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.
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! 😉
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.
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.
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!
Want more Vegan Cake and Cupcake recipes?
Vegan Vanilla Cake
- 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
- 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 in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. 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.
- 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.
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the foamy aquafaba, and add it to the bowl with the creamed butter/oil/sugar, along with the vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- To the main bowl with the wet mixture with 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!
- Cake flour will make the cake much lighter with a fine crumb, but all purpose works fine if you can't find cake flour.
- May use any kind of unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as soy, almond, cashew, coconut or rice milk.
- 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.
- 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.
- You could make cupcakes with this recipe, if desired. They will need less baking time, 20-25 minutes.
- Calorie estimate is with 1/12th of the cake with Vanilla Vegan frosting.
Hi Nora! This recipe is one of my family favorites. I am attempting this week to use it to make my daughters graduation cake, a double layer sheet cake, so much bigger. Can you advise on the cook time for my 9×13” cake pans?
I’m glad your family is loving the cake, Jenna! To make the cake in a 9×13 pan, bake about 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. Happy graduation to your daughter!
Hi Nora, I made this recently and it was fantastic! Could I use this recipe for a chocolate cake? I saw your chocolate cake recipe, but I wan to omit the applesauce. Any advice?
Hi Lola. I’m thrilled you loved the vanilla cake. I don’t think this recipe would work well by adding cocoa to it for a chocolate cake. I do recommend my chocolate cake. You could try aquafaba instead of applesauce. Whip the aquafaba until foamy and white, either with a whisk or hand mixer, then measure out 2/3 cup, just like the applesauce. I hope this helps.
I have a question about the aquafaba amount. A half cup of foamy aquafaba weighs much less than the metric amount given. Also, a whole can’s worth of aquafaba is definitely way more than .5 cup when foamed up (over 1c even!). So I’m a bit confused if it’s a whole can’s worth, the metric weight, or half a cup that we should be adding. If you could clarify, that would be awesome!
I actually took away the metric conversion for the aquafaba, because I’m not sure it was accurate. Sorry about that! You are right, a whole can is more than 1/2 cup once foamy; you are only going to use 1/2 cup of the foamy stuff, NOT the entire can’s worth. In step 5 I clarify, “Measure out 1/2 cup of the foamy aquafaba…” It’s just the easiest way I have found to pour the aquafaba from a can of chickpeas, whip, then measure. Otherwise it’s not going to be very consistent. A little more or less won’t ruin the cake though. I hope that helps!
I should have read the comments 1st, I used the liquid and not the foam from the chickpeas. Don’t know how this is going to turn out.
Quick question: I noticed some cans of chick peas are low-salt or no salt, but most cans–like the ones in my cupboard–have salt. It looks like the one in your link has low sodium. Would you recommend adjusting the salt for those of us with a regular can of chickpeas?
You shouldn’t need to adjust the salt, I don’t always use low sodium and I’ve never noticed a difference.
Absolutely amazing! Impressed all my non-vegan friends!!
I made this cake with GF flour as an experiment. It came out a bit dense and gummy, but it still passed for cake and had delicious flavor.
I’d recommend Nora’s intentional Gluten Free Vanilla Cake recipe because it was simpler and resulted in better texture, but this would work in a pinch.
Keep up the great recipes, Nora!
I’m excited to try this cake for my daughter’s birthday.
I was wondering if you use 1/2 cup of aquafaba before it’s whipped or after it’s whipped – like do you start with 1/2 a cup or measure it out after you’ve frothed it up?
Hi Carlie. Whisk the aquafaba until it’s foamy, then scoop out 1/2 cup of it to add to the other ingredients. Happy birthday to your daughter! Enjoy and happy cooking!
Hi Nora! Excited to try this! Do you know how this recipe could adapt to a 6in pan?
Yes! You can use 3 6-inch pans instead and bake the cake layers for about 18-22 minutes. Hope this helps!
Hi there, I have a coeliac family member, will this work with gluten free flour?
It should work okay but the overall texture will be different for sure. Use a quality gluten free flour mix like Better Batter for best results.
Can the cake be frosted and refrigerated the day before serving? Or is it best to frost the day of? Thanks!
You can frost the day of or the day after. I often make the cake part a day ahead of time, cool, wrap and store until the following day.
Have you tried using a strawberry or lavender extract in your cake recipes? If so would you know how much and would you still use the vanilla extract as well?
No, I haven’t used either. You could try using one of the extracts instead of the vanilla extract, but I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure if it will work or not.
When making the cake the day before, how do you wrap and store it? Do you wrap it in cling wrap and freeze or just put it in the fridge? Have you ever put a cake in the freezer? Trying my hands on vegan baking and just want to do some research before starting.
Hi Eboni. Many of my cakes do freeze well, including this one! Make sure they are completely cooled, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. You could also wrap in aluminum foil for extra protection. Freeze them until ready to frost. Defrost cake to room temperature before frosting. It is recommended that cakes be frozen no more than 3 months for optimal flavor. Have fun, and happy cooking!
What can I use in place of aquafaba?
Hi Christina. I have never tried this without aquafaba, however, you could use applesauce or two flax eggs. It won’t create the same fluffy texture as aquafaba. It will work though! Hope this helps
Thanks once again for an amazing recipe!
In case there are any Brits reading this – I converted it into a ‘Manor House Cake’ or a light fruit cake by removing 100g of sugar and adding 100g of sultanas for my friend’s birthday, and just baked it in one tin. It tastes amazing!!
Hi Rebecca. You are welcome! Thanks for sharing your great feedback, ideas, and review! Happy birthday to your friend!
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! 🙂
You are very welcome! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit with your family! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!
Can I sub the sugar with monk fruit/erythritol?
I really can’t say if either of those would work or not, as I have only tried it with sugar. Monk fruit might work, but I’m not positive how it will affect the texture. Let me know how it works for you!
awesome cake, but mine turned out not a white as your picture, it was more ivory beige in colour. and i used the same ingredients,would yu happen to know why
It depends on a few factors: the color of the vegan butter, your vanilla extract, the sugar color and what milk you use. To make it whiter, use whiter vegan butter (like Miyokos), clear vanilla, whiter sugar and whiter milk (oat milk is usually whiter than soy). Hope that helps!