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If you want to make a beautifully light gluten free red velvet cake with lashings of cream cheese frosting, you’ve come to the right place.

A perfect gluten free red velvet cake is something I’ve been meaning to publish on here for a long time.

A super light and fluffy cake with subtle flavours of chocolate and vanilla, a red velvet cake is characterised by its gorgeous colouring.

The vibrant red sponge contrasts against white, velvety, vanilla cream cheese frosting with flecks of red sponge crumbled on top.

This gluten free red velvet cake is a real looker and something you’re going to want to make again and again.

Gluten free red velvet cake recipe
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What is red velvet cake?

Red velvet cake originates from the US, and is traditionally a red-coloured chocolate layer cake.

While the sponge is flavoured with cocoa powder, using red food colouring gives it a gorgeous red hue – which can range from bright crimson to a subtle red-brown.

The colouring of the cake is very much dependent on which food colouring you use.

This gluten free red velvet cake is super light in texture, and this is due to the fact that buttermilk is used in the recipe.

Buttermilk keeps the cake lovely and moist, while the raise comes from a mixture of baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar.

The vinegar and the bicarb react in the mix to make the cake super light and fluffy.

This is great at the cream cheese frosting provides a real decadence to the cake, but with the sponge being so light, it’s not sickly or overpowering.

Gluten free red velvet cake recipe

What ingredients do I need?

There’s a full printable recipe card below with the ingredients and method for this gluten free red velvet cake.

But for the recipe card you will need:

  • 120g Stork baking margarine (or softened butter)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp red food colouring
  • 300g plain gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum (omit if your flour contains this already)
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

You can use butter in this recipe but I always prefer using the Stork margarine as it makes the cake extra light and fluffy.

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding 2 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 300ml milk.

Stir it and leave it to stand for a couple of minutes so that it thickens and curdles into buttermilk.

This also works with dairy free milk if you wanted to convert this to a dairy free red velvet cake.

I always use the FREEE plain gluten free flour but any plain or All Purpose gluten free flour blend will work.

Typically these are made of a blend of rice and potato flour.

If your flour mix already has xanthan gum in it then you can feel free to omit this from the recipe.

I find the xanthan gum does help with the texture of the cake but if you are intolerant to it, it won’t harm it too much to not use it.

Gluten free red velvet cake recipe

How to make cream cheese frosting

For the cream cheese frosting you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 250g full fat cream cheese

I’d strongly recommend sticking to full fat Philadelphia.

The supermarket own brands tend to produce a runnier cream cheese frosting which you may find harder to work with.

It will still taste just as good but won’t spread onto the cake as well as if you use Philadelphia.

Whatever you do, the golden rule of making cream cheese frosting is to ALWAYS use full fat cream cheese – any ‘lighter’ or ‘fat free’ version will not work.

You’ll also want to make sure the butter you use is at room temperature when you start mixing it.

I tend to leave my butter out the night before making this but sometimes on a hot day it may only need to be out an hour-or-so.

You can also gently zap it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds if you decided to make this cake last minute and need to soften the butter in a hurry.

Just make sure you don’t melt it otherwise you’ll have to wait for it to harden again or your icing will be way too soft.

I have not tried making this icing dairy free before – but I do have a dairy free cream cheese frosting recipe for this gluten free carrot cake.

Gluten free red velvet cake recipe

What equipment do I need?

To make my gluten free red velvet cake you just need a few basic bits of equipment.

Of course you’ll want a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon – though an electric mixer helps.

I was gifted this Cuisinart cordless mixer and I am obsessed with it, it’s just so nice to use and the lack of cords makes it easier to whizz round the kitchen.

You’ll also need two 20cm springform round cake tins as well as some baking paper to line them.

Finally, I always use a cake leveller to trim down the tops of my cakes.

You can do this with a knife but a cake leveller like this one is so much easier and more accurate.

Plus with this gluten free red velvet cake, you’ll want to level the cakes so you have the extra red crumbs for decoration.

Gluten free red velvet cake recipe


To line my cake tin for a gluten free red velvet cake, I always make a cartouche from baking paper (step-by-step photos below!).

To do this, take a square of baking paper, then fold it in half, and in half again so you have a square.

Next, fold this in half again from the corner so that it becomes a triangle, and then repeat again.

Hold this triangle over the top of the baking tin, so that the centre is in line with the centre of the tin.

Trim the large end at an angle just wider than the edge of the cake tin and unfold – you should have a circle which is just larger than the base of the tin.

Press the circle into the bottom of the cake tin, so that when you remove the paper, you can clearly see the outline of the base.

Then at 1-inch intervals, snip the excess in towards the base all around the edge.

When you grease your baking tin and place the cartouche back into the bottom, the edges should neatly fold up the side of the tin.

This will stop your cake sticking to the bottom of the tin and also make it much easier to get out.

I find it you only line the exact base of the tin, it’s much harder to prise the finished cakes out when cooked and get the bottom off.

How to make a cartouche for baking cakes

My gluten free red velvet cake recipe

My gluten free red velvet cake recipe is great for a gluten free birthday cake with a delicious vanilla cream cheese frosting.

This recipe makes a 20cm, two-tier cake for sharing, perfect as a celebration cake.

If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. I love seeing your bakes!

And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me. 

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake
Yield: 16 slices

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This easy Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake is a super light chocolate flavoured cake with cream cheese frosting. A great gluten free birthday cake.


  • 120g Stork baking margarine (or softened butter)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp red food colouring
  • 300g plain gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your flour contains this already)
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting:

  • 125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 250g full fat cream cheese (I recommend Philadelphia)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180'C / Fan 160'C / Gas Mark 4. Grease 2 x round, 20cm springform baking tins with butter/margarine and line the base with baking paper (see above blog post on how to do this).
  2. Add the Stork (or butter) and caster sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix again until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the red food colouring and vanilla extract together - this will help it mix evenly into the cake batter a bit more. Pour the colouring/vanilla mix into the cake batter and beat again with the mixer until it is an even. vibrant crimson colour.
  4. Mix the gluten free flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and then sift into the mixture. It's important to use a sieve here to ensure you don't get any lumps!
  5. Pour in the buttermilk and then beat with the mixture again until you have a smooth batter with no lumps of flour.
  6. Add the vinegar to a small bowl, pour in the bicarbonate of soda, stir briefly to mix (it should fizz and bubble a little!) and then pour into the cake mixture. Beat with the electric mixer until combined.
  7. Pour the cake batter evenly between the two baking tins then place in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not open the oven door until at least 30 minutes! The cakes should have risen and when pricked with a skewer in the centre, it should come out clean. Remove from the oven to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Add the butter (it's very important this is at room temperature!) to a large mixing bowl and beat with the electric mixer for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt to the mix and beat again until fully combined.
  3. Add the cream cheese and beat the mixture for several minutes until it is thick, light and fluffy with no lumps of cream cheese. Note - I strongly recommend using Philadelphia cheese, as cheaper brands may result in runny frosting!

To assemble:

  1. Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the tin and peel off the lining from the base.
  2. Trim the top of the cakes using a cake leveller (or a knife and a keen eye!) so that they are both level. Keep any trimmings on a plate for the crumb decoration.
  3. Top one sponge with around a third of the frosting, spread evenly then place the second sponge on top. Decorate the top and sides of the cake using the rest of the frosting.
  4. For the crumb decoration, use your hands to crumble the cake trimmings into crumbs. Decorate as you wish - I went for a topping and a trim around the sides!


  • If using butter instead of Stork, soften the butter slightly in the microwave for 5-10 seconds before starting the cake. I find Stork gives a nicer texture to the sponge.
  • This cake will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. You can also make the sponges ahead of time and freeze them - simple defrost when you're ready to assemble the cake.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 166mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 1gSugar: 51gProtein: 5g


Want to have a go at some of the other gluten free baking recipes on the blog?

Give some of these other gluten free bakes a try and see what you think!

There are plenty to choose from – here are a couple of easy baking ideas to get you going:

If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram. 

And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!

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Make sure you pin these recipe cards below for later! 

Do head over and follow me on Pinterest too for more gluten free recipe inspiration.

Gluten free red velvet cake recipe
Gluten free red velvet cake recipe

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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