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 (227 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. Could I replace the vegan butter with refined coconut oil? Also, could I double the recipe, or would you recommend making two separate batches? I am planning on making two 9×13 inch sheet cakes. Thank you!

    1. Yes, you can use melted refined coconut oil instead, but keep in mind that it can make the cake a little more dense. Yes, it’s best to double the recipe if you plan on baking the cakes in two 9×13 pans. Happy baking!

  2. I made this is as a Bundt cake this weekend and it turned out great. I did add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum to the flour mixture, for extra binding, which I do almost always with Bundts these days because I think they tend to require a little extra structure without eggs. Baked for about an hour, maybe five minutes more, at 350, turned out great. Thank you!

  3. Wonderful! This cake was a hit with my non-vegan family! My grandson usually only eats the icing off of his cake but he ate the entire piece and asked for seconds and thirds! I made it with unsweetened oat milk Greek yogurt instead of aquafaba. I also filled the layers with your vegan custard and iced the cake with your buttercream icing recipe.
    Thank you Nora 😊

    1. Your cake sounds delicious! Thanks for your wonderful review and feedback! I appreciate you using my recipes!

  4. Hi, I love your vegan chocolate cake. I want to try this vanilla, but I wanted to know if this recipe would be suitable for a 3 tiered cake?? Would it be too soft? I am not happy with my current vanilla cake recipe, I feel like it is too dry.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Tracy. I think that should work fine! You will need to increase the ingredient amount for a 3 tier cake. Jump down to the ingredients list, click on ‘2X’ which doubles the recipe. Hope that helps! Enjoy!

  5. After a 2-week snafu prevented my team from being in the office together but still seeing MANY reasons to celebrate, I decided a cake was absolutely necessary for our first day back. This was the cake, topped and filled with the linked buttercream (jazzed up with crushed vegan chocolate sandwich cookies). A colleague just stopped by my office to say “this is the best cake I’ve ever had in my life.”
    And for those in the comments asking about the aquafaba, cannellini bean liquid totally worked.

    1. Hi Kat! How fun you make a cake for your team! I am delighted it was such a wonderful hit! Thanks for sharing your encouraging review and helpful comments! I appreciate you!

  6. Hi Nora,

    I have made the recipe several times and don’t ever remember using cream of tarter. Do you have a different Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe?

    1. You can leave it out if you want, I recently revisited the recipe and found a little cream of tartar helps stabilize the aquafaba. The recipe is the same otherwise, but I tried to make the recipe easier to follow in the instructions. 🙂

  7. I made this gluten free using a gf mix. I reduced the sugar by 1/3 because I didn’t check how much sugar I had before starting the recipe 🙃 Turned out great! Cupcakes were perfect at 18mins

    1. You can use melted coconut oil, I would use refined for no added coconut flavor. Coconut oil can make the cake a little more dense, and you’ll want to make sure your soy milk is room temperature and not cold, or the coconut oil will cause everything to thicken as you mix. You can also use avocado oil or another vegetable oil if you want.

  8. Hi Nora,

    Should the half cup aquafaba be measured then whipped and all of it used or use half cup of whipped aquafaba?

    1. Hi Val, this is something I changed with the recent update after a lot of testing. Measure 1/2 cup aquafaba before whipping, and use it all.

  9. Hi! Looking forward to trying! If I use yogurt instead of thr aquafaba, do I still add the cream of tartar or is that only if doing aquafaba? That part of the Substitution wasn’t clear for me. Thanks!

    1. You can, yes. I would add 2 flax eggs, so 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds mixed with 5 tablespoons water. I’ve also used unsweetened vegan yogurt and it worked really well.

    1. You can use regular butter in place of the vegan butter, it will work. Hope that helps and happy baking!

  10. Hi Nora I love your cakes- my daughter has an egg allergy and these have been amazing for making treats for special occasions. That being said I can’t find vegan butter- can I use regular butter or another substitute?

    1. Hi Sara, thanks for loving my cake recipes! I’m so happy they’ve come in handy for your daughter with an egg allergy. If you want, you can always use regular butter in place of the vegan butter, it will work. Hope that helps and happy baking!

  11. Hi Nora,
    I forgot to ask the question about my cake cracking in my last comment. I let them cool completely, even overnight sometimes before frosting. But each time I have a three way crack in one of the layers. Any clue on what might be the cause? I was thinking because it’s not totally flat. Just a small roundness on each!

    1. You only get the crack in one of the layers? That’s kind of interesting, I would think it would be in both. Are you baking each layer on the same rack in the oven? That could be the cause if you are baking one on the top or bottom rack.

      1. Hi Nora,
        I baked them both on the same rack. I have made it several times after the post and the same thing happens! Could it be that it may have a slight hump in the middle and it’s not flat enough when I stack them?

        1. Hmmm I’m not really sure! But it’s only happening to one of the cakes, not both? That just makes me think it’s an oven issue. Perhaps try baking one at a time, though that’s a bit of a pain and will obviously take longer. You can also cut off any slight humps in the middle before you stack them, if that’s when the cracking happens.

  12. The actual baking time is a lot longer. The cakes are very sticky and one of the cakes stuck to the cooling rack. My top layer began to crumb and fall apart before I could get the butter cream frosting applied. I would suggest refrigeration before applying the frosting. Perhaps that would stop the cake from falling apart. Taste wise, I don’t think that it is remarkable, but I commend the creator for being so creative. The Chocolate vegan cake received a lot of compliments and so that’s what I’ll be serving to my vegan guests!

    1. Mine too got stuck on the cooling rack and broke in half when I tried to pick them up. I actually liked the taste and crumb. I just wish there was a way to make them not break

  13. Nora I need your help please! I am severely allergic to aquafaba/chickpeas (found out the hard way!) Would another type of can bean juice work or what else would you suggest? I desperately want fluffy cake but every GF Vegan recipe I’ve tried I get a flat gooey yuk. I don’t mind dry!

    1. Hi Judy. Allergies are challenging for sure! I have not tried it with liquid from white beans, however, I think it would work! Let me know how it goes for you!

  14. Hi! I’m so excited to try your recipe. I am wondering if it would be possible to make this in advance and Saran Wrap and fridge or freeze them for a couple days until I’m ready to frost?

    1. Hi Sarah. This cake does freeze well! 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. Enjoy!

  15. Nora, you were right when you said vanilla cake lovers will win over this! I’m swooning, this cake is fluffy, moist and the right amount of sugary sweet! I’m in love!

  16. when you say aquafaba, is that from unsalted chickpeas? i always either buy or cook mine without salt. if you mean salted ones, i wonder if you know how much extra salt i would have to add to the recipes? thanks!!

    1. Hi Ally. You can use the aquafaba from both unsalted or salted chickpeas. There isn’t much of a flavor difference between the two, so you won’t need any extra salt.

  17. I kind of feel like this could be a chiffon type cake, if you fold in the aquafaba as the last step. I’m going to make this recipe as written first before trying that out and seeing if it makes a difference at all in terms of fluffiness.

  18. Hey Nora
    Sorry if this is dumb, but if I’ve made multiple batches and now I’m too tired to wait till the last few are baked, can I put the remaining batter in the fridge overnight and bake tomorrow? Or will the batter not work properly if I do?

    Thanks 🙂

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