Gluten-Free French Butter Cake


Are you looking for a delicious, indulgent dessert recipe? This gluten-free French butter cake is exactly that!

The gluten-free french butter cake is absolutely phenomenal! And so easy to make!

If you know me, you know that I rarely venture into the territory of box-mixes – I just like cooking from scratch so much!

But there was this one French Butter Cake recipe that mom found years and years ago, back in the day when all us kids still lived at home.

And it. was. good. The whole family fell head over heals for it.

gluten-free french butter cake recipe - so easy!

The butter, the gooey filling, the cake bottom. There wasn’t a crumb left after we finished with it – not a hard feat when you’re a family of ten, but still.

We loved it!

Of course, the whole recipe was created around the use of a box of yellow cake mix.

The advantage to that of course is that cake mix makes it all very fast and easy.

Gooey butter cake recipe gluten-free

The disadvantage is that it’s hard to find a gluten-free cake mix that you can use cup for cup in a recipe like that.

So, I was in Walmart last week, and bought a Pillsbury cake mix – hey, somebody’s gotta do the research 😉 plus, you can save on Pillsbury with Ibotta so it’s not such a splurge. If you’re not interested in buying a box mix, go ahead and make homemade gluten-free cake mix. It works like a charm too!

This cake is perfection on a plate. Every time we make it, it’s just so good.

While I’m usually a homemade cake mix  fan, I have to say I loved how Pillsbury made it so easy to get the kids involved. “open it up and dump it in” is Garrett’s favorite kind of measuring method. 😉

It’s so fun how the kids want to be involved in everything we do. Even if it’s just holding a reflector so mommy can take pictures.

garrett holding photography reflector

Although that may be because I promised him a bite afterward.


I like to think my kids will have the same kind of warm memories of helping mama bake in the kitchen, and the deliciousness of the fruit of our labors!

Gluten-free French Butter Cake

gluten-free gooey French Butter Cake

Tweaks you can make:

  • Use a flavored cake mix for different gooey butter cake flavors. I love chocolate gooey butter cake (that recipe is from scratch btw). And strawberry is pretty awesome too!
  • Use a slightly smaller pan for thicker layers. I love a thick, gooey layer, so I sometimes use my 8×11 inch baking pan instead of 9×13, and bake it for about 5 minutes longer.
  • Add some fresh berry toppings! The relatively richness of this cake makes it a great pairing for the lighter feel and flavor of fresh berries. My favorites are strawberries, and blackberries.
  • You can also make it the day before you need it. This cake is a champ for staying fresh overnight. Just make sure you cover it with a flour sack towel!

gooey, gluten-free french butter cake recipe - so delicious!


Gluten-Free French Butter Cake

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4.7 from 21 reviews

A buttery cake crust, with a gooey cream cheese filling.

  • Author: Elise
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • Bottom layer:
  • 1 Pillsbury Gluten-Free yellow Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • Top layer:
  • 1, 8oz. block of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together first three ingredients (cake mix, butter, and 2 eggs) until completely incorporated.
  4. In a second large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.
  5. Press cake mix mixture into prepared baking dish.
  6. Pour cream cheese mixture on top, and spread evenly.
  7. Bake in center of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until cake no longer jiggles when moved (the toothpick test won’t work on this cake!)
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  9. Once cake is cool, cut into squares and serve.
  10. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  11. Enjoy!

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  1. I’m so confused- how can this be gluten-free if it uses a boxed cake mix?? Is it a gluten-free cake mix? It doesn’t state that on the recipe list.

    1. Sorry about the confusion! I didn’t think to reiterate in the recipe card to use Pillsbury’s gluten-free cake mix since I’d stated that earlier in the post. I’m fixing it now though!

  2. You call for a pan-and the picture shows a glass pan. Is that what I need to bake this cake in–or can I use a metal pan?

      1. My mom suggested a small spoonful of pie filling on top of each piece! I’m going to use cherry, blueberry and strawberry!

  3. Hello! I love this recipe and it is actually one of the only desserts my non gluten-free friends and family enjoy. I was just wondering if there is a way to make it less sweet. I assume it is the top layer. I was wondering if it would be okay to use less powdered sugar or would that throw the topping off.

    1. Glad you like it! 🙂 The topping may be slightly gooier if you use less sugar, but is that really a bad thing?

  4. Really good! I loved how easy – and quick – this came together. I had most of the ingredients on hand. I added 1 teaspoon of almond extract with the vanilla, and might try some lemon zest next time. I’d love a little citrus kick.
    This is defiantly going to be my “go to” for a quick and easy GF dessert.
    *one older gal that ate it thought it was a little too sweet, I thought it was absolutely perfect. Not too sweet at all! To each her own I guess 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. My young son made this for a baking competition with very little help from me. He won first prize! Everyone devoured it!

  6. I picked up a regular cake mix, can I make adjustments to this recipe and still use the cake mix?

    1. The gluten-free cake mix in this recipe is 17oz. As long as your traditional cake mix is equivalent to that, it should be fine. 🙂

  7. thanks so much for the recipe, I am making it tomorrow. My Mom and Grandma have to be gluten free and this will be a great treat for them.

  8. This is known as Gooey Butter Cake in St. Louis and is hugely popular. Local bakeries make all kinds of flavors. I grew up on this. Ive never heard it called French. St. Louis was founded by the French, so maybe someone wanted to make it sound fancy.

    1. Yeah, my mom used a recipe that called it “French Butter Cake” Since then, I’ve mostly heard it called “Gooey Butter Cake”, but I’m a stickler for family nostalgia I guess. 😛

  9. You’ve nailed this recipe! Thank you so much. I’m a Philadelphia native and butter cake is practically a food group all its own. My family had one for every holiday when I was growing up. I’m in a women’s group at our church and this week our topic is to bring or make a food that we have a memory of … I went online searching for a gluten-free butter cake, found this, and made it tonight. Absolute perfection. Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing part of my childhood back to me this evening!

  10. Yellow cake mix was not available, but they did have gluten free pilsbury funfetti mix. So i used that and it turned out great and was slightly festive. After reading some comments about the sweetness i decided to add the zest of one lemon and 1/8 tspn salt to the topping. Everybody loved it. Great recipe!

  11. Yummy! I also couldn’t find the yellow cake mix so I used the funfetti mix and sifted the sprinkles out. Very tasty and easy!

    1. I sift out the confetti too since that is the best gluten free cake mix I’ve ever tried and can only find it in Funfetti flavor. This cake can fool the most ardent “Gluten free tastes awful!” proponent. Even me!!! (My adult daughter is gf and I love her and want to feed her great and tasty stuff!) ❤️

  12. OMGOMG, I just spent 1 hour looking for the recipe. where is it? I am so frustrated and close to tears. this would be perfect for my team member for her birthday.

      1. I got so many compliments on this cake!! Thank you! Question though, your directions said to bake for 35-40 minutes until the middle no longer jiggles. For me, the middle didn’t stop juggling until 50 minutes…The middle of the cake was still delicious but the edges were as hard as a rock…Did I bake it too long and a bit of jiggle is ok?

        1. Hmm, It may be that your oven runs hotter than mine, so the edges are getting overdone before the middle does. So, you could try lowering the oven temp, or let the middle be a bit jiggly and see how it ends up once it’s cooled.

  13. I made this cake for a bridal shower that I hosted this last weekend- and it was by far the most commented-on dish at the party and everyone wanted me to send them the recipe! No one could believe that it was gluten-free either. I used King Arthur GF Yellow Cake Mix instead of Pillsbury (because that is what was sold at my grocery store)- the KA cake mix was 22 oz- so I just measured out 17 oz of it, to match the amount of mix in the recipe. It also took nearly 45 minutes to bake so that the interior wasn’t “jiggly” but the exterior was not overdone at all. Thank you so much for posting this! Sooooo delicious!

  14. Can’t wait to try this for my grandaughter. She needs gluenten free and she is also diabetic. What can I do to make this with less sugar.

    She had been diabetic since she was 2, now 19 and just found out she also has celiac also.

    Whole new cooking experience for us.

    1. I don’t know that this particular recipe is suitable for reducing sugar. I would try googling diabetic or keto recipes for that.

  15. Elise! Imagine my surprise to be scrolling thru Pinterest’s suggestions for me and clicking on this recipe and seeing you guys! First time to randomly find a person that I know IRL thru Pinterest. So neat! 🙂 this recipe sounds delicious, especially after reading all the comments! Jack and Grace are both sensitive to egg though, so i will be wondering about trying it with an egg substitute. We shall see! Hope you guys are doing well.

    1. Hi Melanie, Great to hear from you!

      I haven’t tried an egg substitute in this recipe, so I can’t really say. Sorry!

  16. Made this recipe and it is better the second day after chilling in the refrigerator overnight! If you can wait that long. Delicious!!!

  17. I had great success with this recipe today. I could only find Bobs Red Mill gf vanilla cake mix (the kind in the bag) and I was a little unsure since the directions on the Bobs bag say to also add 1/2 cup of water with the butter. The batter looked too dry and thick so I did end up adding around 1/4 cup of water. I think if I’d added the whole amount, that would have been fine too. Anyway, everything else I followed to a T and it was delicious! Gf and non-gf partakers alike enjoyed it immensely 🙂

  18. Tried it for a birthday for my husband, sweet tooth, turns out it is really yummy and not as surgery as I expected it to be. Thanks for a new way to say Happy B-Day in my family.

  19. Has anyone tried this as cupcakes? We love this recipe but need something for a Grab and go type buffet at school.

  20. I made this for a wedding shower, the mother of the bride is gluten free. I made a “traditional” and this one. To be honest everyone at the party (which included my teen sons and hers) liked the gluten free version better. I also used the Pilsbury cake mix. The bride tried it (she is a St. Louis native) and said she thought it had a better texture than the other one as well.

  21. Not sure what I did wrong but top had a dry, “crusty” look and the cake did not jiggle at 35 minutes so I took it out. When I went to cut it after cooling, it was not done.

    1. Mine too! And it’s taking over an hour to cook!
      Mine also “spilled” over! So, I have no idea what I did wrong, but still edible and very good!

    1. You could make this dairy free by using a substitute butter such as melt or earth balance. Then use a substitute for cream cheese, Kite Hill makes the best one. I am going to try this as I am both gf and do.

  22. Well I made it sugar free, so not exactly how it was written. I used a yellow sugar free cake mix from Pillsbury. I thought it was too sweet and the cake part was dry around the edges. I’m going to have to try a different powdered sugar substitute, or use less. I used Monkfruit powdered sugar, which requires you to use 1/2 the amount of regular powdered sugar. I still found it too sweet. We topped it with vanilla bean ice cream which really helped to cut the sweetness. My husband loved it though. Probably would be great with fresh berries on top. I’ll try it again, but using less sweetener.

  23. Made this tonight and everyone loved it. We are new into gluten free bc our daughter has a sensitivity we just found. Wanted to serve with strawberries but the kids had already eaten them. This was so very good!!!

  24. Made a rookie mistake and cut into this before it was fully cool. Runny mess! Make sure to let it cool, it’s not a suggestion. 😂

  25. This recipe is delicious but the bottom of the bars seem to burn no matter how long or short i bake them!
    Should I be flouring the pan or using parchment paper?

  26. Made this for my daughter in law after she had her baby as she is eating gluten free for breastfeeding! She and my son loved it! I thought it was amazing also!

  27. I have made this So many times and it is always the favorite dessert! Being Celiac, we appreciate that we can make a dessert that no one would ever think is gluten free. Thank you!

  28. Do you use the full cake mix recipe that is 5 1/4 cups GF flour mix? Or do you use the 2 cups of cake mix in the Fool-proof Yellow Cake recipe?

  29. Do you use the full recipe for cake mix (5 1/4 c GF flour mix), or do you use 2 cups of cake mix like in the Fool-proof Yellow Cake recipe?

  30. Made this twice now for family members with Celiac. Delicious with a strawberry/rhubarb compote!

  31. It’s so hard yummy gluten free recipes that my whole family can enjoy, but I made this for my family yesterday morning and everyone loved them! My family had eaten all of it by the time I went for seconds, which never happens when I bake gluten free! This is definitely a new family favorite. Thank you!

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