Gluten Free Birthday Cake Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on March 31, 2011

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Gluten Free Birthday Cake Recipe

When I found out it was Wholesome! Sweeteners 10th birthday I thought to myself “what better way to celebrate than with a gluten-free birthday cake?”

That’s right, for ten years now, Wholesome! has been bringing us alternatives to regular, refined, bleached white sugar, brown sugar and artificial sweeteners. They introduced us to organic, fair trade, natural sugars, nectars and syrups and they now even sell organic stevia and in these ten years have become the leader in their field!! So please join me in wishing them a Very Happy Birthday! Here is to ten times ten, times ten, more years!  And in celebration of their birthday we are giving away a whole basket filled with Wholesome! products!  Just hop over here and enter to win!

Gluten Free Birthday Cake

Now, about that gluten-free birthday cake. I think everyone should know how to make a cake. Yes, we can now buy gluten-free cakes mix and I do use them sometimes however there is nothing as special as having someone make you a cake. This year for my birthday I received many wonderful gifts but the thing that touched my heart the most was that my husband made me a cake – his first one ever and he did it all himself!

So here are a couple of things to know about making the perfect gluten-free birthday cake.

Start with finely milled flours – this will keep your cake from being gritty. I like to use superfine flours.

Have all your cake ingredients at room temperature – take out the eggs, butter and milk about half an hour before you start mixing the cake. If you are using dairy free butter and milk, the same thing applies. Room temperature ingredients will blend better and the cake will cook properly.

Take the time to cream your butter and sugar properly and to beat each egg in one by one until it is fully blended, this will get some air in the cake and make it lighter.

Mix all your dry ingredients together and add it to your creamed butter mixture in batches alternating it with your liquid – put in half the flour mixture then the liquid and finally the rest of the flour mixture.  Also, always give your batter a final mix by hand with a spatula, this will make sure all the ingredients are mixed properly.

Always preheat the oven and remember oven temperatures vary so check your cake before the stated cooking time in case your oven runs a little hotter then anticipated.

Your cake will only taste as good as the ingredients you put in it – I have taken to baking with organic sugar, it has a mellow sweetness and a richness you can’t get with white bleached sugar. Also, always use pure vanilla extract – imitation vanilla may contain gluten and is inferior in taste.

So, are you ready to bake a gluten-free cake?

Gluten Free Birthday Cake Recipe


Yellow Gluten Free Cake

1½ cups superfine white or brown rice flour
½ cup superfine sweet rice flour
½ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
¼ cup tapioca starch
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
12 tablespoons (1 ½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups organic sugar or sucanat
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup milk, at room temperature

Chocolate Swiss Buttercream Frosting

2 large egg whites
½ cup organic sugar
Pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
12 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup good quality fruit jam (flavor of your choice – berry flavors work really well)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two 9-inch cake pans with gluten-free non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper cut to fit.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the white or brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Turn the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well.

With the mixer on low, add half the flour mixture, then the milk and finally the rest of the flour, mix just until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl well with a spatula. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with a small spatula.

Bake cake layers 30 – 35 minutes or until the top springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a dinner knife around the sides of the pans and allow the cake layers to cool for 30 minutes. Remove the cake layers from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.

While the cake cools, make the frosting.

In a heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing an inch or two of simmering water; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the hot water. Whisk the mixture constantly either with a whisk or hand-held mixer, until the mixture feels warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Test to make sure the sugar has completely melted by rubbing a little of it between your forefinger and thumb, the mixture should no longer feel gritty.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until the mixture is glossy, fluffy and completely cool, about 20 minutes. With the mixture on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time mixing well after each addition. Once the butter had been fully incorporated, add the vanilla and melted chocolate and mix well. With a spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir the frosting for a minute to knock out the air bubbles; it should be completely smooth. If the frosting starts to curdle or separate after adding the butter, don’t worry, just keep beating until it is smooth again.

To assemble the cake, cut each cooled cake layer in half horizontally, using a serrated knife. Brush off all the crumbs. Lay the top half of one layer, top side down, on a cake platter. Tuck 3 or 4 strips of wax or parchment paper under the edges of the cake to keep your platter clean. Spread on a layer of frosting. Spread about 1/3 cup of jam on the cut side of the next layer and place it, jam side down on top of the frosting. Frost the top of that layer. Repeat with the remaining layers.

Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides and on the top of the cake to catch any remaining crumbs. Let set for 5 minutes then frost the cake, swirling or smoothing the frosting as desired. Carefully remove the strips of wax or parchment paper.

For the cake I made for Wholesome!, I omitted the chocolate from the frosting, making a vanilla Buttercream, and melted 1 cup of chocolate chips with a tablespoon of shortening in the microwave until most of the chips were melted (about 1 minute) and then stirred vigorously until the chocolate was glassy and smooth. I let it cool a bit then topped the cake with it letting it drip down the sides of the cake.


This Gluten Free Birthday Cake recipe serves 9

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy March 31, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I have a fabulous bottle of Tripple Berry Jam in my pantry just waiting for this fabulous cake. Hmmm …Happy Birthday to Me!


Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc April 1, 2011 at 12:01 am

Happy Birthday Wholesome Sweeteners! This is a fabulous looking cake. I have yet to learn how to bake gluten-free cakes though. I’m certainly saving this recipe for reference:)


Wendy @ Celiacs in the House April 1, 2011 at 4:43 am

With your tips on technique and ingredients, I think anyone could bake a beautiful gluten-free birthday cake. It is amazing how much those subtle flavors from the sweeteners we use make a difference in gluten-free baking.


Shirley @ gfe April 1, 2011 at 7:00 am

Hey, I want it to be my birthday! I usually stretch out my birthday after the fact … maybe I stretch it out beforehand this time. ;-) I love that your husband made you a birthday cake—that’s so wonderful! Gorgeous cakes and great advice, Carol. I’m always amazed how many gluten-free folks will settle for gritty baked goods. I think that turns more people off to gf baking than anything else and it’s totally unnecessary.



Jeanine April 1, 2011 at 8:18 am

Well now, I’m just going to pretend that you baked this cake specially for me. Yep, that’s it. Thank you so much, Carol. ;) A day late, but oh, so worth the wait. hehe
BEAUTIFUL cake, and fantastic tips! no one should have to go without a birthday cake!


Carol, Simply Gluten Free April 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Sorry I missed your birthday but please accept this belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!


Angie Halten April 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I do have a few favorite birthday cake recipes already but I’m certainly open to trying new ones. I think this cake recipe is one that will whooo my gluten eating friends into taking their first bite of gluten free baking!


InTolerantChef April 2, 2011 at 8:03 am

Oooh, so lovely. I hope they love it as much as we do!


Ellen @Gluten Free Diva April 17, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Your cake looks fantastic – worthy of a special occasion indeed! In my efforts to reduce the refined white sugars in my baking, I must remember that the folks at Wholesome offer a great alternative. Thank you for the reminder!



Stephanie August 9, 2011 at 11:54 am
RML March 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Bummer, I came to this site because a picture of the birthday cake is posted on Pinterest and it looks delicious! Unfortunately, the recipe isn’t showing. Any way I can still access it?


Carol Kicinski March 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

Hi. I just went to the post and the recipe is showing up so I am not sure what’s happening but I will email you the full recipe. Sorry about that!


TheMrsFB July 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I have a GF flour blend that I’m quite happy with. Can I use that instead? And if so, how much?


CarolKicinski July 24, 2013 at 9:55 am

Yes, if it is a cup for cup substitute for regular flour just use the same amount. Enjoy!


spring water August 5, 2014 at 1:46 am

Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy
your content. Please let me know. Thank you


Carol Kicinski August 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

Yes,please share! The more the merrier!


Catherine January 13, 2017 at 12:05 am

My son is also dairy-free. Would almond milk or coconut milk work as a substitute for the milk?


Carol Kicinski March 2, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Hi Catherine,
xo, Carol


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