1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

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1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake displayed on a serving platter and topped with fresh raspberries and blackberries

Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you a perfectly fluffy, tender, sweet vanilla cake that’s vegan and gluten-free! Let’s bake!

Mixing together the wet and dry ingredients for 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

This recipe is easy to make, requiring 1 bowl and 10 ingredients.

The base starts with vegan “buttermilk” made by mixing dairy-free milk and vinegar. Then add in applesauce for (oil-free!) moisture and natural sweetness and vanilla extract for that quintessential vanilla flavor. YUM.

For the dry ingredients, after much experimentation, we went with a mixture of almond flour, potato starch, and cornstarch. This combo totally nailed it! So stoked for that fluffy, crumbly texture.

Freshly baked 1-Bowl Vanilla Cake layers in round baking pans
Spreading frosting on one of the layers of this 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Once your cake is baked, it’s time for frosting!

We included two options: one is coconut whipped cream and the other is classic vegan buttercream frosting. Both are delicious, but we were feeling classic vibes, so we went for the buttercream.

Our perfectly frosted 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake perched atop a serving platter and decorated with fresh berries
A slice of our fluffy and perfectly sweet 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake topped with a fresh raspberry

We hope you all LOVE this cake! It’s:

Perfectly sweet
Easy to make
& SO delicious

This would make the perfect cake for holiday or special occasion celebrations. It’s delicious on its own but also pairs well with coconut whip, vegan buttercream (recipe below), or even chocolate frosting!

For more easy cakes, be sure to check out our Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Gluten-Free Birthday Cake, Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake, Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes, and The Best Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers and happy baking, friend!

Using a fork to cut into a slice of our 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

A 1-bowl vegan gluten-free vanilla cake that’s perfectly tender, fluffy, and sweet! Delicious frosted or unfrosted and SO easy to make! 10 ingredients and 1 bowl required.
Author Minimalist Baker
Three layer Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake topped with fresh raspberries and blackberries
4.73 from 267 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10 (slices)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 1 2/3 cup dairy-free milk (we used boxed coconut milk // almond or rice would also work)
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • 3 1/4 cups almond flour (not meal // we prefer Wellbee’s brand)
  • 1 scant cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch (or you can try subbing arrowroot starch for grain-free)
  • 1 1/3 cup organic cane sugar*
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)


  • 2 sticks vegan butter, softened (we prefer Earth Balance soy-free buttery sticks)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2-4 cups organic powdered sugar (sifted)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly grease two standard 8-inch round cake pans, one 9×13-inch, or three 6-inch round pans* (with vegan butter or coconut oil) and dust with gluten-free flour. Shake out excess and set aside.
  • In a liquid measuring cup, measure out dairy-free milk and add vinegar. Let set a few minutes. Then add applesauce and vanilla. Whisk/stir to combine.
  • Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated and no large lumps remain. The batter should be thick but pourable (see video). Add more almond flour if too wet or dairy-free milk if too thick.
  • Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake on a center rack for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges and surface appear golden brown.
  • Let cool 15 minutes in the cake pans. To remove from pans, run a dull knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Then place a plate or cooling rack on top and quickly invert. Let cool completely (preferably overnight or at least 6 hours on a wire rack) before frosting.
  • Frost with coconut whipped cream and berries for a lighter application (see inspiration here), or frost generously with my 3-ingredient Vegan Buttercream Frosting (see below).
  • Store cake covered at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freeze up to 1 month.
  • FROSTING*: Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute. Then add vanilla and mix once more. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until a thick, spreadable frosting is formed. I found about 3 1/2 cups to be the appropriate amount per 1 full cake recipe.
  • If too thick, the frosting will be too hard to spread (add 1/2 tsp almond milk at a time if too thick). If too thin, the frosting will slide off the cake. If too thin, continue adding powdered sugar until you get the right texture.
  • Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before frosting.



*If altering batch size, please note that the number of pans and frosting instructions are based on how the original recipe is written. Adjust accordingly.
*To reduce sugar, each 1/4 cup of sugar be swapped with 1 packet (1/2 tsp) of powdered stevia. Or you could try subbing a mix of maple syrup and coconut sugar, but I haven’t tested it this way and can’t guarantee results.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the salt and without frosting.
*Prep time does not include cooling the cake.
*Recipe inspiration from The Vegan 8.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 Slice Calories: 326 Carbohydrates: 50.1 g Protein: 5.4 g Fat: 12.1 g Saturated Fat: 0.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 345 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 27.4 g

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  1. Danielle H says

    Hi just wondering – it says it keeps in the fridge 3-4 days and in the freezer for 1 month. Just wondering if this is with the cake covered or uncovered in frosting or how long it would last if covered in the frosting? Thanks :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Danielle, you can freeze it either way! Frosting before serving is better though in our experience.

  2. Danny says

    Thanks for this recipe. We tried to make 1/3 of the recipe first to try it out and we prepared it in a muffin tray (5 pieces) because we did not have the size of bowl mentioned in this recipe. However, the cake wasn’t as fluffy but quite dense and moist. Would you know if that is because of the muffin tray instead of the bowl or could we try anything else perhaps?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Danny, A muffin tray shouldn’t be an issue! Is it possible your baking powder is old/expired?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sam, We’d suggest baking at 350 F for ~25-30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Hope you love it!!

  3. Katrina says

    Hi! I would like to make this cake for my son’s first birthday as he has allergies. Can I substitute the almond flour in this recipe for cassava flour while keeping everything else the same? Thank you so much!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Katrina, cassava flour is a lot more absorbent than almond flour and creates a more dense texture, so we wouldn’t recommend it. We’d recommend doing a search in the comments for substitutes to see what has worked for other readers that might be a good fit for his allergies. Hope that helps!

  4. Kira says

    Hi, thank you so much for your delicious recipes! I’d like to try this for my daughter’s first birthday but want to limit her sugar intake as there will be a few celebrations. Exactly how much coconut sugar and maple syrup would be called for as a substitute do you think?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kira! We have a maple syrup sweetened vanilla cupcake recipe here! We haven’t tried it as a cake but would suggest pouring it into a 9-inch round cake pan (greased and floured) and baking at 350F for ~30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are golden brown. Let us know if you try!

  5. Jessica Montoya says

    This recipe looks great but I need to make it sugar free. Have you tried erythritol as a sub for sugar? Also, how long can the cake be stored in the refrigerator? Many thanks and love your recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessica, It will keep for ~3-4 days. We don’t have much experience baking with erythritol, but another reader did mention success using a mix of sugar and other sugar alternatives like monk fruit (which often has erythritol added) and xylitol. The sugar in this recipe does help it have a classic “vanilla” taste as well as helping with texture, so we aren’t sure about replacing all of it. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

      • Jessica Montoya says

        Just wanted to update you, we used erythritol and it came out perfect. I swapped the sugar 1:1 with erythritol so it was not as sweet but we liked it that way! Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

  6. Brittany Tydlacka says

    If letting it cool overnight, can this recipe be left out on the counter overnight or should it be refrigerated overnight?

    Thank you! So excited to try this!

  7. Coreena says

    This looks delicious…I’m wondering if I can sub out the almond flour for a gluten free 1:1 flour? Would like to make this for my son’s birthday this weekend, but there are many allergies I have to be aware of.
    If so, how much?

    Thank you.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Coreena! We don’t think this would be a good fit for a gluten-free 1:1 flour. Because the cake is oil free we think it might be too dry without it! We will add a nut-free vanilla cake to our recipe list though!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Madhumitha, the potato starch is pretty important in this recipe for the right texture, but you could possibly try corn starch or a gluten-free blend instead. We haven’t tried either of those, though, so cannot guarantee results.

  8. Karla says

    Hello, I’m not too familiar with gluten free baking; for the almond flour- do I pack the flour or use spoon method to measure out flour?

    Thank you. Looking forward to making this recipe

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Karla, the spoon method, or gently scooping + leveling, is best for almond flour!

  9. Olivia says


    Is there a way to make this recipe refined sugar free? Is subbing maple syrup and coconut sugar the best way to go, or would this dramatically alter the flavour profile? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Olivia, the sugar in this recipe helps it have a classic “vanilla” taste as well as helping with texture. We think the texture would turn out okay with those subs but the color will be darker and it will taste a bit more wholesome. Let us know how it goes if you try it!

  10. B says

    Hi there! I made this cake once before, and my husband and daughter LOVED it. Out of curiosity, the calorie count per slice is 326. Is that count including the frosting?
    Many thx!

  11. Patricia says

    This is the (undetectably) gluten and dairy free cake of my dreams, and was an absolute hit with my family. Unlike some other gluten free cakes I’ve tried baking, it was still moist and delicious the next day. I will be using this recipe for my daughters upcoming birthday no doubt. Thanks for another winner, Minimalist Baker. I can always count on you for accessible and delicious wholesome recipes.

  12. Neha says

    I absolutely love this recipe of yours and have made it a zillion times with a great result always.
    I’m wondering, if I want to give it a banana flavor, can I swap the apple sauce with bananas instead? Will it impact the texture of the cake?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Neha, so glad you enjoy this recipe! We haven’t tried it with banana and can’t guarantee results, but we think they should work here!

  13. Henri says


    Same question as the 1 Bowl Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake for Potato starch..

    Is it possible to substitute with Cornstarch or Tapioca Starch?


    Is it possible to substitute Butter with Coconut Cream or Cashew Butter or else…?

    And Sugar with Maple Syrup or Dates and in which quantities please?

    Many thanks

    Henri 😉

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      1) Potato starch is key in gluten-free baking for a light and fluffy texture! We can’t guarantee success with cornstarch, but it would be the next best option. 2) For a frosting without vegan butter/powdered sugar, we’d suggest our cashew buttercream.

      • Henri says

        Hey thanks I dowloaded and printed Cashew Buttercream looks great!

        But do I have to make and use the whole recipe to.cover the whole cake + layers?

        Can I use light coconut sugar if it doesnt brown the Cake color?

        It is.a clear Coconut sugar we have in France if you know?

        Like yellow brown color…kind of sand color…if it is good?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Yes, you’d need to make the whole recipe. We aren’t familiar with clear coconut sugar, but the flavor/stability of coconut sugar is different than cane sugar, so cane sugar is still best here!

  14. Jbphdelaney says

    Hello! This cake is one of my absolute favorites! My daughter recently wanted to try your strawberry cake, and I noticed that the ingredients are very similar. (It was also a keeper!) The strawberry cake has an option to sub flour for the almond flour, potato starch, and corn starch. Could I do that with this one? How much? Thanks so much!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, we aren’t sure if it would be a good fit in this one because it’s oil-free and might turn out too dry without almond flour. But if you want to try it out, we’d suggest 2-3 cups.

  15. Catherine Elkhattaby Strauch says

    This is the recipe we used for my wedding cake :) It is absolutely delicious. My favorite way to eat it is with Coco Whip and fresh berries.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, congratulations Catherine! Thank you SO much for the lovely review! We’re so glad you enjoyed it! xo