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

cut into cake on stand, red with white frosting, grey background

Why I love this red velvet cake

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!

This particular recipe has been tested and perfected over the years to be perfectly fluffy, flavorful and unbelievably vegan. And it’s incredibly easy to make!

Want more cakes that no one would guess are made without eggs or dairy? Check out my Vegan Hummingbird Cake, Vegan Chocolate Cake or Vegan Carrot Cake.

piece of red cake and white frosting on triple plate

How to make vegan red velvet cake

Complete instructions are in the recipe card below.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Now add all the wet ingredients and stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix the batter.

bowl with flour, sugar, cocoa and a whisk on grey background

Divide the cakes evenly between two round 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

While the cakes are baking, make a double batch of Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. If you don’t want to mess with vegan cream cheese or can’t find it, you can use this cream cheese-like frosting from my Pumpkin Cake recipe, or just go with Vegan Buttercream instead.

white frosting being spread on red cake

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.

How to store red velvet cake

This is one cake you’ll want to store in the refrigerator, as the cream cheese frosting will soften after a while. If you live somewhere cold, you can probably keep it at room temperature for a day or two. Cover if possible to prevent drying out.

The cake can also be frozen.

frosting vegan red velvet cake with red crumbles and piped cream cheese frosting all over

Variations

  • 9×13 inch cake – Pour into a 9×13 inch pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.
  • Sheet cake – Pout into an 11-17 inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Cupcakes – Go make my Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes, which are nearly identical to this recipe.
  • Gluten free? You can try using a quality gluten free flour, like Better Batter. I haven’t made this cake gluten free yet.
fork taking a bite out of vegan red velvet cake

Want even more incredible cake recipes?

square image of a red cake with white frosting and red crumbles on top
4.82 stars (22 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: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 teaspoons vegan red gel food coloring or more if using liquid or beet powder

Frosting

Instructions 

  • Prepare – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray two round 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan, for easy removal of the cakes.
  • Make the cake batter – In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. Now add all the wet ingredients and stir until just combined, but do not over mix. Add a little more food dye until the batter is quite red – it will fade in the oven, so you need more than you think for a rich, red cake.
  • Bake the cakes – Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool – Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • Crumbles – If your cakes have domes, use a large serrated knife to slice a thin layer off the top. Crumble and use for decorating the top of the cake, if desired.
  • Frost and serve – Prepare the frosting. Once the cake has cooled completely (this is essential, or your cake will slip and break!), spread a layer of frosting on the first cake layer. Place the second layer on top, and frost the top and sides, piping additional frosting on as desired. Sprinkle crumbles on top for decoration. Serve immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.

Notes

  1. You may use another milk if needed, such as oat, almond or coconut.
  2. You may use all purpose flour if needed, but cake flour will result in a much lighter, fluffier cake.
  3. Gluten free – Replace all purpose flour with a quality gluten free flour. It might be rather gummy gluten free, but this will depend on the brand of flour you use. I like Better Batter.
  4. Storing the cake – This cake should be stored in the refrigerator (for up to 3-4 days). Though before serving, let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. You can also freeze the cake.
  5. Red food dyes vary a lot in terms of color and how much you need. With gel, you will need much less to achieve a deep red. If you don’t want to use food dye, you can use about 3 tablespoons beetroot powder, but the cake still won’t be as red.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*I’ve updated the recipe Feb. 2024 after several rounds of testing. The new recipe is much better tasting and easier to make!

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Comments

  1. I just made this cake for my mother’s 60th birthday and it turned out wonderful! Very moist and light! The only alterations I made was I didn’t have cake flour so I used the google machine and that said you could substitute out 2TBSP of APF for corn starch and get you close to the same thing. I will note that I weighed out everything except, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vinegar, vanilla and the food coloring. Also I made a 3 tiered cake with 6” 7” & 9”round pans. The 6&7” were done about the same time, about 35 min and the 9” was around 42 min. I also did a recipe and a half to do the three tiers, each layer came out about 2” thick. I wish I could post a picture since it turned out so good, my red velvet is more like maroon since I ran out of red food coloring and added some purple as well. The cream cheese frosting, I doubled the recipe and added 9cups of powdered sugar, mine wasn’t runny at all and I may have been fine with only 8cups but I considered it extra insurance since I wasn’t sure how much it would stiffen up.

  2. My cake turned out heavy and smelled horrible when I took it out of the oven. I am very sad that this recipe didn’t work because I have tried other recipes on this website that have turned out great. I don’t know what I did wrong.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Terry! I’m not sure what happened. I’ll have to do some testing on this recipe and see if it needs an update.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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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