Pinterest Hidden Image

When it comes to birthdays and celebrations, this tried and true recipe for vegan vanilla cake with my easy vegan buttercream is hard to beat. Made with just 12 simple ingredients and only 20 minutes of active kitchen time, my plant-based basic vanilla cake is your gateway to dozens of delicious treats.

If you love vanilla desserts, check out my vegan vanilla ice cream, homemade Nilla wafers, rich and creamy vanilla custard, and light and airy panna cotta recipes next!

Side-on shot of 3-layer vegan vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting with one slice removed and turned sideways on a cake server to show the distinct layers.Pin
Jump to:

📖 Recipe Overview

  • This basic vanilla cake recipe is easy enough for vegan baking novices to perfect.
  • You only need 12 simple, easy-to-find ingredients, most of which are pantry staples.
  • It’s extremely customizable — use it for layer cakes, sheet cakes, and more.
  • Vanilla is the ideal canvas for your creativity. Feel free to add your own flair with the colors, cake fillings, and frostings that fit your mood. Read on below for tons of ideas!

🧾 Ingredients Needed

As promised, this straightforward vanilla vegan cake is made with just a handful of readily available ingredients. Here’s what to grab:

Ingredients needed to make vegan vanilla cake measured out into bowls on a pink table with a spray of cherry blossoms.Pin

Ingredients Notes 

While you’ve probably encountered all the ingredients needed for this vanilla vegan cake recipe in the past, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Vegan Buttermilk - To make your own, you’ll need a high-protein vegan milk (like soy, pea, or hemp) and some apple cider vinegar.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda - You’ll need both types of leavener for the perfect, fluffy consistency. Please don’t make the mistake of trying to swap one for the other — it won’t turn out well if you do.
  • Granulated Sugar - This neutral-flavored sweetener allows the full complexity of vanilla to shine through. Make sure to use organic cane sugar if you’re based in the US to ensure that it’s vegan-friendly.
  • Vanilla Pod, Vanilla Extract & Almond Extract - This triple-whammy of flavor contributes to the complexity of this rich, deeply-flavored vegan cake. You’re welcome to omit the almond extract or replace it with extra vanilla if you prefer, but I love the slightly nutty flavor it adds. Feel free to use equal amounts of vanilla paste or half as much ground vanilla bean in place of the vanilla extract. 
  • Vegan Butter & Olive Oil - Using both types of fat gives you the perfect intersection of rich buttery flavor and a light, tender crumb.
  • Vegan Greek-Style Yogurt or Skyr - For added moisture and a lovely bit of tang. You can also use plain soy or coconut yogurt.
  • Vegan Buttercream Frosting - One batch will give you enough for a naked or lightly-frosted layer cake, but increasing it to a 1.5-batch serving will ensure you have plenty left over for decorating the top. Feel free to swap in the vegan frosting of your choice!
Pin

🥣 How To Make The Best Vegan Vanilla Cake

This easy vegan cake recipe comes together in just a few simple steps:

Prepare. Preheat your oven and lightly grease and line the base and sides of three 6" cake tins with oil and parchment paper. Make the vegan buttermilk. Whisk together the flour, leaveners, and salt, and set aside.

sugar and a vanilla pod in a large mixing bowl on a pink marble surface.Pin

Step 1: Flavor the sugar. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add them to the sugar with the leftover vanilla pod. Rub the vanilla into the sugar, then remove the pod and any stringy residue from it (if there is any).

butter and sugar creamed in a mixing bowl for vegan vanilla cake.Pin

Step 2: Cream the sugar and butter for 3 minutes. Don't worry if the mixture isn't completely fluffy at this stage.

wet ingredients for vegan vanilla cake whisked in a bowl showing the thick consistency.Pin

Step 3: Add in the olive oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract and whisk for a minute until everything is combined and fluffy.

wet ingredients for vegan vanilla cake in a large mixing bowl with a bunch of vanilla pods next to it.Pin

Step 4: Whisk in the dairy-free buttermilk until combined.

vegan vanilla cake batter folded in a large mixing bowl with a spatula.Pin

Step 5: Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients in 2 increments. Fold them in with a spatula each time. Stop folding once there are no visible pockets of flour.

vanilla cake batter in three lined 6 inch cake pans on a baking tray.Pin

Step 6: Bake in the prepared cake pans in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes. To check they are done, insert a skewer or toothpick into the center. It should come out almost clean with a few crumbs. Chill the cakes, and make the vegan frosting.

a single layer of vegan vanilla cake on a turntable with cherry blossoms in the background.Pin

Step 7: Place a tiny amount of frosting on a cake turntable and secure the first sponge layer on top of it.

a single layer of vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream on top of a marble surface.Pin

Step 8: Decorate. Add half of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Reserve some frosting if you want to pipe a design on top of the cake. Add a swirl of frosting as the filling on top of your first layer. Add another cake layer on top of the frosting.

naked vegan layer cake on a turntable with vanilla pods.Pin

Step 9: Add the next layer of cake and repeat with another layer of frosting. Follow with the last cake round so you have a 3 layer cake.

vanilla cake with frosting roughly placed on the sides and top on top of a turntable.Pin

Step 10: Pipe a rough set of swirls around the exterior of the cake.

vegan vanilla cake on a marble surface coated with vanilla buttercream frosting.Pin

Step 11: Run a cake scraper around the sides on top of the cake to smooth out the surface.

a frosted vegan vanilla cake with piped buttercream on top of a marble surface.Pin

Step 12: Use the remaining frosting to pipe decorations on the top or outside of the cake. Here I used a star tip to make rosettes of varying heights, but feel free to use your own imagination!

🍰 Optional Variations

As much as I love this easy vegan vanilla cake recipe just the way it is written, there is plenty of room for you to put your own spin on things with fillings and frostings.

Here are just a few fun variations to consider:

  • Almond Vanilla Cake - While there is a *touch* of almond flavor in this vegan white cake recipe, feel free to slide the scale in favor of more almond goodness. Reduce the vanilla extract to just 1-1.5 teaspoons and increase to 1-1.5 teaspoons of almond extract. You are also welcome to decorate with toasted sliced almonds to increase the nuttiness.
  • Different Fillings - There’s no law saying layer cakes have to be layered with frosting. Pipe a circle of your chosen frosting around the outer border of your cake layer (for neater decorations). Then fill it with pastry cream, jam, lemon curd, passion fruit curd, or orange curd, to name a few options. From there, feel free to layer on fresh berries, toasted nuts, or mini chocolate chips to add texture.  
  • Different Pan Sizes - While I designed this recipe for a 3-layer 6-inch round celebration cake, you can easily make it work for different pan sizes using a little math.

Frosting Options

When it comes to icing this vegan white cake, you have TONS of options. I love my basic buttercream (which you can zhuzh up with your choice of natural food dyes like ground butterfly pea flower or beetroot powder).

But that’s barely scratching the surface of possibilities:

💬 FAQs

Do I need to crumb coat vegan vanilla cake?

Not if you chill the cakes in advance. This helps to mimimize crumbs, so you can just go straight in with one thicker layer of frosting, saving you time and effort!

What is the best filling for vanilla cake?

Again, you have LOTS of options here. You’re welcome to use whatever type of frosting you are using to decorate the cake, or you can swap in vegan pastry cream, different types of jams or fruit preserves, a different flavor of frosting, mousse, fruit curd, fresh berries, and more.

What should I serve with vegan vanilla layer cake?

As far as I’m concerned, there’s no wrong way to serve this rich, vanilla-flavored vegan cake. It’s perfect for any sort of celebration like birthdays, anniversaries, or graduations. It’s also simple enough to make just because you’re craving something sweet and special.

Frosted cake is delightful on its own, but you can also pair it with some fresh fruit, a pretty drizzle of strawberry or berry coulis, or a dollop of curd if you want a little bit of tart flavor to cut through the sweetness. Alternatively, double down on the sweetness but add a touch of salt with my favorite caramel sauce.

I also find that it pairs beautifully with any of your preferred after-dinner beverages including coffee, tea, dessert wine, or champagne.

45 degree angle shot of a slice of vanilla vegan layer cake on an ecru serving plate on a pink tabletop with a silver fork holding a bite.Pin

🎂 More Vegan Cakes

Stay in touch with me through social media @ InstagramPinterestTikTok, and Facebook. And subscribe via email to get all our new recipes!

Vegan Vanilla Cake

5 from 17 votes
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 22 minutes
Decorating Time: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings: 15
PRINT RECIPE PIN RECIPE

Description

Deliciously sweet, terrifically tender, and made with mostly pantry staples, this basic Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe topped with vegan buttercream is the easy, versatile dessert recipe you need in your arsenal.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Prepare: Preheat your oven to 175°C (347°F). Lighty grease the base and sides of three 6" cake tins with oil. Line each base with a circle of parchment and the sides with a strip of parchment.
    To make the vegan buttermilk add 200ml soy milk and 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar to a small bowl, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
  • Flavor the sugar: Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add them to a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer jug) along with the sugar and the leftover vanilla pod. Use your fingertips to rub the vanilla into the sugar, then remove the pod and any stringy residue from it (if there is any).
  • Cream the sugar and butter: Add the butter to the vanilla sugar and whisk for 3 minutes. Don't worry if the mixture isn't completely fluffy at this stage.
  • Combine the wet ingredients: Add in the olive oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract and whisk for a minute until everything is combined and fluffy. Then add the vegan buttermilk mixture, and whisk again.
  • Make the batter: Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients in 2 increments, folding them in with a spatula each time. Stop folding once there are no visible pockets of flour - don't be tempted to overmix!
  • Bake: Transfer the cake batter to the lined cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes. To check they are done, insert a skewer or toothpick into the center, it should come out almost clean with a few crumbs.
  • Cool the cakes: Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool further. Carefully peel away the parchment that will stick to the base of the cakes.
    Refrigerate the cakes in an airtight container until ready to use. Chilling the cakes for a few hours (or overnight) makes them easier to work with and decorate.
  • Make the frosting: Prepare a batch of vegan frosting according to the recipe. One batch will lightly frost the cake, or 1.5 batches will generously frost it and leave enough to pipe additional frosting to decorate the top of the cake.
    Add half of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Reserve some frosting if you want to pipe a design on top of the cake.
  • Assembly: Place a tiny amount of frosting on a cake turntable and secure the first sponge layer on top of it.
    Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the first cake layer, and use an offset spatula/pallet knife to spread it in an even layer.
    Add the next layer of cake and repeat with another layer of frosting. Top with the final layer of cake. Use the remaining frosting to coat around the sides on top of the cake and smooth everything out with a cake scraper. Add any leftover frosting to a piping bag fitted with an open or closed star nozzle and frost the top of the cake.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to allow the cake and frosting to soften a little. 

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 307IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Tag me TodayBe sure to leave a rating and a review in the section below, and mention @addictedtodates or tag #addictedtodates

© addictedtodates.com. All content and images are protected by copyright. If you want to share this recipe, please do so using the share buttons provided. Do not screenshot or republish the recipe or content in full. instead, include a link to this post for the recipe.

LEAVE A REVIEW:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this cake last week to test it out for an upcoming birthday and it was so yummy! I’m wondering how I would make these into cupcakes, mini and regular size. Would I change anything specific besides the bake time? What would you recommend the bake time be?

  2. This looks so tasty. What about 2 8 inch pans. What should I adjust? The time or the temperature?

    1. Hi Rowena,

      Absolutely, there's no need to adjust the quantities. I would test them for doneness at the 20 minute mark and then continue to bake for another 5 minutes if needed.

  3. Hi there! I am hoping to make a marble cake for my brothers birthday (his favorite), and I came right to your site after having sick great results with my husbands cake this past spring (I made him the devils food cake, and it was UNBELIEVABLE).

    I noticed that the chocolate cakes you have listed take longer to cook than this vanilla one. Do you have any suggestions? Do you think if I split the time in half it would turn out okay? The temperature is also slightly different for your chocolate and vanilla… I really want this to turn out - my brother is kind of a harsh critic, especially with anything vegan 😅

    1. Hi Maria,

      I'm so happy you loved the Devil's food cake, and thank you so much for checking back here for a marble cake!

      I don't have a recipe for one (yet) I'm afraid. I wouldn't recommend combining the two recipes. As you've probably noticed the chocolate cake has quite a thin batter, and the vanilla a thick one, so I don't think they would work together. I'm so sorry, but I wouldn't want you to risk it and end up with something less than perfect x

    2. hi, i think my comment is a bit too late.
      But maybe you can use this recipe and take 1 third of the batter and put some cocoa powder and additional 1-3 Tbsp Plantmilk to this part.

      I Germany we have a cake called Mamorkuchen (marbled cake 🙂 ) and thats the way it is made.

      I recently made one with the recipe from veggie-einhorn.de and my husband really liked it (I added a bit Rum Aroma).

      Christina, I hope it does´nt bother you that I shared another page.
      If so, I delete that part.