Just because you have food allergies, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a fun birthday cake. This vegan birthday cake is dairy free and egg free and can be simply frosted, cut into elaborate shapes or made into vegan cake pops. Find more olive oil cake recipes here.
I do not follow a vegan diet. My kids are lucky and do not have any food allergies. But my sweet little nephew is super allergic to dairy and milk. He was just an infant when this was discovered and the world of food allergies was thrust upon my niece as a first-time mom.
When little Landon turned one, I made him his first vegan birthday cake. And I am happy to say that I have been baking him vegan treats regularly ever since.
As he got older, the cakes evolved from simple 2-layer cakes to a candy filled pinata cake and a monster truck cake. Each year, Landon chooses his theme and he finds cake inspiration on the internet.
I have enjoyed the cake challenges that have come my way and have discovered the many ways you can make and decorate a vegan birthday cake.
Why you should make this cake
Landon just turned 7 this year. His latest cake request was a monster truck cake. Luckily for me, I found this wonderful tutorial on how to make a monster truck cake. But I had the added challenge to make this cake 100% vegan.
This was also the first year Landon had a separate birthday party for his friends than from his large extended family. Boy did I feel like a rock star when I presented everyone the fabulous monster truck cake!
Landon wasn’t the only child in attendance with food allergies. As the cake slices were passed out to the kids and moms, I was relieved that everyone was able to enjoy the cake.
The cake is light and fluffy and can be prepared as a simple 2-layer cake or carved into well, a monster truck mountain track. I was beaming with pride when the moms praised how well the cake and frosting tasted, considered it was well, a vegan cake.
One mom was raised by vegan parents and laughed as she told me about the horrible vegan cakes she ate growing up. This vegan vanilla cake was loved by all.
Does it taste different than a regular vanilla cake. Well, yes. There is almond milk instead of cow milk and flax meal instead of eggs. For some, the cake has a little after taste, but for most people they did not notice a difference.
See my Vegan Birthday Cake Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
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Vegan Vanilla Cake Ingredients
- Non-dairy milk: I used regular unsweetened almond milk for this recipe. You can also use oat milk or any other non-dairy milk.
- Egg replacement: I have tested this recipe using a combination of ground flax and water. I usually use golden flax meal, which bakes a more uniform looking vanilla cake. With these pictures, I used regular flax meal, which has darker specks. It does not change the cake’s flavor or texture, so the choice is yours. You can also use aquafaba. Learn more about using aquafaba here.
- Fat: I bake with extra virgin olive oil all the time. It is the only oil that is extracted using only physical means, meaning it doesn’t need a chemical to extract it. If you’ve read my blog before, then you learned your lesson on how to bake with olive oil. Your baked goods are only as good as the ingredients you put into it. Choose a mild tasting olive oil for this cake recipe, not a peppery one.
- Sprinkles: If you find vegan sprinkles you want to bake into the cake for a vegan funfetti cake, feel free to add it to the batter.
- Pantry Staples: all purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract.
Vegan Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- Vegan butter: I used Earth Balance butter. Feel free to use your favorite vegan butter. Choose one with good flavor. You could use vegetable shortening, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of flavor. You can also use a combination of vegan butter and vegetable shortening.
- Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar.
- Vanilla extract: You can also use almond extract or any other extract flavor you want.
- Non-dairy milk: A little milk helps smooth the frosting. You can use any variety like almond, coconut, soy or oat milk.
1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a small bowl whisk together water and ground flax.
3. In a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer combine sugar and olive oil until combined and mixture resembles wet sand.
4. Add vanilla and almond milk into sugar mixture, scraping down the sides of mixing bowl then mix again.
5. Mixing on low speed, add flax water, scraping down sides in between.
6. In batches, add dry ingredients and mix into wet ingredients until just combined. Again, scrape down sides of the bowl to combine thoroughly. Do not over mix the batter.
7. Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line bottom with parchment paper. Divide batter into prepared cake pans. Use a kitchen scale to weigh each pan to help you keep the two layers equal.
8. Bake at 350ºF until edges are golden, approximately 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
9. To make the frosting, cream the vegan butter In a large bowl on the medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. The more air you add, the fluffier the frosting. Add vanilla, milk and powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well combined.
10. Once cakes have cooled completely, frost as desired.
11. If you cut the dome off of the cake layers to make them flat and even and don’t know what to do with the scraps, make cake pops! Break down the cake scraps in a bowl using a hand mixer. Add enough frosting to get the mixture to hold its shape when formed into balls.
Freeze the cake balls for 30 minutes. Dip lollipop sticks into melted vegan chocolate then insert into cake balls. Dip cake balls into melted vegan chocolate and sprinkles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until chocolate is hard.
Recipe tips and FAQs
For the past seven years I have thoroughly enjoyed baking these vegan vanilla cakes for my sweet nephew. I have come a long way with the taste and texture of the cake, not to mention my decorating skills since I made him his first cake.
I know that if my niece tried to get a vegan cake from a local bakery all decorated and fancy, it would cost her a small fortune. I have loved baking cakes for my 3 kids every year for their birthdays, so now that they are older, I get to make fun cakes for my two little nephews.
Whether you are looking for a cake for a young one’s birthday or a simple vegan vanilla cake to enjoy just because, this is a very easy recipe to whip together. You can also add fresh berries on top of the cake and cover with vegan whipped cream, if you are not a fan of frosting.
The video on this post is for my vanilla cake recipe with olive oil, which is the base cake recipe I used to create this vegan version. The preparation process is still the same.
You can use vegan butter as the fat base for your vegan frosting. You can also use vegetable shortening or a combination of the two. Whip it until fluffy then mix in vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth. Mix in some almond milk if it is too thick.
To make vegan chocolate frosting, you can use vegan butter, vegetable shortening or a combination of the two for your base. Whip it until fluffy then mix in vanilla extract, unsweetened cocoa powder and powdered sugar until smooth. Mix in some almond milk if it is too thick.
Vegan Vanilla Cake Ingredients
- 2 ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup +1 TBS ground flax
- 1 cup + 2 TBS water
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Vegan Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- 9 oz vegan butter (like Earth Balance)
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoon almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a small bowl whisk together water and ground flax.
- In a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer combine sugar and olive oil until combined and mixture resembles wet sand.
- Add vanilla and almond milk into sugar mixture. Scrape the sides of mixing bowl and mix again.
- Mixing on low speed, add flax water, scraping down sides in between.
- In batches, add dry ingredients and mix into wet ingredients until just combined. Again, scrape down sides of the bowl to combine thoroughly. Do not over mix the batter.
- Divide batter into prepared cake pans and bake until edges are golden, approximately 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place on rack to cool before removing cakes from pans.
- Once cooled, frost as desired.
- To make the frosting, cream the butter In a large bowl on the medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well combined.
- Add vanilla extract until well combined.
- If frosting is thick, add a little almond milk (1-2 tsp) until smooth.
This makes 2-9 inch cakes that are about 1½- 2 inches thick. The layers can be cut in half to make a 4-layer cake with thinner layers.
To make vegan chocolate frosting, reduce powdered sugar to 13 oz and add 3 oz of unsweetened cocoa powder.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 342mgCarbohydrates: 79gFiber: 1gSugar: 43gProtein: 5g
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