Easy Vanilla Vegan Gluten Free Cake (Oat Flour only!)
The only vanilla vegan gluten free cake recipe you’ll ever need! This super light and tender oat flour cake is full of sweet vanilla and baked to have the perfect crumb texture so that everyone will love this cake, vegan or not!. Topped with a super creamy dairy free buttercream, this vanilla oat flour cake is the perfect treat for all occasions! You won’t even know it’s gluten free, eggless, and dairy free!
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You are going to LOVE this vegan oat flour cake!
I’ve finally done it. You guys have asked, and we’re delivering! Introducing your NEW favorite entirely vegan gluten free cake: the vanilla oat flour cake.
I’m so proud of this cake for a few reasons. Not only is it entirely gluten free (we’re JUST using oat flour- no other gums nor flours needed!), but this cake is technically also considered flourless, as we’re using rolled oats to begin.
If you’ve never made a vegan gluten free cake before, then you’re in for a treat. This vanilla cake checks all the necessary marks for tasting light and refreshing, not too heavy, having the PERFECT crumb texture, and just absolutely heavenly. You won’t be able to put your fork down!
It’s also not too sweet- we’ve reduced the sugar content so that it’s not overwhelmingly sweet and you could easily eat a full slice. The cake is also full of vanilla, thanks to using real vanilla powder. Oh, and not only is this cake vegan and gluten free, but it’s also nut free, soy free, eggless, dairy free, and coconut free!
Seriously, this cake could not get any simpler in ingredients nor better in taste. You’re just going to be blown away by how amazing this oat flour cake tastes!
Ingredients for a perfect vegan gluten free cake
One of the best features about this oat flour cake is that the ingredients are incredibly simple and straight forward. Honestly, you might have everything on hand already! For this vegan gluten free cake, you’ll need:
- Rolled oats: please use certified gluten free rolled oats if you really need gluten free! Otherwise, you can use regular rolled oats, or you can also purchase store bought oat flour.
- Arrowroot starch: this will help yield that cake like texture. You can also swap in cornstarch instead!
- Sugar: you can use granulated sugar or coconut sugar here. Please be sure to read the recipe card notes for how to use the refined sugar free option!
- Dairy free milk: you can use any dairy free milk here that you have on hand. You’ll be combining it with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to create a dairy free buttermilk!
- Applesauce: this replaces eggs in traditional cake recipes. It’s the perfect substitute as it doesn’t leave any aftertaste and it really acts just like eggs in baking!
- Vegan butter: for nut free, I used Flora Plant Butter. Earth Balance is also a great option, and if you can have nuts, then Miyoko’s works great as well!
- Leavening agents: this is your baking powder and baking soda.
- Vanilla: I used vanilla powder in this recipe, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve linked the exact brand I used in the recipe card below. If you’re making this cake for a special occasion, like a wedding or graduation, definitely use the vanilla powder. Otherwise, use vanilla extract! It will still taste amazing, I just think vanilla powder is extra special (it’s ground up vanilla bean!).
How to make a vegan gluten free cake from scratch (using just oat flour)
You’re going to just love how simple and easy this vegan gluten free cake is to make. And it honestly could be your favorite vanilla cake ever (it’s not my family’s, especially Jared’s mom! She loves oat flour cakes!). As with all of my recipes, the full written instructions and ingredient measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
However, we’re going to go over a brief overview of how to make a gluten free vegan cake from scratch here!
The best way that I improved my baking was measuring out all of my ingredients before beginning. And I use a scale for my ingredients instead of cup measurements. This will give you a more accurate bake! I’ve included cup measurements, but please keep in mind that the most accurate way to bake this cake will be to use gram measurements. Weighing out all of your ingredients before you begin and reading the instructions will ensure you’re not missing anything and will create a seamless process for which you’ll bake your cake.
Please be sure to prepare your cake pans before baking anything as well- this will make sure that you’re not wasting any precious activating time that the leavening agents have begun! It’s important to also whisk the dry ingredients before starting on the wet. This will ensure that the leavening agents are evenly distributed throughout the flour, and will create a more even bake.
For the cake batter, you can use either a stand mixer or mix by hand. I used to bake my cakes ONLY by hand for years. In fact, I made an entire cookbook just baking by hand! So trust me, you can do this, don’t feel bad if you don’t have a stand mixer. I do now use a stand mixer, but you can still make an awesome cake by hand.
Once your cakes have been baked, it’s important to allow your cake layers to fully cool before you even consider making the frosting! I sound super strict on this haha, but only because I’ve been there where I rush through the process and end up with bulging frosting or cakes slipping onto the floor. It’s so sad to see! Oat flour will also need more time to cool, as these cakes, while they taste light and tender, still are a bit denser than traditional cakes, even vegan ones.
Tips for this oat flour cake
As with all of my cake recipes, I love to offer up some extra baking tips to ensure that this cake turns out just as amazing for you each time!! Below are a few of my top recommendations for baking this oat flour cake. I’ve also included a few troubleshooting situations to help you during your baking process.
Do NOT make any substitutions unless otherwise noted
This means PLEASE do not substitute out the oat flour for this cake. This vegan gluten free cake is designed specifically for oat flour, since my vegan vanilla cake already has the option of using gluten free 1:1 baking flour (Bob’s Red Mill in the blue bag). The ratios of wet to dry ingredients have been altered in this recipe to specifically fit how oat flour bakes, whether homemade or store bought.
Any other substitutions I’ve noted in the recipe card, i.e. using coconut sugar in place of granulated sugar, or using whichever dairy free milk you’d like- please feel free to use those!
Please make sure all your wet ingredients are room temperature.
This is the biggest issue that I see when baking cakes. Not using room temperature ingredients. This is so important, even for gluten free vegan cakes, as drastically different temperatures in the batter will cause gumminess and denseness in the cake.
Use homemade oat flour or store bought oat flour!
Some oat flour cakes recommend just using homemade oat flour, but this vanilla vegan gluten free cake can use both! This is because we’re using gram measurements, which is a much more accurate way to bake. 460 grams of oat flour either way is the same. I will note that homemade oat flour has a more rustic feel (which is what I used in the photos for this recipe). Personally, I LOVE it, and it definitely tastes “oat-ier.” If you want a more classic vegan vanilla cake taste while still using oat flour, choose store bought! I recommend Arrowhead Mills for that.
You can make this cake as a three layer 6″ cake or a two layer 8″ cake
Either will work here! You can even use the batter to make a vegan gluten free sheet cake as well. Please keep in mind that the baking temperatures will be slightly different. If you’re doing a two layer 8″ cake, there will be more batter in the cake pans, yielding a longer baking time.
Make sure your leavening agents (i.e. baking powder + baking soda) are still good to use!
It’s more common than not that when we go to bake a cake (or any baked good), our baking powder and/or baking soda are expired/not good anymore. This is what most often causes the cakes to not fully rise. If you’ve had your baking powder/soda for more than 6 months, or it wasn’t properly stored, definitely be sure to purchase some new before beginning. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your leavening agents are still good to use, you can check out this great article on how to check if your leavening agents still work!
How to prevent cake layers sticking to the pan
To prepare my cake pans, I always line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides. I find that parchment paper on the bottom of the pan is the best and most guaranteed outcome of easily removing your cakes without them sticking to the pan. You can purchase parchment paper cake rounds already sliced, but I actually still just cut my own sizes every time I go to make a cake (which is a lot ha!).
Baking a vegan gluten free cake, we still run into the same problems that more classic bakers can run into. That’s why I suggest checking out Chelsweet’s cake troubleshooting guide. She has some amazing tips as to why we run into problems of gumminess, denseness, cakes sinking, etc.
How to decorate a vegan cake
My favorite part of the cake baking process is the decorating! Normally when I start a cake, I typically have an idea of how I want it to look in the end. For this oat flour cake, I made it during the spring, so I thought let’s go with a floral design!
My favorite cake decorating tools:
- Cake turntable (this is the exact one I use– it’s only $10, and honestly you shouldn’t be spending any more than that on a turntable!)
- Small and large offset spatulas
- Piping bags (these reusable ones are great!)
- Piping tips (I used a bunch of different Wilton floral piping tips to create the roses and flowers)
- Vegan food colors (I’ll go over that in the next section!)
I have some awesome tips for cake decorating in my vegan wedding cake post (which I will definitely be using for my own wedding cake! Because isn’t a cake baker supposed to make her own wedding cake 😉 ). So definitely go check that post out for more tips on frosting layer cakes!
Vegan food coloring
Did you know that most food colorings are not vegan-friendly? That was one of the most interesting facts I learned when I first went plant-based, but rest assured, we have some GREAT options these days that will make you not even miss the old food colors!
There are two routes you could go with vegan food coloring: powders and liquids.
More often than not, I’m using vegan food coloring powders, which are made from actual plants just ground up. If I want to achieve a really specific color, then I’ll use liquid colors, such as those by Go Supernatural or Nomeca.
For vegan food coloring powders, I use both Anima Mundi and Suncore Foods. Suncore has SO many great colors, but I also love Anima because they offer flower colors (I used organic rose powder to actually tint and flavor the roses!). Both are women founded and run businesses, so that always makes me feel happy 🙂
You also don’t need a lot of powder to go a long way. Start with just 1/4 tsp and see how it does in your buttercream.
Can I use this recipe for vegan gluten free cupcakes?
Absolutely, you can use this vegan gluten free oat flour cake as cupcakes! With this recipe, you’ll yield about 20 cupcakes, so you can scale the recipe up or down as needed.
How to store this cake
If you have any leftover slices of oat flour cake, you can easily store them in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the slices in an airtight container for up to 3 months!
To defrost, simply allow the cake slices to come to room temperature for about 1 hour.
Need to make this cake ahead of time?
Not a problem! You can easily bake the cake layers the day before you need to serve the cake. Then simply allow the cake layers to cool, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper and tinfoil. Store the cake layers in the fridge, then make the buttercream the next day and frost!
You can also freeze these cake layers as well. To freeze a cake before frosting it, check out this awesome post by Sally’s Baking Addiction.
You are just going to LOVE this vegan gluten free oat flour cake!! It is just so tender and light, and PERFECT for any and all occasions: weddings, birthdays, graduations, baby showers, bridal showers, holidays, and more!
If you make this oat flour cake, be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others can easily find the recipe!
Happy cake baking!
More vegan cake recipes to try:
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The only vanilla vegan gluten free cake recipe you’ll ever need! This super light and tender oat flour cake is full of sweet vanilla and baked to have the perfect crumb texture so that everyone will love this cake, vegan or not!. Topped with a super creamy dairy free buttercream, this vanilla oat flour cake is the perfect treat for all occasions!
Vegan Vanilla Cake:
- 3/4 cups (200 grams) unsweetened dairy free milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (to be mixed with dairy free milk milk)
- 5 1/8 cups (460 grams) gluten-free rolled oats* see note for store bought oat flour measurement
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated coconut sugar or regular sugar
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) salted vegan butter (I recommend Flora Plant butter), room temperature
- 3/4 cup (190 grams) unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract (yes, 2 full tablespoons!) or 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract + 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease three 6″ cake pans with cooking oil, and line them with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Measure out all ingredients before beginning.
- Prepare the oat flour: pulse the oats in a high speed blender or food processor until they reach a fine flour. Please see this post on how to make oat flour for all the tips and tricks.
- Prepare the vegan buttermilk. Combine the dairy free milk with the apple cider vinegar, and set aside to sit for 5-6 minutes. You can weigh and measure the remaining ingredients during this time.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, arrowroot starch, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Make the batter: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl with hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. Then add in the applesauce and vanilla extract. Mix again on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides and at the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add in about half of the dry mixture, along with half of the vegan buttermilk, and mix on medium speed until just combined. Add in the remaining dry mixture and vegan buttermilk, and mix on medium speed until there are just no more dry streaks. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as well as the sides.
- Bake the cakes: Divide the batter between the three cake pans evenly, and bake for 35 minutes in 6″ cake pans, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled completely (there is absolutely no warmth to the touch!), then you can prepare your buttercream.
- When ready to frost the cakes, add vegan butter to a large bowl or stand mixer and cream for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, continuing the beat the mixture until it’s a thick buttercream.
- Add in vanilla and 2-4 tablespoons of dairy free milk as needed, and continue to beat until desired texture.
- Frost cake and enjoy! Use vegan food coloring, as recommended in the post, to decorate your cakes.
If using store bought oat flour: use the weighted measurement for the oat flour. You’ll need 460 grams of oat flour, which roughly translates to 5 cups oat flour.
Refined sugar free: to make this cake refined sugar free, you can use coconut sugar in the cake and make powdered coconut sugar for the buttercream. Please not that the cakes will be caramel in color and in taste, but still delicious!
For all cake tips, please read the above blog post!
Keywords: gluten free vegan cake, vegan gluten free cake, oat flour cake, vegan vanilla cake, gluten free vanilla cake, flourless vanilla cake