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Vanilla Layer Cake with Fresh Berries

  • Author: Joscelyn Abreu
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 3-layer cake 1x


This vanilla layer cake is moist and delicious. Topped with loads of fresh berries, it’s the perfect summer dessert! Vegan friendly with a gluten free variation included.



Vanilla Cake (Gluten-free version below. Refined sugar free version here.)

  • 2 cups almond milk or other non-dairy milk (can also use regular milk if not vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup natural sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup avocado oil, melted refined coconut oil, or other neutral tasting cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • whipped cream cheese frosting
  • 45 cups mixed berries of choice (I used strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, but any fruit will do)
  • powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 16 oz. regular or dairy-free cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 2 (14 oz) cans coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk refrigerated overnight (about 1¾ cup firm coconut cream only, liquid discarded. Can also use 1 cup regular whipping cream if not dairy-free)
  • 35 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (OR 1/41/2 cup powdered sugar, use more or less to taste)

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake: (Recipe updated March 2018)


Vanilla Layer Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine 2 cups milk with vinegar and set aside to sour.
  2. Grease three 8-inch pans and line the bottom with a parchment paper circle, cut to fit the pan, and then grease the parchment paper circle. I don’t recommend skipping this step or your cakes could stick to the bottom of the pan. Set pans aside. Alternatively, you can line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients—flour(s), sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt until well combined.
  4. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour milk with a whisk or mixer and beat just until blended and smooth. Don’t over-beat.
  5. Evenly distribute the cake batter into the three pans and place onto the middle rack in the preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cake/cupcakes will be pretty light in color. More or less time may be needed depending on your oven.
  6. Let cakes cool for several minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool thoroughly. Cakes are the easiest to handle and decorate when they are wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen overnight. If you don’t have the opportunity to chill overnight, please make sure they are thoroughly cooled before topping with the cream. The whipped cream will melt and slide off of a warm cake.

Whipped Cream:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, begin to beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add sweetener and continue to beat until fluffy. Add cold, hardened coconut cream and beat on high until light and fluffy, a few more minutes. Taste and adjust sweetener if needed. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. If using regular whipping cream, beat whipping cream separately until fluffy and stiff peaks form (about 3-4 minutes) and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.

Putting it together:

  1. Place one of the fully cooled cakes onto your cake plate. Top with 1/3 of the whipped cream and about 1 cup of sliced berries.
  2. Top with another cake layer and repeat the process.
  3. At the end, top cake with remaining whipped cream and a pile of whole and halved berries. Top with a light dusting of powdered sugar (optional).
  4. Keep in a cool room and serve shortly after assembling, for best results. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Dessert, Gluten Free, Vegan