Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

A light and fluffy vanilla sheet cake sponge topped with vanilla pink buttercream and sprinkles – a simple but impressive bake. This cake comes together in 30 minutes and is naturally vegan and gluten-free and great for special occasions.

I love making a big song and dance about cake recipes using lots of flavours and a few different ingredients, but sometimes, simple is best. This Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake is testament to just that. I think this is the simplest cake I’ve made, it comes together in one bowl in less than 10 minutes, pour into the tin and bake. It’s really that simple! I’ve made this a few times, slightly changing the amounts of flour so that it’s moist and fluffy but holds its shape (and all the frosting) nicely. 

Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

I am really enjoying challenging myself with buttercreams and piping, so this is a bit of a special one which I’ve dedicated to my mum for Mother’s Day this year. The pink colour comes from a vegan natural food colouring, but you can use any colour. It will taste just the same without any colouring but won’t look quite as impressive unless you top it with lots of fresh berries in the summer – what this space!

The base cake for this Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake relies on a few simple ingredients:

  • Plant-based milk: any milk will do but I like almond or oat for baking.
  • Lemon juice: this curdles the milk and helps to bind the sponge together.
  • Sunflower oil: I love using liquid oils for my bakes as it keeps them really light and fluffy. I can imagine coconut oil would also work, although it may be slightly denser.
  • Coconut sugar: this adds to the golden colour and lovely flavour, although golden caster or regular caster sugar will also work.
  • Vanilla essence: for the classic vanilla flavour! As this is the key flavour, I use 2 teaspoons for the cake.
  • Self-raising flour: this keeps the ingredient list small as the flour does all the work for us. It rises really nicely without a dome in the centre. A GF self-raising blend or gluten-containing self-raising flour work equally well (photographed here is the GF version).
  • Baking powder: just a pinch for extra rise and stability.
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

For my cakes, I like to use a whisk rather than a wooden spoon to keep the batter as silky smooth as possible. Pour into a lined tin and bake until golden and risen. Unlike most cakes, I actually tend to leave this one in the tin to cool almost fully before removing it. Then on to the fun part of this Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake: the icing!

As I said, I went all out on the decoration for this Mother’s Day cake and experimented with two-tone frosting. I explain in the method how this is done, or for a visual, have a quick look on google. The base of the frosting is a white vegan buttercream:

  • Divide the buttercream into 3 pieces: one that is ½ the frosting and the other two are ¼ of the total frosting.
  • White buttercream: this is the ½ amount and is spread all underneath and then used as small flower patterns on top.
  • Light pink buttercream: just a small amount of colouring needed.
  • Darker pink buttercream: slightly more colouring needed.
  • Two-tone frosting: combine the light and dark pink in the same piping bag for the two-tone effect. (I was personally quite impressed!)
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

With the decoration complete, add on some sprinkles and rose petals or anything else you like e.g.  chocolate chips or desiccated coconut.

I hope you will fall in love with this Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake and have a lot of fun baking and decorating. It’s so light, fluffy and moist and I love how neutral the cake is without being boring. With lots of lovely vanilla notes, it’s refreshing and slightly sweet which is perfect when you add on all the buttercream. Serve this cake with a cup of tea for the best afternoon tea snack.

If you are looking for more simple bakes, how about my:

Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

  • Servings: 9-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A light and fluffy vanilla sheet cake sponge topped with vanilla pink buttercream and sprinkles – a simple but impressive bake. This cake comes together in 30 minutes and is naturally vegan and gluten-free and great for special occasions.

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 150ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 60g coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 190g self-raising flour or GF self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • For the frosting:
  • 100g vegan butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp plant-based milk
  • 1-2 tsp vegan pink/red food colouring
  • To decorate:
  • Sprinkles
  • Chopped rose petals

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line an 8-inch square tin with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the milk and lemon juice and leave for 5 minutes to curdle. Whisk in the sunflower oil, coconut sugar and vanilla essence.
  3. Pour in the flour and baking powder and whisk to a smooth batter.
  4. Pour into the tin, smooth over the top, tap on the surface a couple of times to remove any air bubbles and bake for 14-15 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes then remove and cool fully on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth and whipped and gradually add in the icing sugar and plant-based milk until thick but creamy. Add more or less milk as needed for a firm but pipeable mix.
  7. Divide the frosting into 3: place ½ the mix in one bowl (this will stay white) and ¼ in another bowl (light pink) and ¼ in a third bowl (darker pink). For the pale pink frosting, add a small amount (a couple of drops) and blend to reach the desired colour. Now make the darker pink frosting in the same way using more colouring.
  8. For the two-tone frosting: place both the light and dark pink frosting in re-usable piping bags with the ends snipped off. Place both of these inside a third piping bag with your desired nozzle attached and squeeze together. As you start to pipe, both the light and darker pink frostings will come out.
  9. Spread the cooled cake with most of the white frosting (about 2/3) and place the rest in a piping bag. Pipe over the two-tone pink frosting and fill in the gaps with the white frosting.
  10. Top with sprinkles and chopped rose petals, if desired. Store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze the un-iced cake for 1 month.
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake
Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake so please let me know in the comments below. if you make this cake for Mother’s Day or for any day, please tag me in your creations as I love seeing them. I am @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With sheet cake love x

14 thoughts on “Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Sheet Cake

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