Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake


  • 3 cups gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (5 g) xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend contains it)
  • 1 1/2 cups (325 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (see notes for dairy free)
  • 2/3 cup avocado oil (or neutral oil of choice)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 batches cream cheese frosting


This is a super easy gluten-free recipe on how to make red velvet cake GLUTEN FREE! It makes a scrumptious 3-layer cake that’s surprisingly simple to make and is frosted with cream cheese frosting.


Red Velvet Cake is an iconic cake, so it was only right that we created a gluten-free recipe for this delicious cake for you all to enjoy.


Not only does this cake taste great, but it’s easy to make with little hassle and makes for an easy-to-follow recipe.


What is Red Velvet Cake?

The best way to describe red velvet cake is a vanilla cake with a hint of red. If you’ve never tried it before, our analogy won’t make much sense, but for those of you out there who’ve tried it, I’m sure you can agree with our statement.


What’s the best Red Velvet Cake frosting?

Ermine frosting is the traditional frosting for a red velvet cake, but it’s not gluten-free. So for this recipe, we’ll be using a cream cheese frosting, which isn’t abnormal, it’s commonly used now in red velvet cakes and it just boils down to personal preference.


Key Ingredients for Homemade Red Velvet Cake

  • Red Food Coloring – We have no preference for this, any red food colouring should be suitable. For the recipe, we used Dr.Oetker’s range of food colourings.
  •  Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – We used Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder in this recipe, not dark or Dutch Processed. It gives the cake a very subtle hint of cocoa without making it the main flavour.
  • Buttermilk – I love baking with buttermilk. It gives baked goods such a great tender crumb and it’s perfect in cakes and cupcakes. We’ve included a dairy-free sub in the recipe notes.
  • Vinegar – a little vinegar is added to the cake batter. See below for a more in-depth explanation!
  • Hot Water – gluten-free cakes have a tendency to be dry with a tight crumb. Adding hot water to the batter at the end makes the cake moister and it blooms the small amount of cocoa powder.
  • Gluten Free Flour – Feel free to use your personal preference when it comes to the Gluten-Free flour, as if you’re here reading this recipe, you’re probably already a GF baker. So whatever GF flour you use for your other GF cakes, will be suitable for this recipe.


Why is vinegar in Red Velvet Cake?

Vinegar is added to Red Velvet Cake because it reacts with the baking soda and cocoa to help bring out a natural red hue. Also, the acidity helps give the cake a tender crumb. Due to the acidic properties of the vinegar and how it reacts with the baking soda, it also aids in the cake rising.


This cake doesn’t contain any baking powder so it relies completely on the acid and baking soda reaction. 


Can I make a dairy free Red Velvet Cake?

Yes! The only dairy in this cake to replace is the buttermilk. To make this cake dairy-free, use 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk beverage + 1 tablespoon vinegar in place of the buttermilk. 


Why do you add water to the cake batter?

There are two reasons why you should add water to this cake. It provides moisture and it blooms the cocoa powder.


Equipment Needed to Bake Red Velvet Cake from Scratch

  • 3 x 8-inch Round Cake Pans
  • Parchment Paper


How to Make Red Velvet Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Try to press out as many cocoa powder lumps as possible then set the bowl aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and the food coloring then whisk in the vinegar.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the hot water and mix until the water is completely incorporated into the batter.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans dividing it evenly between the 3 pans.
  6. Bake at 180 degrees on the centre rack for 28-32 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. I place all 3 of the pans on the centre rack and they take 30 minutes to bake. (Please note different ovens cook quicker than others, so it’s always best to check on your cake 10 mins before the full time is up). When done, the centre of the cake will spring back when gently pressed and the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans, discard the parchment paper, and cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Once the cakes are cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze on a sheet pan until ready to use.



Tips for Making this Gluten Free Cake Recipe

  • Follow the recipe exactly or with the notes for substitutes we’ve included in the recipe notes. If you make any substitutes in terms of the number of dry ingredients, sugar-free subs, oil substitutions, egg-free substitutions, using different amounts of the liquid ingredients, or a natural food colouring sub, we cannot guarantee the results. For the best red velvet cake, follow the recipe to a T.
  • Give the cake a crumb coat before covering completely in frosting. That way, you’ll be sure you don’t get any flecks of red cake crumbs mixed into the frosting.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. The cake won’t rise as well if the ingredients are cold and the texture won’t be as light and fluffy.
  • Use Baking Soda and not baking powder. Always double-check before adding!
  • Level the tops of your cakes with a serrated knife. Levelling the top will provide a nice, flat top for stacking and frosting. Save the tops of the cake that you’ve cut and turn it into crumbs for decorating the tops and sides of the frosted cake.

    Try our no-bake almond butter bars