With a moist and fluffy crumb and decadent vanilla flavors, you’ll fall head over heels for this Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe. It’s perfect for all kinds of occasions and no one will guess it’s vegan!

You won’t ever have to search for a vegan cake recipe again with my vanilla cake, Vegan Chocolate Cake, and Vegan Yellow Cake recipes in your back pocket.

vegan vanilla cake on a white plate, another piece in the background, showing fluffy texture and white frosting with sprinkles outside

Introducing the only vegan vanilla cake recipe you’ll ever need!

My Vegan Vanilla Cake is an extraordinary dessert that will ‘wow’ the vanilla lovers in your life. It’s moist and fluffy, has elegant vanilla flavors, and is paired with my Vanilla Vegan Frosting for just the right amount of sweetness.

With over 200 5-star reviews, this recipe is a proven favorite! Here’s what readers are saying:

“Love this cake recipe!! The best I’ve ever had!! The whole family loves it too.” – Melissa

“Absolutely amazing! Impressed all my non-vegan friends!!” – Brittany

“I have tried many cake recipes and this one is the best by far! It was perfect and the whole family loved it. I’m keeping this one. Thank you so much!” – Lauren

My favorite way to serve this moist vegan vanilla cake is with sprinkles on top, but you can use fresh fruit, vegan whipped cream, edible flowers, or any fun decorations you love. Bring it with you to the birthday party, bridal shower, or holiday party, and watch as everyone rushes to get a slice!

piece of cake being removed from cake platter

Why this is the best vegan vanilla cake

  • It’s the type of cake you dream about – This bakery-style vanilla cake has a wonderfully moist and fluffy crumb and an elegant vanilla flavor. The best part is that it’s made without eggs or dairy but you’d never know it!
  • Two secret ingredients – Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) and cake flour are solely responsible for this cake’s delicate, fluffy texture. 
  • Perfect for any occasion – Decorate the cake with vegan buttercream frosting and sprinkles so it’s ready for birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, holidays, or any special occasion. You will also love my super easy Vegan Funfetti Cake for birthday parties!

How to make vegan vanilla cake

This is simply an overview with photos. For the complete, printable recipe, scroll down to the recipe card.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom for easy removal of the cakes later.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-large bowl and set aside.

Make the vegan buttermilk by combining the milk and apple cider vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Stir a little, then set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the aquafaba and cream of tartar vigorously until foamy, about 2 minutes. You don’t need this in stiff peaks, just get it a bit fluffy and foamy. OR, you can vegan yogurt, which works just as well!

bowl with whipped foam and a whisk

Cream the softened vegan butter, canola oil, and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Next, add the aquafaba to the bowl along with the vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.

With your mixer on low speed, alternate between adding portions of the flour mixture and vegan buttermilk to the batter, mixing until just combined after each time.

Do not overmix the batter! The batter should be fairly smooth after everything has been incorporated. A few lumps left behind are okay.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.

Set the cakes aside to cool while you make the Vegan Buttercream Frosting, Chocolate Frosting, Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting or Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Or consider making this incredible Vegan Whipped Cream (that tastes like dairy whipped cream!) and serve with berries.

Frost the vanilla cake when the layers are completely cooled. Add some sprinkles on top for fun, then slice and serve!

decorated, frosted cake with white frosting and colorful sprinkles on white background

Frequently asked questions

I don’t have cake flour. What can I use instead?

Cake flour works the absolute best in this recipe but all purpose flour is fine, too. You can also make homemade cake flour by mixing all purpose flour and cornstarch together. Check out this Cake Flour Substitute Guide from Sally’s Baking Addiction to learn how it’s done.

Can it be made gluten free?

A quality gluten free flour mix, like Better Batter, will work as a substitute but just know that the cake will have a slightly different texture and it probably won’t be as fluffy and light.

What is aquafaba and what purpose does it serve in baking?

Aquafaba is simply the liquid, or juice, from a can of chickpeas. That’s it!

Like egg whites, it does amazing things when it’s whipped up, such as making vegan-friendly meringues, mousses, whipped cream, brownies, and more. It’s also a rockstar egg replacer in vegan baking, including this recipe. It gives the cake a fluffy and moist texture and a crisp white color (no brown bits from flaxseed eggs!).

To learn more about the magic of aquafaba, check out my guide, Aquafaba 101.

What can I use as a substitute for aquafaba?

I recently did some testing and discovered that the best substitute for aquafaba in this recipe is vegan yogurt! Use a higher protein/fat version that is unsweetened and unflavored for best results. You can also use 2 flax eggs, possibly JUST Egg or another egg replacer.

Can I make it in a different pan?

Sure. This recipe makes enough cake batter for a 9×13, 10, or 12-inch cake pan or a sheet pan. Remember to add an extra 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time when using a larger pan. Two 9-inch round pans work as well, but the cakes will be thinner.

How do you store vegan vanilla cake?

Wrap the baked and cooled cake layers in plastic wrap, then store them in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I recommend keeping the frosted cake in an airtight container, like a cake carrier, in the fridge or counter (it will get rather dry quickly in the fridge). You can also lightly wrap it with plastic wrap, but it may ruin your designs. At room temperature, it will last about 5 days.

fork taking a piece of cake from the plate

Want more incredible vegan cakes?

I love making vegan cake recipes that taste just as good, if not better than the usual dairy and egg filled versions! Make any of the following recipes and become a vegan cake connoisseur:

And you can find even MORE cakes here! Vegan Cake Recipes. Happy baking!

square image of a piece of vanilla cake on a white plate with some colorful sprinkles
4.91 stars (252 ratings)

Vegan Vanilla Cake

With a moist and fluffy crumb and decadent vanilla flavors, you’ll fall head over heels for this Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe. It’s perfect for all kinds of occasions and no one will guess it’s vegan!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Cooling time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 16 slices

Ingredients 
 

Dry ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Vegan buttermilk

Aquafaba (or sub 1/2 cup vegan yogurt)

The rest

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Frosting and sprinkles

Instructions 

Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F place the rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans with oil or vegan butter. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom for easy removal later.

Combine dry ingredients

  • In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Prepare vegan buttermilk

  • Combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Stir briefly, then set aside to curdle. This is your buttermilk.

Whip the aquafaba (or use yogurt instead)

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the aquafaba and cream of tartar vigorously until foamy, about 2 minutes. You don't have to whip it into stiff peaks, just get it a bit fluffy and foamy. Set aside.

Finish the cake batter

  • Cream fats and sugars: In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment), cream together the softened vegan butter, canola oil and sugar until creamy and well combined, about 3 minutes, scraping the sides as needed.
  • Add aquafaba and vanilla: Add the aquafaba mixture to the bowl with the creamed butter/oil/sugar, along with the vanilla extract. Mix until well combined, about 1 minute.
  • Add flour and buttermilk: Alternate adding the flour mixture and vegan buttermilk in 3 parts, mixing until just combined each time. The batter should be fairly smooth (a few lumps are okay), but do not over mix.

Bake, cool and frost

  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, the surface looks and feels set, and a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with no wet batter. These cakes come out pretty flat, so there is no need to slice off the top like some other recipes.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then carefully invert them onto a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
  • Frost with my Vegan Buttercream Frosting, Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Frosting or even vegan whipped cream and berries. Add some sprinkles for fun, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Cake flour will make the cake much lighter with a fine crumb, but all purpose works fine if you can’t find cake flour. Or make your own cake flour.
  2. Gluten free? Try substituting a quality gluten free all purpose mix. I like Better Batter brand.
  3. Soy milk works best because of the protein and fat content, but you can use another milk if needed. Hemp, oat, cashew or almond all work quite well.
  4. If you can find it, unsweetened high fat or protein yogurt works well in place of the aquafaba. 
  5. For cupcakes, bake for 20-25 minutes until done and fill liners half full.
  6. For a 9×13 inch cake, bake for 40-50 minutes, until done. Two 9 inch round pans will work, but the cakes will be thinner. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 388kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 179mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 309IU | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. How can I adjust cooking time/temp to make this as cupcakes or in an oversized muffin tin? I know this recipe will yield more batter than I need, I’m making a cupcake/oversize cupcake for my daughter’s smash cake but I just want to make sure I get the temperature right!

    1. I would guess around 20-25 minutes, but check on them often with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, they are done. I’ve never used a jumbo muffin pan but I think this will work just fine. Enjoy!

  2. I know I am doing something wrong. I’ve tried this recipe several times and my cakes always come out tasting like cornbread! What can I do? Thank you!

    1. Are you making any substitutions or adjusting the amounts of the ingredients? It’s hard to know what’s going wrong without knowing more or being there, but I can try! It should definitely not taste anything like cornbread; it’s just a fluffy, soft, moist vanilla cake.

  3. Hi Nora,
    I’ve made this cake plenty of times and it’s wonderful. My absolute staple for vanilla cakes.
    Do you think your whipped cream recipe will hold up well for the inside layer of the cake along with the outside? I’d like to make a peach vanilla cake and we loved your whipped cream in the Oreo cake recipe.
    Thanks for all of your slam dunk recipes!! (Maybe you should know that my family is on a first name basis with you and your recipes lol.)

    1. Hi Jess! Yes, I think my whipped cream will hold up, as long as you make sure the cakes are completely cool (perhaps even chilled) first. That sounds amazingly delicious. Aww thanks for loving my recipes. I love that we’re on a first name basis! 🙂

  4. Nora, Thank you for the recipe. My cakes cracked on top— do you know what could have caused that? I used vegan yogurt instead of the chickpea. I made sure my ingredients were all room temperature and measured everything out properly.
    Thanks for your input and sharing the recipes

  5. Another triumphant cake, Nora! The texture is incredible- moist yet light. The flavour is proper vanilla and not too sweet. For my mum’s birthday, I made a three tiered 6 inch cake layered with vegan whipped cream and macerated strawberries and covered it in your vanilla buttercream. It was so delicious. Everyone loved it!

  6. Thank you for the recipe! I am using the yogurt substitute. Can you tell me what kind of yogurt you use please? I noticed the yogurt I used is very thin at room temp. Some of the Greek dairy free yogurt I can’t use due to nut allergy. Any other recommendations. Outside of the chick peas.
    Thanks so much! I enjoy your recipes:-)

    1. I use yogurt that’s usually fairly thin, not thick like Greek yogurt. I usually use Forager or Kite Hill brands in baking.

  7. Nora you’ve done it again. Another great recipe. Made it for my sons birthday I did one layer cake then the rest cupcakes, so delicious, light, and fluffy. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

    1. You bet, Kayla! Happy birthday to your son! I’m glad the cake and cupcakes turned out wonderful! Thanks for your awesome review and feedback!

  8. Made this for my son’s 3rd birthday 4 layers of 9.5 inch cake, everyone loveeeedddd it. So moist and fluffy. Was so delicious, I’m not a massive sweet tooth so will use less sugar next time as it was a bit sweet for me.

    1. Hi Pascale. Happy birthday to your son! I am so glad the cake turned out wonderful! Thanks for your fabulous review and feedback!

  9. Hi Nora!

    Can I add Almond Extract to this recipe along with poppy seeds to get an “Almond poppyseed” white cake? If so, what ammounts do you suggest? I would like to frost it with a lemon “cream cheese” frosting! Thank you!

      1. Thank you! I didn’t realize you had a poppyseed cake recipe already. I was so focused on searching “Almond.” I will check that recipe out, thank you! Your cakes are hands-down the best

  10. I love your recipes! I wanted to layer this with your best chocolate cake with a later of frosting in between for my son’s birthday. Do you think it’ll work out ok?

  11. Such a great recipe! I made a six layer rainbow cake for a birthday party and every single person commented on how delicious it was. They were also surprised to learn it was vegan. I used your Buttercream Frosting recipe, and it also came out perfect! I love this recipe combination because it was decadent and moist, without being overly sweet. I was happy to tell them it was from Nora Cooks! Thank you for sharing this.

  12. Hi – I made this the other day and it was so good! If I wanted to turn this into a coffee flavoured cake, can I just add some coffee powder and leave all other ingredients the same?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake, thank you! I’ve never tried it, but you probably could. It sounds like a great idea to me!

  13. This was my first vegan cake and so pleased with the result!! My only sub was vanilla flavored soy milk . The moist, tender layers paired great with fresh fruit filling and your vegan buttercream.YAY!

    1. Hi Celeste. Your cake with fruit filling sounds delicious! I’m thrilled you loved the recipe! Thank you for sharing your awesome review and feedback!

  14. Hi there,

    I have the ingredient because I was afraid to make it without the creme of tartar. Would the cake be okay if I didn´t use that particular ingredient? I´ve made a lot of cakes (less vegan cakes) and I haven´t come across this ingredient. Thanks for all your recipes!

    1. You can leave the cream of tartar out, it only helps the aquafaba get foamy and stabilize a little bit. It works fine without it though. Hope that helps and you enjoy the cake!

  15. Just made this cake and it is amazing! The cakes are soft, and delicious. The recipe is perfect. It is definitely my new favorite! Thank you so much Nora.

  16. Thanks for such a great recipe! I’ve been making this cake as written with the yogurt option and it has been delicious. I am thinking of trying it with all vegan butter (replacing the oil with the same amount of butter) and was wondering if you’ve tried that and how it came out. Thanks so much!

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