A light, soft, and flavourful vegan vanilla cake using a single bowl method. This is a very flexible recipe, with a number of options to suit you. Top with vegan vanilla frosting and fresh berries for an easy dessert, ready in about an hour.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: to make a whole grain version of this cake, substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose. Pastry flour will yield a more tender and moist crumb than regular whole wheat flour.
- Vinegar: if you don't have apple cider vinegar on hand you can substitute white vinegar or lemon juice. The acid in the vinegar is needed to activate the baking soda and powder, giving the cake lift without using eggs.
- Sugar: use plain white sugar or cane sugar.
- Oil: choose a neutral oil, like light olive oil, vegetable, or safflower.
Step 1: add the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: whisk well to combine.
Step 3: add the dry ingredients to a fine-mesh sieve.
Step 4: sift into the wet ingredients.
Step 5: stir until the batter is just combined.
Step 6: pour the cake batter into a greased and lined round cake tin.
Step 7: bake for about 30 minutes.
Step 8: cool the cake fully before frosting and serving.
- Make a layer cake: this recipe makes one 8-inch (20-cm) round or square vegan vanilla cake. Double or triple the recipe to make enough to layer.
- Use room temperature ingredients: while it's less important for a vegan cake, you'll still get the best lift and texture if you use room temperature milk and other ingredients.
- Don't over-mix: if the batter is mixed for too long after the dry ingredients are added, the cake will be tough and chewy rather than light and soft.
How to Store
Storage: an un-frosted cake will last on the counter, covered or wrapped, for up to 4 days. A cake with icing on it should be stored in the fridge, and is good for up to 4 days.
Freezing: wrap the cooled cake in tinfoil or transfer to an airtight container. Store cakes in the freezer for up to one month. To thaw, remove it from the freezer and place it, wrapped or in the container, in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw. Proceed with icing or decorating.
Why does my vegan cake fall apart?
If you reduce the sugar or oil in the cake, you may end up with a crumbly cake that falls apart when it's taken out of the tin.
Why do you put vinegar in vegan cakes?
Vinegar reacts to the baking soda, resulting in a greater lift in the cake. It's another way to help with the rise when not using eggs. It's the same as using buttermilk in standard baking, like for biscuits.
Are vegan cakes healthier?
Cake is cake, and healthier is definitely subjective! Vegan cakes still contain lots of sugar and fat, and are best in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Extra Flavour Suggestions
Vegan vanilla cake is a great backdrop for various flavour additions! To take your cake to the next level try:
- Add lemon zest: grate in the zest of one large lemon.
- Add orange: mix in the zest of an orange and add a teaspoon of ground cardamom or cinnamon.
- Use a cake soak: brush a thin layer of syrup over the top of your cooled cake before icing. Try our hibiscus syrup or strawberry simple syrup.
- Baking a vegan Victoria sandwich cake: bake two vegan vanilla cakes, then make this small-batch raspberry rhubarb jam, and a batch of coconut whipped cream. Assemble as a double layer cake, with jam and buttercream in the middle and a dusting of powdered sugar on top for a vegan twist on the British classic!
If you make this Vegan White Cake recipe or any other cake and cupcake recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Vegan Vanilla Cake
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- 8-inch (20-cm) round or square cake pan
- Parchment paper
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Wire rack
- 5 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
- 1 cup non-dairy milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease and line an 8-inch (20-cm) round or square cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk the oil, milk, vinegar, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and springs back when lightly touched.
- Cool the cake for 5 to 10 minutes on a wire rack before turning out of the pan to cool completely. Decorate as desired.