Vegan Vanilla Cake Recipe

vegan vanilla cake with vegan vanilla buttercream by sugar and sparrow
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Ever since I published my favorite fluffy Vanilla Cake Recipe, I’ve gotten lots of questions about how to make it eggless or full-on vegan. The truth is, I’d been wanting to make a vegan vanilla cake for years, but everything I read about vegan baking scared me into thinking it was going to be a huge mountain of recipe testing I was going to have to climb (spoiler alert: it was). Still, I kept it on my list, mainly because I wanted an option to offer those asking for the vegan version of my vanilla cake recipe. But it wasn’t until I had my son and had to cut out dairy shortly after that it moved from the bottom of the list to the top. I rolled up my sleeves, put on my apron, and began my absolute OBSESSION with creating the perfect, fluffy, easy, flavorful, can’t-even-tell-it’s-vegan cake recipe. I can say with assurance after what seems like a hundred recipe tests that this is the one.  

vegan vanilla cake by sugar and sparrow

During my recipe testing, I tried a few different vegan vanilla cake recipes to see what the methods, ingredients, and results were like. The problem that I kept running into was that they were so easy to overmix, resulting in a dense cake, plus they just didn’t have that perfect vanilla flavor and bakery-style fluffiness I was after. After weeks of testing and many failures, I decided to simply swap out the dairy in my Vanilla Cake Recipe with vegan ingredients – Earth Balance sticks for the butter, aquafaba for the eggs, and soy milk for the whole milk. I did have to tweak the leavening agents a bit, but once I got those figured out I just about squealed with delight when these layers came out of the oven! 

vegan vanilla cake recipe
vegan vanilla cake ingredients

This Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe is exactly what I was after: extra soft and fluffy, perfectly moist, beautiful vanilla flavor, and just a delight to eat for vegans and non-vegans alike. It tastes like something you’d find at your favorite bakery, yet it’s so simple to whip up and pair with your favorite frosting (it’s paired with my Vegan Vanilla Buttercream here). I enlisted some of my vegan friends and their kiddos to taste test and they all agreed that this cake is an absolute hit, which makes me all the more excited to share it with you.

vegan vanilla cake by sugar and sparrow
easy vegan vanilla cake recipe

What is Aquafaba? 

I had never heard of aquafaba before I started on this vegan cake recipe journey, so I wanted to take the time to explain what it is and why it’s used in this recipe. Basically, aquafaba (which is Italian for “bean juice”) is the juice from a can of chickpeas that acts as an egg replacer in vegan recipes.

what is aquafaba

Once whisked until foamy, the aquafaba acts as whole eggs in this cake recipe to bind the other ingredients together and create a little volume as well. And trust me, you cannot taste it at all. Quite miraculous if you ask me! 

Details on Decorating 

I decorated this cake using my Vegan Vanilla Buttercream recipe, which is super easy to add color to. I added a little AmeriColor Sky Blue to create a buttercream ombrè before decorating the sides with Fancy Sprinkles in the Roller Disco mix (also vegan!) and piped some swirls on the top with Wilton Tip 4B.

vegan vanilla cake recipe with vegan vanilla frosting
vegan vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream

If you want to grow in your cake decorating skills, I recommend checking out my Cake Basics series! It’s an ever-growing collection of blog posts and YouTube videos that show you the basics of decorating, like how to frost a smooth buttercream cake, and how to decorate with sprinkles. However you decide to decorate and whatever flavors you decide to pair it with, this Vegan Vanilla Cake is sure to impress. Enjoy!

vegan vanilla cake with vegan vanilla buttercream by sugar and sparrow
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Vanilla Cake

Layers of soft, fluffy, and extra flavorful vegan vanilla cake, perfect for any vanilla cake fan (vegan or not)! The kind of cake you'd find at your favorite bakery, only homemade and super easy to whip up.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Vegan Vanilla Cake

  • 1 1/4 Cups (300ml) unsweetened soy milk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 3/4 Cups (290g) cake flour, sifted before measuring* DIY recipe in notes
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup (120ml) aquafaba** see notes
  • 1 Cup (227g) vegan butter, room temperature I use Earth Balance sticks
  • 1 3/4 Cups (355g) white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 6-inch or two 8-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker's Joy is my favorite) and a wax paper circle fitted to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans. 

  2. Stir together the white vinegar and soy milk and set aside. Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. 

  3. Make the Aquafaba: Pour the juice from a can of chickpeas into a medium sized bowl (either discard the actual chickpeas or store them to use in another recipe). Whisk the juice vigorously for one minute, after which it will look foamy. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the vegan butter with the white granulated sugar for two minutes on medium-high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once in between. Measure out 1/2 Cup of the aquafaba (you can discard the rest) and add it along with the vanilla extract. Mix on medium for one minute. The mixture may look curdled at this point, but don't worry – it will all come together in the next step!

  5. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, then add the soy milk mixture in a steady stream and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few more stirs to combine (without over-mixing). A few lumps are ok. The batter will be slightly thick, but pourable.

  6. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 30-35 minutes. They're done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they're entirely room temperature before applying any frosting. 

Recipe Notes

*DIY Cake Flour Recipe: To make your own cake flour, spoon and level one cup of all-purpose flour and remove 2 Tbsp. Add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch. Repeat per the amount of cake flour you need, then sift the flour and cornstarch mixture 4 times (don’t skip that step!)After sifting, spoon and level to re-measure the amount of cake flour you need. 

**For the Aquafaba: the juice from one 15.5oz can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) is perfect. Note that you’ll only use 1/2 cup of it in the recipe once prepared. Please read the paragraph about aquafaba in the body of this blog post if you’re unsure of what it is or why it’s used. 

To Make Ahead: These cakes can be baked, cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and left out at room temperature up to two days ahead of decorating. Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to two months before thawing and frosting. 

Did you make this cake? I want to know what you think! Let me know in the comments below and feel free to tag @sugarandsparrowco in your Instagram photos to show me. I love seeing what you create!

20 Comments

  1. Jessica Ebert

    This sounds so amazing, I’m planning to try it out this weekend! Do you think I could add some lemon zest to the cake batter? I’m wanting to fill it with fresh berries and I thought a lemon scented cake would be nice.

  2. Looks amazing, will definitely try.
    I have been asked to make a 3layer 9″cake for a birthday. It will be covered with buttercream and fondant. How long will the cake last after decorating please?

    • Hi Julie! A decorated cake will last 3-4 days at room temperature (which is how I would store a fondant covered cake) but keep in mind that it will be freshest the sooner you serve it. I usually will decorate a cake 1-2 days before serving. Hope that helps!

  3. Howdy!! would the measurements change for gluten free flour to replace cake flour?
    Gotta make a dairy free & gluten free cake for my lil nephews birthday. Thank you!!

    • Hi Emmett! I’ve never tried this recipe with GF flour before but I hear that it would be a cup for cup substitution. That said, it would be an experiment as it’s never been made into a GF cake before but let me know if you try it!

  4. Hello! Could the soy milk be replaced with Almond milk? I don’t like the taste of soy milk

    • Hi Chanel! The high protein content of the soy milk is really important for binding this cake together. In my recipe tests I tried this recipe with almond milk and coconut milk and neither worked out well in the end. It doesn’t end up tasting like soy milk in my opinion, but if you’d rather have a soy milk free cake I would recommend trying a recipe that calls for more flexibility with the dairy free milk. I hope you try this one though!

  5. Jenny Petrakis

    Hi ,thanks for the recipe, just wondering can you use almond milk instead of soy please

    • Hi Jenny! The high protein content of the soy milk is really important for binding this cake together. In my recipe tests I tried this recipe with almond milk and coconut milk and neither worked out well in the end. I hope that’s ok and you end up trying this!

  6. Any cake I make with Aquafaba seems to turn out gummy… any suggestions??

    • Hi Gina! This is honestly the first time I’ve ever used aquafaba in a recipe and one of the first things my vegan friends said about the results were that it wasn’t gummy like other vegan cakes (for real!). Hope you get a chance to try this one!

  7. Kwaevyonn

    Hi Whitney, so you have any idea how many cupcakes this recipe would make?

    • I’m not sure! I would guess about 35-40 (it makes quite a lot of batter). I haven’t tested this recipe as cupcakes before so it would be an experiment when it comes to baking time.

  8. Kendra Poleshek

    Hi
    I love vanilla vegan cake
    (And I am
    Not vegan!). However I also have an allergy to chickpeas. How many eggs would it take instead?

  9. Kwaevyonn

    5 stars
    Very delicious cake! I was wondering, could I essentially add a bit of cocoa powder and red food coloring and turn this into a red velvet cake?

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