Best Dreamy Vegan Vanilla Gluten-Free Birthday Cake. This cake is soft, fluffy, really moist, healthy and oil-free.
This vegan vanilla birthday cake with chocolate ganache is adorned with curled white chocolate on top. Yes, please. Now, this is how to start the week. It's hard to believe it is completely vegan, without eggs and dairy. I'm a sucker for vanilla, it's almost right up there with cinnamon. I especially love the strong vanilla flavor in these Fluffy Vegan Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins.
Oh my goodness, if there was ever a recipe that was tested and tested and tested, this would be it. I have done a lot of vegan and gluten-free, even oil-free baking, but trying to create a birthday cake like this was not easy. First off, I needed it to be vegan and gluten-free, obviously. Then, when you add in oil-free to the mix and only 8 ingredients, it becomes rather difficult. Because, sure I could do it and have it sacrifice true cake texture, but my whole point of recreating traditional desserts is them wowing everybody who eats them. This cake was devoured by my guests! The whole cake is just 8 ingredients (+salt & water)! A task I didn't think was possible including those requirements.
So, this cake came about and was inspired by the most precious person in my life, my daughter. She turned 4 recently and I created the ultimate vegan gluten-free cake for her, a double layer cake. A chocolate layer, a vanilla layer and topped with a strawberry frosting and then a chocolate ganache. She asked for all of that, so I had to deliver. Here is that cake I made for her birthday party.
And here's the birthday girl herself blowing out her candles...
I shared that cake photo on Facebook and asked you all which cake you wanted to see first, chocolate or vanilla, obviously vanilla one. Barely though, only by 2 votes. So, don't worry, the chocolate one is coming soon too! Here is the recipe for that amazing Vegan Strawberry Buttercream Frosting!
But for now....let's all cheer for vanilla! I had to remake it for the blog obviously....what a rough life.
For this post, I didn't want to make more strawberry frosting, so I just drizzled chocolate ganache on top and then some curled white chocolate on top, omg, so good!!
I tried many trials doing this nut-free and while I nailed the texture, it was not nearly moist enough because of the lack of oil. I'm still working on both a nut-free and oil-free cake recipe, so if you can't have nuts, don't fret. I will eventually get one up, but it still needs a bit of work. It's super easy to make a yummy cake when you add a lot of oil, not so easy without it, I found. In fact, it was just down right ticking me off. There are so many elements involved to keep it light and taste just like vanilla cake.
But not this one, would you look at how soft and fluffy that is? The almond flour gives it a buttery taste, keeps it insanely moist and the potato starch is what gives it fluff and that all-purpose flour effect. A little spongy, a little bit dense and a super soft cake, which I loved! There is no need for oil because of the almond flour, it gives plenty of fat. To make sure it stays moist, the applesauce is an extra layer of moisture. Applesauce also makes cakes really soft and tender, which I love.
To give it more structure and hold, I didn't want to use flax, because I didn't want specks of flax visible in this beautiful vanilla cake, so what did I do? Well, I decided to try my hand for the first time at using aquafaba, which is just the liquid at the bottom of a chickpea can. This idea has exploded all over the internet. It works as an egg replacer, among a billion other things. It is NOT my idea, the credit goes to Goose Wholt for the amazing discovery. You can find out all about this stuff here and their community to find all kinds of answers. The recommended amount for 1 egg is 3 tablespoons chickpea liquid, but I found 4 tablespoons to work best for my specific recipe. In fact, it worked better than flax. Most people are on to this craze lately, but if that sounds gross, don't worry, even I was scared. However, it's absolutely 100% undetectable....in fact, the batter is so darn delicious, you may just skip baking the cake!
With all the billion trials I did, I can't stress enough how each ingredient is crucial, you can't sub and expect the same results. Gluten-free baking, especially cakes, is too finicky.
After so much tinkering around, I ultimately went back to the recipe I wrote for my Cranberry Bundt Cake last year! I remember how much I loved that unique flour combo that I created and the texture. So, I trialed that one, making a few changes to make it lighter and it was finally a winner! The aquafaba was only a small part to my recipe, but it made a difference in it as well. It really does work better than flax for this cake.
Ding ding! A Dreamy Vanilla Vegan Gluten-Free Cake that is also oat-free and grain-free too. And if you aren't feeling up to making an actual cake, then you can totally make these as dreamy vanilla vegan cupcakes also! Use any frosting you like or drizzle the chocolate ganache on top of the cupcakes. YUM.
So many of you can't have oats or grains, so here is a cake that you can enjoy too!
I worked so, so hard on this cake, so please after you make it, I'll be dying to hear what you all think of it! So many of you told me you wanted this recipe for your kid's birthdays coming up, so I look forward to hearing your feedback below! I'd also love to see your pic if you are on Instagram. Tag me @thevegan8 and don't forget my tag #thevegan8, so I don't miss the notification and it saves to my page! Hope this Dreamy Vanilla Vegan Gluten-Free Cake is a huge hit at your parties!
Not in the mood for vanilla cake? Then make my amazing Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Cake instead. You can make it as a plain chocolate or chocolate peppermint, or even as cupcakes. Both are delicious!
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (224 g, do not use regular almond meal (with the skins), it is not light enough and will not produce the same results, make sure to measure accurately 224 g. See NOTE below)
- ½ cup potato starch (80 g, this is the exact starch that makes the cake so fluffy)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (2.4 g)
- 2 teaspoons aluminum-free double-acting baking powder (9.6 g)
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (150 mL)
- ½ cup applesauce
- 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar (7.5 mL)
- 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract (15 mL)
- ¼ cup aquafaba (the liquid at the bottom of a chickpea can)
- 2 tablespoons water
- I topped this cake with my Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Ganache/Glaze Or you can make it with the Strawberry Frosting or my Chocolate Espresso Truffle Frosting!
- Note: It is crucial to not sub these ingredients for best results. It's necessary to use blanched almond flour because it is what makes the cake so moist and light. DO NOT use Bob's Red Mill blanched almond flour for this cake. It is never finely ground enough and there is always little bits of almond still left and it doesn't produce as light, fluffy results. I highly recommend King Arthur Flour or Honeyville or if you are in Texas, use the HEB brand, it's perfect. Don't say I didn't warn you if you try subbing. :)
- If making this for a birthday party or event, I always suggest to do a trial run before the big day, just to make sure you have no issues. Ovens vary and you want to make sure your big day runs smoothly and you have the cooking time down. You want to make sure to make this cake the day of the event, not the day before, because it will be freshest and the most moist the day of. It comes together so quickly, that it's easy to throw together the day of. I recommend baking it at least 2 hours before your event to make sure it has completely cooled. Baked goods with starch tend to still slightly "cook" and fluff up for a couple of hours after removing them from the oven. They are a tad too moist to eat immediately.
- Make sure your pan is ready before preparing the ingredients. You will need to line a 9 inch round metal pan with parchment on the bottom and along the sides. I cut a round circle of paper for the bottom and cut a long strip to place around the inside. (See above photo of the cooked cake) The best way to make the perfect circle is to place the pan on the paper and draw a line around the edge of the pan. Lightly spray the inside of the pan and place the strips with the wet sides against the sides and wrapping around the inside. Put the strips down first, then the circle. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Make sure to weigh all your ingredients for accurate results. I can't stress the importance of this enough. Fluff your almond flour with a whisk first to break up any lumps, as it tends to lump in storage. To measure, scoop your cups into the dry ingredients, very lightly pat down to make sure there are no gaps and then level off. Add the almond flour, potato starch, salt and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk everything together really well until there are no lumps remaining. Jab around with the whisk, breaking up any lumps.
- In a separate small bowl, add the syrup, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and aquafaba and whisk until smooth. When measuring applesauce, make sure to level off with your finger, so you don't get too much in the batter. Pour over the dry ingredients slowly while whisking it in. Whisk until smooth. Then beat it with a handheld mixer for about a minute to incorporate some air and make it really smooth. It should be a very smooth, pourable batter. Now, try not to eat all the batter now. I know, it's so dang good.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, until it has risen with a light golden top, a toothpick comes out clean from the center (may have a few DRY crumbs, but shouldn't have wet batter, you want to make sure the center is cooked through.) and it lightly springs back to the touch. Your time may slightly vary depending on your oven and may take longer to bake. Let cool 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Then turn it over, so the flat side is facing up on a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing, at least an hour. Or, you can flip it back over and frost the dome top if you prefer that look.
- I recommend topping it with my Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Ganache/Glaze! For additional decoration, I added some curled white chocolate. I used Milkless Polar Dream brand ordered from Amazon, it's vegan and the only vegan white chocolate I've found. To make the curls, just warm up half a bar just for about 20 seconds in the microwave, just long enough to slightly soften it, not melt it! Then take a peeler and just peel the sides, dropping off pieces of chocolate all over the top. Store it in the fridge and it will remain amazingly moist, it will just get a bit firmer.
- Makes a single layer 9 inch round cake or 12 cupcakes. Cupcakes should be done around 20 minutes, but check for a clean toothpick in the center. Double the recipe for a 2 layer cake. If you want a traditional buttercream icing, use the one from my Maple Vanilla Cupcakes.
The nutrition does not include the aquafaba since there is no nutritional info that I could find online. But it's such a small amount, it wouldn't make much a difference anyways.