This gluten-free vegan pound cake has the best moist texture and buttery, vanilla flavor. It is so easy to make the recipe with healthy ingredients like applesauce and gluten-free flour, and believe it or not, this pound cake has no eggs, butter, or dairy. It tastes like vanilla cake heaven, and each bite melts in your mouth!
I believe this is the best vegan pound cake recipe because it is made with plant-based ingredients and it is so easy to make in a simple loaf pan. Using a bundt pan can be more challenging for the beginner baker, but a loaf pan makes this recipe incredibly easy no matter how much experience you have as a cake baker.
If you're a big fan of making easy loaf cakes, you have to try this blackberry lemon bread which is also gluten-free and vegan. If you don't mind using a bundt pan, give this vegan apple cake or this raspberry white chocolate bundt cake a try sometime!
Why You'll Love This Cake
- Buttery vanilla flavor - Seriously, this is the best vanilla pound cake because it has vanilla extract and butter extract to help give it a powerful flavor with every bite.
- Easy to make - Beginner bakers will have no problem making this recipe. The steps are easy to follow and you don't need any fancy equipment, just two mixing bowls, a loaf pan, and a mixer.
- Gluten-free and dairy-free - This cake is safe for those with gluten and dairy intolerances. Make sure you use certified gluten-free flour and dairy-free butter and milk.
- No egg - Traditional pound cakes are made with "a pound of eggs," but this is an egg-free pound cake that is completely vegan safe.
- Super moist - Every bite of the cake melts in your mouth because it is so moist and soft. Nobody likes a dry cake, which isn't a problem with this recipe.
- Made with applesauce (oil-free) - Since there are no eggs in the cake, applesauce helps bind everything together and adds moisture to the cake instead of oil.
What is the difference between pound cake and a regular cake?
Traditionally, pound cake is made with one pound each of butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. This makes it a very dense cake, naturally. Pound cakes are almost always made in either a loaf pan or a bundt pan because they distribute heat more evenly. This helps the pound cake cook through properly, without being raw and sinking in the middle.
"Regular cake," like a typical vanilla birthday cake, is a much lighter and softer cake. Normal vanilla cake can be made with oil or shortening instead of butter, and these recipes do not need to be baked in a loaf or bundt pan. A "regular cake" is most often baked in a rectangular pan (for sheet cakes) or circular pans (for layer cakes), but some regular cake recipes will allow you to use bundt pans or loaf pans, too.
This recipe is different than traditionally-made pound cakes because it is a gluten-free and vegan pound cake, so it does not have real butter or eggs. However, it still has that delicious buttery vanilla flavor like a classic pound cake!
The ingredients to make the cake are pretty simple and easy to find, making this an easy cake recipe to make at home. You definitely don't need to be a cake-making pro!
Here are some helpful notes on some of the ingredients. Remember to see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for a full list of ingredients with quantities.
- Gluten-free flour - I recommend using gluten-free 1:1 flour with xanthan gum. If your gluten-free flour blend does not already have xanthan gum in it (check the ingredients), you should add xanthan gum yourself. I have not tested the cake with other flour, but I do not recommend using coconut flour or almond flour in the recipe. You can use normal all-purpose flour if you don't mind the cake having gluten in it. White whole wheat flour can also work.
- Cornstarch - This helps the cake become tender and soft, acting partially as an egg substitute. It also helps the batter bind together better.
- Ginger - You can also use ground nutmeg or cinnamon. The flavor is very subtle and adds another delicious dimension to the cake. You can omit this if you prefer.
- Vegan Butter - I use Melt or Earth Balance butter most often. Allow the butter to come to room temperature (about 65 degrees Fahrenheit) before creaming it with the sugar. This is important! Do not let it become too warm or melted.
- Sugar - Organic cane sugar is vegan and naturally gluten-free. I like Wholesome brand, but any organic vegan sugar works. If you use coconut sugar, the cake will have a deep caramel taste and it will have a much darker color.
- Plant milk - Use unsweetened plant milk like almond milk or cashew milk. Unsweetened oat milk or soy milk should be fine also. Do not use canned coconut milk!
- Applesauce - You need applesauce to provide structure and moisture to the cake since there are no eggs or oil. Use unsweetened applesauce so the cake does not become overly sweet.
- Vanilla & butter extract - These extracts are very important in giving the pound cake its classic, rich vanilla flavor. The butter extract takes the flavor to an entirely new level, so I wouldn't leave this out. If you don't have it, you can use almond extract or add extra vanilla extract.
This pound cake is super easy to make. The batter comes together in just 10 minutes!
Start by preheating the oven to 350 F and then line a loaf cake pan with parchment paper. Leave some parchment hanging over the edges so you can easily lift the cake out of the pan later. Then set aside.
STEP 1: Add the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt to a medium or large mixing bowl. Whisk until evenly combined.
STEP 2: In a separate large bowl, cream the room temperature vegan butter with an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium-high speed. Do this for 2-3 minutes, until it becomes super light and fluffy. The air in the butter is very important for giving vegan pound cake the proper structure!
STEP 3: Once fluffy, add the vegan cane sugar, vanilla extact, and butter extract to the bowl. Mix on medium speed for another minute or so until smooth and incorporated.
STEP 4: While mixing on medium speed, add the applesauce and continue mixing until it is fully incorporated into the mixture. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula a few times.
STEP 5: Stop mixing and add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Then, mix on low-speed until the flour is almost combined (but not quite mixed all the way).
STEP 6: While continuing to mix on low speed, add the plant milk to the bowl. Mix until a smooth cake batter form, but be careful not to over mix!
STEP 7: Pour the pound cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the batter evenly throughout the pan and into the corners. You can very gently wiggle the pan side-to-side to help, but do not do this too aggressively or you can break the air bubbles in the batter (which can make a flat cake).
STEP 8: Bake the cake for 55-70 minutes on the middle or top rack of the oven. The edges should turn slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Make sure it is not underbaked in the center.
STEP 9: Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes to finish baking and setting up properly. Be gentle when removing it from the oven. Too much movement can flatten the cake while it is still hot and delicate.
STEP 10: Once cooled, grab the edges of the parchment paper to lift the pound cake out of the pan. Top the cake with fresh berries, powdered sugar, dairy-free whipped cream, or a simple lemon glaze (see section below). Slice the cake and enjoy!
IMPORTANT: Make sure the pound cake is completely cool to the touch before adding toppings, especially whipped cream or glaze (they will melt if the cake is warm).
Expert Baking Tips
- Use room temperature ingredients - Pull out the applesauce, vegan butter, and plant milk 1-2 hours before using so they become room temperature. Why? The butter will cream better and room temperature ingredients are key to getting a smooth batter and tender, soft vanilla cake that melts in your mouth.
- Prevent sinking - Pound cakes are naturally dense and vegan pound cakes have no eggs to provide structure. This means they have a tendency to sink in the center sometimes. To prevent the pound cake from sinking, make sure you are creaming the vegan butter really well. Take the time to cream it for 2-4 minutes until it is super light and fluffy. This adds air into the cake which helps it rise and hold its structure better. Make sure your butter is not too warm or it won't cream as well.
- Don't overmix the batter - While you should cream the butter well, be careful not to overmix the actual cake batter. Gluten-free flour contains xanthan gum which can make the cake too chewy and "gummy" when mixed too long or too vigorously. Mix the batter until the ingredients are just combined.
- Line the loaf pan with parchment - Instead of greasing the pan with oil or cooking spray, line the pan with parchment paper. Leave some paper hanging over the edges of the pan so you can easily lift the cake out by the edges of the parchment paper. This ensures the cake doesn't stick to the pan!
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean - Pound cakes generally take a long time to bake because they are so dense and have a high moisture content. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. This ensures it is baked all the way through. If you don't bake it long enough, it may sink in the middle after it cools because it will be too moist in the center.
- Let the cake cool before slicing - Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes before removing it. Make sure it is completely cool before slicing.
There are so many fun toppings you can add to your pound cake once it cools. Here are just a few ideas, but feel free to get creative, too!
- Add fresh fruit or berries - Blueberries and strawberries are my favorite berries and personal choice to add on top of the cake. You can use fresh blackberries, raspberries, or dried fruit too. There's no wrong answer here! Adding fruit is perfect for spring, summer, and holidays like the 4th of the July if you use festive red and blue colored fruit (like I did).
- Dust with powdered sugar - You can add a dusting of vegan powdered sugar on top of the vanilla pound cake once it cools. This is super easy and makes your cake look just a little bit more fancy.
- Add coconut whipped cream - Buy dairy-free whipped cream, like coconut whipped cream, or make your own homemade whipped cream at home. Spread a thick layer over the cake, but make sure it is COMPLETELY cool first or it will melt! You can always add fruit or other toppings on top of the whipped cream too.
- Coat with icing - You can create a simple dairy-free glaze and coat the pound cake with icing. There are instructions for making a simple lemon glaze for the cake in the "easy flavor variations" section right below this.
If you don't want to add any toppings, you can totally enjoy the cake plain. It is so delicious you do not need any fancy toppings, but they can be fun to add sometimes. If you are making the cake for a party or event, adding toppings is an easy way to make the cake look even more impressive!
Easy Flavor Variations
This cake has a buttery and delicious vanilla flavor, but here are some ways to switch up the recipe with some different flavors if you're feeling creative:
- Vegan Lemon Pound Cake - You can give this pound cake some lemon flavor with a few ingredient swaps! Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest to the dry ingredients. Then use ¼ cup plant milk (instead of ⅓ cup) and add 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice to the wet ingredients. Replace the butter extract with pure lemon extract and top the cake with lemon glaze.
- Vegan Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze - If you don't want to make the actual cake lemon, you can make this cake normally (as a vegan vanilla pound cake) and add a fresh lemon glaze on top. To make the glaze, mix ½ cup vegan powdered sugar with about 1 or 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice. Drizzle this over the completely cool pound cake before slicing.
- Vegan Almond Pound Cake - Replace 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract with pure almond extract. Replace the butter extract with almond extract also.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally, moisture in pound cake comes from dairy items like sour cream, buttermilk, and butter. In this pound cake, the applesauce and vegan butter are important in getting a super moist pound cake that is gluten-free and dairy-free.
Pound cake is naturally dense, but vegan pound cake can seem "extra dense" because it has no eggs. Eggs provide elasticity and "lightness" to cakes, so without them, vegan cake can be especially dense. This is not a problem, in fact, pound cake tastes delicious with or without eggs.
In this recipe, gluten-free all-purpose flour is perfect for getting a light textured pound cake. In standard pound cakes, all-purpose flour or cake flour is often used.
This pound cake has no eggs. Instead, unsweetened applesauce, cornstarch, and creamed vegan butter provide structure. This allows the cake to remain gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
You may have added too much baking powder (the leavening agent) to the cake. Another reason for a sunken middle is too much moisture or not long enough baking time. Keep in mind, pound cakes have a higher tendency to sink in the middle because they are naturally dense.
There are approximately 223 calories in one slice of this pound cake if you cut the cake into 10 slices.
Storing & Freezing
Store any leftover slices of pound cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. This keeps the cake from drying out. Consider reheating a slice in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy it warm.
To freeze the vegan pound cake, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 30 days. Allow the cake to thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving again. Enjoy!
More Vegan Cake Recipes
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Best Gluten-Free Vegan Pound Cake
- 1 9x5-inch Loaf Pan
- Parchment Paper for lining the pan
- 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl
- 1 Electric Mixer or stand mixer
- 1 ⅔ cups gluten-free 1:1 flour with xantham gum
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger can sub nutmeg or cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup vegan butter room temperature
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure butter extract can sub almond or vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce room temperature
- ⅓ cup unsweetened plant milk room temperature
- ¼ cup fresh strawberries or raspberries
- ¼ cup fresh blueberries or blackberries
- ¾ cup coconut whipped cream or other dairy-free whipped cream
- 2-3 tablespoons vegan powdered sugar for dusting
- ¼ cup lemon glaze see notes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper hanging over the edges (for easy cake removal later).
- In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt until combined.1 ⅔ cups gluten-free 1:1 flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the vegan butter at medium-high speed. This should take 2-3 minutes to become light and fluffy. (Make sure to use room temperature butter, not too warm).¾ cup vegan butter
- Once fluffy, add the cane sugar, vanilla extract, and butter extract to the bowl. Mix on medium speed until fully incorporated and smooth.1 cup organic cane sugar, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon pure butter extract
- While mixing on medium speed, add the applesauce to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on low speed until just barely combined (it is okay to see a few flour specks left here). Add in the unsweetened plant milk and continue mixing on low speed until a smooth cake batter forms. Be careful not to over mix.⅓ cup unsweetened plant milk
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to spread the batter evenly throughout the pan and into the corners. You can give the pan a very gentle side-to-side shake to level the batter (but do not be aggressive or you will break the air bubbles in the cake).
- Bake the pound cake for 55-70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The edges should be slightly golden brown and the center should be cooked through. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes after removing it from the oven so it sets up properly.
- Once the cake has cooled, use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan. Use a knife to gently loosen the cake from the edges of the pan without parchment paper if necessary. Make sure the cake is completely cool before adding toppings (especially glaze or whipped cream).
- Top the cake with fresh berries, vegan powdered sugar, coconut whipped cream, lemon glaze, or enjoy plain. Slice and serve!¼ cup fresh strawberries, ¼ cup fresh blueberries, ¾ cup coconut whipped cream, ¼ cup lemon glaze, 2-3 tablespoons vegan powdered sugar