What is a birthday or celebration without cake?! Just because you can’t have gluten, dairy or eggs doesn’t mean you can’t have a delicious yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Let me show you how to make a traditional cake a non-traditional way. And, to make sure the flavor is on point, I have a SECRET INGREDIENT. After years of frustration not feeling like it was right, I think I’ve finally figured it out. Enjoy a slice (or two) of this delicious gluten free vegan cake recipe for your next party–whether it be your child’s first birthday cake or your grandparent’s 99th!
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WHY WE NEED A GLUTEN FREE VEGAN CAKE RECIPE
My son was diagnosed with a wheat food allergy, egg food allergy and milk food allergy–which immediately threw us into gluten free vegan baking. It was a learning curve, so if you’re just starting out–let me save you some wasted ingredients, because they are not cheap! My husband also have a gluten intolerance and I have friends with Celiac disease, so to say we’re an allergy aware and allergy friendly household is an understatement. If you have a medical or personal reason for avoiding these foods as well, you’re in the right spot!
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR THIS GLUTEN FREE VEGAN CAKE?
Here are the ingredients you’ll need on hand. I’ll answer further FAQs about the ingredients and possible substitutions below, so keep reading:
- Wet ingredients:
- Crisco butter flavored shortening sticks
- Granulated sugar (also known as white sugar or cane sugar)
- Brown sugar
- Dry ingredients
- Wet ingredients:
VEGAN CHOCOLATE FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
WHAT IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT FOR THIS VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CAKE?
Time after time no matter the recipe or variation, I just felt that this yellow cake was missing the richness that you normally get with a yellow cake because of the missing eggs and dairy products. It even tasted a little off because of using gluten-free flours, instead of regular wheat flour. I began to think this couldn’t be overcome. And then, one day I ran across the Cake Batter Extract and I thought “Eureka!” By using this Cake Batter extract it gives the cake a gorgeous yellow hue like the old days, as well as a richer, more consistent taste that you once had.
WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS FOR MCCORMICK’S CAKE BATTER EXTRACT:
As always, look at the actual product in hand, in case it’s changed since time of publishing, but their website lists the ingredients as:
- Water, Propylene glycol, artificial and natural flavor, gum, tragacanth, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Red 40.
They also say that this Cake Batter flavor was once called their Vanilla Nut Butter flavor. For those worried about the food allergen implications of that, I called their number: 1-800-632-5847 and they said that they are a peanut and tree nut free facility. Also, here is the allergen statement from the McCormick website:
“For the most updated allergen and nutritional information, it is important that you read the ingredient statement printed on the packaging at the time of your purchase.
We understand the seriousness of food allergies and sensitivities and will always declare these ingredients on our label in the ingredient statement – they will never be hidden under the notations of “spices” or “natural flavors”:
- Milk & Milk Products
- Tree Nuts
- Yellow Dye #5 (Tartrazine)
- Sulfites over 10 ppm
- Monosodium Glutamate or MSG
- Gluten containing grains – including barley, rye, oats, spelt, triticale, and kamut
If no ingredient statement appears on the product label, then the products is as it appears in the product name (e.g. black pepper). This labeling policy is compliant with US or Canadian food labeling laws, as appropriate. All our retail Extracts and Food Colors are formulated without gluten.
If any product has a Gluten Free claim, the product and the manufacturing line has been validated Gluten Free.
Our facilities have allergen, sanitation, and hygiene programs in place. Our employees follow good manufacturing practices and are trained in the importance of correct labeling and the necessity of performing thorough equipment clean-up and change over procedures to minimize cross-contact of ingredients.
Again, we encourage you to read the ingredients statement on your package at the time of purchase to ensure accurate, up to date information.”
For those worried about the phrase “natural and artificial flavorings” here is what their website says about this:
- “Natural flavor is the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents. The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.”
Ultimately, if you still feel uncomfortable using this ingredient, you totally can omit it. I feel it does make a huge flavor difference, but you will still have an edible cake if you can’t use it.
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN CRISCO SHORTENING STICKS & CAN I USE SOMETHING ELSE?
Here are the ingredients listed in the Crisco Shortening Sticks Butter Flavor as listed on the Crisco website:
- Soybean Oil, Fully Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Palm Oil, Mono And Diglycerides, TBHQ And Citric Acid (Antioxidants), Natural And Ar-tificial Fla-vor, Beta-Carotene (Pro Vitamin A) Added For Color.
I called Crisco at 1-800-766-7309 and they did verbally confirm that this was vegan. I have not tried it with another vegan butter, but would assume you’d get fairly close results if you chose to use a vegan butter stick. I would not recommend replacing it with a liquid oil, like olive oil.
WHAT DAIRY-FREE MILK DO YOU RECOMMEND?
I recommend rice milk because it has the least after taste of all the other plant based milks. You could try substituting another milk at the same ratio. We are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, so we cannot use nut milks like almond milk to test it out, though I would think you would be fine. Let me know in the comments if you try another milk substitute like coconut milk or soy milk.
WHAT EGG REPLACER DO YOU RECOMMEND?
There are lots of egg replacers out there: apple sauce, chia seeds, flax eggs, bananas and so on. Though, for this cake I find that the powdered store bought replacer, Ener-G Egg replacer, works best because it doesn’t give off any additional flavor (like the fruits would) and it isn’t an overly wet replacer like applesauce. If you choose to try a different brand or other type of egg replacer, do so at your own risk.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED?
I use these tools to make this gluten free vegan cake:
- Large mixing bowl or stand mixer with the paddle attachment
- Hand held beaters if not using a stand mixer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Plastic spatula
- Non-stick spray
- Baking pan (I prefer this 9×13 square metal pan, but you could also do a glass baking dish)
- I have yet to try this with round cake pans, but I would think it would work just fine, you’ll just have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t overbake and adjust the time as needed. I just don’t like making layer cake but go for whatever shape you prefer!
- Plastic wrap to cover the cake or some other cake saver or airtight container
IS THIS CAKE SUGAR FREE?
I would not suggest swapping in a sugar free alternative. Liquid sweeteners can throw off the texture. If you’re wanting this to be more refined, the only swap I might consider is coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar. Otherwise, splurge a little since it’s for special occasions!
CAN I SUBSTITUTE…?
I try to address each ingredient and possible substitutes in the corresponding paragraphs above. Please note that gluten free vegan baking can be very fickle, so it’s sometimes a miracle we find something that works. So, if you choose to go off path, know that I cannot guarantee your results. I post what I feel is the optimum ingredients and usage to get the pictured end product. If you do ever find a substitute that works well, please share it below in a comment to help fellow future readers.
WHAT GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR DO I RECOMMEND?
My favorite store bought gluten-free all purpose flour blend is Great Value’s Gluten Free Flour because you can find it at Walmart and it’s less expensive than most. But, you could also use my homemade gluten-free flour blend. I’m sure even some other store bought blends like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 would work fine too. You basically want to make sure the blend is mostly: white rice or brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour/tapioca starch. It is fine if it has some sorghum in there too…but I would stick to those grains and not get any off these flours like almond flour/almond meal, oat flour, cassava flour or coconut flour. If you can have wheat and gluten, go ahead and sub in regular flour 1:1.
WHAT SPRINKLES DO I USE?
To me, a perfect birthday cake has to have decorative sprinkles on top. I just use the Great Value Rainbow Sprinkle Mix because we just need it to be gluten, dairy, egg and nut free. For those who want vegan sprinkles you can use these.
DO YOU HAVE OTHER GLUTEN FREE VEGAN CAKE RECIPES?
Yes I do! Every single baking recipe on my site is free of: gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts so have at it!
- Vegan Gluten-free chocolate cake recipe
- How to make a gluten free box mix vegan
- Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake
- Gluten Free Vegan Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
- Gluten-free Vegan Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Marshmallow Ganache
- Gluten free Vegan Texas Sheet Cake
- Gluten free Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Gluten Free Vegan Slow Cooker Chocolate Lava Cake
- Vanilla Vegan Buttercream
WATCH A VIDEO TO SEE HOW TO MAKE THIS GLUTEN FREE VEGAN CAKE:
This cake really isn’t difficult! Watch this TikTok video below to see how easy it is to make a perfect cake for your next celebration!
@allergyawesomeness Gluten free vegan yellow cake. Yes, you can have delicious cake free of: gluten, dairy and eggs! Great for your next birthday. #glutenfreevegan #glutenfreevegancake #allergyfriendly #foodallergy #vegancake ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim
I hope you enjoy this gluten-free vegan cake recipe. It’s a moist cake with a soft texture that you’ll just love! All my family members love it and my son always wants it for his birthday party–in fact my two boys might fight for the last piece today!
- 3/4 cup Crisco butter flavored shortening sticks
- 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Water
- 1 and 1/2 cup Rice milk (regular or vanilla will do)
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon Cake batter extract
- 2 and 1/4 tsp Ener-G egg replacer powder
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons Baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum, if not included in gluten-free flour blend, otherwise omit
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 3 and 3/4 cups All purpose gluten-free flour
- Vegan chocolate buttercream
Preheat your oven at 350 degrees F. Grease a square 13x9 baking pan, set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl with hand held electric beaters, place the shortening and both sugars. Cream.
Add your liquids: water, rice milk, vanilla and cake batter extract. Stir.
Next add your dry ingredients, except the flour: Ener-G egg replacer, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan if needed, and salt. Mix.
Add in your flour, stirring until combined.
Place batter (will be thick) in the greased pan and smooth the top so everything is even.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until the cake starts to pull from the edges of the pan, and the center is done.
While allowing the cake to completely cool, make the frosting.
Frost once cool and serve. Keep leftovers in an air tight container.
Please read above the recipe card for details on ingredients and substitutions.
*Our allergies, while severe and that get re-tested frequently, are such that we can go strictly by what's on the label. I do not call companies to see what things are derived from, or call manufacturers to see about potential cross contact. If your allergies require you to do so, please do your own homework. I cannot assure you of any ingredient's safety, only you can do that. I simply share what works for our family.
**If you are going to feed this to someone with food allergies, and you yourself do not have food allergies, I HIGHLY recommend having them check every single brand and ingredient you are using, to ensure they're OK with each part of the recipe. And, to make sure you've talked to them about how to avoid cross contamination in your kitchen.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 289mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g
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