With simple pantry staples, a no-fuss method, and the most tender texture, this just-sweet-enough cake is simply delicious. It’s perfect for egg-free and dairy-free baking, and for anyone just looking for a reliable, delicious Vanilla Cake.

Cut vanilla cake with slices on plates.

Easy Vanilla Cake

I have long wanted to make an easy Vanilla Cake in the style of my Easy Chocolate Cake—where you don’t need a mixer or to cream butter, you simply stir together the most basic of ingredients into a tender, fluffy cake. Ta-da! It’s finally here!

The beauty of this cake is that it works for anyone who needs to bake without eggs or dairy, and it’s also just a reliable, easy cake. I love that this is made with pantry staples that I usually have on hand, tastes just like the real deal, and doesn’t need a stand mixer or hand mixer. Just use a large mixing bowl and a whisk!

We love this vegan cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (with vegan alternatives, as needed), but you can use any frosting you prefer. It’s perfect for a Smash Cake, as a birthday cake, for Easter, Valentine’s Day, or really any special day.

This cake can even be made ahead of time and stuck into the fridge of freezer. It’s so versatile.

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Vegan Vanilla Cake

Whenever I post a recipe, I am immediately asked how to make it without eggs and dairy, so I figured it would just be easier to start without those ingredients for this. I love that this is more accessible for more families. And it can even be made without gluten, if needed, by using a cup-for-cup style of gluten-free baking mix like the one from King Arthur Flour.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you need to have on hand, plus anything for your desired frosting recipe, so you know what to pick up from the store.

Ingredients for easy vanilla cake on countertop.
  • All-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour): Using either of these flours ensures the cake is tender and moist.
  • Sugar: I use a modest amount of sugar here to make sure the cake tastes like cake, but the flavor isn’t super sweet. (The amount of sugar in this recipe is 2/3 or more less than other similar cake recipes.) You could use coconut sugar if you prefer. Look for a fine grain of coconut sugar to ensure it blends in the same as granulated sugar.
  • Baking soda: Fresh, active baking soda ensures the cake bakes through and rises properly. (You won’t need baking powder, just baking soda.)
  • Vegetable oil (like canola oil or avocado oil): A neutral oil adds fat and moisture to the cake. You can use unsalted melted butter (if you don’t need the cake to be vegan) or coconut oil, if you prefer.
  • White vinegar: You need this acid to react with the baking soda and help the cake to rise and hold together. Do not skip this ingredient.
  • Pure vanilla extract: This adds that classic vanilla flavor we all love.
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (using vegan cream cheese and vegan butter, as needed) or another preferred frosting.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is an overview of the process of making this simple layer cake so you know what to expect. Go to the end of this post for the specific amounts and timing.

how to make easy vanilla cake in grid of 4 images.
  1. Preheat the oven and grease two 6-inch cake pans. Line with a round of parchment paper to further prevent sticking. Add the ingredients, both wet and dry ingredients, to a medium bowl and whisk gently to combine into a smooth mixture. Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans.
  2. Bake, then let the cake rounds cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans. Let cool completely on the wire rack.
  3. To frost, place one cake onto a cake stand or plate. Add ⅓ of the frosting to the top of the cake. Spread to the edges.
  4. Top with the second layer and the remaining frosting, then spread over the top and the sides. Add sprinkles if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which vegan frostings work best with this cake?

You can use vegan butter and vegan cream cheese to make any vegan cream cheese frosting you prefer. My favorites include Chocolate Cream Cheese FrostingStrawberry Frosting, or classic Cream Cheese Frosting. Or use a favorite vegan buttercream.

What can I use instead of eggs for vanilla cake?

This cake is made without eggs, so it’s a perfect and easy egg-free vanilla cake.

Why is my vegan cake gummy?

The key to the texture of this vegan vanilla cake is fresh, active baking soda and the acid in the white vinegar. The texture will not be gummy if you use those two ingredients.

Vanilla cake with sprinkles on blue plate.

How to Store

Store leftovers in the fridge, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container. You can also freeze slices for future enjoyment. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (wrapping slices on small paper plates makes this easy) and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.

You can make the cakes the day before you plan to serve. Let cool fully, then place on two separate plates and wrap well with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. Frost just before serving if possible.

Cut vanilla cake with slices on plates.

Best Tips for Success

  • Frost with Quick Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, or Strawberry Frosting. You could also use classic Cream Cheese Frosting. Use nondairy cream cheese and vegan butter as substitution as needed.
  • To make this in a 9-inch cake pan, use just one pan and bake for 16-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Be sure to grease the pan well to ensure it doesn’t stick. Double the recipe to make a two layer 9-inch cake.
  • To bake as cupcakes, use ¼ cup batter in each standard size muffin cup (greased well with nonstick spray) and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Gluten-free: Use cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend in place of the wheat flour.
  • Try to avoid overbaking to ensure the cake is moist and doesn’t crumble too much.

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Cut vanilla cake with slices on plates.

Easy Vanilla Cake (Vegan)

This Easy Vanilla Cake is egg-free, dairy-free, and SO darn delicious. It's lower in sugar but delivers on classic vanilla cake flavor and texture you expect.
4.99 from 72 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 163kcal
Servings 8

Ingredients

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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 6-inch cake pans very well on the bottom and sides with nonstick spray. Line with a round of parchment paper to further prevent sticking.
  • Add all ingredients, except the frosting, to a medium bowl and whisk gently to combine. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, using about 1¼ cup in each pan.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the middle is firm to a light touch and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Try not to overbake.
  • Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from the pans by running a paring knife around the edges to loosen. Working with one pan at a time, carefully turn the pan over onto a wire rack. The cakes should slide out easily. Let cool completely on the wire rack.
  • To frost, place one cake onto a cake stand or plate. Add ⅓ of the frosting to the top of the cake. Spread to the edges. Top with the second layer and the remaining frosting, then spread over the top and the sides. Add sprinkles if desired.

Notes

  • Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the fridge. You can also freeze slices for future enjoyment. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (wrapping slices on small paper plates makes this easy) and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • You can make the cakes the day before you plan to serve. Let cool fully, then place on two separate plates and wrap well with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. Frost just before serving if possible.
  • Frost with Quick Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, or Strawberry Frosting. You could also use classic Cream Cheese Frosting. Use nondairy cream cheese and butter as needed.
  • To make this in a 9-inch cake pan, use just one pan and bake for 16-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Be sure to grease the pan well to ensure it doesn’t stick. Double the recipe to make a two layer 9-inch cake.
  • To bake as cupcakes, use ¼ cup batter in each standard-size muffin cup (greased well with nonstick spray) and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
  • Gluten-free: Use cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend in place of the wheat flour.
  • Try to avoid overbaking to ensure the cake is moist and doesn’t crumble too much.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 0.3g, Saturated Fat: 0.04g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 212mg, Potassium: 30mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I make this cake recipe on a regular basis and it’s amazing (I make mini muffins). I have a daughter with an egg allergy and a husband that doesn’t like vegan food and they both enjoy it. I have substituted the vinegar with lemon juice and lemon zest and made them into lemon muffins and it’s also great with mini chocolate chips. Such a versatile recipe. Thank you for the great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Used this recipe to make amazing vegan muffins for a friend of mine and it’s turned out absolutely amazing.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! Made this for my daughter’s second birthday, and even the adults really enjoyed it! I didn’t even add the suggested powdered sugar to the frosting. I divided the batter into three 4” cakes. I stacked two then kept one separate for my daughter. Definitely longer cook time being dark pans. I just kept an eye on them.

  4. 4 stars
    I used avocado oil as suggested in the recipe and the after taste was not great. Otherwise everything else was amazing (moist, frosting, easily recipe). I would next time just use a more neutral oil or butter.

  5. 5 stars
    Blown away by this cake. I am not a cake person bc I dislike dry super sweet cake. This was the perfect texture, and so easy. So moist and delicious. I cannot stop eating it. We used a chocolate buttercream icing and doubled the recipe for two 9 inch pans. I did watch closely and took out just when center was baked enough because I wanted to make sure it was moist. So good!

  6. Delicious and easy! I doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan. I started checking it at 16 minutes and kept extending it until a toothpick came out clean. It tastes soooo good.

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Do you know how well this cake turns out when using the gluten-free flour? Or with using the whole wheat flour?

    We’re making this cake for the first time for our two year old’s birthday party, and doubling the recipe. We have a couple gluten-free guests/whole wheat preferences we’d like to accommodate if possible, but are nervous how the cake will turn out/taste without the white flour.

    1. Hi- are you planning to make one of each? Someone just commented that they made this with whole wheat flour and it was great.

      1. We’d like to try a doubles recipe using gluten-free flour. Have you had great success with using this recipe with a gluten-free flour?

  8. 5 stars
    I devoured this cake! Seriously SO good. I added a layer of raspberry jam and vegan cream cheese frosting. I also subbed with whole wheat flour and apple cuidar vinegar. Turned out amazing and so moist. Thank you for this recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    How many cupcakes would one batch make? Thinking I’ll make these for my daughter to take to school on her birthday. There’s a bunch of kids with allergies, so I’m excited to be able to accommodate them all with this recipe! Thanks!

  10. Ok, I screwed it up! Pretty sure my cake pans were 9 inch not 6 inch. Oops! First attempt fell apart but my second worked it’s just a little flat! At least I can make some cake pops out of my failed attempt. Thankful it was easy to repeat it, and we can serve it to my egg allergy kid! I’ll do better next time I make it.

    1. I haven’t made it at high elevation but the King Arthur Flour website is great for general baking advice.

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