Easy gluten free cake mix recipes for classic chocolate and vanilla cakes and cupcakes. Keep them on hand and you’ll always be able to celebrate a birthday (or a day ending in “y”) in style!
These incredibly versatile cake mix recipes will come in handy time and again. When my gluten free son was in grammar school, it seemed like there was a birthday party 8 days a week.
It was incredibly helpful to have a stash of chocolate cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes in the freezer at all times, for just such an emergency!
How to make cake from these mixes
Each of the recipes is formulated to work by adding water, not milk, to the dry ingredients, along with either oil or butter and eggs. The result is a moist, tender cake with a perfect crumb every time, whether you bake cupcakes, a cake or a dump cake.
Chocolate cake made with cocoa powder, not melted chocolate, lends itself especially well to being made with oil in place of butter. You can use whatever neutral oil you like best: liquid coconut oil, vegetable oil, canola, or grapeseed oil all work fine.
I haven’t tried these recipes with an egg replacer, but my favorite egg replacer is a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon water, mixed and allowed to gel). I don’t recommend a flax egg, since that has a strong flavor and color.
I definitely would not use applesauce or water. You need to replace not only the moisture of eggs, but also the structure that the egg white provides.
To make the vanilla cake dairy-free
If you’d like to replace the butter in the vanilla cake mix with something dairy free, I recommend trying butter-flavored nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum brand) as a 1 to 1 replacement by weight.
The buttermilk powder in the vanilla dry mix can also be replaced with finely ground blanched almond flour, again 1 to 1 by weight. You can also try powdered coconut milk, which tends to work quite well as a replacement for nonfat dry milk.
The vanilla mix is best for cupcakes or cookies (not a whole cake)
I do have to be honest with you, though, about the vanilla cake mix: If you’re making gluten free vanilla cupcakes, this mix is amazing. The cupcakes have the most tender, perfect crumb (more tender with the buttermilk powder than with almond flour, but still) and perfect vanilla taste.
If you’re making a straight-up vanilla cake, though, I really prefer my recipe for The Very Best Gluten Free Vanilla Cake. Creaming the butter and sugar first, as we do in that cake, plus sifting the flour is really the only way to get a perfect vanilla cake.
Simple buttercream frosting
Wondering how to make a quick and easy buttercream frosting? Just use exactly half as much room temperature unsalted butter, by weight, as confectioners’ sugar. For example, 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, and 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar.
Beat them together, along with a splash of pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, until light and fluffy. Add milk by the half-teaspoonful and beat until it holds its shape when you scoop it but is smooth and creamy.
Want to make a chocolate version? Replace some of the confectioners’ sugar with cocoa powder!
Uses for gluten free cake mix
Below are the Make-Your-Own Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix and the Make-Your-Own Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix from my second book, Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. They’re so useful!
Of course, you can use them whenever you need a quick gluten free chocolate or vanilla cupcake. But they’re also perfect for other types of recipes that call for a gluten free cake mix, a dump cake or cookies.
In the photo just above, the vanilla cupcake is made with this cake mix, and the instructions below. The two cookies are cake mix cookies.