Basic Vanilla Cake Recipe

(Gluten free small serving vanilla cake, can also be made dairy free, or with all standard ingredients)

(Yes this has nothing to do with video games, but here we are)

Spring layer cake, Boston cream pie, and chocolate caramel layer cake

Preheat oven to 350°

Bake: 6” | 30-35 min ||| 8” / 25-30 min ||| 9” / 20-25 min


Makes ONE small cake/single cake layer – serves FOUR, 6″ baking dish recommended. Use any gluten free flour blend to make gluten free and any non-dairy milk and canola/vegetable oil/coconut oil to make dairy free.

Ingredients & Instructions:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons milk (any kind)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Beat eggs, milk, and apple cider vinegar together. Add melted butter, sugar, and vanilla and mix well to combine. 

  • 1 tsp psyllium husk powder (this stuff – yes this is an affiliate link)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Add flour, a few shakes of salt, baking soda, and psyllium to the wet ingredients and mix well. IF GLUTEN FREE you cannot overmix, if using normal flour then mix until just combined or you’ll make the cake tough. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir/mix a few times. If batter seems too solid, add 1 tbsp of milk to loosen it up. Pour into greased pan & bake!

Notes – Read them

  • SNEAKY BAKING TRICK – the time on the recipe is a guideline, not a rule. Baking time is different for EVERYONE. Depending on how you measure your ingredients, how accurate your oven temp is, the altitude you are at, how many times you impatiently open the oven… The best way to tell is to watch for the middle of the cake to poof up – a toothpick should come out clean at this point. The cake will keep baking when you take it out, so you want to remove it before it is actually all the way done
  • Yes, you have to let the batter sit. Psyllium husk powder absorbs liquid, so you need to give it time to do that before baking. If the batter gets too solid/stiff, your cake will be too dense. So you need to know if you want to add more milk before it goes in the oven.
  • This is heavy batter, if you want a lighter batter, you can separate the egg whites from the egg yolks, and whip the whites until they are the consistency of a soft whipped cream (5-10+ minutes). With this method, fold the whites into the final mixture before you let it sit for ~5 min
  • Don’t use straight almond flour for a gluten free/paleo version. It’s way way too heavy and doesn’t mix well

Advanced Users – Flavors

This recipe is very flexible, it can afford to have additional liquid added because it is so thick to start, and can also accommodate nuts, fruit, chocolate chips/etc added – aim for ½ – 1 C. max of added things.


Substitute out 2 tbsp of flour for 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, and melt 3oz of baking chocolate (the darker the better) in with the butter. 


Substitute ¼ C. sugar for ¼ C. honey. Add yellow food coloring for effect.


Add ½ C. ground/diced pistachios to the batter at the end. Add green food coloring for effect.

Orange / Lemon

Substitute ALL vanilla extract out for HALF that measurement of orange or lemon extract (these extracts are much stronger than vanilla, and using too much makes the cake bitter and gross). Add in the zest from one orange/lemon. Max zest is 1 tbsp, minimum is 1 tsp (same thing, zest is strong and can make things bitter). Add the juice from one lemon or half of an orange. Add food coloring for effect. Orange adjustments can be used with the chocolate flavor, wouldn’t recommend it with lemon. If you do that, add 1/2 measure vanilla extract in as well to enhance the chocolate flavor.

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