Gluten Free Vanilla Loaf Cake


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This easy gluten free vanilla loaf cake is the perfect cake for birthdays and celebrations! It is super soft and fluffy with only a few simple ingredients and a dreamy vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s a gluten free loaf cake everyone will love.

Gluten free vanilla loaf cake recipe slices on a chopping board.

If you need an easy gluten free celebration cake or are new to baking, this simple gluten free vanilla loaf cake is perfect.

The gluten free sponge is SO light and fluffy, smothered in a dreamy vanilla buttercream.

It’s the perfect recipe for baking with kids or if you’re new to gluten free baking. It’s also a wonderfully simple cake everyone will love.

And once you’ve got a loaf tin you can make some other treats including my lemon drizzle cake, my gluten free Madeira cake or gluten free marble cake.

If you need your vanilla fix and want to try some other recipes, my gluten free vanilla tray bake is perfect for large gatherings, or check out my vanilla cupcakes.

Slices of gluten free vanilla pound cake.Slices of gluten free vanilla pound cake.

Ingredients and Substitutions

You only need a few really basic ingredients for this easy vanilla loaf cake – and here I’ll list any ideas for substitutions too.

Don’t forget there is a printable recipe card below which you can store ready for whenever you want to bake this loaf cake.

For the vanilla pound cake you will need:

  • Caster Sugar – In the US you’ll want to look for Baker’s Sugar for this recipe.
  • Stork Baking Spread – I always find I get much better results using this in cakes and it also makes the sponge dairy free. You can use unsalted butter instead.
  • Plain Gluten Free Flour – I always use the FREEE Plain Gluten Free Flour as it’s available in most UK supermarkets. Any plain gluten free flour blend should work – in the US you’ll want an All Purpose gluten free flour.
  • Baking Powder – Always ensure your baking powder is gluten free as some are not safe. If you prefer to use a self-raising gluten free flour instead of plain, you only need to add 1 tsp of baking powder to the mixture.
  • Xanthan Gum – A little goes a long way! This helps to replicate the texture of the gluten. Omit it if you cannot tolerate it (or if your flour mix already contains it) but you may find the cake a little more crumbly in texture if there is none in your flour mix.
  • Vanilla Extract – This gives the cake a lovely, sweet vanilla flavour. You could remove this if you hate vanilla, for a plainer cake. You could also swap for your favourite flavour such as almond or orange – but you may need to adjust the quantities depending on how strong a flavour you want.
  • Eggs – This recipe uses large UK eggs.
  • Milk – I use milk to help loosen the cake batter. For dairy free you can replace this with a dairy free milk of choice, such as almond, soya or gluten free oat milk.
Slices of gluten free vanilla loaf cake.Slices of gluten free vanilla loaf cake.

For the vanilla buttercream you will need:

  • Unsalted Butter – This is for the buttercream filling and it’s important to ensure it is at room temperature! If making this recipe dairy free, use a vegan butter of choice.
  • Icing Sugar – or in the US you may find it is called Confectioner’s Sugar instead. You need this for the buttercream plus extra for dusting.
  • Vanilla Extract – essential for adding a lovely flavour to the buttercream.
  • Sprinkles – Always double check the ingredients to make sure the sprinkles you are using are gluten free, as some contain wheat starch. I usually use the sugar strands from Sainsbury’s, Co-op or Lidl but recipes often change to definitely double check these are gluten free before buying these.

How to Make a Gluten Free Vanilla Loaf Cake

Making this gluten free vanilla loaf cake recipe is so simple – I’ve even included some step-by-step photos below.

to make the vanilla loaf cake cream the butter and sugar then add the rest of the ingredients.to make the vanilla loaf cake cream the butter and sugar then add the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 1809’C / Fan 160’C / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Mix the gluten free flour, baking powder and xanthan gum together in a bowl and set to one side.

Add the caster sugar and Butter/Stork to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for a minute until creamed together.

Next add the eggs, vanilla extract and milk to the mixture and then sift in the flour mix.

beat the vanilla loaf cake mixture together and then pour into a lined loaf tin.beat the vanilla loaf cake mixture together and then pour into a lined loaf tin.

Beat again with the electric whisk until the mixture has combined to form a smooth batter. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth into an even layer.

Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes until golden on top and springy to the touch. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. 

Do NOT open the oven before 45 minutes and hold off until you know the cake is done, otherwise it will sink!

cool the vanilla loaf cake completely before making the frosting and decorating the cake.cool the vanilla loaf cake completely before making the frosting and decorating the cake.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Leave to stand until the tin is cool enough to remove. Then carefully remove the cake from the tin and leave the sponge to cool completely. 

Make the frosting by adding the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk to a large mixing bowl and beating together until it forms a smooth buttercream.

Spread the frosting evenly over the cake, then liberally decorate with sprinkles – or whatever topping you choose to use.

Slices of vanilla loaf cake.Slices of vanilla loaf cake.

If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. You can also share your creations in my Facebook group! And please do leave a 5* review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me and really helps support my website.

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  • Preheat the oven to 1809’C / Fan 160’C / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.

  • Mix the gluten free flour, baking powder and xanthan gum together in a bowl and set to one side.

  • Add the caster sugar and Butter/Stork to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for a minute until creamed together.

  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract and milk to the mixture and then sift in the flour mix. Beat again with the electric whisk until the mixture has combined to form a smooth batter.

  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth into an even layer. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes until golden on top and springy to the touch. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean. *Do NOT open the oven before 45 minutes and hold off until you know the cake is done, otherwise it will sink!

  • Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Leave to stand until the tin is cool enough to remove, then carefully remove the cake from the tin and leave the sponge to cool completely.

To assemble:

  • To make your frosting, add the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk to a large mixing bowl and beat together until it forms a smooth buttercream.

  • Spread the frosting evenly over the cake, then liberally decorate with sprinkles – or whatever topping you choose to use.

Once assembled keep your cake in an airtight container – it will keep for up to 7 days. See the blog post above for step-by-step photos and the FAQs section below for tips on freezing and ideas for substitutions to make a dairy free version of this cake.

Serving: 1g | Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 198mg | Sugar: 32g

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs about this vanilla loaf cake recipe. If you can’t find the answer to your question here or in the post above, please comment and I’ll try answer!

Why is my cake batter gummy?

This recipe uses xanthan gum and it’s important to measure it out correctly because a little goes a long way. If you use too much, the cake batter will become gummy and try to climb up the mixer! Double check if your gluten free flour contains xanthan gum – if it does then you can omit the extra in this recipe. If using gluten free self-raising flour, this is more likely to contain it than gluten free plain flour. You only need 1/4 of a teaspoon in this recipe which is plenty!

Can I freeze this vanilla loaf cake?

Yes, you can freeze this gluten free vanilla loaf cake! If you want to make this ahead of time, I recommend making the sponge and cooling it completely. Then wrap in clingfilm before freezing on a flat surface. You can then defrost them and decorate when ready.

Help! Why did my cake sink in the middle?

The most likely answer to this is that you opened the oven door too soon! Opening the door before the cake is cooked properly will make it sink. Always make sure you wait the full amount of time before taking a peek. It’s also important not to over-mix the cake batter. When adding the eggs and flour, you only need to mix until the cake batter is combined with no lumps.

delicious gluten free meals a cookbook by sarah howellsdelicious gluten free meals a cookbook by sarah howells

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