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Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe

Vanilla cake with frosting.

You know the drill. You’re at a party and the cake comes out. It looks amazing; it’s layered with frosting and looks out of a magazine. You then have to go over to whoever baked the cake and ask, “Excuse me, but does the cake contain any eggs? Butter? Milk? Cream?” Most likely, the answer will be, sorry, but yes. At worst, the baker can get insulted, look at you like you’re slow.

Luckily, when it’s your big day, you get to pick the menu. Birthdays are big and only come around once a year. So, when it comes around you’ve gotta do it right. Just because you’re a vegan, that doesn’t give you the excuse to have a terrible cake! Show your non-vegan friends and family that you can have something that tastes good – yes, even without cream and butter. I dare you to give it to someone to try and see if they can tell whether or not it’s vegan!

Cooking time: 45-60 min

What You’ll Need

Vanilla cake with frosting.

Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake

For The Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (110 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

For The Frosting (because what’s a birthday cake without frosting?!)

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, or 170 grams) non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 1/2 cups (440 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) non-dairy milk or creamer


The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and line 3 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and whisk together until the mixture becomes frothy.
  5. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until the flour mixture dissolves.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans (I used a kitchen scale to do this) and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the pans on wire racks for about 15 minutes. Then turn the cakes out of the pans and onto the wire racks. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

The Frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the margarine and shortening together on medium high speed for about 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat to combine.
  5. Add the non-dairy milk in one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

To Assemble

  1. Place one of the cakes on the serving tray, and frost on all four sides, and on top.
  2. Place the second cake on top of the first, and repeat. Then do the same with the third cake and voila! a three-layered, delicious, frosted, completely vegan- (and carnivore-) friendly cake!

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