A fluffy vanilla vegan cake that is light and delicious, and easy to make using apple sauce instead of eggs and oil, and with a strong sweet vanilla flavor. This recipe easily accommodates all purpose flour, or gluten-free flour or oat flour to make it gluten-free.
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!
Table of Contents For this Post
This recipe works as a layered cake, sheet cake, bundt, and cupcakes.
And yes it can be made gluten-free. I tested it using gluten free baking flour and oat flour. Both work well, although the oat flour makes the color a darker tan but it's so healthy and delicious. And you can weigh out the flour, every baker says that's the safest way to measure, but I have to admit I don't - I spoon and measure that way and it works well if I'm careful.
Tips to Make A Lighter Vegan Vanilla Cake
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, although you don't have to. I have made it both first grinding the sugar and not. The crumb is definitely finer when grinding the sugar first.
2. Test your baking powder and soda to be sure they are active,
3. Follow my one-bowl baking method carefully, which begins with stirring the liquids and sugars together first for at least one minute so the sugar dissolves before you add the dry ingredients.
You can see each of these steps in the panels pictured. And they are explained fully in my tips below and in my recipe instructions.
Ingredients in This Vegan Vanilla Cake
Oat flour or All Purpose flour - both work well but have different measurements. (Oat flour needs 3 cups, while AP flour needs 2 ½ cups). Oat flour is naturally gluten-free; just be careful to choose a brand that is careful about cross-contamination in a factory.
Organic Cane Sugar - Actually I think this cake tastes kind of sweet and will consider reducing sugar by ¼ cup next time. This recipe as of now calls for 1 cup. Grind for a lighter cake texture.
Apple Sauce - I use unsweetened and instead of eggs and oil.
Vanilla - I use a high quality version; it actually turns the batter a bit brown but the vanilla flavor is important in this vanilla cake.
Leaveners - baking soda, baking powder, and lemon-activated milk.
How to Make This Vegan Vanilla Cake
Step 1. Prep your pans. I used 2 (6-inch round pans here) but you can use 7-inch round cake pans for a less-tall layer. Stir lemon juice into your milk at least 10 minutes before using it in the recipe.
Step 2. Add sugar, the lemon and milk mixture, apple sauce and vanilla to a bowl and stir for at least one minute with a spoon. You want the sugar to feel dissolved, not grainy on the edge of the bowl.
Step 3. Add dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer. If you use all purpose flour, don't mix long or the batter will turn rubbery. This is not an issue if you use oat flour instead.
Step 4. Bake, cool, and frost!
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 because if either the soda or powder is inactive, your recipe will not rise and you'll feel like it was a fail.
To test baking powder, add ¼ tsp to a ¼ cup of boiling water and watch for a foamy, fizz reaction. If you get no reaction, your baking powder needs to be replaced.
To test baking soda, add ¼ tsp to a ¼ cup of room temperature white vinegar and watch for a foamy, fizz reaction. If you get no reaction, your baking soda needs to be replaced.
FAQS About Vegan Cakes
Vegan cakes are easy to make, and require fewer ingredients than non-vegan cakes. My recipe is so easy and fool-proof, with no weird ingredients or uncommon equipment needed. You can even make it in one bowl. Here are a few questions and answers often posed of vegan cakes.
What Makes Vegan Cakes Fluffy?
To make your vegan cake fluffy, be sure to mix the sugar and wet ingredients thoroughly first to be sure the sugar dissolves. That is the key step to a fluffy vegan cake.
How is Vegan Cake Different from Regular Cake?
A cake is vegan because the ingredients are not from an animal. That means no eggs. But my cakes go further, because I also make vegan cakes without oil, using apple sauce or vegetable purees like pumpkin or sweet potato or beets instead. Check out my chocolate fudge cake here for an example of a chocolate vegan cake.
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?
There are many ways: Aquafaba, apple sauce, flax seed eggs, chia seed eggs, and even tofu or yogurt.
What Makes Vegan Cakes Fluffy?
Why Are Vegan Cakes So Dense?
Often this is because there are not eggs and because of flour choices. In my cakes, I often use aquafaba, 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. But lately I have been using apple sauce, which I used here, with great success.
The other way I lighten the texture of my vegan cake is to add lemon juice to milk, so that it then reacts with baking soda to provide lift. Adding baking powder also adds lift.
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 spooning method works well for me.
Tips To Make This Recipe Great
1. Make sure you mix the wet ingredients with the sugar at least a full minute with a spoon, by hand so you can tell if the sugar still feels grainy.
2. Use one bowl, just mix up wet, and add in dry.
3. Don't mix the batter too long, especially if you use all purpose flour or the cake will be rubbery.
4. I prepare my pans by rubbing them with butter or coconut oil and dusting with flour.
Try My Other Healthy Cake & Frosting Recipes
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Fluffy Vanilla Vegan Cake
- 6 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 cup dairy free milk A high fat milk is best, such as almond or cashew milks. Don't use oat or low fat.
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla The higher quality the better, I use vanilla paste which has a stronger flavor than extract.
- 2 cups white frosting (I used my healthier fluffy vanilla frosting recipe found here.)
- All ingredients need to be a room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Add the lemon juice to the milk at least 10 minutes before baking.
- Grind your cane sugar if you plan to, I have baked this cake with and without grinding the sugar in the blender first. Either way the texture is similar, however if you do run your sugar through a blender, the cake tends to be slightly lighter. Do NOT substitute with commercial powdered sugar as the sugar is too fine and often has additives such as cornstarch.
- If you haven't tested your baking soda and baking powder in a while, I explain how in the post.
- Line baking containers with parchment and/or grease and flour. To make a round layer cake like pictured, I used 2 (6-inch round pans here) but you can use 7-inch round cake pans or 1 (8-inch) square pan. Or add to 12 -18 cupcake liners.
Mix Wet Ingredients + Sugar
- Add apple sauce, milk, vanilla and sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir with a spoon or mixer for several minutes. This step is a key way to aerate a cake.
Add in Dry Ingredients
- Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and use a hand mixer to just combine batter.
- Pour the batter into your pans of choice.
- I bake 6-inch or 7-inch layers cakes at 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- I baked a mini bundt cake at 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- I baked cupcakes at 14 minutes each. This recipe makes 12-18, with 18 if you fill each up only 2 tbsp full for a flat top.
Cooling & Storage
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. Then frost.
- Cake can be refrigerated for 48 hours but then freeze after that or else texture will become crumbly.