews!


Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake with Mixed Berry Frosting

4.88 from 8 votes
Tender gluten-free vanilla cake layers with mixed berry frosting and compote.

Ingredients
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (72.6 g) canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 cups (444g) Cup 4 Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (12.6 g) vanilla bean paste

FOR THE COMPOTE

  • 2 cups (250 g) fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup (125 g) fresh raspberries
  • 4 tablespoons (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (2.5 g) cornstarch, dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1/3 cup (80.6 g) strained mixed berry juice (from compote above)
  • 3 tablespoons (43.3 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.

Instructions
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch pans with non-stick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy, and smooth in texture.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Add the vanilla and turn mixer to medium-high and beat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and baking powder with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until combined.
  • Mix on low until combined.
  • Evenly distribute the cake batter in the three pans, about 16 to 17 ounces of batter in each 8-inchpan or 12 ounces in each 6-inch pan. The cake batter will be sticky. Smooth it out with an offset icing spatula or back of a spoon.
  • Bake the cakes for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only just a few crumbs on it.
  • Cool the cakes on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cakes onto cooking racks to cool completely. If you don’t plan to stack and decorate the cake right away, level the cakes if needed and then immediately wrap each layer in plastic wrap or tin foil and freeze. 
  • About an hour before assembly, remove the cake layers from the freezer.

FOR THE COMPOTE

  • Combine the berries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture while bringing it to a boil and occasionally breaking up the berries to release their juices.
  • Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and then simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Strain ⅓ cup of the mixture and reserve for frosting. Refrigerate the strained berry mixture and the remaining compote for at least 4 hours before using. 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, followed by the mixed berry juice, heavy cream, vanilla extract and dash of salt.
  • Continue to beat the frosting on medium-high speed for an additional 5 minutes.    
  • Before frosting your cake, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets. This will also help the frosting pull back together if it looks separated from adding the berry juices.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword gluten free, Gluten Free Cake, gluten-free vanilla cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

Get my free cake decorating guide
Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Comments

  1. Hi
    I really want to try this recipe, but I really need to know if is 3 or 4 Cups of the multi- purpose gluten free Flour. Please let me know.

  2. What is the correct amount of flour in the recipe.
    Above it has:
    3 cups Cup 4 Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten Free Flour

    Love all your recipes and looking forward to trying this one!
    Thanks!

  3. I made this cake this morning, and it was fantastic! Everyone who ate it, said it was better than a regular cake! I used Bob’s Red Mill’s 1 to 1 flour blend, which worked perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. The cakes shrank significantly. Is this normal? They were big and puffy in the pan and then as they cooled they got much smaller. Thanks!

    1. Hmmm, it shouldn’t shrink significantly… just a tad is ok, but more than that isn’t usual. I’ll have to think about why that might have happened. Did they sink in the middle at all or just deflate?

  5. I just made this for my bosses 30th birthday. It was a hit! So delicious!!! I also used Bobs 1 to 1. I unfortunately didn’t have vanilla bean paste but substituted 2 vanilla bean pods. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

  6. I found you from the I Am Mom summit and really excited to find this recipe. I am an amateur cake decorator and always looking to learn more. I have made cakes for sevearl family and friends. Recently we discovered my daughter has a gulten and dairy allergy. Would this recipe work for ausbtituing out the butter and buttermilk for margerine and maybe almond milk. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi! Welcome and thanks for watching my session! I haven’t tried those substitutions for this cake, so I couldn’t give you a confident answer either way. I’m sorry. I think it’s worth a try though!

  7. This looks amazing! I have a question for you though. My best friend is Gluten Free but she also can’t eat dairy. Do you have any ideas of how I could make some delicious cake like this without dairy? The frosting is always the hardest part! If anyone can figure this out it’s you! I would totally appreciate your help!

    1. I don’t have a good dairy free frosting yet. I need to play around with some alternatives to dairy. I’m hoping to work on dairy free and egg free cakes. Stay tuned!

  8. Where do you find the bean paste? We went to two different stores and called several others. None of them even knew what we were talking about! I guess I’ll make it without. Hopefully it’s still good!

  9. YUM! And thank you for a GF option!

    Can you tell me about using a compote with a cake and shelf life? If making a birthday cake ahead, will I need to wait to put the compote on the day of? The same if fruit is mixed in the buttercream?
    THANKS

  10. Hi Courtney, I only have two 20x7cm cake tins (almost 8x3in but not quite) – do you think I would need to buy a 3rd one or would the mixture work halved if I adjust the baking time?
    Also my oven is super small – do the cakes all need to be cooked together at the same time?

    1. For two 8-inch pans, just cut it by 1/3 not 1/2. And it’s ok to bake them separately. You’ll want to reduce the time slightly

  11. Question, when I pulled the cake out of the oven it was nice and fluffy but as it cooled off it shrunk in on itself…did you have this happen to you? Or did I do something wrong…will I murder people if I serve it

    1. Clarification* it didn’t sink and still looks like a cake layer but I was surprised at how much it puffed up and then shrunk. I made it in cupcakes too and they came out beautiful and then shriveled up ..still tastes good (I haven’t died yet lol) but strange. I used the Cup4Cup flour

    2. HAha no everyone will be ok. GF is a little tricky and does some weird stuff but if it didn’t sink, I think you’re good to go. It just shrinks a little.

  12. This looks so good! I am going to use it for my daughter’s birthday but I’m going to make cupcakes instead. Should I just omit he berry compote? Or is there a way to still have the compote in cupcakes? Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  13. This is for the frosting and compote only as I didn’t make the cake part of it. Everyone really liked it, especially my dad which is great because I made it for his cake! I was surprised how sweet it was though, and that was a comment made my some of the adults-that it was really yummy but too sweet so they were glad I did a thin layer. The compote was delicious but didn’t pack quite as much of a punch as I thought it would. When I do it again I think I’ll do thinner layers to get more of the compote per bite. Overall really yummy and I’ll def try it again😋

  14. Do you recommend a brand for gluten free flour I know they are totally not equal Witt the results and your cake looks very fluffy. Thanks a million love you and your cakes ❤️

  15. Holly Mollie,
    I made this cake yesterday, it did not look like yours I put the compote on the top tier. It is Great! My husband is diabetic and I’m celiac. It is not too sweet or rich, but with the compote fresh and delish. Thanks for the recipe.
    Karen, in New Mexico

  16. Hello Courtney! I have tried this recipe once and it tasted AMAZING, but I think it came out a bit too moist (shrunk and sunk a little in the middle). I think I may not have had the right amount of flour due to measurement error. Would you be willing to share the flour measurement in grams?
    Thank you!
    -Chelsea

    1. 5 stars
      I made this cake for my husband’s birthday and it was the best vanilla cake I have ever made. Usually I will wrap leftover pieces of cake and freeze them, but this time there were no leftovers. Everyone loved it and it didn’t last long! This will be my go to vanilla cake recipe from now on.

  17. Hi, this looks like a great recipe. Do you have suggestions for making this also dairy free?
    Thanks
    Susan

  18. Courtney this cake tastes amazing and I love the berry compote and frosting, however I had the same issue as a few other people my cakes puffed up beautifully in the oven then shrank a lot as they cooled. I think the shrinkage caused them to be very dense and gummy… any thoughts?
    Thanks!

    1. I had this same issue too! the taste was AMAZING but the texture was quite dense and almost gummy. Saw a few similar comments after. Might try making it again this weekend for another birthday and will have to make sure I’m not overmixing based on some of Courtney’s responses!

  19. Do you think it would still work if I substituted regular whole milk for the buttermilk? I’m trying to make a gluten free Earl Grey cake and I want to flavour the milk with the tea.

    1. Hello Kennedy, You can substitute milk with unsweetend Soja milk to make it Vegan and dairy free. And to make a buttermilk you will need to add some white wine vineger to the soja milk or milk of your choise. I’m not sure off head how much.. so please check up the internet as too how much vineger is needed to create a cup or according to how much is needed in your recipe. This applies to any type of milk (Plant based e,g for soja milk or regular milk doesn’t matter. Hope this helped

  20. Hi-want to make this cake for a friend(she’s gluten free and dairy free)Did you use regular butter or did you use a vegan butter,Can you substitute the butter milk for a dairy free milk.Thanks!

  21. So excited to try this recipe! Is it supposed to be a tablespoon or teaspoon of vanilla paste?!
    The descriptions says tablespoon but has 4.2g beside it! Thank you! 😁

  22. Giving these a 5 out of 5 stars review!!!!

    My brother in law just had to go GF and I was really apprehensive to try and find GF desserts for get togethers. I made these into cupcakes for a pumpkin carving party today and honestly did not have high expectations. Although Courtney’s cake recipes are my go to, I had heard a lot of negative about baking without with GF flour subs and blends.

    These were FANTASTIC and if I didn’t bake them myself, I would have never known that they were GF!

    My only question is that they baked up beautifully…full and rounded, but as they cooled they shrunk tremendously and had a very lumpy appearance compared to the beautiful bake they came out of the oven with. Hopefully you can offer some input as to what I did wrong? Still delish though!!!

  23. This cake turned out wonderfully! I used needed it to be mostly dairy free so I used County Crock Plant Butter. For buttermilk, I used A2 milk kefir. I had to use disposable cake tins due to money constraints, but I put a cookie sheet on the bottom wrack to help distribute the heat evenly and it did a pretty good job. They weren’t raised in the middle and were quite even. I also baked it at 325 for about 37 minutes. I followed the directions and let it cool for 5 min and turned one out on the cooling wrack. That was a mistake, lol. This will now be a two teired cake. 😂 BUT, I let the others cool for a good long while and though still quite tender, they were sturdy enough to handle. I will be using dairy free butter for my strawberry buttercream, crushed Oreos with diced strawberries between the layers, and crushed Oreos around the outside and cut strawberries on top! Thanks for another great recipe Courtney! It turned out delicious!!

  24. 5 stars
    I made this cake gf/df and it was a hit! Perfect mixture of fruit with vanilla cake (and no one knew it was gf or df)! I’m normally a huge chocolate or lemon fan but this one scored high!! Will definitely make it again.

  25. Hi Courtney,

    I just made this today and measured everything on a scale for exact measurements. I even measured the eggs to make sure I had 50g per egg. I also used Cup4Cup flour and baked this batter on a silpat mat. However, my cupcakes turned out dense and not fluffy. I got them out of the oven when the toothpick came out clean so they were not overdone. What went wrong?

    Thank you,
    Jen

  26. 5 stars
    This cake is the real deal! I used the cake recipe as stated, adding 1 tbsp coconut emulsion to the batter. I then used the batter to make cupcakes (got 30 cupcakes, baked for about 18 min, if I remember right) and then used your Pina Colada Cake recipe to doll them up. The pineapple curd made an amazing filling and the coconut flavored buttercream was perfection. Topped with toasted coconut and a little pineapple slice. Not one single person at our party knew that the cupcakes were gluten free. Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

  27. Hi! I’m excited to try this recipe but realized I do not have vanilla bean paste. Do I need to adjust the amount of vanilla extract? Thanks!

  28. Im not a train baker but love to bake. My daughter is gating married in December and ask me to make a simple but frat thing cake. Im looking for that special cake recipe and I have stumbled across your vanilla cake. 🍰 One question! On the flour. (Cup 4 Cup Multi-Purpose 3 cups (444g) Cup 4 Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten Free Flour.) is it 3 or 4 cups of AP flour? Or a specific kind of flour? Want to fallow exact recipe. Thank you so much.

  29. 4 stars
    Made this cake for my Dad’s 79th birthday (he’s celiac) and he loved it!!! I followed the directions and the layers did shrink a bit but didn’t interfere with the taste. I am now a big fan of compote

  30. I’m excited to try this. I’d like to make it a couple of days ahead of my party and am wondering if the berry compote will freeze well or if I should I plan on assembling the day of.