Vegan Birthday Cake

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5 from 395 votes
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Celebrate someone’s special day with the best vegan birthday cake ever! Featuring layers of moist, tender yellow cake layered between sheets of vanilla frosting, it’s my favorite vegan cake recipe!

Looking for more vegan cake recipes? Try my vegan carrot cake, vegan chocolate cake, and vegan strawberry cake next.

vegan birthday cake.

Being the baker in my friend group, it’s helpful to have a foolproof vegan layer cake recipe for special occasions. 

The beauty of this recipe is that you’d never guess it’s vegan. With a fluffy texture, delicate crumb, and perfectly sweetened “buttercream” frosting, it doesn’t taste like anything’s missing.  

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make a vegan birthday cake
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. More vegan desserts to try
  7. Vegan Birthday Cake (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Made in one bowl. So prep time and clean-up are kept to a minimum. 
  • No egg substitutes. No flax eggs, no applesauce, nada. Just everyday baking staples. 
  • It’s easy to make. Even if you’re a novice baker, I promise you’ll have no trouble making this recipe and getting perfect results.
  • Better than boxed cake mix. I’m not here to bash boxed cake mix, but let’s be real: cakes made from scratch always taste better.

★★★★★ REVIEW 

“This cake was so simple to make and surprisingly moist and delicious!!! I used coconut sugar (a bit less than called for) and coconut milk. Can’t stress enough, SO good.” – Barbara

vegan birthday cake recipe.

Ingredients needed

  • All-purpose flour. Sift the flour first to ensure there are no clumps. You can also use gluten-free all-purpose flour if needed. 
  • Sugar. I prefer white sugar since that yields a lighter-colored cake, but coconut sugar or brown sugar also works. Just know that your cake will be darker in color. 
  • Baking soda. Gives the cake some rise.  
  • Salt. Brings out the sweetness of the cake. 
  • White vinegar. Works with the baking soda to give the cake a fluffy texture and rise. I also tested this recipe with apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t like the flavor it added.  
  • Vanilla extract. A must for any homemade cake!
  • Oil. I recommend a neutral-flavored oil, like vegetable or canola oil. 
  • Water. To mix everything together. I also tried unsweetened oat milk and didn’t notice a big flavor difference. 
  • Funfetti sprinkles. Optional, but a must if you want vegan Funfetti cake! Make sure to use vegan sprinkles, but be wary that they are likely to dissipate into the batter a little. 
  • Vanilla frosting. I made a vegan buttercream frosting using vegan butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar, but you can use any type of frosting you desire.

How to make a vegan birthday cake

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Prep work. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line the bottoms of two 8-inch pans with parchment paper.

Step 2- Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth. If using sprinkles, fold them through at the end.

Step 3- Bake. Pour the cake batter into the two cake pans. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out just clean.

Step 4- Cool and frost. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, frost and layer the cakes.

how to make a vegan birthday cake.

Frosting the perfect cake

  • Make sure the cakes are fully cooled before frosting. Otherwise, the frosting will melt and mess up the texture. 
  • Add a “crumb coat.” A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting that helps “glue” the crumbs to the cake, making your second layer of frosting smooth and even. 
  • Divide the frosting into three bowls and add a few drops of food coloring in each to give the cake a festive flare.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Make vegan birthday cake cupcakes instead. Pour the batter into a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes. 
  • Use cake flour. I stuck to all-purpose flour for this recipe out of convenience, but if you use cake flour, you’ll end up with a softer, fluffier cake. 
  • Double-check that your baking soda isn’t expired. My #1 tip for baking is to double-check the freshness of your ingredients. I can’t tell you how many cake tragedies I’ve witnessed, only to find out my baking soda expired a year ago!
  • Don’t overbake the cakes. They’ll continue to cook as they cool (AKA “carryover cooking”), so pull them from the oven as soon as a toothpick comes out clean. 

Storage instructions

To store: Any leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

To freeze: Transfer leftover cake slices to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.

vegan confetti cake.

More vegan desserts to try

vegan funfetti cake

Vegan Birthday Cake

5 from 395 votes
Celebrate someone’s special day with the best vegan birthday cake ever! Featuring layers of moist, tender yellow cake layered between sheets of vanilla frosting, it’s my favorite vegan cake recipe!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 3 cups all purpose flour gluten free, if needed
  • 2 cups sugar * See notes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons oil canola, vegetables, etc.
  • 2 cups water can use a plant based milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan sprinkles Optional

Vegan buttercream frosting

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter softened
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and mix well. Add your vinegar, vanilla, and oil, then your water (or milk), and mix until fully incorporated. If using sprinkles, fold them through at the end.
  • Evenly distribute the batter amongst two the two cake pans. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out just clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pan for 20 minutes, before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  • Once cool, frost and layer the cakes. To make the frosting, add the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese to a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy and no lumps remain. Slowly fold through the powdered sugar until completely combined.

Notes

* White sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or a sugar free substitute, like monk fruit sweetener or allulose can be used. 
TO STORE: Leftover cake must be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week. 
TO FREEZE: You can freeze leftover birthday cake. Place in a freezer friendly container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1SliceCalories: 225kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSodium: 406mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 23g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published August 2020, updated and republished June 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So I have a newly Vegan Teen and always go overboard on cakes and was worried that I can’t make her a fantastic cake but this recipe is one of the best cake recipes I have tasted.

    Just to experiment I tried 3 different cakes. 1. I used this recipe 2. I used this recipe using apple cider vinegar and banana milk and 3. I used this recipe with applesauce and oatmilk. Had a rating among family and all were good but the original recipe won a matching a real yellow cake! 2 tasted like banana bread, and 3 was like apple muffin. Next time 3 will include apple cider vinegar so the recipe has apple flavor boost but wow my new favorite!!

  2. 5 stars
    This cake was so simple to make and surprisingly moist and delicious!!! I used coconut sugar (a bit less than called for) and coconut milk. Can’t stress enough, SO good.

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