Vegan Vanilla Cake Recipe

This easy Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe creates a tender cake with a delicious vanilla flavor! A homemade Vanilla Cake recipe is so easy to make — only a few steps before it’s in the oven. Use the tips in this easy vegan vanilla cake to make a perfect buttery, soft, and moist vanilla cake. This non dairy white cake recipe made with without eggs could be your favorite vegan birthday cake!

A slice of layered vegan vanilla cake has blackberries sitting next to it. The text above it reads: Vegan Vanilla Cake.
A slice of cake on a plate!

This Easy Vanilla Cake recipe is a fun twist on my Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe. I decided we needed a vanilla version. Because what’s life without a little vanilla?

Vegan baking can sometimes be a little tricky, but I’ve discovered a combination of vanilla cake ingredients that falls right on the mark. You may notice that I adapted my Vegan Chocolate Wacky cake recipe. I just took things to another level with today’s vegan white cake.

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Cake

Forget vegan, this is absolutely the best ever vanilla cake! Making a homemade cake recipe is a great call. Sure, you can find an accidentally-vegan vanilla cake mix much more easily these days, but making it from scratch is always best.

Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe!

Step One: Beat Together Butter and Sugar

The first thing to do when making vegan vanilla cake recipes is to beat together the butter and the sugar. Sure, the butter makes the batter look more like a vegan yellow cake, but it’s worth it for the added flavor!

I use a stand mixer set to medium speed and I take my time with this first step, beating it between 2 – 3 minutes. This article explains why creaming butter and sugar together is important.

Looking down on a stand mixer to the creamed vegan butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.

Step Two: Add Other Ingredients

Next, you’ll add the oil, almond flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Continue beating another minute, until this mixture is light and fluffy.

This is a vanilla cake with no eggs, so it might be surprising that we’re not adding ground flax seed. I’m allowing the flour along with the cornstarch to do the work of creating structure in this cake. It’s easy to make an eggless cake!

Looking down on a stand mixer with cake batter on the beaters and in the mixing bowl.

You can see that the batter is starting to stick to the beaters now. That’s good. If you’re mixing with this a hand mixer, you should experience the same effect.

Then add the vinegar, vanilla extract and almond extract and then beat again to combine.

A hand pours flour into a mixing bowl. A pyrex measuring dish of water sits next to it.

Step Three: Alternate Adding Flour and Water

The next step is a little tricky in that you will be adding both water and flour in alternating steps. Turn the mixer down to low speed and beginning with the flour, pour about a half cup in, followed by some of the water, and continue with that process, finishing with the flour.

Be sure to use a spatula to wipe down the sides of the bowl so you get an even batter.

Once you’ve added the flour, you don’t want to overmix, so just beat the dough for another 15 – 30 seconds to combine.

A hand holds a spatula spooning cake batter from a mixing bowl to a cake pan.

Step Four: Bake

Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for approximately 35 minutes.

How to Tell When a Cake is Done

A non-dairy cake is similar to any other cake and when it’s baked for the allotted time, I look for four cues to let me know that the cake is done:

  1. The edges of the crust are a golden brown
  2. When I press on the center of the cake, it springs back with a spongey response
  3. The edges of the cake have slightly pulled away from the pan
  4. A tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

How do I make a cake more moist?

There are several ways I’ve used to make this easy cake recipe more moist:

  • A combination of vegan butter (Earth Balance) and supplementing that with oil helps create and maintain a nice, soft crumb
  • This vegan vanilla cake includes almond flour because it adds both moisture and flavor
  • Believe it or not, adding apple cider vinegar, combined with baking powder and baking soda, helps keep your cake fluffy!

What kind of flour should I use for this vegan cake recipe?

For this vegetarian cake recipe I recommend all-purpose flour. It’s true that I love to push the envelop a little bit more towards healthy so oftentimes I’m encouraging whole wheat pastry flour, but not today.

First, a vegan vanilla cake made with whole wheat pastry flour won’t have that same light cake look or flavor. Second, the texture of the cake will have a more dense crumb. It’s a personal call, but I recommend all-purpose flour.

Now, you’ll notice that I add cornstarch to this recipe. That is to simulate cake flour. I find it helps to create a lighter cake. I think you’ll agree!

Can I make this as cupcakes?

Actually, these make the best vegan vanilla cupcakes! I recommend adding papers to a muffin tin and then pouring the cake batter into each paper about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 24 – 26 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes turn slightly golden. You can also insert a tester to make sure it comes out clean. Then allow them to cool and frost with your favorite icing.

How can I prevent the cake from sticking to the pans?

I recommend using parchment paper to help prevent the moist vanilla cake recipe from sticking to the pans.

Here’s how I do it: spray the bottoms and sides of two round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Cut two rounds of parchment paper by tracing around the bottom of your cake pans. Place the parchment circles in the bottoms of sprayed cake pans. Then spray over the top of the parchment paper.

This will help the dairy free cake come out of the pan without sticking. It always works! Always let a cake cool for about 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. In fact, I set a timer when I remove my cakes from the oven to help me remember. Then place a plate or wire rack on top of the pan and then flip it. The cake should fall out of the pan and onto your plate or wire rack.

Gently pull off the parchment paper and then set cakes aside to cool completely.

How should I frost this vegan vanilla cake?

What frosting you use matters, but there are a couple of steps you’ll want to take first. When you’re making the best cake recipe, you want the finished product to look amazing!

First, if the baked cakes look uneven or puffy in the middle, use a serrated knife and carefully slice off that domed part of the cake in the middle.

Be sure and save those vegan butter cake scraps because they’re delicious too! Just be careful not to shave off too much because you can upset the structure of the cake if you’re not careful.

Second, let’s talk about frosting. When it comes to frosting the cake, first decide if you’re going to make a “naked” cake (where there is frosting in between the layers and on the top, but not on the sides). Or if you’re frosting the sides as well, you can also think about some fruit filling in the middle.

I think this recipe would make a perfect vegan birthday cake recipe with sprinkles on top!

Here are some great frosting ideas for this cake:

Love Vegan Cakes?

Check out my Vegan Coconut Cake recipe. It’s a go-to favorite, especially for birthdays! Or how about my vegan Chunky Monkey Cake? It’s made with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate, a triumvirate of favorite flavors!

You can’t go wrong with this amazing Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe. It’s an easy recipe that yields the perfect bite time and time again! Another ultimate in cake is this vegan pound cake recipe that can be served with some tasty blueberry sauce on top!

All of these cakes also offer delicious frosting options too.

A close-up of a slice of vegan cake with a blackberry sitting next to it.

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

A slice of two-layer vegan vanilla cake with blackberries sitting next to it is in front of the rest of the cake.

Easy Vegan Vanilla Cake

You will love this easy vegan vanilla cake recipe! This recipe provides some important tips to make a perfect buttery, soft, and oh-so moist vanilla cake. Forget vegan, this is absolutely the best vanilla cake!
4.73 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Vanilla Cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 386kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegan butter , softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 3 cups flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 2, 8 or 9- inch round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Cut parchment paper into two 8 or 9- inch circles. Place the round parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. Spray papers with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or using hand mixer) mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes. Add in the oil, almond flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Continue mixing for an additional minute until smooth and combined. Add vinegar, vanilla and almond extracts and mix again until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary to mix the batter evenly. 
  • Turn the mixer to low speed. In alternating steps add the flour and water, beginning with the flour. Continue mixing an additional 30 seconds, until combined and smooth.
  • Pour half the batter into each of the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30 – 33 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center of the cake is set. Insert a toothpick in the center should come out clean.
  • If using a 9 X 13 cake pan, bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes 
  • Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Recommended Equipment

Notes

This cake is divided into 12 slices. The nutrition estimation is based on one serving without frosting.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Vegan Vanilla Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 386 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Sodium 349mg15%
Potassium 67mg2%
Carbohydrates 63g21%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 360IU7%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 1.7mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

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63 Responses to Vegan Vanilla Cake Recipe

  1. knew i had to make this today as soon as i saw your post. thanks for the recipe! i had to make some adjustments for high altitude, but the batter tasted delicious and the cake is in the oven now 🙂

    • it was delicious! it would be a perfect birthday cake 🙂 the only thing i wasn’t totally crazy about were the almond bits…guess my food processor didn’t grind them small enough. wondering if i could substitute whole wheat pastry flour? again, thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Delicious looking! I wonder if you should specify “vegan powdered sugar” for the chocolate frosting, because regular powdered sugar is not vegan. ?

    • That all depends…on how quickly you eat it! We don’t often refrigerate the leftover cake unless it goes beyond a few days sitting out. If you think it will take it awhile to get through your cake, storing it in the fridge will work just fine. We warm a slice of refrigerated cake in the microwave for about 11 seconds before devouring.

  3. I’m bereft that I can’t eat this. . . it looks so good! But nice that you included the almond flour to ramp up the protein/fiber (whether or not that was the intention!). Love the Leno quote. I wonder if he wrote that before or after the Conan fiasco? (lol). 😀

  4. I like to make the distinction that my vegan goodies are health-IER. They’re a great alternative, especially because they are cruelty-free, but should be eaten in moderation. Anyway, your cake looks wonderful. The flowers add such a nice touch!

    • Thanks, Mandiee. I agree it’s good to have desserts in moderation. So glad you liked this vegan cake!

    • I like the flavor that almond meal adds to the recipe, but you definitely could replace it with cake flour. If I were doing that I might increase the vanilla a tad…or maybe even add a teaspoon of almond flavoring.

    • Hi Kimberly. I have always used apple cider vinegar, but yes, you can substitute white vinegar for the ACV in this recipe.

  5. Wondering about the almond meal called for in the recipe. Can you replace it with AP flour instead or maybe almond flour? Is almond flour the same as almond meal? Can these be made as cupcakes? Looks delicious. Also, how do you measure out/scoop your flour? I typically weigh my flour for more accuracy so wanted to check. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Erin! Yes, the recipe calls for almond flour. The difference is almond flour has been blanched and the skins removed before grinding. Almond meal includes the skin and a slightly more coarse grind. You could probably get away with meal in this recipe, however I was going for a super light, delicate cake. You can absolutely make these as cupcakes. I will add a note to the recipe about that. Just be sure to bake them a little bit less, like maybe 24 – 28 minutes. I scoop my flour by running the scoop through the top of the flour several times to lighten the flour, then fill the measuring cup and level it off with a knife. I hope you love this recipe!

  6. This is AMAZING!!! I didn’t have almond flour so I made my own by grinding some whole almonds in the Vitamix, so my cake was darker than yours and I added 1 T of vanilla since I like it vanilla-y. So dense, moist and delicious! Thank you for another great recipe!

    • So glad you liked it Nancy! It’s one of my favorites too! I love making your own ingredients like that too and I often make my own almond milk (saves on plastic packaging too)! I will add a note about increasing vanilla for an even more vanilla flavor. Great tip!

  7. Hello again, so just to verify, i can use an additional 1/2 cup of all purpose flour to replace the 1/2 cup of almond flour called for and it should not affect cake texture? So would potentially use 3 1/2 cups of flour and the 1/2 cup of cornstarch? I usually do not have almond flour on hand. Can I use milk instead of water too? Thanks again.

    • Hi Erin! I have not made this recipe without the almond meal, but I think it should be fine. I would lean toward eliminating it altogether rather than replacing it with more flour. Also, I highly recommend using water rather than milk with this recipe. Personally, I find the milk weighs it down and doesn’t create as light of a crumb. It’s one of the differences between a vegan cake and a cake made with eggs.

  8. Hi! I really wanted to make this delicious looking cake BUT there is a LOT of white sugar in it. Our healthy eating plan is to do away with sugar as much as possible. Any suggestions??

    • Hi Kathie. I understand the dilemma! I am always balancing between indulgences and keeping an eye on sugars. In fact, I’m even preparing some low carb/keto recipes too. That said, for this cake, I would probably sub the granulated sugar for something like Swerve. It’s basically erythritol which has been shown not to impact blood sugars. It measures cup for cup just like sugar, however, I find I can reduce it slightly. I find Swerve at Sprouts and other health food stores. I believe my local grocery store has it too!

  9. Hi Marly, I’m so happy to’ve found your blog. I’m going to make this cake for my non-vegan cousin’s birthday this August. I live in higher elevation, is there anything I should do differently for this cake mix? I also run AirBnB’s and leave vegan homemade gifts for my guests. This would be a wonderful add with my butters/jams! Thanks for such wonderful vegan recipes!

    • Hi Laura! Thanks so much for your note. I love that you leave vegan homemade gifts at your AirBnB! You have very lucky guests! This is a tough question because (as I’m sure you already know), high altitude baking is tricky! I would increase the oven temp by 15 degrees, reduce bake time by 5 minutes, reduce sugar by about 2 tablespoons and add about 2 more tablespoons of water. I love this guide on high altitude baking from King Arthurs Flour. It is very helpful and catered to very specific altitudes. I hope this is helpful!

  10. Hi Marly, thank you for such a quick response and the link for high altitude baking from King’s Arthurs Flour – I use that for my breads! Your info is much appreciated!

  11. I should have known better when I read it had corn starch in the recipe… It barely rose and came out extremely dense. The flavour is good but the texture is not at all what a cake should be. Very disappointing.

  12. If I am wanting to make this gluten free, can I sub the all purpose flour for more almond flour? Or would coconut flour be good?

    • Hi Whitney! I have not had good luck using coconut flour as a solo replacement flour. It is very drying. I would recommend using something like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour. It works great!

  13. Another question 🙂
    Can I sub apple sauce for vegetable oil? If not, what other oil substitute do you suggest…coconut oil or avocado, maybe?
    And I see your comment about Swerve! I will look into that. What are your thoughts about Stevia? I’m just trying to think of healthier options I usually have on hand but wanted to get your thoughts! I’m new to vegan cooking and baking and this recipe (as well as your Wacky chocolate cake recipe) look easy and tasty for my daughter’s birthday cupcakes!

    • Hi there again! 🙂 You can use applesauce, but I think the best result would be to use coconut oil if you’re opposed to using vegetable oil. A mashed avocado might result in a funky colored cake, but it should taste good! Regarding stevia, you just have to make note of the one you’re using and how it substitutes for sugar. Because some are very concentrated and a lot sweeter than granulated sugar. As a result you’ll want to use a lot less of it. The chocolate wacky cake is my favorite to experiment with! In fact, I’ve even used medjool dates to replace the sugar in it. Just remove the pits from about 10 – 15 dates and put them in a food processor and pulse to create a date syrup. And then use that in the cake. It’s delicious! I hope your daughter’s cupcakes are amazing!

    • Hi Cathy! Yes, this vegan vanilla cake freezes well. Simply, make the cakes and allow them to cool completely. Then place wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and place each wrapped cake in its own freezer bag. Sometimes I will even double wrap them in two freezer bags. Also, I usually place them on a flat tray and place that tray in the freezer. Once they’re firm, you can remove the tray. That way the soft cake doesn’t get misshapen. Hope this is helpful!

  14. This cake is not vegan – it has butter in it. You can’t call it vegan and if you served it to a vegan they would be very upset.

    • Hi Amanda. I am the author of this recipe and I assure you, it is vegan. See the ingredients where it says “vegan butter”. My preference is using Earth Balance because it’s so readily available, but there are more options these days for vegan butter at stores.

    • Hi Peggy! Cornstarch works along with the sugar to help inhibit the development of gluten, creating a more tender cake. It really works in this recipe!

  15. Hi!!! I love this recipe!! What if I’m baking jumbo cupcakes with this recipe? Do you have any idea on the cook time?

    • Hi Alyssa! Jumbo cupcakes sounds amazing! I would set the time for 25 minutes and check them then. Insert a tester in the middle of one of them. If it comes out mostly clean, they should be good to go. My gut tells me they might need a couple more minutes – so I’m guessing more like 28 – 30 minutes.

  16. What happens if i use coconut oil instead of Vegan butter ? And white vinegar instead of Apple cider vinegar? I’m just out of these two ingredients. The cake sounds delicious

    • Hi Ivana! These two replacements should work great. I actually love using coconut oil in my baked goods — as long as it’s the kind that stays firm at room temperature. The coconut oil that is liquid all the time (fractionated coconut oil) has not worked well for me in baked goods. And white vinegar will work in this recipe.

    • Hi Robyn! I oftentimes make my recipes twice — making it with all-purpose and then with gluten-free flour. However, I haven’t tried it with this vegan vanilla cake recipe. That said, I’ve had great luck using all-purpose 1:1 gluten free flour with most of my baked goods. Personally, I love using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour.

  17. I made this last night, along with your vegan vanilla frosting, and OMG it was delicious!! This will become our new go-to recipe. Thank you so much!

  18. I saw this as a base recipe as i made a couple changes: i used 3 1/2 cups flour, no almond flour or almond extract & used 1 tbsp vanilla. That is not to say the original recipe wouldn’t have been excellent, i’m just not a fan of almond in my cake…. so the results: I have tested many many vegan vanilla/yellow cakes and none look or taste like a the non-vegan cakes i used to like… they either taste great but cave in on top or they look great on top but don’t taste like a non-vegan cake.. in other words, you can tell they are “different”… but this cake was really honestly excellent… it had a nice dome, it had a wonderful texture and it tasted great… after trying many many many recipes it was nice to finally find THE vegan yellow/white cake that i’d been looking for.. I am certain a non-vegan could not tell the difference on this cake.. THANK YOU FOR A GREAT RECIPE AND FOR SHARING IT WITH US…

    • Thank you Jr! I’m so glad you like this vegan vanilla cake recipe! I agree with you that a vegan cake should taste incredible and have great texture too! By the way, I like your adaptations and will add them to a note in the recipe just in case others don’t want the almond as well.

    • Hi Aly. You can store the cake in the fridge for 2 – 3 days before serving. You can even freeze the cakes. Let them cool completely then wrap in waxed paper. I like to place them on a tray to freeze them for an hour or so. Then transfer to a freezer safe container or freezer bags. The day before serving, you can transfer the cakes to the fridge to let them thaw overnight. Then you’ll be ready to frost and serve for your event! Hope this is helpful.

  19. Hi Marley,

    Thank you for this recipe. Its sounds like exactly what I was looking for.

    Can you tell me if instead of using all purpose flour and cornstarch.. I can just use cake flour? Thank you!

    • Hi Mala! To substitute vegan butter for oil, measure out the same quantity, melt it and then allow it to cool slightly. Then follow the recipe as specified.

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