Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting Recipe

Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Whenever I used to see a Vanilla Cake recipe, I used to get a little jealous.  I have always wanted to make my own Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake, but it’s really hard to make that classic recipe reduced fat, refined sugar free, and 100% healthy.  After numerous trial and error (and a ton of cake-eating), I healthified this traditional cake!

This Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake is super moist and topped with a sweet and Vanilla Bean Frosting, it doesn't taste low fat and sugar free at all!

Yes, I said it:  this is a HEALTHY Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake!

Yup, no butter, no white sugar, and no bleached flour.

This cake is packed with vanilla.  FOUR sources of vanilla — vanilla sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla-flavored yogurt, and vanilla paste — so you are sure to please any vanilla lovers out there.

This Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake is super moist and topped with a sweet and Vanilla Bean Frosting, it doesn't taste low fat and sugar free at all!

This cake is so incredibly moist, sweet and fluffy, it’s hard to believe this is good for you!

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Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Servings: 2 6" cake layers


Vanilla Bean Cake:

  • 246g (1 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbs Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • ¾ cup Egg Whites
  • 96g (½ cup) Homemade Vanilla Sugar
  • 1 tbs Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Liquid Stevia Extract
  • 1 tsp Almond Flavor
  • 130g (¾ cup + 1 tbs) Brown Rice Flour
  • 120g (1 cup) Oat Flour
  • 30g (3 tbs) Organic Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbs White Vinegar

Vanilla Bean Frosting:


For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray two 6"x3" cake pans with cooking spray.
  • In a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, add the applesauce, almond milk, egg whites, vanilla sugar, oil, vanilla extract, stevia extract and almond flavor. Mix on low speed.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, oat flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the vinegar to the stand mixer bowl, still on low speed.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients and well it is all incorporated, beat on medium/high speed for ~20 seconds.
  • Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for ~53 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and surface is firm when tapped.

For the Frosting:

  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add ¼ cup of yogurt and the coconut oil and microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring between each one, until the oil is softened/melted, but NOT hot.
  • Scoop mixture into a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, and add the vanilla paste and butter extract.
  • Add the erythritol and beat on high speed for a few minutes, or until fluffy and light (if you need more yogurt, add it 1 tablespoon at a time).  Frost the cake.  Slice and serve!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake & Cupcakes

You can skip all the excess butter and sugar with my Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake recipe.  Get to the good stuff, like whole grain oat flour, high protein egg whites, and unsweetened applesauce.  You can’t even tell that my recipe is healthy, it tastes surprisingly authentic (aka, unhealthy) to the typical vanilla cakes out there!  This cake is moist and springy and 100% vanilla-y.  The frosting is sweet, creamy, and oh so very similar to the frosting you would taste at a bakery.  I am now no longer jealous of the vanilla cake recipes I see online, because now I’ve got my own  🙂

This Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake is super moist and topped with a sweet and Vanilla Bean Frosting, it doesn't taste low fat and sugar free at all!


With love and good eats,


– Jess


32 comments on “Healthy Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting”

  1. Ahhhh as always so awesome-this cake is gorgeous

  2. Wow! This looks stunning! Can’t wait to give the recipe a try!

  3. I love your blog and all of your recipes! You have an amazing talent. I would love to make this recipe for my daughter’s 1st birthday but she can’t have eggs…do you have any suggestions for what I could sub the egg whites with? Thanks in advance!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Brooke,
      I’m not sure of any good replacement because this recipe calls for egg whites rather than whole eggs, and most egg replacers out there are designed to replace whole eggs. However, you can give Ener-G egg replacer a try, that’s the egg replacer I use sometimes and most often I get good results. I would whisk together 2 tbs Ener-G egg replacer + 1/2 cup water in a small bowl, and add that to the stand mixer with the other wet ingredients instead of the egg whites. I have not tried this but I’m crossing my fingers that it works! Good luck, and I hope your daughter has an awesome first birthday!

  4. Thank you, Jess! I will give it a try!

  5. I receive your updates via email, and am always excited to see a “healthified” dessert recipe! Thanks for sharing your trials & errors, and the wonderful end result.

    I feel compelled to ask: you repeatedly refer to butter as an unhealthy ingredient–why? I can see that typical store-bought butter is not the best, but good, high-quality butter from properly fed cows (especially in it’s raw form) is a wonderful source of healthy fat, vitamin D, and other beneficial nutrients. Would love to hear your take on this.

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Ashley-
      It really depends on where you are coming from… from my standpoint, butter is a no-no because it contains a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) runs in my family, I had high LDL levels back in high school but now I have low LDLs and high HDLs (the good cholesterol), which I believe is due to me avoiding butter, lard and other animal products high in fat. However, you can have the lucky genes and be less sensitive to these kinds of things 🙂
      From what I learned in my Dietetics program, butter doesn’t really bring anything to the table. Dairy can block the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals (like the iron in spinach, for example). While butter contains vitamin A and trace amounts of other vitamins, our bodies would fare better if those vitamins came from plant sources like kale, carrots and pumpkin. I haven’t done much research on raw butter (now that I am allergic to dairy) but if it is lower in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and higher in vitamins and minerals, I don’t see what could be so bad! For the normal person butter can be consumed in moderation (not Paula Deen style), just like everything else 😉
      I hope I answered your question!

  6. Whats the consistency of this frosting like? Does it thin out after being out a while/next day? A thick frosting would be ideal for me, my cake needs to be fit for a cute boy =]

    • dessertswithbenefits

      The frosting is thick and stays on the cake, but I always refrigerate large cakes so that they keep longer. This cake is best served the day it is frosted. I hope you like the cake and that boy too! 😉

  7. Wow this is incredible, and best recipe ever

  8. Hi Jessica, I just found your blog and I wanted to tell you that this cake is AMAZING!!! I have just started using erythritol in my recipes and I was struggling to find great people like you who use it to make incredible desserts!!!! I am definitely going to try this out- along with all the other recipes on your blog!!! xxxxxx Thankyou so much!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Francesca! Thanks so much, I’m so glad you liked the cake 😀
      I hope you get to try out some more recipes!

  9. Oh GOD, thank you so much for creating this recipe !
    It’s going to be my birthday next week, I love to cook but i’m also really concerned about eating healthy. I wanted to make a layer cake, but the recipes were always containing way too much fat and sugar… My project was to do a vanilla cake with a red berries frosting. Your 1st recipe sounds so good and not that difficult to make ! I’m going to try your vanilla cake asap !
    For the frosting (i’m going to put some only between the layers, not on the side) i was thinking about only using vanilla yoghourt and berries… Do you think it will work and taste good ? Especially for the “will-it-work” part because I could always improve the taste if it’s too bad 😉

    Hope my english was great, i’m French 😉
    Have a nice day !

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Yay I’m so glad you appreciate the recipe! A strawberry/raspberry frosting sounds absolutely delicious. If you use only yogurt and berries the frosting might be too wet so you might need some dry ingredients to thicken it up. It might also be not very sweet, but whatever suits your taste, it’s your birthday!
      And Happy early Birthday Camille!

  10. Thank you so much 😀
    Would you have any not-so-fat dry ingredients to tell me please ? I’m quite lacking of imagination right now… Maybe powdered milk ? Waiting for your suggestions ! 😛

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Hi Camille, I’m not really sure what you mean by “not-so-fat dry ingredients” … If you can clarify please let me know, sorry!

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  12. Hi Jessica! I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while and I decided to try it for my Dad’s birthday- which was also Father’s Day (!!!)- and it completely bombed! I was so disappointed… the resulting cake was more like a soft, slightly less chewy mochi. My family is asian and enjoys mochi, so we ate it gladly (it tasted good :)) but I’m hoping that you might have an idea of what went wrong. I ground my own oat flour, and used avocado oil instead of almond oil since I was out of the latter. I subsituted normal erythritol with a small amount of vanilla paste for the vanilla sugar since I didn’t have any, and I used So delicious coconut milk instead of almond milk (I usually do in all recipes and it doesn’t make a difference) I substituted arrowroot starch for corn starch, which also usually does not make a difference. I blended my own applesauce because I don’t like the packaged sort- I didn’t think it would make a difference because it didn’t in your chocolate cake recipe. Everything else I did the same. Is there anything that shouts out to you about why I got a sticky rice cake instead of fluffy vanilla goodness? Oh and I also made the frosting, but it turned out more like a glaze, even after refrigeration, and was overwhelmingly sweet. I did use plain amande yogurt instead of vanilla. I would be really grateful if you could give me some advice, because I want to give this cake another shot! Thanks! 🙂

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Oh no! I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you! My first (and most important) question is, did you weigh out the ingredients using a kitchen scale? Second, the recipe does not call for almond oil, did you use avocado oil instead of almond milk? It depends on how thick the coconut milk was, if you used coconut creamer it would have made a difference but coconut milk shouldn’t have made that big of a difference. In my personal experience, arrowroot starch doesn’t provide as much firming capabilities as corn starch. Homemade applesauce shouldn’t have made much of a difference either, especially if it is smooth enough. Another question I have is, did you use an oven thermometer? Ovens are notorious for not being 100% accurate.
      I’m not really sure why the frosting was so thin, I’ve made this frosting quite a few times without a problem.
      Sorry again for the cake flop, hopefully it works out better next time!

  13. Hi there,

    I’ve been asked to make a cake for a friend with celiac disease…and want to make this one…

    Can you please tell me if this will still work with regular sugar and regular powdered sugar?

    Also – she cannot have nuts or dairy, so the yogurt is out. Do you think coconut milk/cream will work in its place?


    • dessertswithbenefits

      This cake will work just fine with regular sugar and regular powdered sugar.
      You can use soymilk, rice milk, oat milk or coconut milk instead of the almond milk. And you can use yogurt substitutes, like soy yogurt, rice milk yogurt, coconut yogurt, etc.
      PS: If your friend has celiac disease make sure that your baking powder is gluten free! Many aren’t. Hope you and your friend love the cake 🙂

  14. April Grace Paik

    Hi Jessica, thanks for the reply. I meant to say that I substituted avocado oil for the canola oil. (I got confused because I was going to use almond oil but was out so ended up with avocado oil as default). I didn’t weigh the ingredients- I’ll definitely do that next time. I used cartoned coconut milk, so I don’t think that was the issue. No one in my house is very comfortable with corn, and potato starch tends to yield chewier textures, so arrowroot was my default… I guess I’ll give it another go after weighing everything and if it doesn’t work I’ll go with organic cornstarch! After all, it is a treat. 🙂 In your experience, has home ground oat flour acted any differently than the packaged kind? I’ve always ground my own (using Bob’s red mill oats) and every recipe I’ve tried has yielded a denser, chewier baked good than what the online picture promised. Thanks again!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      April- I’m not sure why but homemade oat flour is never as good as the storebought kinds! I can blend and blend and blend and it will never be as fine, and when I bake with it the texture gets gummy and dense… not sure why… maybe the storebought flours are sifted before packaging? After a few failed batches of recipes using homemade oat flour I just ended up buying the stuff 😉

  15. I finally went to whole foods and bought some oat flour. I’ll try this recipe again and see how much of a difference it makes. I guess this is just another lifelong mystery-like why socks go missing in the dryer. 🙂 Ah well.

  16. Just found your blog and I am so happy right now. Writing down tons of your cake recipes!! But I just want to ask if I can sub more oat flour or other flour for the brown rice flour (i only have coconut, oat, wheat, white rice flour in my pantry) :0

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  18. Whoops! I forgot to add the vinegar…Still looks great and smells amazing though! :)I decided to skip the almond extract, due to an allergy, and substituted with coconut milk also! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Lyndele-
      I’m surprised the cake worked without the vinegar! I thought it was necessary in order to activate the baking soda, but I guess not! 🙂
      Good idea with the coconut milk swap, that sounds delicious. I’m glad the cake smells good, but I hope it tastes even BETTER 😀

  19. Hi Jessica,

    I came across your site while searching for low fat cake recipes, and this vanilla cake (the first recipe) immediately caught my eye. I tried baking it today, and while the cake itself turned out great, the frosting was… well, a disaster.
    I saw in the comments that regular powdered sugar should work as well, but mine just melted in the yogurt (I used soy vanilla yogurt, refrigerated). It was really quite amusing to watch, it sort of turned into a sauce, and all I could do was pour it over the cake.
    Luckily, this was just a test run, but I was hoping you could give me some tips for next time. Is there any other replacement I could use instead of Erythritol (my local shops don’t sell it)? Is it normal that sugar melts in yogurt? What do you think went wrong (I followed the recipe exactly, only subbed E. for powdered sugar)?

    Thanks, and have a nice day,


    • Veronika-
      I’m glad the cake turned out! Sorry about the frosting though, I’m not sure what went wrong… soy yogurt shouldn’t have changed the outcome all that much. Maybe it was something special about the Amande yogurt I used (too bad they don’t sell it anymore now).
      It is normal for powdered sugar to make mixtures thinner/saucier, and erythritol does the same thing. If you try the frosting out again, maybe start out with 1/4 cup yogurt. Or, you can try using this Greek yogurt/Cream Cheese Frosting 🙂
      Sorry about the frosting trouble, I’ll update to the recipe to make a note of it.
      Thanks for trying out the cake!

  20. I couldn’t find erythritol anywhere and since I have to make it today for a birrhday, I can’t order it online in time. What can I do to to substitute the erythritol?

    • Erythritol can be substituted with any other natural dry sweetener, such as sucanat, coconut sugar, maple sugar, etc. Just note that the color of the cake with be different than pictured!
      There isn’t a healthy substitute for the powdered erythritol, unfortunately.

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