Vegan Layer Cake

I’ve shared a ton of different cakes over the years, but all of them use dairy! This is the only recipe I’ve ever I’ve ever shared that is vegan! No eggs, no butter, no buttermilk!! This vegan layer cake is my very first vegan recipe!

It uses vegetable oil in place of the butter and almond milk in place of the buttermilk.

image of vegan almond cake decorate with vegan almond frosting and vegan sprinkles

I really love this recipe because it’s straight forward, doesn’t include any scary ingredients, and most importantly it tastes great!

I chose to flavor this with almond extract, but you could also try maple, lemon, or coconut.

Decorating This Vegan Layer Cake

To assemble this vegan layer cake, stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board using a dab of vegan buttercream to help stick the first cake layer to the board.

Spread an even layer of vegan frosting on top of your first cake layer with a large offset spatula and gently press your second cake layer on top.

Repeat with remaining cake layers, being sure to place to top cake layer upside down. It might sound strange but I promise it makes it easier to frost!

image of a vegan almond cake that has been crumb coated with vegan frosting

Cover the cake in a thin coat of vegan buttercream. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes).

Add a second, thicker layer of vegan frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper.

image of adding frosting border to the top of a pink vegan layer cake

I used a large French tip to pipe a border around the top edge of the cake and covered the top with sprinkles.

There are a lot of great vegan sprinkle brands out there, but I chose to use a vegan blend made by Fancy Sprinkles!

image of sprinkles on top of a vegan cake

I really love that this cake looks and tastes so much like a normal layer cake!

The texture is a bit different than my normal cakes that are made with butter, but the layers almost reminds me of a moist olive oil cake!

I did find the the vegan frosting was bit more difficult to smooth than regular buttercream, but that’s to be expected since it’s not made with traditional butter.

Vegan butter doesn’t firm up the same way regular butter does when chilled.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with this vegan layer cake recipe. It’s so approachable and delicious!!

image of a slice of vegan layer cake

Tips for Making the Best Vegan Layer Cake:

  • Properly measure your flour. Either spoon it into the cup measure, then level with a knife or use a kitchen scale.
  • Don’t overmix your batter! Mix on the speed the recipe recommends until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers once they’re fully cooled to make it easier to assemble and frost your cake.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency before frosting your cake! It will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, I recommend reading my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.
  • Add in 1/2 cup of vegan sprinkles for an extra pop of color, or add vegan food coloring to your frosting to make a colorful vegan cake.
image of vegan layer cake with slice on plate and bite about to be taken with a fork

Making This Vegan Layer Cake In Different Sizes

This recipe can also be used to make different sized cakes. You can also half or double the ingredients to make a half or double batch!

You can make two 8″ cake layers with one batch of batter. Bake the cake layers at 350F for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

One batch of batter can be also be used to make one 9×13 inch vegan sheet cake. Bake it at 325F for 35-45 minutes and use flower nails or heating cores to help the cake bake evenly.

The final variation of this recipe is cupcakes!! This recipe makes about 18 regular sized cupcakes. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Making This Vegan Layer Cake in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. The frosting locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this vegan layer cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below, and let me know how you liked it.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 16

Vegan Layer Cake

image of vegan funfetti cake slice

This vegan layer cake is tender, packed with flavor, and incredibly easy to make! It's the perfect way to celebrate any occasion!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Additional Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes

Ingredients

Vegan Cake Layers

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (293 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (266 grams) - be sure it's organic or made from beets
  • 3/4 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 1 1/3 tsp baking soda (5 grams)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or flavorless oil (112 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract (6 grams)
  • 4 tsp white or apple cider vinegar (16 grams)
  • 1 cup water (235 grams)
  • 1/2 cup vegan rainbow sprinkles - optional (90 grams)

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups vegan butter, softened at room temperature (285 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (8 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond (8 grams) - optional
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (750 grams) - check the bag to make sure it's vegan!
  • 2 Tbsp alternative milk (soy, almond, coconut, or oat) (30 grams)

Decorations & Tools

Instructions

Vegan Layer Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line three 6" cake pans.
  2. Whisk together 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 1/3 tsp baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tsp almond extract, 4 tsp vinegar, and 1 cup water.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together just until the batter is smooth.
  5. Add 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles if desired and fold into the batter until they're evenly distributed.
  6. Pour the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 33-35 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
  8. Flip the cake layers out of the pans and onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Once fully cooled, use a serrated knife to level the tops of the cake layers.

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat 1 1/2 cups vegan butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment or whisk attachment until smooth.
  2. Mix in 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and 1 1/2 tsp almond extract on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in 6 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Halfway through add 2 Tbsp of dairy-free milk to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional dairy free milk (1 tsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).


Assembling this Vegan Layer Cake

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of vegan buttercream to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of vegan frosting on top of your first cake layer with a large offset spatula and gently press your second cake layer on top.
  3. Repeat with remaining cake layers, being sure to place to top cake layer upside down (makes it easier to frost).
  4. Cover the cake in a thin coat of vegan buttercream. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (10 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes).
  5. Add a second, thicker layer of vegan frosting to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  6. Decorated as designed and enjoy!

Notes

Making This Vegan Layer Cake In Advance & Storage Tips:

  • Make your frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 622Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 52mgSodium 380mgCarbohydrates 86gFiber 1gSugar 68gProtein 2g

46 thoughts on “Vegan Layer Cake

  1. Hey Chelsea! Is this cake also soy free? Looking for a cake recipe for my daughter’s first birthday but she’s allergic to milk and soy?

  2. Made you recipe today and it came out amazing! Any tips on frosting? For some reason when I added a gel color to the frosting it seemed to change the entire consistency.

    1. so happy to hear that! What brand of gel food coloring are you using? i use the americolor brand and haven’t run into issues! But I also didn’t add much to achieve this light pink shade.

  3. Hello- Is the almond extract flavoring super strong in the cake/ icing? I want a classic vanilla flavouring, so am wondering if I should just omit the almond extract all together (and what to replace it with if so).

    1. It is somewhat strong. You can try it, I just prefer another flavor in there, since there’s no butter and the shortening really doesn’t have any flavor! But if you use a high quality vanilla extract or some vanilla bean paste, it should still taste good!

  4. Hi i live in the UK and we dont have shortening here much. Any alternative? Do you have any other Vegan cake recipes or could you recommend another fellow bakers recipe? I am looking to make a vegan rainbow cake.
    Thanks
    Hina (Fan from London) 🙂

    1. Really?! That’s wild!! Sadly I don’t have any other vegan recipes, I’m so sorry :/ Bakerita makes all kinds of vegan and gluten free baked goods, I’d recommend checking her blog out! hopefully she’ll have one you can use 🙂

  5. I tried this for a chocolate version, basically replacing 1/4th flour with dutch processed cocoa. It turned out so perfect! Thank you Chelsea 🙂 you are awesome <3

  6. Love Love this recipe since my son is allergic to dairy I have had to find different options and now I can make him a cake for his bday without worrying that I will affect him with the Dairy and the fact that it also taste amazing.

  7. I love watching your videos. Your cakes are simple and wow worthy. I also read your blog on why you quit your job. My jaw dropped because your thought process seemed exactly like mine.
    Thank for your blog and sharing all that you know.

    I have a question about the vegan cake. Which brand of shortening did you use?

  8. Chelsweets, I really like looking through all your videos. The cakes are so simple and pretty. I enjoy such cakes
    I read your blog about why you left your corporate job and my jaw dropped because my thinking process is so much like yours. Just that you are bold to make videos and I am not 🙂

    I have a question about the vegan cake. Which brand of frosting did you use?
    I find that Crisco is too greasy. Are they other brands that probably work better?

    1. haha aw thanks Kanthi! I actually did use Crisco, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture either. However, vegan anything is going to taste slightly different than what we’re used to! I haven’t tested out any other brands of shortening, but they’re all the same fat ratio so I don’t think different brands will change the texture much :/

  9. How would I go about adapting this recipe for 2 9 inch cakes? Would I need to 1 1/2 batch the cake batter & frosting ingredients?

      1. Hi Sheander,

        I’d recommend tripling this recipe to make 2, 9-inch cake pans with this recipe. Hope that helps, happy baking!!

    1. The recipe needs acid to activate the baking soda 🙂 It helps make the cake layers rise and give the cake a great texture!!

  10. Hey Chelsea! I am trying to make a cake for a little one that is allergic to dairy and tree nuts. Is there a substitute for the almond extract and almond milk that will still taste good?!

    1. Hi Kyndee,

      Haha that more poor little one! Tree nut and dairy allergy?!?! Don’t worry! You can use vanilla extract in place of the almond extract, or vanilla bean paste! Just be sure to use good quality vanilla since it’ll be the only flavor in the cake. I prefer using vanilla bean paste, I think it gives that cake a stronger flavor.

      You can use soy milk in place of the almond milk in both the cake and the frosting. I hope that helps, happy baking!!

  11. Hi ?! Hope you don’t mind me asking, can I double this recipe? I was just not a fan of how thin my cake layers were, also how long should i let my cakes cook for in case I actually decide to double this recipe?

    1. Hi Gianmarco,

      You can definitely double this recipe! The bake time will vary depending on the size of cake pan you are using. I’m guessing you’re using larger pans than the recipe calls for if your layers turned out pretty thin!

  12. Hi Chelsea! Can I make this recipe in a sheet pan? And will 1 recipe be enough batter for a half sheet cake that bakes up 2 inches high?

  13. I made this cake for my daughters 20th birthday. I was worried at first but trusted Chelsweets. It was delicious everyone loved it. I made it into a tiered cake. It held up well except for the bulging in the frosting it was due to the weight of the top tier and the overall thickness of the frosting. It’s to be expected with the ingredients. I tore so many piping bags. I’d have to buy thicker ones for this type of frosting or use a large tip just like she used in the video.

Let me know what you think!