Vegan Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting

By Jessica Hylton -

This Vegan Vanilla Cake is a moist, fluffy double layer cake recipe with creamy vegan buttercream frosting. You can easily customize this cake for birthdays, holidays and more!

slice of vanilla cake sideways on a plate with gold fork in front of it

Fluffy, Moist Vegan Vanilla Cake with Frosting

Traditional flavors are popular for a reason. And today, I’m bringing you this Vegan Vanilla Cake with buttercream frosting to celebrate that. You may see ‘vanilla cake’ and think ‘bland.’ Not true! This vegan-ized cake is filled with sweet flavor from the vanilla extract, and its buttercream frosting truly melts in your mouth. In other words, this cake is the whole delicious package.

What can you make this cake for? The real question is what CAN’T you make this cake for? Its colorful sprinkles make it a great choice for a birthday celebration, but with some red and green decorations, it would be perfect for Christmas. I’ll leave it up to you to decide!

Recipe Ingredients

The great thing about this cake is that you probably already have the 9 basic ingredients you need to make it. No need to go to the store, which is always a plus!

Ingredients for vegan vanilla cake.

For the Cake:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: you can use regular vinegar if you don’t have apple cider vinegar; both will make the soy milk curdle. 
  • Soy Milk: other vegan milk will work too, but make sure whichever one you decide to use is at room temperature, so that the texture of the cake comes out correctly.
  • Brown Sugar: cane sugar is also good, and will make the cake even sweeter than regular or brown sugar would.
  • All-Purpose Flour: white whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour could also work; note that with gluten-free flour the cake may become a little denser and dryer.
  • Baking Soda: to help the cake layers rise.
  • Sea Salt: regular salt is good too, just use a little bit less of it because the granules are smaller.
  • Vegan Butter: melt it and then let it cool for the purpose of easy mixing.
  • Vanilla Extract: provides the sweet flavor of the cake!

For the Buttercream:

  • Powdered Sugar: depending on how thick you like the frosting, you’ll need between 3 and 3 1/2 cups.
  • Vegan Butter: let it soften and, if using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon sea salt.
  • Vanilla: to make it vanilla buttercream!
  • Vegan Milk: you should only need about a tablespoon, but you can add more if the frosting is too thick.

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Cake

Baking cakes really doesn’t get much easier than this recipe. Vegan Vanilla Cake comes together in just 5 easy steps. Once you’ve mixed all of the ingredients together, you get to enjoy that heavenly vanilla aroma coming from the oven for 40 minutes, and then the cakes are ready to frost!

Grease & Line the Pan: Grease and flour two 8” cake pans and line with parchment paper. It’s essential so that the cake doesn’t stick. 

Preheat the Oven: Heat oven to 350°F/180°C. 

Mix Vinegar and Soy Milk: In a small bowl or jar, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside. 

step by step photos of making of the vegan vanilla cake

Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients: Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, melted butter and vanilla.

Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. Do not overmix. 

Vanilla cake batter in a pan.

Bake the Cake: Pour the batter equally into the cake pans and place in the middle rack in the centre of that rack. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven (test with a toothpick in the centre to ensure they’re fully cooked) and allow to cool completely in the pans.

How to Make Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Once all of your ingredients have come to room temperature, you can start on the vegan buttercream frosting. It won’t take you more than 10 minutes to put together.

Ingredients for vanilla buttercream frosting.

This ‘buttercream’ is so creamy and delicious; I dare you not to eat it straight out of the mixing bowl!

Beat the butter and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, until fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, and the vegan milk at a time until preferred volume and consistency.

You can also watch the video to see exactly how I do it!

Buttercream frosting for vanilla cake.

Let Frosting Set: Frost cakes and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!

Decorating Your Vanilla Cake

Let’s put it all together! It’s time for the fun part: decorating. The following is my suggestion for the best way to frost this Vegan Vanilla Cake:

Spread Frosting on the First Cake: Place 1 of the fully cooled cakes on a platter (or any plate wide enough) and dollop half of the frosting on top. Cover the top and the sides, distributing it equally. 

Unfrosted vanilla cake layer.
Frosting being spread on a cake layer.
Buttercream frosting spread on the first cake layer.

Layer the Second Cake on Top of the First: Place the remaining cake upside down on top of the frosted cake and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides, blending the upper and lower portions of the sides as you go. You may have to evenly shave off any doming on the cake so they lay flush.

Double layer cake being frosted.

Decorate and Serve: The frosting sets at room temperature perfectly. Slice and enjoy!

Now, once you’ve frosted the cake, you can decide what to put on it. I kept it fun and simple with some colorful sprinkles, but you can put fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate shavings, white chocolate shavings, or whatever else you like on it!

Sliced vanilla cake with buttercream frosting.

Expert Tips for Success & FAQ

Easy peasy! You’ve got making this cake in the bag. But before you begin, read through these tips to get the best results with your vanilla cake:

  • Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: this will make the cake turn out too dense because of how the gluten forms. Just mix until the ingredients are combined, and the cake will turn out light and fluffy!
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: it’s important that you use room temperature ingredients only. Cold milk will affect the texture of the other ingredients and can affect the final cake.
  • For a Triple Layer Cake: if you want to make 3 8-inch layers, make this recipe, then cut it in half to make the last layer. You may also want to double up on the frosting.
  • Let Cake Cool Before Frosting: frosting the cake too quickly usually results in a crumbly mess. It still tastes fantastic, but it won’t look as pretty.
  • Weigh & Scoop the Flour: weighing the flour will ensure that you have the exact amount you need, so that the cake doesn’t become too heavy. Scooping the flour into the measuring cup with a spoon will also prevent the cake from becoming too dense, because you won’t have packed in any extra flour.

How to Store Homemade Vegan Vanilla Cake

If you’re going to eat the cake within a few days, you can keep it covered at room temperature on the counter. If you need longer though, you can keep it in an airtight container for about a week in the fridge. However, I suspect it won’t take you that long to finish it!

Can I Freeze a Vegan Cake?

If the cake has already been frosted, it’s not a good idea to freeze it. If you want to freeze the unfrosted cake layers though, that’s totally fine. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, or store them in an airtight container for 2-3 months.

slice of vanilla cake upright on plate with a gold fork in front of it
slice of vanilla cake sideways on a plate with gold fork in front of it

Vegan Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This Vegan Vanilla Cake is a moist, fluffy double layer cake recipe with creamy vegan buttercream frosting. You can easily customize this cake for birthdays, holidays and more!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Ingredients

For the Vanilla Cake

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups soy milk or other vegan milk (480mL), room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar or cane sugar (400g)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (10g)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (2.8g)
  • cup vegan butter melted and cooled (150g)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Buttercream Frosting

  • 3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter softened
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons vegan milk add more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoons sea salt only if using unsalted butter
Instructions

Instructions

For the Cake

  • Grease and flour two 8” cake pans and line with parchment paper. It’s essential so that the cake doesn’t stick. 

  • Heat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • In a small bowl or jar, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.
  • Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, melted butter and vanilla. Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the batter equally into the cake pans and place in the middle rack in the centre of that rack. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven (test with a toothpick in the centre to ensure they’re fully cooked) and allow to cool completely in the pans.


For the Frosting

  • Beat the butter and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, until fluffy.
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Fold it in with a spatula so it doesn’t fly everywhere, then beat for about 1 minute. Add the rest of the frosting in small increments too, until fully incorporated.
  • Add in a 1/2 tablespoon of vegan milk at a time until it reaches your preferred volume and consistency. Add that last ½ cup if you desire.
  • Then beat for about 5 minutes, using the spatula to mix everything together every other minute, until the frosting is fluffy, white, smooth and creamy.

Putting it All Together

  • Frost cakes and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!
  • Place 1 of the fully cooled cakes on a platter (or any plate wide enough) and dollop half of the frosting on top. Cover the top and the sides, distributing it equally.
  • Place the remaining cake upside down on top of the frosted cake and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides, blending the upper and lower portions of the sides as you go. You may have to evenly shave off any doming on the cake so they lay flush.
  • The frosting sets at room temperature perfectly. Slice and enjoy!

Video

NOTES
Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: this will make the cake turn out too dense because of how the gluten forms. Just mix until the ingredients are combined, and the cake will turn out light and fluffy!
Use Room Temperature Ingredients: it’s important that you use room temperature ingredients only. Cold milk will affect the texture of the other ingredients and can affect the final cake.
For a Triple Layer Cake: if you want to make 3 8-inch layers, make this recipe, then cut it in half to make the last layer. You may also want to double up on the frosting.
Let Cake Cool Before Frosting: frosting the cake too quickly usually results in a crumbly mess. It still tastes fantastic, but it won’t look as pretty.
Weigh & Scoop the Flour: weighing the flour will ensure that you have the exact amount you need, so that the cake doesn’t become too heavy. Scooping the flour into the measuring cup with a spoon will also prevent the cake from becoming too dense, because you won’t have packed in any extra flour.

Nutrition

Calories: 714kcal | Carbohydrates: 116g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 825mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 85g | Vitamin A: 1624IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 2mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




26 comments

  1. DeAndrea says:

    Can you use coconut flour instead of the all purpose flour?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi DeAndrea thanks so much for reading. Its definitely not interchangeable.

  2. Tara says:

    5 stars
    This cake and the frosting were delicious and came out perfectly. My family loved it even more the next day. Thank you! This is definitely my go to recipe for a vanilla cake for birthdays or holidays.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thanks so much Tara! We’re happy that you and your family enjoyed it.

  3. Mandy says:

    Hi there, could you tell me is you mean baking soda or baking powder please (Uk baker)

    Thank you

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