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Grape Cake (Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Option)

Grape. I always have been and always will be a grape girl. Red grapes, green grapes, purple grapes. It truly doesn’t matter. If it’s grape-flavoured count me in. Here’s the tricky thing about grape…it’s a hard flavour to produce, baking wise, in a non-artificial way.

Extracts and emulsions leave that sweet artificial chemical taste. No thanks. I want a fully delicious and fully real grape flavour and I’m pretty excited to tell you that I think I hit the proverbial grape nail on the head with this Grape Cake.

Note: This post contains affiliate links to which I earn a small commission, but don’t worry there’s no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting CAKED by Katie.

A light purple frosted cake topped with black concord grapes.

Tuesday Night Traditions

A little back story for you and I promise to keep it quick. Every Tuesday night, my husband and I have a date night. Very simply, we turn on our in-house babysitter (read: Netflix) and the kids go downstairs to watch a show.

We enjoy a few adult beverages over a rousing round or two of Yahtzee while we chat and laugh and simply enjoy each other’s company. It’s not fancy, it’s not glamorous, but it’s a weekly tradition that we all look forward to.

Pour Me Another One

Our Tuesday date-night-in adult drink of choice is always Black Fly Booze. They are a Canadian-owned and operated company producing premium craft ready-to-drink spirit beverages that are more natural and less sweet. Meaning that they use real fruit juice blends, real cane sugar (no high fructose corn syrup here – woohoo), and are gluten-free, vegan, and kosher.

What my husband and I enjoy most about Black Fly is that every single beverage is not too sweet and calorie-conscious. We can enjoy a few drinks and not feel sick from too much sugar or guilty about enjoying a calorically heavy beverage. I save my calories for cake. ?

My personal favourite Black Fly beverage is the Vodka Grapefruit full of tart pink grapefruit juice and flavour. The  Vodka Sour Grape, on the other hand, is my husband’s favourite drink to enjoy. And I won’t lie…I may steal a sip or two of his when he leaves the room.

A light purple frosted cake topped with black concord grapes. There is a slice taken out of the cake letting you see the four cake layers inside and grape jam filling.

Grape Inspiration

And this brings us back to the cake because the other Tuesday, while we were playing Yahtzee and drinking our Black Fly’s, inspiration struck. Looking at that can of Vodka Grape Sour, I knew I had to create a cake full of that delicious and fun grape flavour.

First off, I wanted to keep this cake recipe as easy and approachable as possible. Knowing that I went with a trusty box cake mix. I’ve made a few doctored cake mix recipes (check out this Lemon one) and the truth of the matter is that they are quick, easy, and so delicious.

A light purple frosted cake topped with black concord grapes. There is a slice cut into the cake.

How To Make A Grape Flavoured Cake

Second, a pack of instant grape jello is added to the dry cake mix to pump up the grape flavour. Last, add in all the wet ingredients including ¾ of a cup of Black Fly Vodka Grape Sour and mix until just combined.

Alcohol-Free Option

If you desire to keep this cake alcohol-free, simply swap the grape vodka drink out for 100% pure concord grape juice. You will still have a delicious grape cake without any booze.

A light purple frosted cake topped with black concord grapes. There are two larges slices taken out of the side of the cake.

Grape Buttercream Frosting

To flavour the whipped buttercream frosting, I used pure concord grape jam and let me tell you, oh my yumminess! It was fluffy, grape, and so totally delicious. And I’ll let you in on a little buttercream secret. The trick to the fluffiest frosting is to cream the butter and shortening first.

With the paddle attachment, cream it on high for at least 5-10 minutes. You want the butter to be smooth, fluffy, and light in colour before adding any of the other buttercream ingredients to it. This will set you up for frosting success every time!

A slice of grape cake sitting on a plate.

The Best Grape Cake

Light, fluffy, and everything grape. Enough talking about this cake though, let’s gather up those ingredients, get baking, and soon you’ll be eating (the best part, yes?!) this graciously good Grape Cake.

Doctored Cake Mix Recipes

If you appreciate an easy doctored cake mix recipe I think you will adore these ones:

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A light purple frosted cake topped with black concord grapes. There is a slice cut into the cake.

Grape Cake (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Option)

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 2 Hrs 20 Min
  • Yield: 10 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


The easiest and best grape cake recipe using a doctored cake mix paired with fluffy whipped grape jam buttercream frosting. This cake is full of delicious genuine grape flavor perfect for New Year’s Eve, a birthday celebration, or the grape-lover in your life.



Grape Cake

  • 1 box (461g) white cake mix *can sub gluten-free mix

  • 1 (85g package) grape jello powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 3/4 cup Black Fly Vodka Sour Grape, room temperature *can sub for 100% pure grape juice

  • 2/3 cup dairy-free yogurt, room temperature

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Grape Buttercream

  • 2 cups dairy-free salted butter, room temperature

  • 6 cups icing sugar

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup grape jam
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract **optional

  • optional: extra grape jam for filling
  • optional: black grapes for decor


Grape Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add in the cake mix, jello powder, and salt and quick it a quick whisk to break up any clumps.

  3. Add in all the remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

  4. Divide batter between the cake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

  5. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool.

Grape Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 5-10 minutes.

  2. Add the icing sugar, salt, grape jam, and almond extract and mix on low until combined.

  3. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Cake Assembly

  1. Level each cooled cake layer with the cake leveler.

  2. Place one leveled layer of grape cake on a cake board, plate, and/or cake turntable. With a pastry brush, brush on a little bit of the Black Fly Vodka Sour Grape or grape juice if desired. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream and 2 tablespoons of grape jam.

  3. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  4. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth the sides with a cake smoother.

  5. Decorate the cake as you please. I used my Ateco cake comb to create a rustic texture wave-like design on the outside of the cake and left the top edge raw. Using black grapes, I topped the cake with a half border of them. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

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    1. If you do not have a cake mix available to you, I would go with my classic vanilla cake layer recipe here and add in the grape jello to the dry ingredients.

    2. My daughter requested a grape cake for her 4th birthday. I love grape flavored stuff, but I know it can be tricky to get the flavor right and not come off tasting like medicine. So glad I found this recipe. It was a huge hit and delicious. I used Welch’s concord grape juice instead of the alcohol since it was a kid’s birthday. Just the right grape flavor and so easy to make. Definitely recommend this recipe.

  1. I randomly found this recipe while googling “grape cake” on request for my daughter’s birthday cake. I used your suggested grape juice substitution and it turned out amazing! Who knew grape cake would be so good.

    1. Haha, right?! Grape cake is seriously underrated. I really appreciate you baking this recipe up and sharing it!

  2. I also made this for my daughter’s birthday after she requested a grape flavoured cake!
    It turned out really well, with a distinct grape flavour and was easy to make for a novice baker.
    I used grape juice and had to substitute strained grape-sweetened blueberry jam for the grape jam as that is not easy to find in Australia.
    The grape jelly is an inspired idea. Thank you!

  3. Hai Katie,
    In India we don’t have all that grape stuffs which u have mentioned in your recipe. Can u pls suggest the substitutions that I can do with real grapes. It would be of much help if u do the needful.

  4. This cake has become a family favourite!! Love the ease of the recipe and the incredibly moist flavourful finished product!

  5. I used this cake recipe for a 3 year old who requested grape cake. I could not find grape jello ANYWHERE so I’m a pinch I used skittles wild berry jello(who knew that was a thing?) and also used the grape juice. I made a test batch of cupcakes first to make sure I wanted to present this to my cousins daughter and let me just tell you…. Fantastic! I was so surprised how amazing this was. It was also a hit at the party with everyone. People preferred it over the other vanilla with strawberry filling. So full of flavor. I will be keeping this one for sure! Thank you!

    1. I also found this recipe while scouring the internet after my 3 (almost 4) year old requested a grape birthday cake, and I too had an *impossible* time finding grape jello! I ended up ordering some from Amazon, but I’m glad to know that skittles wild berry is an acceptable substitute. I’m going to do a test run this weekend with grape jello and grape juice and will report back!

  6. Hi There.
    Can I use this recipe in two 9 inch pans? Also I don’t have cake mix and I saw your vanilla cake recipe , I’m assuming I only follow the dry ingredients from it(including the salt 1tsp) and wet ingredients from the grape cake recipe, right?

    Please help

  7. Hey, I don’t eat gelatin productions. Do you have any recommendations for substitutes for the grape jello? The only vegan jellos I could find are orange, raspberry, and unflavored. Do you think those would work? Or do you have any other ideas for a substitute? Thank you!!

    1. Yes, those would absolutely work and be delicious! You could also use a box of instant pudding too if you’re vegan.

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