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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
*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!