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Gluten-free Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe – BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

Gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe – topped with rainbow sprinkles! Super easy to make and nobody would know it’s Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free.

Gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe? Sometimes the simplest bakes are the best, right? Well this is one of those! Super easy to make dairy-free with one simple swap too.

Gluten-free Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

Sprinkles make everything better, right? Well, my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe is proof!

I don’t say it lightly when I say you’d never know this cake is gluten-free. After all, there’s nowhere to hide with a recipe like this!

But fortunately, I’ve been making this cake forever so I know it works, every time. And it will for you too – promise.

Here’s a few reasons you need to make this if you weren’t convinced already…

Why make my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe?

  • The sponge is super easy to make using the all-in-one method. Just bung it all in a bowl and mix!
  • The sponge is golden, soft, light and moist – NOT crumbly or dry at all.
  • This recipe includes the recipe for my ULTIMATE fluffy vanilla buttercream that you can use in tons of other recipes.
  • You’d never know this recipe was gluten-free AT ALL – yes, even muggles will eat this, so watch out!
  • This is super easy to make dairy-free with one simple swap.

Gluten-free Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

But what does my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake taste like, I hear you ask?

The sponge is golden, super moist, sweet and soft with a subtle hint of vanilla. The vanilla buttercream on top is lovely and fluffy, whipped up so it’s really light, adding a little extra sweetness too.

Then, those colourful sprinkles just finish this off perfectly, injecting tons of colour and a satisfying crunch.

Honestly, every bite is pure heaven. So here’s everything you’ll need for my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe. Keep scrolling until you see the recipe card below if you’re looking for the method…

Gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe: Ingredients

  • gluten-free self raising flour
  • gluten-free baking powder
  • xanthan gum
  • softened butter or hard margarine (dairy free if necessary)
  • caster sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • icing sugar
  • gluten-free sprinkles (I linked mine in the FAQ section)

Gluten-free Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

So I thought I’d kick things off with a little frequently asked questions section – if you just want the recipe, then keep scrolling.

But I’ve thrown in some tips here that will be really helpful if this is your first time making this, or you want to adapt it. So here they are!

Gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Is it suitable for Coeliacs?

It is gluten-free, though nobody would know just by tasting it – trust me!

Bear in mind that minimising cross-contamination is hugely important if you’re Coeliac or making this for someone who is. Here’s some tips from Coeliac UK on minimising the risk of cross contamination:

Also, make sure that all ingredients used don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients. Then make that that they also don’t have a ‘may contain’ warning for gluten, wheat, rye, barley, oats (which aren’t gf), spelt and khorasan wheat (aka Kamut).

Here’s some more info from Coeliac UK on identifying safe gluten-free products.

Can I make your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe dairy free?

Yep – you can easily make this dairy-free with a couple of simple swaps.

  • For the sponge cake, all you need to use is a softened block of hard margarine or a dairy free margarine spread like this, instead of butter.
  • Whilst you can use a dairy free margarine spread for the cake, DO NOT use it for the buttercream. It’s far too soft and won’t hold like buttercream should. Use the hard block of margarine instead for that – you may need to add a little more icing sugar to bring it together as hard margarine is softer than butter.

Can I make your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe vegan?

Yep! If you follow the instructions above to make this recipe dairy free, then all you’ve got left to contend with is the eggs.

Here’s a few ideas you can use as egg replacements, so each of these = 1 egg.

  • 3 tablespoons of aquafaba (whisked until frothy) – water from a can of chickpeas. Keep the chickpeas for a future dinner!
  • 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp of water
  • Egg replacement powder – I’d recommend using Orgran as it’s gluten free.
  • 1 tablespoon of chia/flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes in the fridge.
  • 3 tablespoons of applesauce.

I haven’t tested all of these egg alternatives so let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Can I make this recipe low FODMAP?

Yes! One slice of this cake is low FODMAP and suitable for the elimination phase of the diet assuming your sprinkles don’t contain any high FODMAP ingredients.

Is your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe nut-free?

Yep, this is a nut-free recipe as far as ingredients go, BUT make sure you check the ingredients label on ALL the products you use to bake this cake just to be safe.

Even if the products don’t contain nuts, they may have a ‘may contain nuts’ warning due to being produced in a factory that handles nuts.

You can never be too careful so always read the labels on everything first!

Which sprinkles did you use?

I used the Shire Bakery’s bake-stable funfetti sprinkles – they just have that little extra wow factor that you can’t find in the sprinkles in supermarkets.

As they’re bake-stable, you can even mix them into your cake mixture too and they won’t melt. Your sponge will be filled with tons of little flecks of colour and be generally awesome.

Plus, they’re gluten-free too! Not all sprinkles are, so make sure you double-check whichever ones you’re using.

Gluten-free Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

Can I make this using the creaming method?

Of course – I prefer to use the all-in-one method for these as I find it’s always a safe bet with a simple sponge like this.

But of course, you’re more than welcome to cream the sugar and softened butter together, then add the eggs and mix, THEN add the flour and mix once more.

It works perfect both ways so it’s totally up to you!

Can I make your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake in a food processor or standing mixer?

Of course you can – and it’ll save you on elbow grease! I don’t use a standing mixer or food processor to make the cake mixture personally – I use an electric whisk.

For the buttercream, I always prefer to make it in my stand mixer, purely because of the amount of mixing it takes to beat the butter until it becomes pale/mixing in the icing sugar.

Can I make your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe by hand?

You can of course, bake this without any assistance from any appliance – just a good ol’ fashioned silicone spatula will do. Just make sure you give it a lot of welly, otherwise your mixture won’t be consistent and might not bake properly.

Making the buttercream by hand is definitely possible, but it’ll take longer and requires a little more effort. But it’s definitely doable!

Do I need any special equipment to bake your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe?

Certainly not! You will need a good quality 2lb loaf tin though, so here’s a link to the one I use.

Does this recipe need xanthan gum?

In some of my recipes, yes, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving xanthan gum out of this one. You’ll see xanthan gum in a lot of my recipes as it’s an essential ingredient in gluten-free baking.

Without gluten to bind the cake batter together, you can be left with a very loose and crumbly sponge texture which won’t work for this recipe.

Some people have asked if they can use psyllium husk powder instead of xanthan gum, but I’ve found that it definitely results in a denser sponge so I wouldn’t overly recommend it.

If you’re really against xanthan gum or you simply don’t have any, you can omit it if pushed. There’s a little in gluten-free self-raising flour anyway, so this bake should still turn out fine.

Can I make this recipe using other gluten-free flours like buckwheat flour or coconut flour?

There’s a big difference between ‘gluten-free plain/self-raising flour’ and a *singular* type gluten-free flour. When I say ‘gluten-free plain or self-raising flour’ in a recipe, I mean a BLEND of gluten-free flours, not just one, singular flour.

Most gluten-free flour you buy in the supermarket typically contains a blend of rice flour, potato flour, maize flour, tapioca flour AND buckwheat flour. That’s a lot of different flours!

In gluten-free self-raising flour, there’s usually even a little baking powder and xanthan gum in it too which always helps. So to replace it with just one specific type of flour… that’s not going to cut it at all. Definitely go for a gluten-free flour blend.

Do I need weighing scales to bake your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe?

In short… yes, yes and yes! And I wouldn’t advise attempting any my recipes without them.

A lot of work went into fine tuning ratios and quantities and for me, baking is all about consistency and precision. I want you to make this recipe and for it to turn out EXACTLY like mine did.

I’d recommending using digital cooking scales like these so you know you’re getting an accurate measurement and replicating my recipe as accurately as poss.

Can I bake your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe with less sugar / without sugar?

I can definitely understand the need to reduce sugar in our foods, but this is one of the recipes where I wouldn’t advise it. 

Of course, the sugar isn’t just for sweetness – it’s integral to the structure of the cake once baked and is super important.

The more you reduce the sugar in the sponge, the more dry and ‘mealy’ the cake will become.

You can of course reduce the buttercream if you’re concerned about sugar – it’s up to you.

How long can I keep your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake for?

I’ve kept it for about 4-5 days in an air-tight container with no problems. If you need it any longer than that, I’d highly recommend freezing it (see advice below for doing that)

When the cake starts getting a little dry, it’s probably starting to get past its best.

Can I freeze your gluten-free vanilla loaf cake?

Of course! I’ve frozen it for up to 2-3 months no problem. Ideally, slice up the cake first before freezing – that way you can simply defrost slices as and when you need them.

Plus, it’ll thaw a lot quicker. When you want to eat it, each slice should take around 3 hours to defrost at room temperature.

How can I tell when my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake is done?

Grab a skewer and give it a poke in the centre. If it comes out clean, then it’s done!

But if the skewer comes out moist and cake-like, it’s best to pop it back in for a bit longer.


Gluten-free vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe: Method

Oh and here’s a printable version of my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe. Please remember to give it 5 stars if you tried it and enjoyed it as it helps people know it’s worth trying too! ⭐️ Feel free to leave your written reviews in the comments below this post.

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4 from 1 vote

Gluten-free Vanilla Loaf Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

Gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe - SUPER EASY to make and nobody would know it's Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free too. Easy to make dairy-free!
Keyword cake, gluten free cake recipes, gluten-free baking, vanilla loaf cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 -15 slices
Calories 346kcal
Author Becky Excell


  • The loaf tin I use for this recipe


For the sponge

  • 175 g gluten-free self raising flour
  • 3/4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 175 g butter softened or hard margarine (dairy free if necessary)
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream

  • 165 g butter softened or hard margarine (dairy free if necessary)
  • 330 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkles ensure they are gluten free - I linked mine in the FAQ section


  • Preheat your oven to 160C Fan / 180C and prepare a 2lb loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place all your sponge ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined and thoroughly mixed (1 minute should do it if using an electric hand whisk).
  • Spoon your mixture into your loaf tin and ensure its nice and evenly flat.
  • Bake for around 45-50 minutes until golden (remember never to open the oven until you think it's definitely done). To check it's cooked, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, it's done!
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a good 30 minutes before lifting out onto a cooling rack.
  • Whilst the cake is cooling, make your buttercream. Start by adding your butter to a bowl and cream it together until paler in colour. This can be done by hand or with an electric hand whisk. Note: the colour won't change if using hard margarine instead of butter.
  • Once creamed, gradually add your icing sugar - it seems like a lot but it will all incorporate itself. You can always add this in stages to avoid it flying out everywhere.
  • Add your vanilla extract and mix once more until thick.
  • To decorate, spread your buttercream all over your cooled cake. Then sprinkle with colourful sprinkles.
  • Enjoy!
Thanks for reading all about my gluten-free vanilla loaf cake recipe! If you make this, I’d love to see how it turned out so don’t forget to take a snap of your creations and tag me on Instagram!

Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me on Instagram and leaving me a comment on a recent photo!

If you want to send me a photo of how your bake turned out, you can request to join my Facebook group and post it there. Myself and everyone else would love to see it!

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

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  • Eileen November 8, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    4 stars
    This is a fabulous recipe. The cake was really moist and delicious. It will definitely be ‘my go to’ recipe from now on ?

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  • Eileen November 8, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    4 stars
    This is a fabulous recipe. The cake was really moist and delicious. It will definitely be ‘my go to’ recipe from now on ?