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 (246 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. Hi Nora, I made this cake last night, cooled it, and frosted it (2 8-inch layers), and, when I woke up, the top layer had split into about five big chunks and was sliding off the bottom layer. It tastes good but a little dry. I’m not sure what I did but this has Janice before. That time, I thought it was the frosting I used (dulce de leche that was really slippery). Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Hi there! It sounds like the cake was not all the way cooled when you frosted it. This has happened to me with cakes over the years when I think the cake is cooled, but actually there is still a bit of warmth in the middle. The frosting melts a bit and breaks the cake. This can also happen if you use a very wet, heavy or slippery frosting. So make sure the frosting you use is thick and not too runny or melty. If it is rather runny, use a very thin layer to prevent the cake from breaking. But mostly, make absolutely sure the cake is cooled completely before frosting. Hope that helps!

  2. This is the best vegan cake ever! It holds together beautifully and is easily decorated. It’s very moist and delicious. I made a 2 layer cake for my daughter’s birthday and we all loved it!

    1. Hi Lori. I’m so glad the cake was a hit. Happy birthday to your daughter! Thanks for sharing you great review and feedback! This is definitely a fun cake!

    1. That should work just fine, yes to both. But the bake time will be likely less, so watch them closely and don’t overbake.

  3. This recipe is great, so tasty! I’ve made big cakes using it, but wondering approximately how many cupcakes it would yield? I need to do about 4 dozen cupcakes, plus a double layer 6 inch cake, thinking of doubling the recipe, what do you think? And same question for the vanilla icing.  Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you 🙂 

    1. It should make at least a dozen cupcakes and there should be enough icing for a dozen, maybe even more. I’d suggest tripling or quadrupling the recipe, just to be on the safe side, or stick to my vanilla cupcake recipe which makes 24 cupcakes.

    1. Hi Dana. I have not tried without aquafaba, however, it would likely work. The final outcome will be a bit different. You would likely need two flax eggs for this recipe.

  4. Can you bake this in a disposable aluminum pan? Also is an electric mixer necessary for the ideal texture or can you manually whisk this?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Tovah. I have never baked this in a disposable aluminum pan, however, it should work. The cake may bake a little faster. I recommend checking the cake about 5 minutes early. You can mix this by hand, you just might get an arm workout! I would use a whisk for the aquafaba, and a large wooden spoon or something similar for the rest. Hope that helps, and happy baking!

  5. I am so happy I came across this recipe! It is amazing! I reduced and substituted some of the cane sugar for brown sugar to make a brown sugar cake. I made a chocolate chip cookie dough cake with brown sugar butter buttercream. Everyone LOVED IT. I have young niece’s that couldn’t even tell it was vegan. Definitely my go to cake recipe from now on!

    1. Hi Mena. I’m glad you’ve discovered the recipe as well, and that it is now your go to cake recipe! You are making some amazing sounding cakes! Thanks for sharing your great feedback and ideas! Wishing you happy baking!

    1. Hi Holli. I have not tried without aquafaba, however, it would likely work. The final outcome will be a bit different. You would likely need two flax eggs for this recipe.

  6. First ever vegan recipe I tried and it turned out beautifully! Added some lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon essence and lavender. Soft, delicate texture, better than some “normal” cakes I have baked! And I bake a lot of cakes! Thank you for sharing the recipe, it must have taken some time to perfect! Blessings from South Africa xxx

    1. Hi Liezel. I am thrilled that your cake turned out beautiful! Your additions of lemon and lavender sound amazing! I love creating recipes, and love to share them. I do work hard perfecting my recipes, and appreciate you noticing! Thank you for sharing your fabulous feedback and ideas!

  7. When Nora says “this is the only vanilla cake you will ever need”, it’s true. This cake is is delicious and most importantly, vegan. The crumb is moist and flavorful; try scraping a vanilla pod and using it in place of the vanilla extract. I have used pea protein milk and it also works. Nora’s recipes have allowed me to bake again but now as a vegan baker!

    1. Hi Joy. Your feedback is wonderful and encouraging! Thank you for sharing your ideas! I’m so glad you love the vanilla cake! Wishing you lots of happy baking!

  8. Hi, Nora
    I just made my cake layers, and they came out perfect, I will be doing a wedding cake with the top tier being 4 layers tall, if I do this recipe 2x, it should give me 4 layers. My pan sizes are 6×3 so would Ibe able to double up on the 2 pans and just cut them in half.

    1. Hello! I feel like that will be way too much batter for just two 6×3 inch pans, it will probably overflow in the oven. I have only tested it using two 8 or 9 inch pans (as well as one 9×13 inch pan and cupcakes) so I’m not positive how it will go using other sized pans. Sorry!

    1. I’ve never tried it so I’m really not sure, sorry! I feel like doubling will be too much batter for an 11×15 inch pan. You could use that pan and make it more of a thinner sheet cake which would work fine. It just would bake for more like 15-20 minutes I believe, at 350.

  9. Hey! This looks so yummy. I want to make this a three layer cake so it will feed more people. I’m thinking of multiplying the ingredients by 1.5. Does this make sense? Would cooking time be effected? Thanks

    1. Hi Maria. It is pretty yummy! Increasing the recipe by 1.5 times should yield 3 layer cake. I haven’t tested it myself, however, it should work. The baking times should be about the same. Hope this helps!

  10. Hey! I am trying to troubleshoot where I went wrong. I used cake flour and measured everything in grams where applicable. For the aquafaba, I whisked but wasn’t sure if I was measuring the foam or the liquid that separated, so I measured a bit of both.

    The cakes were baking up well until towards the end, when they sunk and the edges kind of separated and become caramelized a bit. 

    The texture was actually soft and nice but the cakes fell apart. 

    1. Hi Christine. If the cake sunk in the middle, then that could be a sign that the batter was over or under mixed, under baked, the oven temperature was off, or the oven door was opened one too many times.

      1. Regarding her comment about the aquafaba, I was wondering the same! Do I measure out the liquid or foam? Or do I measure out the liquid and add all of the foam too? Thanks 🙂

        1. Hi Laura. Whip the aquafaba first (until it’s foamy and light), then measure 1/2 cup. You should get a mix of foam and liquid (all of the liquid from 1 can of chickpeas should be enough here).

  11. Hi Nora, thank you so much for sharing your recipes! Whenever my family or I want to bake something, I always look for a recipe from you first. I just made your pumpkin muffins the other day and everyone enjoyed them. And, this cake is the perfect texture. I appreciate you working to create yummy, easy, vegan recipes. Do you have any tips for how to frost a cake without getting the crumbs from the cake mixed into the frosting while applying it? Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback, Skye! I’m so happy you love my recipes 🙂 As for the crumbs getting into the frosting, I would frost the cake with a thin layer of frosting first (AKA a crumb coat). Place it in the fridge to set, then continue frosting with a thicker layer. This should help you avoid the crumbs!

    1. I haven’t tried it but it would likely work, though the final outcome will be a bit different. You would likely need two flax eggs here.

      1. Hi Nora,
        I haven’t eaten it yet but the batter is tasty and it baked mostly fine, the only thing I see that may be the cause of using flax egg is the cakes sort of sunk in the middle. Not a big deal, I’ll just fill it with frosting.
        I gotta thank you for your blog. It has been a lifesaver. I have an egg and milk allergy in my family and whenever I’m looking up vegan recipes and I see you in the search results I click on it.

        1. Hi Ann. I’m so glad you gave this recipe a try! The flax egg could have made the batter heavier, which could explain the sinking. Otherwise, cakes sometimes sink in the middle if they’ve been over or under mixed, under baked, or when the oven temperature is off. It makes me so happy that you love my recipes and thank you so much for leaving your feedback!

        2. Hi Ann!

          I may have a better alternative for you. I once made a recipe that used flax seed egg whites. They were a bit of a pain to make, but they worked beautifully. I don’t want to get me or Nora in trouble posting the recipe here, but you can find it in The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner. I love it and use in for staples semi-often. 

          Nora – I apologize and hope you don’t mind the recommendation. This cake recipe is just SO. GOOD. I want everyone to use it forever??

          Also, while I’m here, my cake edges always get crispy, although the rest is unbelievably fluffy and perfect, so I just cut it off. With cakes like the BCP, though, it keeps my cakes from looking nice and clean. Do you have any ideas how to fix this?

          1. No worries at all sharing that tip! I have that book but I haven’t tried the flax egg whites, how interesting. Miyoko is quite the genius with vegan cooking!

    2. Hi Nora, I want to make this for my babies 1st birthday.. he is got various allergies but can this be made ahead and frozen? I usually freeze all my cakes just not sure how it will work for this cake?

  12. Hi Nora, could I use Bob’s Mill egg replacer instead of the aquafaba? The great thing about the egg replacer is that it’s a white powder so there’s no brown specks like flaxseeds.

  13. My family and I absolutely love all your cakes!
    Their next request is an ice cream cake.
    Do you think this recipe would work adding ice cream within the layers and freezing?

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you guys are loving my cakes! I have never tried adding ice cream to this cake. This cake does freeze well, so it may work if you are able to add the ice cream without crumbling the cake! Let me know how it goes!

  14. Hi Nora(:

    Excited to make this cake.
    When I changed the metrics to metric values instead of US, the 1/2 cup of butter did not translate to grams. Can you please let me know what the correct weight for the butter is in the recipe? The cup sizes where I live can be wildly different from eachother, so I try never to rely on them for measurements, especially in baking. Thanks!

    1. I’ve never made this with eggs, so it’s hard to know for sure. It would probably work okay, though I would use cake flour so the cake isn’t too dense. I would say 4 eggs worth. Let me know how it works for you!

  15. I’ve just made this receipe for the second time today and it’s definitely a keeper. I added some vegan sprinkles and split the batter into 3 smaller sized cake pans to make a funfetti layer birthday cake. They baked up so nicely, with even and flat layers. I’m not vegan, but I like to bake things everyone can enjoy – this is probably better than any non-vegan vanilla cake I’ve ever made. Thanks Nora!

    1. Thank you for you positive feedback! I’m so glad the cake turned out wonderful for you! We love this cake at our house as well! Wishing you happy cooking!

  16. What a fabulous-tasting cake! My daughter is gluten free so I made cupcakes using gf flour. The best cake I’ve made in a long time!

    1. I’m so happy you and your daughter loved this recipe, Val! Thanks so much for your wonderful review!

    2. Hi Val –

      I’m pretty new to GF baking – did you use a 1:1 substitution using the GF flour?

      Thanks so much!

  17. I can’t figure out why my cakes don’t rise well, and then fall even further. The best I can do is a layer of about an inch high. I am very, very careful to follow the recipe perfectly, ingredients and method. Yours look as good as a non vegan cake, and I just can’t replicate it. Do you have any ideas please?

    1. That’s very odd, are you sure you aren’t making any substitutions whatsoever? What size pans are you using? I’ve made this cake so many times and it’s much higher than an inch, so something is off here. It looks like the photos every time for me. Hope I can help!

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