Are gluten-free cake mixes vegan?

Gluten-free and vegan diets have been growing in popularity in recent years. Many people adopt gluten-free diets because they have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Going gluten-free means avoiding foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye. Vegan diets involve eliminating all animal products, including eggs and dairy. This raises an important question for people who follow both diets: Are gluten-free cake mixes vegan?

Quick Answers

– Not all gluten-free cake mixes are vegan. Many contain eggs or milk derivatives.

– Gluten-free vegan cake mixes do exist. Brands like Bob’s Red Mill, Namaste Foods, and King Arthur Baking offer vegan gluten-free cake mixes.

– It’s also possible to make homemade vegan gluten-free cake mixes using ingredients like rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, sugar, and vegan substitutes like flax eggs and non-dairy milk.

Ingredients in Gluten-Free Cake Mixes

Gluten-free cake mixes are formulated to mimic the taste and texture of traditional gluten-containing cake mixes. To do this without wheat flour, most use a combination of the following gluten-free flours and starches:

  • Rice flour
  • Potato starch
  • Tapioca flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Arrowroot starch

In addition to gluten-free flours, most commercial cake mixes contain:

  • Sugar
  • Leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Emulsifiers and stabilizers like xanthan gum or guar gum
  • Flavorings like vanilla or cocoa powder

The main ingredients that make some gluten-free cake mixes not vegan are eggs, milk, and milk derivatives like whey powder or casein.

Why Eggs and Dairy Are Often Included

Many gluten-free cake mixes include egg or dairy ingredients because they help achieve the proper texture in gluten-free baked goods:

  • Eggs act as a binder and add structure. This helps make up for the lack of gluten, the protein in wheat that gives structure to baked goods.
  • Milk adds moisture and tenderness.
  • Butter or milk fat contributes richness.
  • Whey powder improves moisture retention.

Without eggs or dairy, gluten-free cakes can easily turn out dry, dense, crumbly, and less tasty. That’s why many commercial brands opt to include these non-vegan ingredients.

However, there are ways to make great tasting vegan gluten-free cakes through strategic ingredient choices and substitutions.

Gluten-Free Vegan Cake Mix Options

Luckily, there are some store-bought vegan gluten-free cake mix options available:

  • Bob’s Red Mill – Offers vegan gluten-free cake mixes in flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and honey sweetened.
  • Namaste Foods – Makes dairy-free and egg-free gluten-free cake and brownie mixes.
  • King Arthur Baking – Their gluten-free vanilla cake mix is vegan.
  • Pamela’s Products – Their classic cake mix and chocolate cake mix are dairy-free and vegan.

Always check the ingredients list to confirm a cake mix is vegan, as formulations can change. Look out for milk, buttermilk, whey, casein, and egg ingredients.

Making Vegan Gluten-Free Cake Mixes from Scratch

For full control over ingredients, you can also make homemade vegan gluten-free cake mix:

  • Use gluten-free flours like rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and cornstarch as the base.
  • Bind with flax eggs (flaxseed meal whipped with water) instead of eggs.
  • Add non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or coconut milk for moisture.
  • Use vegan butter like Earth Balance instead of dairy butter.
  • Flavor with vanilla, cocoa powder, fruit purees, etc.
  • Leaven with baking powder and baking soda.
  • Sweeten with sugar, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrates, etc.

Follow your favorite cake recipe but sub the flours, eggs, butter, and milk with gluten-free vegan options. You may need to experiment to get the perfect texture.

Tips for Making Vegan Gluten-Free Cakes

Here are some tips for getting great results when baking vegan gluten-free cakes:

  • Let ingredients come to room temperature before baking for even mixing and rising.
  • Beat flax eggs very well before using to maximize binding power.
  • Sift dry ingredients together thoroughly to prevent dense or gritty texture.
  • Use extra leavening agents to get a good rise without eggs.
  • Grease pans well as these cakes can stick without the fat from eggs or dairy.
  • Avoid overmixing once flour is added to prevent denseness.
  • Bake at a slightly lower temperature for optimal rise and prevent over-browning.

With practice and experimentation, you can make moist and delicious vegan gluten-free cakes.

Vegan Gluten-Free Cake Mix Brand Flavors Offered
Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate, Vanilla, Honey Sweetened Vanilla
Namaste Foods Chocolate Cake, Yellow Cake, Carrot Cake, Banana Cake
King Arthur Baking Vanilla
Pamela’s Products Classic Vanilla, Chocolate

Vegan Substitutions for Common Cake Ingredients

Non-Vegan Ingredient Vegan Substitution
Eggs Flax eggs, banana, apple sauce, aquafaba
Butter Vegan butter, coconut oil, avocado, applesauce
Milk Non-dairy milks like almond, soy, coconut, oat
Honey Maple syrup, agave nectar, date syrup

Delicious Vegan Gluten-Free Cake Recipes to Try


While not all store-bought gluten-free cake mixes are vegan, there are more and more vegan options becoming available from brands mindful of food allergies and diet preferences. Gluten-free bakers can also get creative and make their own vegan mixes from scratch using ingredients like rice flour, flax eggs, and non-dairy milk. With the right substitutions and baking tips, you can produce flavorful vegan gluten-free cakes that don’t compromise on taste or texture. From chocolate to vanilla to fruit flavors, the possibilities are endless.

Leave a Comment