A vegan take on the classic Victoria sponge cake with a light and fluffy vanilla and coconut sugar infused sponge, sandwiched together with thick and creamy frosting and fruity jam topped with more frosting. This cake is a real crowd-pleaser that also makes a a beautiful show-stopping wedding cake.
This Vegan Vanilla Cake has been a long time in the making when I think back to 8 months ago when one of my best friends asked me if I wanted to do her the honour of making her wedding cake. As a keen baker and cake admirer this was a dream come true and also a truly nerve-wracking experience. For those of you who know me, you’ll appreciate that I tend to stick my head in the sand a bit when it comes to things I don’t want to discuss as it makes me nervous. So, I said an enthusiastic yes to making her cake, we sat down and discussed themes, designs, cake flavours and textures, the number of layers needed and the size required with the help of a Pinterest board and then I “forgot” about it for a few months.
With the wedding only 6 weeks away I knew I had to face the challenge head on and I started developing the recipe for a simple but classic and delicious vegan vanilla sandwich cake. The sponge needed to be light and fluffy yet sturdy enough to be able to sandwich together and layer up. Lucky for me, the cake turned out pretty well first time – beginners’ luck! The key to the light sponge is a vegan “buttermilk” made by adding some white vinegar (e.g. white wine or apple cider) to some plant milk (e.g. almond or soya) and letting it sit for 10 minutes. I add this to some flour, coconut sugar – which is key to the deep and rich caramel flavour and darker sponge colour – and the raising agents which are baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Instead of the traditional butter, I use olive oil (or something similar e.g. sunflower, avocado or hemp oil) and lots of vanilla essence. You’ll notice there isn’t a direct egg replacement in the recipe but it’s still so light and airy!
Then came the maths! I had cracked it for a 20cm round tin, but I knew I was going to also make a 24cm and a 28cm round tin… I won’t bore you with the maths. But I made a little spreadsheet and have included what you’ll need to multiply this original recipe by in order to increase the volume of batter accordingly. I used this site for help on this.
The wedding day got closer and closer and I made the cake recipe with slight nuances for a few occasion: Father’s Day, my brother’s birthday and a neighbourhood BBQ (my first experiment at a two-tier cake!). Each time it was such a hit.
The first cake was decorated with thick and creamy coconut yoghurt, blueberry chia seeds jam, lots of fresh cherries and chopped pistachio nuts. For the second cake I developed a delicious and finger-licking-good vegan buttercream to also serve with fresh berries. The wedding cake was a combination of the two: the layers were sandwiched with vegan buttercream and strawberry jam, assembled with doweling rods cut to size and cake boards, and spread thickly with more vegan buttercream in a “naked cake” style decorated with plenty of fresh fruit, wild flowers from the garden (I was advised by a florist so be careful if you are picking your own!!) and freeze-dried raspberries.
However many layers of this Vegan Vanilla Cake that you make and however you decide to fill and frost this bake, I am sure everyone will love it. The sponge is light, delicious and packed with vanilla flavour that is even better than a Victoria sponge (as the non-vegans told me).
Vegan Vanilla Cake
A vegan take on the classic Victoria sponge cake with a light and fluffy vanilla sponge, sandwiched together with thick and creamy frosting and fruity jam topped with more frosting.
- 270g plant-based milk
- 10g white vinegar or lemon juice
- 80g olive or sunflower oil
- 140g coconut or caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 210g plain or GF flour***
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- Coconut Yoghurt Frosting:
- 500g coconut yoghurt
- 200g jam
- Vegan Buttercream:
- 100g vegan butter, softened
- 200g sifted icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1-2 tbsp plant-based milk
- 200g jam
- To decorate: fresh fruit, chopped nuts, edible flowers
1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line two 20-cm/8-inch round tins with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar and leave to one side to curdle.
3. Now add in the olive/sunflower oil, sugar and vanilla and whisk again.
4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the salt. Whisk until smooth with no specks of flour.
5. Divide the cake between the two tins, smooth over the top and bake for 24 minutes, or until golden and springy to touch, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin, peeling off the parchment and cooling fully on a wire rack.
7. Once cool, If the tops have domed slightly, cut slice off the domes to make a flat top.
8. Place one cake on a serving plate. If using a coconut yoghurt filling, spoon 1/2 of the coconut yoghurt over the entire base and top with the jam. Sandwich the top layer of sponge on top and spread over the remaining coconut yoghurt.
9. If making buttercream, beat the softened butter for 1 minute till fluffy then gradually beat in the icing sugar, vanilla and plant-based milk to reach a smooth and fluffy buttercream (beat for about 2-3 minutes using an electric handheld mixer or free-standing mixer). Spread half the buttercream over the bottom cake, sandwich with the second cake and top with the remaining buttercream.
10. Top with your desired toppings. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
*for a 24-cm cake, multiply this recipe by 1.44 and bake for about 38 minutes or until springy.
**for a 28-cm cake, multiply this recipe by 1.96 and bake for about 40 minutes or until springy.
***if using GF flour make sure it contains xanthan gum or add 1/4 – 1/2 tsp.
I hope you will love making this Vegan Vanilla Cake and I cannot wait to see all your tiered and frosted creations. Let me know what you think below and tag me in your bakes – I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – please say hello!
With (wedding) cake love x