Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Delicious Gluten and Dairy-Free Birthday Cake (Plus Other Recipes)

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Updated on May 21, 2024

For many individuals, celebrating special occasions such as birthdays often involves indulging in sweet treats, including the iconic centrepiece of any birthday celebration: the cake. However, for those with gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or lactose intolerance, finding a suitable birthday cake that meets their dietary needs without compromising on taste and texture can be a daunting task.

Enter the world of the gluten and dairy-free birthday cake, where creativity knows no bounds, and flavour reigns supreme. In this article, we are providing you with the best and most delicious gluten and dairy-free birthday cake recipe, uncovering the ingredients and techniques that make this dessert not only safe for consumption but also a delightful addition to any celebration.

Whether you are planning a birthday bash for yourself, a loved one, or a friend, we will provide insights and tips to make sure everyone enjoy a slice of cake, regardless of their dietary requirements.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

The most common birthday cake often features a classic design that is widely recognised and enjoyed by many.

For instance, the cake is usually round or rectangular in shape, although round cakes are often preferred for their simplicity and classic appearance. The cake is often made up of multiple layers of sponge cake, which may be separated by layers of frosting, cream, or fruit filling. Layered cakes add visual appeal and offer a variety of textures and flavours with each slice.

From the outside, the cake is typically frosted with a generous layer of smooth, creamy, and easy-to-spread buttercream frosting that can be flavoured with vanilla, chocolate, or other extracts, adding richness and sweetness to the cake. The cake is then decorated with sprinkles, candies, or edible decorations. These decorations may be arranged in patterns or motifs, adding a festive touch to the cake’s appearance.

In making our gluten and dairy-free birthday cake, we are going to produce the same cake yet without a grain of flour or a drop of dairy milk. We will use alternatives such as almond, coconut, or rice flour to replace wheat flour and dairy-free substitutes like almond milk, coconut milk, or vegan butter to replace traditional dairy ingredients, which still create moist, tender textures and rich, flavorful profiles.

So, let’s make some delicious gluten and dairy-free birthday cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of dairy-free margarine or vegan butter, softened
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons of dairy-free milk (as needed)
  • Food colouring

Recipe

Preheat your oven to 175°C then grease and line two 22-cm round cake pans with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dairy-free milk, applesauce, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs until smooth and well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then, carefully transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the dairy-free margarine or vegan butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and dairy-free milk and beat them until smooth and creamy. Add more milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency. If desired, add food colouring to tint the frosting.

Once the cakes are completely cooled, place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of frosting over the top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate the cake as desired with additional sprinkles, candles, or other decorations.

Move your gluten and dairy-free vanilla birthday cake to the fridge to chill for about an hour before slicing and serving.

Tips for A Moist and Fluffy Gluten-free Cake

To help make a moist and fluffy gluten-free cake for your best gluten and dairy-free birthday cake, consider the following tips:

  1. Include a Binder: Gluten-free cakes often lack the binding properties of gluten, which can result in a crumbly texture. To help bind the ingredients together, add a binder such as xanthan gum or guar gum to the dry ingredients. These additives help create a cohesive texture in the cake batter.
  1. Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure that your eggs and dairy-free milk are at room temperature before adding them to the cake batter. Room-temperature ingredients mix more easily and evenly, resulting in a smoother and fluffier cake texture.
  1. Whip the Eggs: When beating the eggs, whip them until they are light and frothy. This incorporates air into the batter, which helps create a lighter and fluffier cake texture.
  1. Avoid Overmixing: Be careful not to overmix the cake batter, as this can lead to a dense and tough cake. Mix the ingredients until just combined to prevent overworking the batter.
  1. Allow to Cool Properly: Let the cake cool completely in the pan before removing it. This allows the cake to set properly and prevents it from collapsing. Once cooled, transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting or serving.

Other Delicious Cake Recipes

While there is no law in the world that states birthday cakes must only be made on birthdays, it would still feel a bit strange if you make them on normal days or different occasions.

In the next section, we are offering you a few other cake recipes you can make at any time to satisfy your sudden sugar craving.

1. Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

The apple and blackberry crumble is a popular classic British dessert enjoyed throughout the year, but it’s particularly popular in late summer and early autumn when both apples and blackberries are in season. It’s a comforting and versatile dessert that can be adapted with different fruits and flavourings to suit personal preferences.

The dessert begins with preparing the fruit filling. Peeled and sliced apples are combined with fresh or frozen blackberries in a baking dish. The fruit is often tossed with sugar, lemon juice, and sometimes spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg for added flavour.

The crumble topping is made by mixing together flour, rolled oats, sugar, and sometimes ground almonds or chopped nuts for extra texture. Cold butter is then cut into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. This crumbly mixture is then sprinkled evenly over the fruit filling.

The assembled crumble is baked in the oven until the fruit is tender and bubbling and the crumble topping is golden brown and crisp. The baking time typically ranges from 30 to 40 minutes at around 175°C.

Once baked, the apple and blackberry crumble is usually served warm, either on its own or with accompaniments such as custard, ice cream, or whipped cream. The contrast between the warm, fruity filling and the crisp, buttery crumble topping makes for a comforting and satisfying dessert.

2. Gluten and Dairy-Free Strawberry Shortcake

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Strawberry shortcake is a classic dessert made with layers of tender, sweet biscuit or sponge cake, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. It’s a delightful dessert that celebrates the simplicity and freshness of summer strawberries, making it a favourite for picnics, potlucks, and gatherings with family and friends especially during spring and summer.

Here is what you need to make it:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 of teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of dairy-free margarine, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk 
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 450 grams of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
  • 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Recipe

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the chilled dairy-free margarine or vegan butter pieces to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut the margarine or butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour in the dairy-free milk and vanilla extract. Stir until the dough just comes together. Be careful not to overmix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle about 2.5 centimetres thick. Use a round biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass to cut out individual shortcakes. Place the shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the shortcakes in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced strawberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Stir until the strawberries are well coated in the sugar. Let the strawberries macerate for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the juices to release.

Open the chilled can of coconut milk and scoop out the solid coconut cream that has risen to the top. Place the cream in a mixing bowl (reserve the liquid for another use, if desired). Add powdered sugar (if using) and vanilla extract to the coconut cream. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the coconut cream until light and fluffy.

Slice the cooled shortcakes in half horizontally. Place a generous spoonful of macerated strawberries on the bottom half of each shortcake. Top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. Place the top half of the shortcake over the whipped cream.

Serve the gluten and dairy-free strawberry shortcakes immediately, garnished with additional strawberries or mint leaves, if desired.

3. Gluten and Dairy-Free Brownies

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Gluten and dairy-free brownies are a delicious alternative to traditional brownies for individuals with dietary restrictions, yet they are just as rich, fudgy, and perfect for satisfying chocolate cravings.

To make gluten and dairy-free brownies, begin by preheating your oven to 175°C and lining a baking pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour, half a cup of cocoa powder, one teaspoon of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In a different bowl, whisk together half a cup of melted coconut oil, three-quarters cup of granulated sugar, a quarter cup of maple syrup, two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, and a quarter cup of coconut milk.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until well combined. Fold in half a cup of dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped nuts, if desired. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are set and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing and serving.

4. Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Scones

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Another delightful treat that is suitable for vegans, not just those with a gluten allergy or lactose intolerance, is the vegan, gluten-free blueberry scones.

To make those, and as always, preheat your oven to 190°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine two cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour, a quarter cup of granulated sugar, one tablespoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, and the zest of one lemon.

Cut in half a cup of vegan butter or coconut oil until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in half a cup of fresh blueberries. In a separate bowl, whisk together half a cup of almond milk, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a circle about 2.5 centimetres thick. Use a knife to cut the dough into eight wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with a little extra dairy-free milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the scones are golden brown and cooked through.

Allow the scones to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy these vegan, gluten-free lemon blueberry scones with a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful treat.

5. Gluten-Free Rice Krispy Treats

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Gluten-free rice krispy treats offer a delightful twist on the classic recipe to suit people with health or dietary restrictions. Here’s what you’ll need and how to prepare them:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of gluten-free rice cereal
  • 1 bag of marshmallows (ensure they are gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoons of dairy-free margarine or coconut oil

Recipe 

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine or coconut oil over low heat, then add the marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted and combined with the margarine or coconut oil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the rice cereal. Stir well to coat all the cereal with the marshmallow mixture.

Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish and press it down firmly using your hands or the back of a spoon. Let the treats cool and set for about an hour before cutting them into squares and serving.

6. Vegan Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Dairy-Free Birthday Cake

Last but not least, we have these vegan chocolate no-bake cookies that offer a guilt-free indulgence that satisfies your sweet cravings. They’re free from dairy, eggs, gluten, nuts, and soy and are suitable for both vegetarian and vegan diets. Here’s how to make them:

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine half a cup of coconut oil and half a cup of maple syrup. Heat until the mixture is melted and well combined. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in a quarter cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Add two cups of quick-cooking oats to the mixture and stir until all the oats are coated with the chocolate mixture.

Scoop spoonfuls of the cookie mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the cookies have hardened.

Once hardened, remove the cookies from the refrigerator and enjoy your guilt-free treat.

Conclusion

The world of gluten and dairy-free baking offers a delicious and inclusive array of options for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. From the classic elegance of a gluten and dairy-free birthday cake to the inventive twists of lemon blueberry scones and vegan chocolate no-bake cookies, there’s a treat for every occasion and palate.

These recipes not only showcase the versatility and creativity of gluten and dairy-free baking but also emphasise that dietary restrictions need not limit culinary enjoyment. With the right ingredients and techniques, it’s possible to create moist, flavourful, and indulgent desserts that everyone can enjoy. 

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