Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Birthdays are a huge thing in our house, we love celebrating each other. And, who doesn’t love birthday cake?

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

My Vanilla Birthday Cake recipe is made with six ingredients total. Yes! You’ve got that right. You can have an amazing gluten-free dessert for birthday celebrations that turns out perfectly every time.

Easy Gluten-Free Cake

Better yet, mixing the batter for this cake is as easy as using a cake mix. The difference? Homemade Birthday Cake tastes so much better, and it’s healthy too!

Birthday Cake

People fell hard for my Chocolate Birthday Cake, and then asked for a Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting, so I had to make another fabulously healthy dessert for y’all.

Happy Birthday Cake

This easy Gluten-Free Birthday Cake recipe is so simple that my boys used to throw it together when they were in grade school.

I love it when readers show me their little ones making my cake recipes over on Instagram.

Homemade Birthday Cake Recipe

Yup, my cake recipes from scratch are so easy an elementary school student can make them, and this homemade birthday cake recipe is one of my faves!

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Print Pin Recipe
Servings 10



Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Tried this recipe?Mention @elanaspantry or tag #elanaspantry!

Birthday Cake Recipe

For this birthday cake recipe, all you do is throw the coconut flour and baking soda in the food processor, then pulse in the wet ingredients –eggs, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. That’s it!

To learn more about the main ingredient, coconut flour, check out my Ultimate Guide to Coconut Flour.

How to Make a Cake Tall

After that, transfer the batter to two greased 6-inch pans. If you want your cakes to be tall like mine, be sure to use the 6-inch pans.

If you use an 8-inch pan the batter will not fill the pan properly, in turn, your cake will be sad 😟 and flat.

Bake Cake

If you need to know how to bake cake, well, that’s even simpler. Place your cake pans with the batter on a baking sheet, put it in the oven and you’re off to the races.

Frosting Cake

Now let’s talk about frosting cake. There’s one basic step that ensures the results of frosting the cake will be gorgeous.

Let the cake cool for two hours minimum after it comes out of the oven. I have the best results frosting the cake when I bake the cake the night before, and then let it cool overnight at room temperature.

gluten free birthday cake

Make-Ahead Birthday Cake Recipe

When we throw a birthday bash that requires a lot of set-up, I make Vanilla Birthday Cake a couple of days ahead of time.

I bake the cakes and cool them in the pans overnight. The next morning I remove them from the pans and then wrap individually in foil. Store Vanilla Birthday Cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

I frost the cake with my homemade frosting the day of the birthday party.

Chocolate Frosting

My homemade chocolate frosting recipe really takes the cake here, no pun intended. I am one of those people who likes a little cake with my frosting.

Homemade Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Use a double batch of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for this birthday cake. That’s what you see in the photo.

I serve my cakes on cake stands because they have a big wow-factor and look incredibly special this way. More on the best cake stands below!

Dairy-Free Frosting Recipes

If you don’t eat dairy, try my Dairy-Free Chocolate Frosting recipe for an all-out dairy-free birthday cake celebration.

elana amsterdam book signing paleo cooking barnes and noble

Happy Birthday Wishes

Did you know I launched Elana’s Pantry in 2006? This year is our fifteenth birthday! I love this community so much.

We are a motley crew when it comes to food allergies and I work to create recipes that meet the needs of each person here.

Food Allergies

I want you to be able to break bread, and cake, with friends and loved ones. If a recipe doesn’t meet your food allergy needs, experiment and use substitutions to customize it for you.

That includes substitutions for this Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting recipe.


I wish I had a crystal ball when it comes to knowing how to make perfect recipes. Unfortunately, I don’t. This means I test each recipe dozens of times.

So, the only way to know if a substitution works is to try! Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Cake Stand

Here are some of my favorite cake stands! Use them to create a breath-taking presentation when you make Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting or any of the cake recipes from scratch below:

Cake Recipes

Although these cakes may not be labeled as birthday cakes, I’ve received several comments that they have become family favorites for birthday celebrations.

Low-Carb Strawberry Shortcake

Low-Carb Strawberry Shortcake

Most strawberry shortcake recipes from scratch are complicated. My homemade Low-Carb Strawberry Shortcake recipe is incredibly easy to put together.

I love it because the vanilla cake is made with six ingredients total. My family loves it too and tells me it’s one of the best cake recipes with fruit they’ve ever had.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Homemade Coffee Cake is one of my favorite comfort foods, and my gluten-free coffee cake is super healthy.

cream cheese frosting

Nut-Free Carrot Cake

This Nut-Free Carrot Cake recipe made with coconut flour is another cake recipe from scratch that’s healthy and super easy to assemble. Throwing a party is enough work, why make the cake difficult?

Paleo Mug Cake

Mug Cake

My Mug Cake is the perfect single-sized treat. It’s made with five ingredients total –almond flour, cacao powder, an egg, maple syrup, and baking soda.

Make this when you’re craving dessert, but either don’t want to take time to bake a full cake or want to allow everyone to add their own toppings. This would be so much fun with a group of friends.

strawberry cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes

Back when the boys were growing up, this strawberry cupcakes recipe was the perfect nut-free treat for school!

The recipe is an exclusive from my book Gluten-Free Cupcakes, but I’ve also shared the recipe here on the website with our Elana’s Pantry community.

Get the Book! Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Speaking of cupcakes Gluten-Free Cupcakes is a great investment if you’re looking for birthday cake style recipes.

And I have a Vegan Chocolate Cupcake recipe in the book for all of my egg-free, dairy-free readers!

orange cake

Gluten-Free Orange Cake with Almond Flour

Because I loved chocolate-covered orange peel growing up, I’ve always wanted to smother Orange Cake in my Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe, the same frosting used here in my Vanilla Birthday Cake recipe. I’ve had many readers try this and they all tell me it’s incredible!

Cake Recipes from Scratch

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting is one of my favorite cake recipes from scratch. Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite is!

This post is an oldie but goodie from the archives. I first shared this Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting in September 2016.

Buy My Books!

paleo cooking from elana's pantryGluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook

Love this recipe! It's a keeper and my whole family enjoys it.


171 responses to “Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting”

  1. Elana, followed recipe to the “t” What happen? They didn’t rise much at all…? I thought 9 eggs would have been the trick of a high cake… Did I not whip it enough in processor? Its the only thing I can think of… Shelly M

    • Shelly, this is exactly what happens when two 9-inch pans are used instead of the two 6-inch pans called for in the recipe :-)

    • Hello Elana!!

      I was so excited to find this recipe and make it for a friend for her birthday. I made it today, and I substituted cocnut oil and a smidge of water instead of melted butter. I baked it in 6inch spring forms at 350 for just under 30 minutes and they came out looking lovely. After 30 they set completely and after 3 hours I took them from their molds, but the consistency was sooo SAD! The egg went down to the bottom completely! The very top 1/4 inch is cocnut flour, the rest is all eggy, with the most eggness at the the bottom…. like a quiche.
      This has happed one other time when I made a similar kind of cake. What went wrong?

      I also made your chocolate birthday cake in muffin tins and they are lovely….. what went wrong? I want to make another before tomorrow but I don’t want this to happen again….

      • This is probably because of the coconut flour you used. There is an immense difference between brands which affect directly how much liquid the flour absorbs. First time I tried coconut flour recipes was just like that, all eggy and weird in the bottom. With time I learned how to adjust liquids to get the right consistency. You batter was probably very liquid.

        Try using less eggs next time.

    • The recipe calls for maple syrup which has 53 g carbs and 53 g of sugar. I guess this isn’t low carb but it is paleo. Right?

      • Chelsea, this is a fantastic low-carb recipe given the type of flour used, as well as the amount of sweetener used :-)

  2. I made this as a sheet cake for my boyfriend’s birthday today, cooked it for 25mins & it came out perfectly moist. The only thing I’ll do next time is follow your advice to double the frosting recipe, which I also used & loooooved (as good as Duncan Hines’, he admitted!). I think your 9″round cake is certainly prettier so I’ll try that next time. (Also have your cookbook & everything is terrific so far, so thank you! )

  3. I just made this tonight for my birthday weekend. I haven’t had cake in years! I doubled the recipe using coconut oil instead of butter (dairy free), added the seeds from a whole vanilla bean and used a 9 inch Spring form and 6 inch spring form pan. The cakes came out beautifully! I snuck a little nibble and it’s to die for! Not too eggy in my opinion, fluffy and moist! I’m going to frost it after it has sat in the fridge for a day or so with a strawberry meringue. Thank you for a wonderful recipe! I’ve been gluten year for 5 years now and with my Crohn’s disease I have to be very careful about the refined foods that I eat. This is a great alternative that makes me feel normal again!

  4. This is such a clever idea on making a smaller cake…a lot of times I make a cake and my daughter eats almost the entire thing cause I normally can only have one piece. Now she won’t have so much to finish off, but I’m gonna try just regular 6 inch pans :-)

  5. Your recipes are always successful and tasty on the first try. This cake is no exception. It’s so spongy, moist and tasty. I have become a coconut nectar convert recently. Seems a natural choice when baking with coconut oil and coconut flour. It works very well in this cake recipe too. Although this cake really needs no frosting, I have found that it pairs well with pots o creme! Freezes well too! I use 4 4″ springform pans and cut into 3 layers for a beautiful individual cake. You are a hit!

    • Carrie, thanks for letting me know my recipes are always successful and tasty on the first try! So glad to hear you are enjoying this cake :-)

  6. I love this recipe so much! It also makes a great marble cake. I split the batter in half, add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to one half, then layer the batters in a loaf pan. Bake until firm, and it makes a beautiful marble cake loaf! You can also make marble cupcakes the same way.

    • Do you use a traditional loaf pan? How long do you bake it? I’m using this recipe for strawberry shortcake and I think the loaf pan would be great!

  7. Thank you, Elana! I love your recipes so much and love that you are here in Boulder.

    This cake was a huge success for my daughter’s birthday. I have to tell you the modification I did worked really well. I doubled the cake recipe and used 8 in spring form pans, added a little extra cooking time. Made extra frosting and it was beautiful! Thank you!!!

    • Becky, happy birthday to your daughter! Thanks for letting me know this cake was a huge success for her party :-)

  8. I am looking for a recipe to make a jelly roll, do you think this cake is moist enough to not crumble while rolling? It sounds great

  9. I spent over a week on Pinning recipes for my son’s 1st birthday cake. Nothing looked good and I literally hit myself in the head when I realized I forgot about your awesome recipes. (I blame lack of sleep/mommy brain). I made your chocolate cake for my oldest’s birthday, which was wonderful by the way. I made this vanilla cake with your whipped cream frosting. FANTASTIC!
    Every recipe of yours I have attempted has turned out delicious, and this one ,or two, was no exception.
    I appreciate your work and creativity so those of us with special diets can still enjoy the finer things in life.
    Thank you!

    • Eliza, thanks for your incredible comment! I’m so glad that I could be part of your family’s birthday celebrations with my cake recipes, and happy to hear this cake is FANTASTIC :-)

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Recipes » Desserts » Cakes and Cupcakes » Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting