1-2-3-4 Cake with Classic Buttercream Frosting Gluten-Free Recipe

This cake, inspired by a recipe by James Beard, the father of American cookery, is very easy to make. Austin, Texas-based gluten-free baker Karen Morgan amped up the milk and vanilla to better work with the GF flour, but other than that, it’s all Beard. Use this gluten free vanilla cake recipe for cupcakes, too.

5 from 1 vote

1-2-3-4 Cake with Classic Buttercream Frosting Gluten-Free Recipe

Author Karen Morgan


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 3 cups gluten-free baking flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Classic Buttercream Frosting (below)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and line the pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and the sugar on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and continue whipping until light and fluffy.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the mixer in batches on high speed until smooth, then mix in the vanilla.
  5. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Frost with buttercream and enjoy.
5 from 1 vote

Classic Buttercream Frosting

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS This sweet and versatile frosting dresses up any cake or cupcake.


  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 cup 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced, then brought to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar, butter, and salt on low speed until incorporated. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high, and whip until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. If desired, add food coloring (see color key below).
  3. Get Karen’s frosting colors by mixing these food-color combos into her Classic Buttercream Frosting recipe: 

  4. Green: 1 drop blue, 1 drop yellow, and 1 drop brown

    Pink: 2 drops pink

    Yellow: 10 drops yellow and 2 drops orange

Photography Kate Zimmerman

4 Comments on “1-2-3-4 Cake with Classic Buttercream Frosting Gluten-Free Recipe”

  1. Avatar for Erika

    We tend to use Bob’s 1-1 GF baking flour, King Arthur’s GF baking flour mix, or Cup4Cup. Which one do you like?

  2. Avatar for Lorinda

    5 stars
    Very nice cake, I substituted half of the sugar for brown sugar! AMAZING! No one knew it was GF. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Avatar for Pamela

    I use Wal-Mart All purpose gf flour or Steiners bakery (home of the delicious gf coffee cake you recommended) sells 5 lb flour from their site or Amazon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.