This fluffy gluten free dairy free cake is moist, tender and so easy to make. It’s made in just one bowl and has a rich vanilla flavor. Top it off with my favorite dairy free vanilla or chocolate buttercream frosting!
I’ve gotten a lot of requests for dairy free (but not vegan) recipes, so next up on the list is this dairy free cake!
It’s made with coconut milk and oil instead of regular milk and butter, but still has that same rich flavor and fluffy texture. I promise you will never know it’s both dairy free and gluten free.
It’s finished off with my homemade dairy free buttercream. I opted for chocolate, but vanilla works well too. For that recipe, we’ll use vegan butter instead of regular butter.
A lot of cake mixes, like Betty Crocker, are already dairy free so you just need to use dairy free milk, but it’s so much more fun to make from scratch! If you love this recipe, try my dairy free cupcakes or red velvet marble cake next!
COCONUT MILK. Since this cake is completely dairy free, we’ll use canned coconut milk to add some richness that you can miss out on when you eliminate dairy.
I suggest full fat coconut milk, but you can use light if that’s what you have. Be sure to use from a can, not carton!
NON-DAIRY MILK. In addition to the canned coconut milk, you will need some regular (from a carton) non-dairy milk. I usually use almond, but oat, soy etc. all work.
OIL. I used refined avocado oil, but any neutral flavored oil will be fine.
EGGS. The eggs are key to help the cake rise and get that nice fluffy texture.
SUGAR. I suggest using all white sugar to keep the color of the cake light. I do not recommend subbing for a liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or honey.
FLOUR. I used gluten free all purpose baking flour, but you can use regular all purpose flour instead.
How to make dairy free cake
Shake up the can of coconut milk so the white part and liquid are completely combined, making a smooth milk. I usually add it to a blender to ensure everything is completely smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together all wet ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined.
Beat in the dry ingredients, aside from the sprinkles, just until a batter forms. Fold in the sprinkles, if using.
Transfer to your prepared cake pans, trying to keep each as even as possible. For 8 inch cakes, bake for 40-50 minutes, for 9 inch cakes, bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then carefully flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once completely cooled, frost with my dairy free buttercream and enjoy!
How to store and freeze
To keep this cake nice and moist, once it is frosted and decorated, I recommend keeping it covered. I like using a cake stand and cover, but you can also slice it up and store it in a container or on a plate tightly covered with foil.
You can also freeze this dairy free cake! Once it is baked, let it cool completely, then wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freeze safe bag.
Freeze for up to 2 weeks, then defrost and decorate as usual.
This vanilla cake is made very moist thanks to the oil, eggs and milk. Be sure to keep it covered, either with a cake stand, in a container or covered with foil to ensure it stays moist once it is sliced.
FUNFETTI/BIRTHDAY CAKE. Add sprinkles into the cake like the recipe calls for, and decorate the frosting with lots of additional sprinkles!
BERRIES. You can take a similar approach that I look with my almond flour vanilla cake. Use either a vanilla or chocolate frosting, then top with fresh berries!
DIFFERENT FROSTING. To mix up the flavors, you can try my strawberry frosting instead of chocolate or vanilla. Or, if you’re feeling up for it. Use a mix of chocolate and vanilla!
Frequently asked questions
Can I make it vegan?
Since this recipe calls for 4 eggs, I do not recommend any substitutions as that will completely change the texture. Instead, try my vegan funfetti cake which is completely gluten and dairy free.
Can I make this into chocolate cake?
Unfortunately, no. This cake was written specifically to be a vanilla cake. However, you can try my gluten free chocolate cake and just use non-dairy milk.
Can I use different cake pans?
I used two 8 inch cake pans. You can use two 9 inch cake pans, three 6 inch cake pans, or one 9×13 sheet cake.
If you use three 6 inch cake pans, the bake time will be a bit longer, closer to 50 minutes, and for the sheet cake it will be about 40-50 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness!
More dairy free desserts!
Dairy Free Birthday Cake
by: claire cary
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup plain oil
- ⅔ cup full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup non-dairy milk
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 ½ cups gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Shake up the can of coconut milk so the white part and liquid are completely combined, making a smooth milk. I usually add it to a blender to ensure everything is completely smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together all wet ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined.
- Beat in the dry ingredients, aside from the sprinkles, just until a batter forms.
- Fold in the sprinkles, if using.
- Transfer to your prepared cake pans, trying to keep each as even as possible.
- For 8 inch cakes, bake for 40-50 minutes, for 9 inch cakes, bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then carefully flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once completely cooled, frost with my dairy free buttercream and enjoy!