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 (229 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. Absolutely loved this recipe! The cake was scrumptious! Will definitely make again and again! Thanks so much, all of your recipes that I have tried have been amazing!

  2. We are vegan and made this cake for my son’s birthday. We followed the instructions meticulously and we were hoping this recipe would deliver a normal, fluffy vanilla cake like the one pictured. However as the cake cooled it turned into a flat, dense unattractive cake just like every other homemade eggless cake we have tried. It’s clear that adding a second layer would condense the bottom layer even further into an inedible, gummy dough, so it’s not suitable for a layered birthday cake.

    You have suggested to other negative reviewers that it’s an issue of excess liquid or not enough flour, however we measured everything multiple times (including the 1/2 cup of aquafaba measured out only after whipping) and the batter was perfect. It also looked great coming out of the oven. This recipe just doesn’t hold the structure for a full size cake.

    1. Hi Kristin. I’m sorry the cake didn’t turn out for you. It just so happens I made this cake 2 days ago for my son’s birthday, and added sprinkles to make it funfetti. I did not experience anything like you are describing, and I never have had a flat, dense outcome in the many times I’ve made this recipe. I wish I knew what was going on for you, though it’s hard to know without being right there. Did you use cake flour? It’s essential if you want a truly fluffy, light cake. All purpose CAN be used, but I prefer it so much with cake flour. Did you use coconut oil? I wonder if the outcome is better with canola oil, but I’ve had success with coconut oil as well. Did you use regular sugar or substitute anything at all in the recipe? Are you sure the cakes were cooked through when you took them out of the oven?

    2. I have had the same problem with this cake two years in a row, for each of my daughters birthdays. It looked done on the top, great golden brown color, perfect rise, nothing on the toothpick, and it smelled delicious! But while I let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes they caved in significantly in the middle and when I tried to remove them to the cooling rack they ripped apart. The inside was the consistency of a cake pop with too much frosting added in.

      I love the chocolate cake and it’s been my go to for many years but I won’t be trying this one again.

      1. I’m sorry to hear this Kelsey. Did you use cake flour or a different flour? That makes a huge difference in the outcome of the cake. Also, I recently tested this cake thoroughly and I updated it slightly. Anyhow, glad you love the chocolate cake but I’m sorry you’ve had issues with this one. Hope I can help!

    1. Hi Britt. Yes, you could bake it in a 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Bake at the same temperature. It may need an extra 10 minutes or so, just check the middle with a toothpick or sharp knife to make sure it’s cooked through. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Henrietta. I’m sorry your cakes sank. It’s difficult to say why it sank without being there. A few ideas: I wonder if you made any substitutions at all, and what kind of pan you used? It sounds like maybe there was too much liquid, so did you measure the whipped aquafaba and only add 1/2 cup of the whipped stuff? Did you measure the flour correctly (I usually suggest to scoop it into measuring cups with a spoon, then level off with a knife)? As you most likely know, over mixing the batter could also have lended to the cake sinking. I hope this helps!

  3. I absolutely love this cake, it is so moist and airy it’s been a hit every time! Can you please recommend baking times for 10 inch and 12. Inch round pans? Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful review! A 10-inch cake will take around 35-40 minutes to bake and a 12-inch will take 40-50 minutes. Happy baking!

  4. Hi Nora, I tried this recipe for the first time and both my cake layers domed up, meaning it was very hard to frost the layers. I didn’t know I was supposed to trim the domes (until I started googling afterwards) 😬 Not sure what I did wrong but hopefully it doesn’t all fall apart when I slice it. Any tips?

    1. Oh interesting, my vegan cakes don’t tend to dome up like non-vegan cakes often do so I do not trim them. It should be fine when you cut into it, especially if you frosted it well (should help the layers stick together). I hope you love the cake, and yes, feel free to trim the domes whenever that happens, if you like.

  5. hi! I Absoultely love making this recipe but when I double it and double the baking powder i’ve noticed it tastes a bit like baking powder and figure 2 tablespoons might be too much but don’t want to use the wrong amount. any suggestions?

  6. I can’t wait to make this cake. So excited! Can you please mention a few options (brands) for vegan cake flour? It’d be much appreciated.

    1. I almost always use Swans Down brand, as it’s what I can find in grocery stores near me. I hope you love the cake!

  7. Can’t wait to try this recipe out; however, I do not have chickpeas which means no aquafaba. Is there another vegan ingredient (flaxseed?) you can recommend to replace it?

    1. Hi Jennifer. I have never tried this without aquafaba, however, you could use applesauce or two flax eggs instead. The cake won’t be as fluffy but it will work! Hope this helps.

  8. Hi! I’m making this for the first time for my daughter’s BDAY! If I use a two 9″ pans, how does it change the recipe? TIA

    1. The cake layers will be a bit thinner when baked in larger pans and you may want to keep an eye on them just in case they bake a bit faster. Other than that, the recipe remains the same. Happy baking!

  9. There is a huge flaw in this recipe. The batter tastes too good and I can’t stop eating it. 😂 I’ve been making this recipe for many years now with different variations and it’s always perfect. My favorite was when I added poppyseeds to the batter, filled it with a cherry compote, and frosted it with buttercream tinted pink with cherry juice. This year my son requested a caramel apple cake so I’m adding Penzey’s baking spice to the batter, filling with an apple spice compote, frosting with caramel buttercream, and drizzling with homemade date caramel sauce.

    1. LOL! Hi Kinara! I sure love learning about all the different varieties you have tried with this recipe! They sound amazing! Thank you for sharing your ideas, and your fabulous review! Happy cooking!

  10. My son is allergic to dairy but not eggs. If I used eggs and not the aquafaba, do I use 2 eggs? Also, do I beat them fluffy first or do I just use them as is and mix them in with the butter/oil/sugar?

    1. Yes, 2 eggs should be fine. I of course haven’t tested this with real eggs but you shouldn’t need to beat them fluffy first. Beat them into the batter when you would normally add the aquafaba (step 5 – after creaming the butter/oil/sugar).

  11. Can’t wait to make this! Can I use vanilla bean instead of the extract? Would love to have the speckles of the vanilla bean showing 🙂 Thanks!

    1. That would be so elegant, Elizabeth! You can absolutely use a vanilla bean but I still recommend using at least 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract. You could also use vanilla bean paste instead of the extract/bean. That way, you get the vanilla flavor AND the speckles. Happy baking!

  12. Making this cake for my wife’s birthday as she is allergic to eggs. My cake isn’t out of the oven yet, but I already know it’s a winner. I have never seen a vegan cake batter this fluffy! It looks and acts exactly like the batter I use with an egg-based meringue. And it tastes good pre-bake too. I’m so impressed!

    1. Hi Caroline. I’m thrilled to hear you are loving the cake so far! Thanks for your amazing feedback and review! Happy birthday to your wife!

    1. Hi Monica. Overmixing the batter will knock the air out, which will result in dense cake that isn’t fluffy. It’s important to very gently mix the ingredients together on low speed until the batter is smooth and no dry flour remains (some lumps left behind are okay!). I hope this helps!

  13. Your vanilla birthday cake is my families ultimate favorite for my sons parties every year I make it . I recommend it . It’s so easy and don’t have to go to bakeries and spend tons of money

    1. Hi Holly. I am so happy to hear this is your son’s birthday cake! How fun! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! Happy baking!

  14. Love this recipe. I have been using it for several years as the base for my daughters birthday cake. She is 30 and still wants this cake for her celebration. For the past 2 years I have been using your lemon curd as a filling and I make a blueberry frosting. she says this is here favorite. Thank you for a great one!

    1. Hi Marcie. Your chosen combination of cake and flavors sounds out of this world! I’m so glad you are loving the cake recipe! Thank you for your wonderful review and great cake idea! Happy baking!

  15. Hi Nora!

    I made a half batch of your recipe because I was doing a vanilla and chocolate layer cake. I didn’t have a can of chickpeas for aquafaba so I subbed it with flax egg instead. My half recipe came out really greasy and did not rise at all. I double checked and I did halve all the ingredients. Could you help me troubleshoot this please 🙁

    1. It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong without being there but it sounds like too much oil was used in the batter OR the dry ingredients weren’t measured accurately, your butter was too soft/melted, and/or the butter/oil/sugar wasn’t creamed long enough. Aquafaba is also very important for the cake’s fluffiness, too.

    2. Hi Carrie, a very good tip for baking is to follow the recipe exactly before changing anything. Baking is definitely more of a science, so when you swap 1 ingredient for another, or change amounts of ingredients, it is no longer the authors recipe and now your own experiment lol. So if you start with original recipe to see how it’s supposed to turn out.. than you can slowly tweak things to your liking. And sometimes those tweaks will work and sometimes they won’t. Happy baking ☺️

  16. I’m shocked at how amazing this cake turned out. It’s delicious. The color is perfect. The texture is perfect. The recommended baking time was spot on. Thank you so much for creating this recipe. I hope it has made you a millionaire.

  17. I made cupcakes with this recipe. I used lemon juice instead of Apple Cider Vinegar. Olive oil instead of canola oil.
    These came out beautiful. This lady has a chocolate cake to die for also.

  18. Hi Nora! If I do not use aquafaba (chickpea allergy), what is the measurement equivalent to in eggs? We usually use Bob Mills egg replacer. Thank you!

    1. Hi Salma. The sheet cake should take around 45-55 minutes to bake, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. Happy baking!

  19. We love your recipes and both the best vegan chocolate cake and the strawberry cake are our family’s favourites. I made this recipe for our granddaughter’s birthday party. I was confused by the instructions as they say to use 1/2 the aquafaba but there’s no indication on what to do with the rest, so I added it all. Did I miss something? Thank you and keep up the great work!

    1. I’m thrilled you loved the cake! You only use 1/2 cup of the foamy aquafaba, NOT the entire can’s worth. Any extras can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 🙂

    1. Hi Joe. 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!

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