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. Thank you so much for this incredible recipe!!!! I made this for my dad’s birthday and all the old folks there were shocked to hear it was vegan. The whole thing was gone within 20 minutes. I also added about a cup of coconut to the cake which turned out really delicious. 😀

    1. Hi Frankie! Happy birthday to your dad! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit! Thank you for your wonderful comments and review!

    1. Thanks for your fantastic feedback and review! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit with your family!

  2. Hello Nora, I have made your cake before, several times, so good… in a ten inch square pan. I have a castle pan… do you think it would unmold well if I grease the pan well? I am planning to cover it with a strawberry compote, and whipped cream on top. I am thinking it would be nice, especially for my grand-kids, 5 and 3 years old. What do you think? Thank you so much, I love your recipes. 😍

    1. I haven’t made this cake in anything other than round 8-inch cake pans, so it’s hard to know if it will work or not. It’s still worth a try, especially if you grease the pan really well! Just know that the cake may need to be baked longer, depending on the size.

  3. I have a friend who is GF and allergic to almonds so I couldn’t make your gf vegan version. However I made this version instead and used King Arthur GF mix. I doubled the recipe to make 3 layers (and 12 cupcakes). So for 6 cups of gf flour blend, I removed 6 tbsps of the flour and added 6 tbsps of cornstarch (to make “cake” flour!). I also increased the amount of Aquafaba (maybe 1.25 cup – for the double batch). And I added about a cup of sprinkles! I haven’t assembled the cake yet, but I tried one of the cupcakes and it was moist and fluffy and I was so pleasantly surprised! I am confident the cake will be a hit!

      1. Hello,

        I’m planning to make this recipe tomorrow and wanted to know If McDougalls Extra Fine 00 Plain Flour would be OK to use as the cake flour?

        Many thanks

  4. The BEST cake I’ve had since going vegan! I added 3/4 tsp almond extract and it is perfection. Reminiscent of angel food cake. 😍

  5. This recipe is amazing! I can’t wait for another opportunity to make this. I made this recipe for my birthday cake and everyone really liked it. I did run into some confusion when I was whisking the aquafaba. I had a ton left over, and I think I may have whisked it too much (it looked like the “soft peaks” stage when you whip cream). This may have been the cause of my cake being extremely delicate after it cooled. To help with structure, I popped it in the freezer overnight and it was incredible the next day! I also added a layer of blueberry compote to the middle and it was lovely.

  6. My family and I absolutely LOVED your vegan chocolate cake, which was my first attempt at vegan baking! My daughter’s next ask is a funfetti cake. I’m wondering whether you think adding sprinkles would work in this recipe? Thanks!

  7. I used this recipe to make a pineapple upside cake, and I cannot believe the light fluffy, flavorful results. I have been baking vegan cakes for years, and this recipe is the read deal. Thank you Nora for all your hard work in finding the right balance in this cake. Absolutely fantastic.

    You definitely have my attention.

    1. Hi Lisa. You are welcome! I’m thrilled you loved the cake and that it turned out great for you! I appreciate your kind words of acknowledgment regarding the work put into finding recipe balance! I do work hard at that! Thank you for your fantastic feedback and review! Your cake sounds so delicious!

    2. Would daily free plant based spread be OK to use in this recipe as I can’t find vegan butter.

      Many thanks

  8. Wow made this cake for my daughters birthday honestly I was not expecting the taste the texture it had !she didn’t believe it was vegan

    the batter was mousse like as someone commented but it baked nicely on non convection oven at 35 minutes – made a layer cake with buttercream frosting with strawberry reduction and it was sturdy yet light at the same time thank you for sharing your yummy knowledge !

  9. 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?

    1. 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!

  10. 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?

    1. 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.

  11. 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!

    1. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

    1. You shouldn’t need to adjust the salt, I don’t always use low sodium and I’ve never noticed a difference.

  14. 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!

  15. 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?

    Thanks!

    1. 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!

    1. Yes! You can use 3 6-inch pans instead and bake the cake layers for about 18-22 minutes. Hope this helps!

    1. 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.

      1. There should be enough batter here for one 9×13 pan. You should double the recipe if you’re using two pans. Happy baking!

  16. Can the cake be frosted and refrigerated the day before serving? Or is it best to frost the day of? Thanks!

    1. 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.

      1. Nora,
        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?

        1. 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.

      2. Hi Nora,

        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.

        1. 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!

    1. 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

  17. 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!!

    1. Hi Rebecca. You are welcome! Thanks for sharing your great feedback, ideas, and review! Happy birthday to your friend!

  18. 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! 🙂

    1. You are very welcome! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit with your family! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

      1. 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!

  19. 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

    1. 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!

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