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Vegan & gluten-free birthday cake

10 Feb 2023 • 4 min read


Start the celebration with this vegan and gluten-free birthday cake. 

Baking without eggs, dairy, and gluten can be a challenge at the best of times. But never more so than when you’re trying to make something for a special occasion. Luckily, with substitutes like free from flour and vegan egg replacer, it couldn’t be easier.

You can of course decorate your birthday cake any way you wish!

Why not add some fresh fruit to the cake, like we’ve done with fresh raspberries on top of dairy free icing ? Whatever you do, don’t forget the candles; it is a birthday cake after all…

Gluten Free
Serves 12 Slices
Prep time: 30mins
Cook time: 45mins
Total time: 1hr 15mins


  • For the cake:

  • 225 grams dairy-free spread
  • 1 tsp egg replacer (mixed with 2 tbsp water)

  • 300 grams caster sugar
  • 0.25 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • For the filling:

  • 6 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
  • For the decoration:

  • 250 grams dairy free spread
  • 500 grams icing sugar
  • 25 ml plant milk

  • 0.5 tsp vanilla paste
  • 10 tbsp sprinkles
  • 8 raspberries



To bake the cake


Pre-heat your oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4.


Line three 6-inch cake tins with greaseproof paper and place to one side.


In a large bowl beat together the dairy-free spread, egg replacer and water mix, and the caster sugar.


Once well combined, add ⅓ of the flour along with all of the xanthan gum and mix.


Add in ⅓ of the plant-based milk alternative and mix. Repeat this process until all of the flour and milk has been combined.


Stir through the vanilla paste.


Divide the cake batter evenly between the three cake tins.


Place into the centre of your oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the edges of the cakes start coming away from the sides of the tins.


Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before transferring on to a wire rack to cool.


To assemble:


Beat together the dairy-free spread and the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and soft enough to pipe.


Spread a little of the icing on a cake board or cake plate and place down the first layer of cake.


Fill an icing bag with a quarter of the icing and carefully pipe a ring of it around the top of the sponge cake layer.


Fill the middle of the icing ring with half of the raspberry jam.


Place the next sponge layer on top and press down gently.


Pipe another ring of icing on top of the second sponge layer and fill with raspberry jam.


Top with the final layer of sponge cake and press down gently.


Use any leftover icing in the piping bag to fill any gaps between the layers.


Using a spatula, cover the sides of the cake with icing, trapping in as many crumbs as possible.


Spoon half of the icing on top of the cake and spread out over the sides of the cake.


Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining two thirds of icing and smooth out carefully.


Spread sprinkles around the base of the cake.


Place an open star nozzle into a second piping bag and fill with the remaining icing.


Pipe swirls on the top of the cake.


Place a single raspberry on top of each swirl and scatter over any remaining sprinkles.

The method of making a vegan and gluten-free cake isn’t that dissimilar from baking a classic birthday cake. Once you’ve swapped out the necessary ingredients you simply follow the same method you would if you were baking any old cake.

Xantham gum is added alongside the flour to mimic the missing gluten. There’s also some added plant milk in this recipe to make sure the batter isn’t too thick but it’s still super simple.

The cake itself is moist, soft and bouncy, a bit like a madeira cake. Vibrant raspberry jam and icing get sandwiched between each layer before a layer of icing coats the outside. 

If you want to make changes to this recipe then you could try a different type of jam between the layers, maybe strawberry or blueberry?

You could also use a vegan chocolate spread! Citrus juice and zest can also be added to the sponge for some extra zing! The possibilities are endless.

Last updated: 28 April 2022


Author: Amy TalbotRegulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: Aug 2005

Amy originally started her career with Holland & Barrett in August 2005 with the Labelling Regulatory team for Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements. 

Amy moved over to support the Food Regulatory Team in October 2020 and was promoted to her role of Regulatory Affairs Associate (Food) in February 2021.

In her spare time, Amy likes to go to the gym, listen to a variety of podcasts, read and socialise with friends.

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