The most amazing Vegan Red Velvet Cake! Moist, fluffy layers of red cake with a hint of chocolate. Sweet, tangy vegan cream cheese frosting. Simply incredible!

slice of vegan red velvet cake on a plate

What does Red Velvet Cake taste like?

Red Velvet Cake is not just a chocolate or vanilla cake with a red hue. It has a hint of chocolate flavor that is very mild, and is typically made with buttermilk and a little bit of vinegar as well for the perfect blend of acidity and sweetness. It has a flavor like no other cake, and it is absolutely divine!

For a vegan version of this amazing cake, we will make our own “buttermilk” with non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. 

Essential ingredients for vegan red velvet cake:

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frosted vegan red velvet cake with white and gray background.

How do you make vegan red velvet cake?

First, measure out your soy milk (may use any other non-dairy milk as well) in a measuring jar. Add the apple cider vinegar, stir and set aside for a minute to curdle. This is your “buttermilk.”

Next, whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer and a large bowl, beat the vegan butter and sugar until creamy. Now add the other wet ingredients, except the “buttermilk” and mix. Add the red dye and mix it in as well.

With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients alternating with the “buttermilk” until just combined, in about three additions. Pour into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, make a double batch of Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.

red velvet cake batter in two pans

Is red food coloring vegan?

A lot of red food coloring is NOT vegan. This one is, so if you can find that you should be safe. But if you want a more natural red food coloring, try this beet powder. It won’t be as bright as my cakes are, but it should work quite well! You could add more, or less depending on how colorful you want the cakes to be. I used a full 3 tablespoons.

vegan red velvet cakes on cooling rack

What kind of frosting is used for vegan red velvet cake?

I can not eat Red Velvet Cake with anything other than Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting! If you aren’t a big fan though, or you can’t find vegan cream cheese, you can certainly use my classic Vegan Vanilla Frosting. It is easier to work with, but the cream cheese frosting is SO worth it. Plus, it’s traditional on red velvet cake for that unique acidic/sweet taste.

vegan cream cheese frosting being spread of vegan red velvet cake

If you are using cream cheese frosting, be aware that it tends to be less stable at room temperature than most other vegan frostings. This is because vegan cream cheese usually contains coconut oil which melts when it gets warm, and thickens when it’s cold. This means it is especially important that the cakes are COMPLETELY cooled before you frost, your frosting is thick and cold, and that you keep this cake in the fridge until serving. Don’t let it sit at room temperature, or you will have a melty, slippery cake on your hands!

I even like to frost the first layer, then stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes before adding the second layer and finishing. Just to make sure that second layer won’t slip off! If you aren’t making a layer cake, but cupcakes or a 9 x13 inch cake, this is less important, but I would still keep anything frosted with vegan cream cheese frosting in the fridge.

close up of whole vegan red velvet cake, frosted.

Check out these other incredible vegan cake recipes!

slice of vegan red velvet cake on a plate, close up.

slice of vegan red velvet cake on a plate with a fork in it.

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Inspired by Modern Honey.

slice of vegan red velvet cake on a plate
4.91 stars (20 ratings)

Vegan Red Velvet Cake

The most amazing Vegan Red Velvet Cake! Moist, fluffy layers of red cake with a hint of chocolate. Sweet, tangy vegan cream cheese frosting. Simply incredible!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 16 servings


Vegan Buttermilk

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons red dye (vegan) OR beetroot powder



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray (2) 8-inch cake pans with oil. I also put a small parchment paper circle in the bottom, to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  • Make the Vegan Buttermilk: Pour the soy milk into a measuring cup and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle; this is your "buttermilk."
  • Add all the dry ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine. If your cocoa powder is very clumpy, sift it into the bowl.
  • Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Now mix in the canola oil, applesauce, vanilla and white vinegar. Beat until smooth. Mix in the red dye (or beetroot powder.)
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternating with the "buttermilk", in about three additions, until just incorporated.
  • Divide the batter equally into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 
  • Let cool on wire racks for 5-10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen, and carefully invert the cakes onto your hand. Remove the parchment paper and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • Once the cakes are completely cooled, evenly cover the first layer with cream cheese frosting. At this point I like to stick the first layer in the fridge for 10 minutes, to ensure the frosting firms up and won't cause the second layer to slip. Then place the second layer on top, and frost the cake as desired. 
  • Keep this cake refrigerated until ready to serve, and any leftover cake in the fridge as well, as the frosting softens at room temperature. Alternatively, you could use Vegan Vanilla Frosting instead, if desired.


  1. Calories listed are per 1/16th of the cake, with frosting. Amounts are approximate.
  2. Feel free to substitute another non-dairy milk for soy, such as almond, cashew, oat, coconut or hemp milk.
  3. For cupcakes, fill liners half full and bake for 20-25 minutes. The whole recipe will yield approximately 24 cupcakes.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 309IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. Nora, do you think it would be fine to make this without the beetroot powder or dyes? Does is have any other use that I need it for other than the coloring or could I do without it? ❤️

    1. That should work fine. The color of your cake will most likely be brown, however, it should not change the flavor! Happy baking!

  2. Hey Nora! I love your recipes been baking up a storm and no one would guess they’re vegan! I’ve made this recipe a couple times before and absolutely love it! I’m wondering if I add 1/2 a cup of hot water would it make the cake more moist like the “Best Chocolate Cake Ever” or would it ruin the cake?

    1. That’s wonderful to hear! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my recipes 🙂 You could try adding hot water, but I haven’t tested it so I’m not sure if it will work or not.

  3. Hi! I had great success making 1/3rd of this recipe for a small loaf-pan cake. I used the red dye option, not beetroot powder.

  4. Hi Nora,

    Could this recipe be halved or made into a batch of cupcakes? I love that you use a little more cocoa powder than most here. Yum!!

    1. Hi Alina. You can make this recipe into cupcakes! Bake at the same temperature (350 F) but for only 20-25 minutes. I fill the cupcake liners about half full. Thanks for your great feedback and review!

  5. Nora, do you think I can bake this in a heart shaped cake plan using the same ratio of ingredients? Thanks!

    1. That depends on how big your cake pan is. You might not use all the batter, since this is for a double 8 or 9 inch cake.

  6. Hi Nora,
    I love your recipes and they were always a success except this time. My red velvet cake was a bit dense and on the dry side. Should it be as fluffy and moist as the best chocolate cake? That one was the best cake ever! I used 2 Tbsp of beetroot powder. My batter was thick , I poured it in pans anyways even tho I thought it should be more runnier than that. I think it needed more wet ingredients as when butter and sugar are combined it’s not giving it enough moisture. Any tips?

    1. Hi Maria. Yes, the cake should be fluffy, not dense or dry. It sounds like the butter and sugar may not have been creamed long enough or not enough moisture was added to the batter. It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong, but just be careful when you’re measuring your flour (spoon and level it into the measuring cup) and don’t overmix the batter. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you,
        I made chocolate cake (one with hot water) , carrot cake, cheesecake and no issues. I checked my measurements twice and the batter was thicker than I would normally expect. But even so, everyone loved it and couldn’t believe it’s vegan! You’re my fav vegan baker! Thank you so much for all the food ♥️

        1. Hi Maria. How wonderful you are loving baking my recipes! Thanks for sharing your awesome feedback! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

      2. I had the same issue. The red velvet was dense, and didn’t taste the best. We were careful about creaming it and the measurements. Could it be something like the type of butter? The carrot cake was amazing, fluffy and moist, better than any other carrot cake I’ve had (non-vegan included), so I was so excited for this one.

    1. Yes, I’ve made it in a bundt pan with no issues. Just make sure to bake the cake in the center of your oven and bake at 350ºF for about 50-60 minutes. Cover the cake with foil, loosely, if you can tell the edges are getting too hard but it’s not done in the middle yet.

    1. Hi Anuradha. Coconut oil will work okay in place of canola oil , though it may make the cake more dense. Hope this helps!

  7. Hi Nora.
    I love the texture of your vanilla cake using aquafaba, is this cake as fluffy? Do you think could use aquafaba instead of applesauce just to get that same texture?

    1. Hi Sofia. You can use cake flour for this cake which will yield an even lighter cake with a fine crumb. If you use aquafaba, try 1/2 cup of whipped aquafaba. Hope that helps! Enjoy!

  8. I doubled this recipe for a 12inch square cake . It came out perfect very spongy and fluffy but also lovely and moist . Definitely saving this recipe  !!!

    1. Hi Tanya. I’m so glad the cake came out perfect for you! Thank you for sharing your feedback! Wishing you happy cooking!

  9. Can I use two “flax eggs” in place of the applesauce? Last week I baked your chocolate cake and this substitution was in the comments so I used it and the cake was divine.

  10. Hi Nora!

    I was wondering if I could use cake flour here? Also, is applesauce better than aquafaba in this recipe? 

    Thank you always!

    1. Yes, you can use cake flour for this cake which will yield an even lighter cake with a fine crumb. I use applesauce for this case. If you decide to use aquafaba, try 1/2 cup of whipped aquafaba. Hope that helps! Enjoy!

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