Chiara’s Gluten-Free Vanilla Birthday Cake with Strawberry Frosting

One of the goals I had when I was developing my gluten-free flour blend is that it would be 100% interchangeable with gluten-full all-purpose flour. I′m happy to report that it was a success and works beautifully  in this cake recipe. As my friend Tracey said before she directed me to her cake recipe, you will never make any other vanilla cake recipe again. Needless to say, she was right!

Make sure your butter is softened well before starting this recipe. It makes all the difference in the world in the cake′s texture. Also, while the batter is quite thick, it yields such a wonderfully airy cake. And, because the frosting is made with real (fresh or frozen) strawberries and no artificial food coloring, it can start to separate slightly. Just beat in more sifted confectioners’ sugar, if necessary, to stabilize the acidity in the strawberries. Depending on how much frosting you like between your cake layers and whether you’ll be making a two- or four-layer cake, you may want to double the quantity of frosting.

Chiara’s Gluten-Free Vanilla Birthday Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Yield: 1

Serving Size: 9-inch, 4 layer cake

The cake is adapted from my friend Tracey Seaman; here?s the original recipe with great baking and decorating tips. The frosting is based off a recipe in my book, Cooking for Isaiah.


For the vanilla cake:

3½ cups Silvana's Kitchen Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sour cream

For the strawberry frosting:

1 cup all-vegetable shortening, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners? sugar, sifted

½ cup strawberry puree

1/4 teaspoon salt

Butterfly sprinkles, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter 2 (9- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms of each with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
  2. Make the cake: Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just blended. Add the sour cream, mixing until just combined, then add the remaining flour mixture, mixing at low speed until the batter is smooth.
  4. Divide the batter between pans, smoothing the tops. Bake in the middle of the oven until the cake is springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.
  5. Trim tops of cooled cake layers with a long serrated knife if necessary to make flat and level. Halve each layer horizontally with serrated knife to make a total of 4 layers.
  6. Make the frosting: In a large bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, beat together the shortening, confectioners? sugar, strawberry puree and salt on medium-high speed until fluffy.
  7. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate and spread with ¾ cup frosting. Layer the remaining cake layers using ¾ cup frosting between each layer. Frost the top and sides of cake with the remaining frosting. Top with sprinkles.


  1. Your daughter is so cute with her curly whirly hair! Cannot wait to try this Silvana…the sour cream addition to the cake sounds yummo! Loved your Zucchini bread…still loving it actually! Too much…;)

  2. I’ve just been advised to put my 6 yr old on a GFCF diet and luckily stumbled on your book, which making me feel a LITTLE less panicked. This cake looks delicious. Any suggestions for substituting a casein-free ingredient for the sour cream? Thanks!

  3. Although I have not tried this recipe, I have successfully substituted plain soy yogurt for sour cream in other recipes. Our Kroger store also stocks a DF/CF sour cream, the brand is Toufutti, I believe. My daughter likes this on baked potatoes and mexican food.

  4. Is there a good substitute for the sour cream? I am searching for a gluten free/dairy free yellow cupcake.

  5. I made this cake (but bought frosting) for my 3 year old son’s birthday a few weeks back. I am the only GF/DF person in the house and none of the guests were, either. No one could believe it was GF and DF – every adult guest asked for the recipe! It was truly delicious and I will be making it again next week for my mom’s birthday.

    Jean, I used a DF sour cream called Sour Supreme, but you could use Tofutti sour cream as well.

  6. I am looking to make a GF/DF cake for my son’s 1st birthday and this looks really good. Can I leave the strawberry puree out and still have the icing turn out okay? Also, can I substitute shortening for the 2 sticks of butter in the cake recipe? Thanks!

  7. Hi Nicole!

    You’ll need to substitute the puree with something else. Any ideas? You could just use rice milk, but I would add slowly until you get the right texture.

    Also, the shortening substitute should work although I have NOT tested it with that. Please let me know how the birthday cake turns out—and a big happy birthday to your son!

  8. This cake looks lovely. What can I use as a substitution for the sugar?

  9. I would use coconut-milk based from SO Delicious yogurt (or try rice or soy-based yogurts if you want)for the sour cream.

    Tofutti also makes a soy-based sour cream that is good if soy can be used.

  10. Thank you Michelle. Both my son’s are gluten, wheat and dairy intolerant and Im trying to also cut out the sugar and yeast out of their diets. I use honey for small amounts of sugar but in this case cannot replace it with that. Will try.

  11. Thank you so much for the ideas Silvana! He LOVES peaches from our Farmer’s Market, so I may try a peach puree in the icing for his smash cake and then just the rice milk for everyone else’s. His birthday is at the end of August, so I will probably test it beforehand. I will let you know how it all turns out!

  12. Wow, I made this today for my son’s birthday (with vanilla frosting; pink would not be cool!) and it is fabulous. Extra moist, and with a beautuful texture, even at high altitude! Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. Hi Silvana! Can I use any confectioners’ sugar or should it be certified as gluten-free as well? I’m making this cake for a friend’s birthday and I don’t want to mess it up! Or make her sick! Also, I have a gluten free cake mix, should I still use the baking powder and baking soda? The mix already has some. Thanks a lot,

    Mercedes from Buenos Aires, Argentina

  14. Mary Ann Fotchuk

    I am looking for a gluten free and dairy free birthday cake recipe.. need a frosting recipe too.


    Mary Ann

  15. Amazing cake, made it for my sons birthday, Oh my goodness, what a treat! The perfect time to indulge. Reminded me of a buttermilk cake from long ago, when I use to eat wheat. My son was thrilled. I used cream cheese frosting. He was requesting I make it every week, he is 13. We agreed I would make it again, for the end of the school year. Most our treats are low in sugar and no dairy, however, this was perfect for an day of indulgence and celebration for our son.
    THank you again.

  16. I have never made anything of yours I didn’t like. I bought your book the instant it came out and I am loving all the new recipes on your blog. Thank you for a super yummy cake! this makes really good cupcakes too. Now I can make a GF cake for all my family birthdays, the kids will love it and I can finally eat a yummy cake to celebrate their day.

  17. I just made it, used orange extract and orange peel instead. Natural yogurt and milk and only 2 eggs+2 eggwhites and it was amazingly delicious. Thanks!