A fluffy vanilla vegan cake that is light and delicious, and easy to make using aquafaba as eggs, and with a strong sweet vanilla flavor. This cake is dairy-free, and has a gluten-free option.
Fluffy Vanilla Vegan Cake
There are lots of vanilla vegan cake recipes out there, so why try mine?
Because my cake is lighter than the traditional vegan cake which can be a bit heavy, and I try to make the prep and steps SUPER easy for you. I also tried to not make you buy extra equipment, and I offer you substitutions too!
This recipe works as a layered cake, sheet cake, bundt, and cupcakes.
And yes it can be made gluten-free. I just tested it using Bob’s Red Mills Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour. The texture is a bit dryer but delicious. Just be sure to measure the flour according to my fluff and spoon method carefully.
How Much Batter Does This Recipe Make?
This recipe makes about 4 cups of batter. I used this to make a square cake, a half a round, a mini bundt and three cupcakes. You can do the same or pick which ever works for you.
Before we dive into the recipe, I’d like to invite you to sign up for my free chocolate course (I know, I know, this is a vanilla recipe, but I probably can assume you like easy chocolate desserts too?). If you sign up, I deliver five lessons to your inbox with detail on how to create your own simple healthy chocolate desserts.
Okay, so let’s get started…
How to Make A Vegan Cake From Scratch?
Well, my cake is made in a fairly traditional way with some differences. And these differences make the texture very fluffy and light. So although you might think a few tasks are optional, please don’t skip these measures. They are essential to achieving the light texture that caused my family to marvel at the cake this weekend.
The differences include :
1. Grind your cane sugar into a fine powder in your blender or food processor,
2. Test your baking powder and soda to be sure they are active,
3. Sift all the dry ingredients using a fine mesh sieve twice, and
4. Mix up your flour with your fats first. You can see each of these four steps in the panels above, counting left to right. And they are explained fully in my tips below and in my recipe instructions.
You Should Test Your Baking Powder And Baking Soda
You should test them both to save your ingredients. You don’t want aged powder or soda to ruin the recipe, right? It’s a smart move to make before baking any cake that uses a list of ingredients because if either the soda or powder is inactive, your recipe will not rise and you’ll feel like it was a fail. I provide you with an easy test method for each in prep in the recipe.
And there is another big difference in my recipe is that I suggest you use whipped aquafaba, not just the liquid straight from the can. Isn’t it pretty? You can see it here, all white and fluffy. All I did was whip the aquafaba (liquid from a chickpea can) and some cream of tartar.
Okay, so Google thinks at this point you will be wondering about some related issues. So I’ll address them here, one by one.
Is There a Vegan Cake Mix?
I think there are a few specialty boxed vegan cake mixes now. And to be honest, commercial cake mixes are often vegan if you don’t use eggs as they instruct, and instead use egg substitutes such as apple sauce, flax eggs or aquafaba. So if you want to go that time-saving route, sure! But there is a lot of flavor in this cake, so I hope you consider trying it when you have some time to bake.
What Do Vegans Substitute For Eggs in Baking?
You probably know the answer, but this is a question Google told me to answer in a vegan cake recipe, so…There are many ways: Aquafaba as I use here, but also apple sauce, flax seed eggs, chia seed eggs, and even tofu.
Why Are Vegan Cakes So Dense?
Often this is because there are not eggs and because of flour choices. In my cake, I used aquafaba as eggs but whipped, not just added to the batter straight from the can. (Aquafaba is the clear liquid in cans of beans such as chickpeas or white beans. It has little nutritional value, slight protein, but it is popular as an egg substitute.)
Whipping it first takes a bit more time, but the result is a lighter cake texture.
The other way I lighten the texture of my vegan cake is I replace some of the flour with cornstarch thus lightening the flour.
Why Does My Vegan Cake Fall Apart?
Perhaps too much flour? I measure flour by loosening the flour in the bag with a fork. Then I spoon flour carefully into my measuring cups and tap to level. You can also weigh, but I don’t have a scale and this method works well for me.
Tips for Making This Vanilla Vegan Cake
Okay so here are my tips in detail.
1. Make sure ingredients are at room temperature and fresh.
To test if baking powder is still working, pour 1/4 cup boiled water over 1/2 tsp baking powder. If it bubbles up, it’s still active, if it doesn’t, it isn’t and you it won’t work to raise your baked goods.
To test if baking SODA is still working, put 1/4 tsp of lemon juice or ACV over 1/2 tsp baking SODA. If it bubbles up, it’s still active, if it doesn’t, it isn’t and you it won’t work to raise your baked goods.
2. When you begin whipping aquafaba, it is possible if it hasn’t begun whipping after 5 minutes that the can was a dud. That can happen, though not often. If it does, sorry, you’ll have to use another can or use a different egg replacer such as apple sauce or 2 flax seed eggs (2 tbsp flaxseeds soaked in 5 tbsp of water for ten minutes). The texture won’t be as wonderful with replacements.
3. Don’t forget to sift dry ingredients twice. A lot of expert bakers say you must weigh these ingredients. Those of us who are not expert bakers, don’t want to buy a scale and figure out how to use it, so no weighing is my gift to you. However, double sifting is vital in this recipe. No short-cuts here.
More Tips To Make This Recipe Great
4. Should you grind your sugar? Only if you are using organic cane sugar that is rather chunky and coarse like I do. If you have a finer sugar, you don’t have to. Just remember most regular cane sugar is not vegan because it contains bone char. Also, no you can’t use powdered sugar either, vegan or not.
5. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about preparing the pans for this recipe. Some people who have made this recipe tell me it is too delicate to just use parchment, others say it becomes too greasy if you grease and flour the pan.
I have had good luck by adding a parchment to fit the bottom of round or square pans, and around the sides I butter ever so lightly and dust with flour ever so lightly. I have even used that flour spray can on the sides to make it super easy.
For my mini bundts, I just use the flour spray can. And for cupcakes, paper liners.
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Fluffy Vanilla Vegan Cake
- 6 tbsp aquafaba (liquid from a can of beans, chickpeas or white beans will provide a light color)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
- 2 1/4 tbsp flour (use all purpose or Bob's Red Mill Baking 1 to 1 for gluten-free)
- 7 tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
- 2 1/2 cup sugar (use organic cane that I grind finer in a coffee maker or blender or food processor for a finer texture.)
- 2 tsp baking powder To test if baking powder is still working, pour 1/4 cup boiled water over 1/2 tsp baking powder. If it bubbles up, it's still active, if it doesn't, it isn't and you it won't work to raise your baked goods.
- 1/2 tsp baking soda To test if baking SODA is still working, put 1/4 tsp of lemon juice or ACV over 1/2 tsp baking SODA. If it bubbles up, it's still active, if it doesn't, it isn't and you it won't work to raise your baked goods.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened milk (I used cashew or almond)
- 2 tsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup oil (I used avocado oil)
- 4 tbsp butter (Not chilled hard, but not liquid either. Chop is into rough chunks.)
- All ingredients need to be a room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grind your sugar in a coffee grinder or food processor or blender if you are using coarse cane sugar. It resembles a heavy flour when ground, not powdered sugar. This seems like an annoying step but it only took a few minutes to measure my sugar and add it to my blender. And this step really helps lighten your cake texture.
- This recipe makes about 4 cups of batter. I used this to make a square cake, a half a round, a mini bundt and three cupcakes. You can do the same or pick which ever works for you.Line baking containers with parchment. I have made this cake in round pans, square pans, bundt pans and as cupcakes. With round and square pans, I line the bottom with parchment and spray flour on the sides. With bundt pans, I spray interior with flour spray. And I use paper liners for cupcakes. You can of course butter and flour instead of use a spray; the spray is convenient thought. Here is a link to the brand I use.
- Spoon the liquid from a can of beans straight into a mixing bowl. Add the cream of tartar.Then, using a hand-mixer, whip it up until fluffy and has stiff peaks. This can take 5-7 minutes but it is worth it for the texture of your cake. Occasionally a can of aquafaba can be a "dud" and won't whip. Sorry, you'll have to use another can or use a different egg replacer such as apple sauce or 2 flax seed eggs (2 tbsp flaxseeds soaked in 5 tbsp of water for ten minutes). The texture won't be as wonderful with replacements.
Sift Dry Ingredients TWICE
- Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix roughly with a hand-mixer or spoon.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over another large mixing bowl, and add the flour, arrowroot, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the strainer. Shake the strainer or press floury mixture with a spoon to sift it through. I know you might view this task as tedious, but again it is worth it for the texture and to ensure the recipe works well.
- Set the strainer on the first bowl. Repeat the sifting process a second time.
Add Oil and Butter
- Add the oil and chopped butter to the flour. Combine the mixture roughly with a hand mixer. Stop before it becomes creamy, you want it lumpy.
Add Rest of Wet Ingredients
- Add 1/2 of the wet ingredients to the mixture and hand-mix until creamy. Then add the last half and mix until creamy.
Add in Whipped Aquafaba
- Fold in the aquafaba and use a hand-mixer or a hand whisk to thoroughly blend. You shouldn't mix too much but you need to not see any aquafaba either. No pressure, haha.
- I bake layer cakes at 28-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- I baked a mini bundt cake at 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- I baked cupcakes at 14 minutes each.
Cooling & Storage
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. Cakes are delicate so be careful if you tip pan upside down to remove.
- Cake can be refrigerated for 48 hours but then freeze after that or else texture will become crumbly.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.