Monday, April 4, 2022

Gluten-Free Vegan Vanilla/Yellow Cake Recipe & Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cupcakes Recipe

Podcast Note: I find it ironic that I said the date in the podcast was "Saturday April 4" lolol... so I obviously subconsciously knew that this would not go live until Monday April 4th! lolol Happy Monday y'all!!

Printable version of today's recipe.

Today’s recipe came from a failed experiment. A few of my colleagues and I are celebrating a friend’s birthday tomorrow and they have auto-immune health issues and eat a low inflammatory diet. What this means for baking is that they avoid gluten, eggs, coconut, and bananas. 

I asked our birthday colleague what kind of cupcakes they liked, and out of all the choices I offered, they said chocolate cake with chocolate icing -OR- chocolate chip cookie cupcakes. Personally, I think anyone who really enjoys baking, also wants to show off their baking… so I opted to make the more complicated “chocolate chip cookie cupcakes.” 

Silly, silly me. 

I’ve made chocolate chip cookie cupcakes in the past, but never as a vegan recipe without eggs. So I attempted to try a shortcut and made a gluten-free box cake mix recipe with an egg substitute (a mix of water, baking powder, and oil), but I knew trying to replace 4 eggs would be tricky. And anytime you use a LOT of baking powder, you generally taste it in the final product. Surprisingly to me, the batter tasted great… but the finished product? A total flop. They tasted terrible and I wasted a perfectly good gluten-free cake mix. Oh well. 

Then I spent about an hour looking at gluten-free vegan yellow cake recipes online. There are plenty to choose from, but I was hesitant to try any recipe with a lot of additional baking powder or baking soda. I finally decided to start with a recipe from Allergylicious. Many of the vegan cake recipes I saw were based on wartime “crazy cakes” or “wacky cakes”, or cakes that were made when things like milk and eggs were rationed during war times. Those cakes tended to have more oil than a traditional cake and increased leavening powder. If baking soda was used, an acid like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar was added to activate the soda to rise. Baking powder already has an acid added (cream of tartar) so it doesn’t need an additional acid. Some recipes even called for using both, which also helped with creating a better rise on the final product. 

From the comments I read on the Allergylicious post, I decided to cut back slightly on the gluten-free flour and add a tablespoon of ground psyllium husks, which helps to hold the shape of risen baked goods, along with adding texture that is similar to wheat. I also added a little bit of turmeric to add yellow color, which would normally come from egg yolks, and I added butter extract (in addition to vanilla extract) to better replicate the flavor of a yellow cake. Finally, I added ½ cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. The mini chocolate chips are key, because they aren’t heavy enough to weigh down the batter and sink to the bottom while baking. 

The cupcakes rose beautifully and I went with store bought shortcuts to finish them. I frosted with store-bought vanilla icing and decorated them each with a half of a Cybel’s ‘Free to Eat” allergen free chocolate chip cookie. They are my favorite store bought gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and they just happen to be vegan as well.  If you DO want to make your own homemade gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, I highly suggest my award-winning recipe, but I might be biased!

Gluten-Free Vegan Yellow Cake Recipe &

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

The recipe is adapted from: 

It’s also Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, and Soy-Free

Makes 2 - 8” cake rounds, 18 cupcakes, or 1 - 9 x 13 baking dish

Printable version of this recipe

Dry Ingredients

2 ¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour for baking (I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure flour)

1 ½ cups white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon turmeric (for yellow color - OPTIONAL)

1 tablespoon psyllium powder (for helping hold the texture of the cupcakes when they rise, fiber is a bonus)

Wet Ingredients

2 cups non-dairy milk (I used oat milk, but only because my store was out of my normal almond milk)

2 tablespoons white vinegar

⅔ cups extra virgin olive oil (or any oil that doesn’t have a lot of flavor)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon butter extract or flavoring


½ cup mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Allergen-Free Mini-Chocolate Chips)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  • If making cake in round cake pans, line pans with parchment paper rounds and/or non-stick cooking spray, or line cupcake pans with paper liners, if using a 9x13 pan, spritz with non-stick cooking spray. 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. 

  • In another bowl whisk together all wet ingredients. 

  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk together until ingredients are well incorporated and smooth, there should be no lumps. 

  • Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes to allow the psyllium to thicken the batter. 

  • After resting the batter, whisk the batter again, it should be thickened,  IF you are making the chocolate chip cupcakes, then gently stir in the mini chocolate chips, if you just want a yellow cake, leave out the chocolate chips.

  • Add batter evenly to round cake pans, a 9x13 greased baking dish, or evenly into individual cupcake liners. If making cupcakes, fill nearly to the top. 

  • Baking times: for cupcakes = 18-20 minutes, for 8” round cake pans = 30-35 minutes, for a 9x13” baking dish = 30-35 minutes. 

  • Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake or cupcake. It should come out mostly clean, with a crumb or two, you don’t want to see wet batter coating the toothpick. 

  • When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pans, and then frosting & decorating. 

Kitchen Notes: 

  • Turmeric. The turmeric for color is completely optional, leave it out or don’t use it if you don’t have it. 

  • Sugar. You can probably use other types of sugar in this recipe if you don’t want to use white sugar. But I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know how it would turn out. If you use a liquid sugar like honey or maple syrup, you may want to decrease the other liquids by ⅓ of  a cup. 

  • Psyllium husk powder. This is relatively easy to find on Amazon or in your local health food store. If you don’t want to use this, then increase the all purpose flour to 3 cups instead of 2 ¾ cups and just leave it out altogether. However, I have not made it without the psyllium, so I can’t guarantee the cake will come out as well. 

  • Non-dairy milk. Honestly, I think you can use whatever milk you prefer. Coconut milk, almond milk, even dairy milk will work fine in this recipe if that is what you would prefer to use. 

  • Olive oil. If you do not have or do not like to use extra virgin olive oil, I would recommend using a light tasting vegetable or coconut oil. If you can use butter all the better. If you do use butter, you can leave out the butter flavoring. 

Kitchen wisdom for today's recipe:

photo from

  • “I want people to fall in love with themselves and to be really proud and full of joy for the space they take up. If someone else appreciates the space you take up, then that’s icing on the cake.”Jonathan Van Ness

Need another serving? 

Please join me on to share any comments and/or questions that you may have about today’s recipe. Happy gluten-free baking! 

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