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 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.
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 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,
2. Test your baking powder and soda to be sure they are active,
3. Sift all the dry ingredients using a fine mesh sieve.
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.
How to Make This Vegan Vanilla Cake
Step 1. Prep your pans, stir ACV or vinegar or lemon juice to your milk, be sure your chickpea can or aquafaba is at room temperature.
Step 2. Whip your aquafaba if you are going to (you can just use it not whipped) and set it aside.
Step 3. Add dry ingredients to a sifter and set that over a mixing bowl and push the dry ingredients through into the bowl.
Step 4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture, all except the aquafaba (whipped or not).
Step 5. Fold in the aquafaba (whipped or not)
Step 6. 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 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.
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?
There are many ways: Aquafaba, apple sauce, flax seed eggs, chia seed eggs, and even tofu or yogurt.
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, 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.
The other way I lighten the texture of my vegan cake is with both baking soda and baking powder for added lift.
In this cake, I whipped the aquafaba, but if you don't have time (it takes 7 minutes to whip) just use the aquafaba straight from the chickpea can.
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 ¼ cup boiled water over ½ 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 ¼ tsp of lemon juice or ACV over ½ 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. You can use the aquafaba straight from the can or whip it into an airy cloud-like texture.
3. Don't forget to sift dry ingredients. No weighing necessary. 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, sifting is vital in this recipe.
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)
- ¾ cups dairy free milk (activated with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ⅓ cup oil (I used avocado oil or olive oil)
- 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.
- Grind your sugar in a coffee grinder or food processor or blender if you are using coarse cane sugar. This step really helps lighten your cake texture.
- Add the ACV or vinegar or lemon juice to the milk, stir and set aside.
- Line baking containers with parchment and/or grease and flour.
Whip Your Aquafaba (optional) and Set Aside
- Spoon the liquid from a can of beans straight into the cake mixing bowl OR whip it first.To whip it, add it to a small bowl.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. Set the aquafaba aside to add LAST to the batter.
Add Dry Ingredients Through a Sifter
- Add all the dry ingredients into a large sifter set over a large mixing bowl.
- Shake the strainer or press floury mixture with a spoon to sift it through. I know this task is tedious, but worth it for the texture.
Add Wet Ingredients
- Add the wet ingredients to the mixture, all except the aquafaba (whipped or not) 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 and another immunity-boosting smoothie shot book, 4-Ingredient Smoothies + Juices , due out in January 2021. 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, editor at The Feedfeed and a nutritional expert at WikiHow. More about Dee Dine here.