The Best Vegan Vanilla Cake – Fluffy and moist, this is a must have cake for all kinds of occasions! The only vanilla cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it’s vegan.

looking down on vegan vanilla cake with sprinkles

This Vegan Vanilla Cake has been a long time coming. Ever since I posted my Vegan Chocolate Cake, I’ve been wanting to create the most perfect vanilla cake, too. After a couple of tries, and a few tweaks here and there, I’ve done it! Moist and fluffy, golden vanilla cake layers paired with my Vanilla Vegan Frosting. Vanilla lovers will swoon over this cake! You could also frost it with Chocolate Frosting, if you prefer.

P.S. If anyone wants a slice, I’ve drowning in cake over here so come on over! 😉

piece of vegan vanilla cake on a plate

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. Really.

It makes a great binder, similar to egg whites, and when you whip it, you can do amazing things, such as make meringues, fluffy mousses and more! I use it here in this Grain Free Granola, and in this Lemon Cake.

For this recipe, drain the liquid from a can of chickpeas, and pour it into a bowl. Whisk it for a minute or two, until it’s a bit foamy on top. It doesn’t have to have stiff peaks for this recipe, like it does for meringues. When it’s time to add it to the cake batter, measure out 1/2 cup.

I really enjoy using it for cake and cupcake recipes, because it makes them bake up so fluffy and moist, and there are no little brown bits from flaxseed eggs.

aquafaba for vegan vanilla cake

Tips on how to make the best Vegan Vanilla Cake:

  • Cake flour works the absolute best in the recipe if you can find it. The cake will have a fine crumb and be very light and fluffy, but all purpose flour does work, too.
  • To prepare your pans, please use a small circle of parchment paper and place it in the bottom. Then spray or grease the pans all over, including the sides. Trust me, I’ve had many cakes ruined by not properly preparing my pans!
  • Use both the vegan butter AND canola oil. This makes the cake super moist and fluffy, while giving it the best possible buttery flavor.
  • Make sure to cool the cakes COMPLETELY before frosting. If it’s warm at all, you will have a big melty mess on your hands. Trust me, I’ve been there… If I’m in a rush, I’ll put the cakes in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
  • It’s best to store the cake in an airtight container, like a cake carrier. You can also lightly wrap it with plastic wrap, but it may ruin your designs.

2 pans with uncooked vegan vanilla cake

Tools that are helpful for making and decorating Vegan Vanilla Cake:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer – My mom had actually bought one of these years ago, in hopes she would do more baking. Well, that didn’t really happen so I’m borrowing it. Oh wow, you guys, it’s amazing! You can also use a hand mixer.

2 8-inch Round Cake Pans

Icing Smoother – I recently got this little smoothing tool and I really like it.

Sprinkles, of course! If you want some really special, pretty sprinkles (that are safely vegan), check out Sweetapolita. They have such pretty ones!

vegan vanilla cake with sprinkles on a cake plate

Want more Vegan Cake and Cupcake recipes?

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan Lemon Cake

Funfetti Vegan Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

close up of vegan vanilla cake

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piece of vegan vanilla cake on a plate
4.94 stars (178 ratings)

Vegan Vanilla Cake

The Best Vegan Vanilla Cake - Fluffy and moist, this is a must have cake for all kinds of occasions! The only vanilla cake recipe you'll ever need, and it's vegan.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 12 slices

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour OR all purpose flour*
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Recipe Vanilla Vegan Frosting

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 round 8-inch cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper and spraying well with oil.
  • Make the Vegan Buttermilk: Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Stir a little, then set aside.
  • Make the Aquafaba: Pour the liquid from a can of chickpeas into a small-medium bowl. Whisk well for a minute, until foamy and light. This acts similar to eggs. You can't taste it at all in the cake, don't worry! You will use 1/2 cup of this, and the liquid from 1 can is just perfect.
  • Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the softened vegan butter, canola oil and sugar until creamy and well combined.
  • Measure out 1/2 cup of the aquafaba, and add it to the bowl, along with the vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl,  whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Using the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and vegan buttermilk, mixing until just combined after each time. The batter should be fairly smooth (a few lumps are okay), but avoid over-mixing. 
  • 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.
  • 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. You can place them in the refrigerator to speed the cooling process along if you need to.
  • Frost with my Vanilla Vegan Frosting or use the Chocolate Frosting from my Chocolate Cake Recipe. Add some sprinkles for fun, if desired. Enjoy!

Video

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.
  2. May use any kind of unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as soy, almond, cashew, coconut or rice milk.
  3. Earth balance brand of vegan butter is preferred. You can use another brand, but make sure you like the flavor of it, as it may come through in the cake.
  4. Aquafaba is simply the liquid from a can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. It sounds weird, but when it's whipped up a bit it has many great uses! It works like eggs, eggwhites and can even be used to make vegan meringue! You can not taste it AT ALL.
  5. You could make cupcakes with this recipe, if desired. They will need less baking time, 20-25 minutes.
  6. Calorie estimate is with 1/12th of the cake with Vanilla Vegan frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 420IU | Calcium: 80mg | 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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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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