The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

We made the BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake. Seriously, it’s the best cake ever. It tastes like the real deal cake you’ve been wanting!!!

The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

We took my nut-free cake and made it even more amazing. SO if you’re looking for a nut-free cake recipe, go for the two in my cookbook or this July 4th Classic Cake!

Aside from the health benefits of using gluten-free flours in this cake, the combination of almond and coconut flour is so moist and tender! While you do have to cream the butter and sweetener together, this is a relatively fool proof recipe as there is no concern about the cake being tough from over-beating the batter like there is with a gluten flour containing cake. We also use all natural/homemade food dyes, see here!

The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

I can’t believe Lexi’s Clean Kitchen has been up and running for FIVE whole years.  I truly feel so blessed that this is my job and that all of you trust me with the recipes you feed your family and friends, and yourself! Thank you for trusting me, supporting me, continuing to follow along this journey, and for being a part of  the LCK family. I truly mean it with all of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Let’s celebrate!

Ingredients Needed:

For Cake:

  • Butter
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Eggs
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Sea salt
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract (optional)

For Strawberry Filling:

  • Strawberries
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice

For the full details and frosting recipe, scroll down for the full recipe.

The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

Tips Tools Needed to Frost a Cake Like a Pro

Now not everyone is going to frost this cake like we did. But if you want to give it a whirl, getting these tools make it easier to get an even and smooth cake!

Tips to Making Cake Ahead of Time:

  • Make the cake layers and the jam the day before. Once the layers are cooked completely wrap them up or put them in a large airtight container, otherwise they will dry out.
  • Make the frosting and assemble the day of.
  • Cakes keep wonderfully fully assembled in the frige for a few days.

Use the video below as a guide on how to build up the cake.

Additionally here are some tips that make it easier to frost a cake:

  1. Temperature matters: Chill your cake layers before assembling, and chill the cake after you have built your layers as it helps keep your cake evenly stacked.
  2. Apply a crumb coat: Frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting that locks in any stray crumbs
  3. To achieve a smooth finish: Once you have finished frosting the cake, chill again for 10 minutes and then heat the bench scraper or off-set spatula with hot water (make sure to dry it off completely) and make one final swoop to smooth it all out.

Watch the video:


The BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake

  • Author: Lexi
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6” 3 Layer Cake 1x



For Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz. or 1 stick) butter, softened (see note)
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (see note)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups (192g) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup (48g) coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 11/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

For Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • Natural food coloring (follow this guide)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF and prepare three 6″ cake pans by cutting out a three parchment paper circles to fit exactly inside the cake pan. Butter sides and bottom of cake pan and place parchment paper circles inside.
  2. In a heavy duty stand mixer, or hand held mixer, add butter and honey/maple syrup to bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, blending together after each one.
  4. Add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until well blended.
  5. Add almond milk, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat on medium for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Divide batter into cake pans, about 1 cup of batter each, and bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Let cake cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, and then remove from pan to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

For Strawberry filling:

  1. In a medium sauce pan place strawberries, honey and lemon juice and turn on heat to medium low.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently, until reduced, about 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely before using in cake.

For Buttercream Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat the butter until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar and mix on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of almond milk (or more if needed) and beat on medium speed until lightened in color.
  4. Add natural food coloring if using and blend.

To Assemble Cake:

  1. Once cake and jam is cooled completely place first layer on serving plate and frost with a thin layer of buttercream. Create a 1/2″ dam of buttercream on the perimeter of the cake layer by piping it, or using a offset spatula, to prevent the jam from leaking out of the cake. Top with 2 heaping tablespoons of jam and smooth over.
  2. Add next layer of cake and repeat with layer of buttercream, buttercream dam,  and jam.
  3. Place cake in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, to let set up and to make frosting cake easier.
  4. Once cake has chilled, add about half of frosting to the top of the cake and using an offset spatula frost cake starting with the top and moving excess down the sides of the cake and smoothing as going.
  5. Decorate as desired with additional frosting.
  6. Cake will keep 3-5 days in refrigerator.


We used a combination of maple syrup and honey equal to 1/3 cup together to prevent the cake from taking on the flavor too much of either one.

The butter absolutely must be at room temperature or it will not cream together with the honey. It is always best when making a cake if all ingredients are as close to room temperature (especially eggs and milk) as the cake batter comes together more easily and you get a fluffier textured cake. If the eggs are not at room temperature you can place them in a bowl with warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes. You can also gently heat up milk using your preferred method (stove top or microwave) to bring it up to room temperature (but make sure it is not hot).

Follow this guide for our post on Natural Food Coloring!

Sprinkles we use: We get them from Whole Foods  because they are artificial food dye free. These are also a decent option.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Thank you for being a part of the Lexi’s Clean Kitchen family throughout these amazing 5 years. I love you all!!

May 28, 2018

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Join The Discussion

57 Responses

  1. You didn’t tell me to beat butter till fluffy before adding the honey combination which I thought was odd and now it’s separated.
    This is supposed to be for a loved ones birthday tomorrow. Hoping it still turns out.

    1. It’s correct, you cream the butter with the honey. Did you over beat? We haven’t ran into this issue and so many have made it/we make it all the time!

  2. This cake is my absolute favorite !! I make it every year for my birthday. Can’t wait to make it this week

    5.0 rating

  3. I just made this cake for my son’s 5th birthday and it was a big hit! Super moist and I didn’t feel like it tasted like “a Paleo cake”. Everyone really liked it, also all our friends who don’t typically eat Paleo.

    I doubled the recipe and made 2 layers of 9”. I made the cake the day before as well as the strawberry jam so everything had time to chill and set and to give myself more time to focus on the decorating. Thank you for a wonderful recipe and for the decorating tips and video/.

  4. Can use buttermilk in place of the milk? Not sure if buttermilk works well with gluten free flour.

    1. Because of the added acidity and thickness of buttermilk, I can’t say for sure whether it would work out ok. If you do try it, let us know if it works!

  5. I tried it mixing by hand as the stand mixer bowl was already in the dishwasher on a 300+ min cycle. It turned out very dry and I was unable to smooth it down in the pans very well due to the dough-like consistency. It didn’t rise at all (not all that surprising given gluten free, but usually i get a tiny bit of fluff out of cakes, but there was none here at all). Upon taking the cakes out, they were very tasteless, not sweet at all like cake, more like I’d baked round flat plain bread. I will note I’m at a very high altitude, over a mile high, so that could have something to do with it. The only other thing I could think of was the eggs maybe weren’t as large as we wanted them to be? Either way, I salvaged it by putting pure jam between the layers and smothering it in chocolate flavored icing (also to hide the very lumpy edges because I guess my round pans were too big or something as well? I couldn’t spread the dough all the way out or it’d have been see-thru thin, but they were normal round size pans I’ve had for years). So either a) the altitude b) the egg size or c) hand mixing instead of stand mixing totally threw this off. Use it as caution for anyone proceeding not to somehow make my mistakes.
    (I’ve been baking for years, so I don’t think I just completely messed it up recipe-wise.)

    1. Hi Alexandria. What size pan did you use? This recipe calls for 3 6″ pans. Sounds like there was a major error in the making of the recipe, beyond not using a stand mixer. And to be clear, it’s essential to use a stand mixer to get the mixture light and fluffy. You probably already know this, but when a recipe calls for creaming together the butter and the sweetener, it’s for a good reason! Sorry this didn’t turn out for you.

  6. Can’t wait to make this for my daughter-in-law. We are both gluten free and she is also dairy free. Do you know of a way to make the icing without butter?

  7. Hi! I saw that you tested in 8 inch pans as well. Can you give me the recipe and cook time for that please? I don’t own 6 inch pans, and I want to make it this weekend for my little man’s first birthday party!!

  8. Could you do this in a 9×13 sheet? Would that be the right size? I would just leave it in the sheet pan to frost and serve:) Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenny–I’d be worried it would be too thin of a layer. It could definitely be baked in it, but it might be a matter of it being a thin cake. Let us know if you try!

  9. This cake was amazing! I usually don’t like cake because it’s usually too sweet. But this cake was perfect!!!

  10. Just made this for my son’s 1st birthday. The family was shocked that a “grain free/gluten free cake could be so good.” I am so pleased at how it turned out.
    I definitely had some doubts during the baking process, and some of you may have a few doubts as well- so hopefully this is helpful:
    A. MY BATTER’S CONSISTENCY was much thicker than I expected, and even though I mixed it until light and fluffy- it looked kind of grainy. It didn’t just pour or take the shape of the cake pan- I had to plop the batter into the pan and spread it around myself in order for it to take the shape of the pan- this had me worried, I thought for sure I had done something wrong or that it would not rise. If your batter looks like this then DO NOT WORRY it turns out great!

    B. 8″ PANS work fine however I chose to double the recipe, otherwise each individual cake would be thin and I wanted a nice tall layered cake like in Lexi’s video. I agree with the author though, that you should absolutely use 6″ pans if possible because the cakes are delicate and I had to be super careful when assembling my larger cakes.

    Again, wonderful recipe-and I had fun! go for it people!

    5.0 rating

    1. It might be tough to cream the butter and sugar by hand, but you can give it a try. It needs to be light and fluffy before you proceed with the rest of the recipe!

  11. I used this cake recipe as the basis for a chocolate 7-layer cake and it was ahhh-mazing!
    Flavorful and moist. Loved by both the GF and non-GF crowd alike!

    5.0 rating

  12. Anxious to test out this recipe for my daughters birthday! Just wondering if anyone has tried to make this recipe into cupcakes instead ?

  13. Never even heard of 6″ pans for cakes! I have 8″ & 9″ only. Thinking I may try 2 8″ and see how it goes!

  14. This is by far the BEST gluten free cake I’ve ever made! I’ve made it numerous times and people rave about it! I was making it for a recent office baby shower and needed to serve 12-15 people, so I doubled all ingredients and it worked out great! It definitely took longer to bake, and if I did it again, I may place some foil on top of the cake after the first 15 minutes of baking just so the top and sides don’t get quite as brown. But it produced 3 9″ layers and was a huge hit for the shower!!

    5.0 rating

  15. Hi,

    Do you have a step by step video guide on how to make this cake? I’ve noticed you’ve only got the assembly of the cake with icing video.

    I’ve made this for the first time and want to make sure the cake is looking the right consistency when I add each ingredient and mix.

    5.0 rating

  16. I want to use the recipe in a oblong baking tray to make my grandson a iggle piggle bithday cake. Using the same amount of ingredients so would need to make 2 lots would the amount work per tin tin size 9 inch by 13 inch or could you recommend a oblong size
    Also how long would you need to bake the cake before his birthday Thankyou ps I’ve never baked gluten free cakes this sounds like it would be just right.

    1. Hi Sheralee! Unfortunately we can’t advise on how many batches you’d need to make to fit any particular size. We tested it in an 8 inch pan and a 6inch round pan. We opted to instruct to make in a 6″ pan because the final cake can be a bit delicate and is easier to handle in a small size. Are you planning to leave the cake inside the tray, or remove it? If you are planning to remove it and decorate you may find it difficult to do so without breaking it. If you plan to make it and frost it in the pan you could try it.

  17. Just made this. My new to go recipe. All ingredients were at room temperature. Used honey. Texture was wonderful. Frosted it with cashew cream frosting

    5.0 rating

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