Vegan Vanilla Cake

This easy vegan vanilla cake recipe creates a perfect buttery cake that’s soft and moist. If you love delicious vanilla flavor, this homemade cake is easy to make — there are only a few steps before it’s in the oven. Use the tips below to make a perfect buttery, soft, and moist vanilla cake. Add a few sprinkles, and this could be your favorite vegan birthday cake!

Looking for more vegan cakes? You’ll love this Vegan Chocolate Cake or even this easy Wacky Cake recipe.

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

I absolutely love cakes. And this one is no exception! This Easy Vegan Vanilla Cake 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? Of course, that meant topping it with this amazing vegan vanilla frosting. So good!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Combining vegan butter and vegetable oil creates a buttery taste and a super moist crumb
  • Using almond flour and cornstarch also creates a soft cake that holds together nicely
  • Alternating liquid and flour into the batter helps prevent the development of gluten, making this the best vegan vanilla cake recipe ever!

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Vegan butter — Use Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, or homemade vegan butter for the best buttery flavor and consistency. You can substitute coconut oil.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Almond flour — I buy this at Costco, but you can also find it at health food stores, online, or it’s super simple to make Homemade Almond Flour.
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda + baking powder — Make sure yours is fresh by testing a bit of baking soda in vinegar and baking powder in hot water. If it bubbles, your batch is good to go.
  • Salt
  • Vinegar — I prefer apple cider vinegar for its mild flavor or substitute white vinegar.
  • Almond extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour — Use all-purpose flour for the lightest cakes. To make a gluten-free vegan vanilla cake, substitute high-quality gluten-free baking flour.

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Cake

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

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in the oil, almond flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add vinegar, vanilla, and almond extracts and mix again until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the flour in alternating steps with the water. Then mix an additional 30 seconds, until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  6. Bake for 30 to 33 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
  7. Cool cakes for 10 minutes and then invert them onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions:

Step One: Beat Together Butter and Sugar

First, we’ll cream together the butter and the sugar. Sure, the butter adds a bit of a golden hue, 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 to 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 flaxseed. I’m allowing the flour along with the cornstarch to do the work of creating structure in this 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 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.

Step Three: Alternate Adding Flour and Water

Next, you will add both water and flour in alternating steps. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Turn the mixer down to low speed.
  2. Beginning with the flour, pour about a half cup in, followed by some of the water.
  3. Continue this process, finishing with the flour.
A hand pours flour into a mixing bowl. A pyrex measuring dish of water sits next to it.

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 to 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.

Parchment paper in the bottom of the pan will help the cakes come out of the pans without sticking.

Always let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes after removing them from the oven. In fact, I set a timer when I remove cakes from the oven to help me remember. Then place a plate or wire rack on top of the pan and flip it. The cake should fall out of the pan and onto your plate or wire rack.

How to Tell When a Cake is Done

A vegan vanilla cake is similar to any other cake, it shows signs that it’s done. Here are four cues to let you know the cake is done:

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

Reader Reviews

★★★★★
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!

Jeni

Frequently-Asked Questions

How do I make a cake more moist?

There are several ways to make a cake recipe moister: 1) A combination of vegan butter (Earth Balance) and supplementing that with oil helps create and maintain a nice, soft crumb. 2) Add almond flour for moisture and flavor. 3) Adding apple cider vinegar, combined with baking powder and baking soda, helps keep your cake fluffy!

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

For a vegan cake recipe, I recommend all-purpose flour. We’ll also add cornstarch to simulate cake flour. I find this combination helps to create a lighter, delicious cake.

What are vegan cakes made of?

First, let’s discuss what vegan cakes don’t have — such as eggs, milk, or butter. What’s left? There are plenty of plant-based ingredients that serve as substitutes to make the best vegan cakes. For example, vegan butter, plant-based milk, and egg replacers such as applesauce and ground flaxseed.

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

I recommend using parchment paper to prevent cakes from sticking to the pans. Spray the bottoms and sides 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.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

You can use this vegan vanilla cake batter to make cupcakes!

A vanilla cupcake has vanilla frosting swirled on top. there are several more cupcakes in the background.
  1. Add papers to a muffin tin.
  2. Pour the vegan vanilla cake batter into each paper about 3/4 of the way full.
  3. Bake for about 24 to 26 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes turn slightly golden.
  4. Insert a tester to make sure it comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cupcakes completely, and then top with your favorite frosting.

Whether cake or cupcakes, I think this recipe would make a perfect vegan birthday cake with sprinkles on top.

Vegan Frosting

What frosting you use matters, but there are a couple of steps you’ll want to take first.

  • Let the Cakes Cool Completely — Don’t frost cakes until they’re completely cooled.
  • Level the Cakes — if the baked cakes look uneven or puffy in the middle, use a serrated knife and carefully slice off the domed part of the cake. Be sure and save those cake scraps because they’re delicious!
  • Frosting Options — You can make a “naked” cake (where there is frosting in between the layers and on the top, but not on the sides). Or you can frost the sides as well.
  • Filling Options — you can also think about some different filling options, such as fruit or jam. For this Vegan Coconut Cake, I made a cashew cream filling between the layers and it was delicious!

Here are some great frosting ideas for this vegan vanilla cake:

More Vegan Cakes

If you love this vegan vanilla cake, be sure to try these vegan cakes as well:

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

Vegan Vanilla Cake

You will love this easy vegan vanilla cake with a perfect buttery, soft, and oh-so moist crumb. This is absolutely the best vanilla cake ever!
4.34 from 15 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 386kcal

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 350°F/175°C. 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 the paddle attachment (or using a 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 to 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 9×13 cake pan, bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

This cake is divided into 12 slices. The nutrition estimation is based on one serving without frosting.
Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.7mg

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.

This vegan vanilla cake post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2020.

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

69 Responses to Vegan Vanilla Cake

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyjr Reply

    5 stars
    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…

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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.

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJeni Reply

    5 stars
    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!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyHarold Lim Reply

    Hiya, what was the recipe of the frosting that you used? I’m thinking of making a birthday cake. Thanks.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Harold! I used the Vegan Vanilla Frosting for the photos in this recipe. I added these to the post too. Hope you love this vegan birthday cake!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRobyn Reply

    Can the all purpose flour be replaced with gluten free all purpose flour?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyIvana Reply

    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

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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.

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAlyssa Martinez Reply

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

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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.

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyPeggy Reply

    What is the purpose of adding cornstarch?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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!

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAmanda Staloch Reply

    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.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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.

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCathy Reply

    Does this cake freeze well? I am wanting to make it ahead of time for my daughter’s wedding

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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!

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyWhitney Reply

    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!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      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!

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