The best vegan vanilla cake took me a few versions to figure out. Vanilla cake can often be dry and unappealing, so it has never been a personal favorite of mine. I have tried many versions over many years, and have always been disappointed that it wasn’t just a chocolate cake instead. (Although now that I can’t have gluten, I’m sure those dry vanilla cakes would taste amazing by my standards today.)
Our oldest daughter suddenly took an interest in all things vanilla. She had been a die-hard chocolate lover for the first 4 years of her life. And then she throws me the vanilla curveball. She wants vanilla cake, cupcakes, smoothies… basically, anything she had previously enjoyed in a chocolate version now was requested as vanilla.
I have tried dozens of recipes in the past and the results were always disappointing at best. Some were dry. Most were bland. And many didn’t rise properly. I tried regular vanilla cake recipes that received rave reviews and tried to “veganize” them. But as anyone knows who has tried that before, it is rarely as simple as swapping out regular eggs for flax if you want to achieve the same end result.
After many attempts, our freezer was filling up with uneaten cake and I was no closer to finding a recipe that worked. I really wanted to swap out the oil for applesauce. After all, applesauce is a healthy substitute for oil that works in lots of recipes. I wanted flax eggs to work too because we could all use more flax in our diets. But, no matter what I tried the oil made a huge difference in the end. And since this is cake, the end product needs to be tasty or it’s not really a treat.
Vanilla cake is versatile. It can become an amazing confetti cake by adding your favorite colorful sprinkles. Or add chocolate chips to make a chocolate chip cookie cake. It layers well with all kinds of fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and even melons can make a delicious garnish. And nearly any icing you can dream up will go with this vanilla cake.
This Vegan Vanilla Cake will stand up to multiple layers as well. It has the structure to hold its own, without losing its fluffy crumb. I have layered it in a 2 tiered fondant cake and it stood up to the weight of the fondant perfectly. Keep a close eye when baking this cake and watch for a golden brown color. As soon as the center of the cake is set and its dome is golden brown, a toothpick stuck in the center should come out clean to show it is done. Every oven is calibrated differently, so this is the best way to know when to take it out and let it cool.
When I use my kitchen scale to measure a cup of flour it weighs out heavier than the standard 120g a cup of flour should weigh. I’ve even scooped the loose flour and leveled it with the back of a knife. And without fail, I get a number between 155g and 165g. My scale is accurate. My measuring cups work for everything else with no issues. But when it comes to flour, I never get the 120g from the cup to the scale.
I suspect this is why many recipes turn out differently for lots of people at home. Baking is all about the finest details so that a few grams of any ingredient can make the perfect cake dry and dense.
Since flour always weighs out heavier from measuring cups, I always use my kitchen scale to make sure the results are the same every time. This recipe uses the standard weight of 120g = 1 cup of flour.
To decorate the cake in these photos, I used a triple batch of our Healthier Vegan Chocolate Frosting and 2 cups of toasted shredded coconut.
Here is the Best Vegan Vanilla Cake we have ever tried. And we have tried many. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! If you try this cake, let us know how it went in the comments below, leave a rating or show us your stuff on Instagram #plantednoshery. Enjoy!
More delicious vegan desserts
- Best Vegan Lemon Bars – No Bake, GF
- Lemon Sugar Cookie Dough Balls – GF, Coconut Flour
- Flourless Chocolate Peanut Cookies – Vegan, GF
Best Vegan Vanilla Cake
- 1¾ cup Plant Based Milk 356g
- 1⅔ cups Coconut or Granulated Sugar 330g
- ½ cup Olive Oil 110g
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider or White Vinegar 11g
- 1 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract 11g
- 3¾ cups All purpose flour 450g
- 1½ tsp Baking Powder 9g
- 1 tsp Baking Soda 6g
- ¾ tsp Sea Salt 5g
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Add wet ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved
- Place sifter over the mixing bowl and sift in dry ingredients
- Use stand mixer with paddle attachment or whisk by hand to combine until smooth
- Pour evenly in two floured 9" round pans
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan
- Cool completely before decorating