Quick & Easy Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe: Perfect For Any Occasion

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This is an easy vanilla cake recipe with vanilla buttercream frosting. Things that make this the perfect vanilla cake recipe include ingredient substitutions so you don’t have to go to the store and different options for how to decorate it, from super simple to cuter but more complex. This recipe includes measurements if you use measuring cups, as well as weights, if you use a food scale.

This recipe makes a Pompompurin vegan vanilla two layer cake or a single layer quarter sheet pan vanilla cake.

I made this cake for my friend Jessica Folvey for her birthday. She requested a Pompompurin cake and gave me no other requirements. I went with a super simple quarter sheet pan vanilla cake. I chose this recipe because it’s quick and easy and gave me more time to spend on the decoration.

I like the versatility this recipe offers because you could just make the cake and frost it right in the pan for an everyday cake. Or you could skip the frosting recipe and buy vegan frosting from the store to save time. My chocolate ganache would be a good alternative to frosting on this cake. For special occasions, you can even write a message on the cake. The possibilities are endless. And if you don’t have endless ideas, just call me, and you’ll wish you could get my ideas to STFU, haha.

(jump to the substitutions section to see ingredient details and suggestions for substitutions)

  • ⅔ cup (135g) safflower oil
  • 1 ¾ cups (415ml/415g) nondairy milk
  • 1 ⅓ cups (300g) organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups (455g) flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon (9-10g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2-3g) baking powder
  • 3 pinches of salt (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) apple cider vinegar
ingredients needed for vegan vanilla cake

How to make this Vanilla Cake Recipe with Oil instead of Butter

prep time: 15 minutes | bake time: 35-40 minutes

Bake the cake up to 3 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge covered in cling wrap
until you’re ready to decorate it.

Cut a piece of parchment paper and set it in the bottom of your 9″x13” baking pan. cutting parchment paper for the cake pan

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

Sift 1 ⅓ cup (300g) vegan sugar into the mixing bowl. You can skip this step if you’re using an electric mixer. But if you’re mixing by hand, I recommend it. Vegan sugar is more moist, so it gets lumps in it more easily than processed sugar.

Mix the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. The wet ingredients are the sugar you may or may not have just sifted, ⅔ cup (135g) safflower oil, 1 ¾ cup (415g) nondairy milk (if you use soymilk, make sure it’s organic or non-GMO), and 1 tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract. If your nondairy milk is vanilla flavored, you can use half a tablespoon vanilla extract. Use a large mixing bowl and an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer (or even just mix by hand if you like a kitchen workout).

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. They are 3 ½ cups (455g) all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon (9-10g) baking soda, ½ teaspoon (2-3g) baking powder, and 3 pinches of salt (salt is optional). sifting the dry ingredients

Mix the wet ingredients with the flour mixture. Stop mixing as soon as you can no longer see any dry ingredients. I usually have to stop the stand mixer at least once to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl (and even the paddle) with a baking spatula to make sure no dry ingredients are left unmixed.

Check the oven to make sure it’s heated to 350ºF (175ºC) before this next step. If it’s not, wait for it to beep before starting the next step.

Fold the ¼ cup (60g) of vinegar into the vanilla cake batter. folding the vinegar into the cake batter

Pour batter into the lasagna pan and shake the pan a little to get the vanilla batter to spread evenly on the bottom. If you need to, use a silicone spatula to smooth it out. pouring the vegan cake batter into the baking pan

Set the pan on the centermost rack in the oven (the rack that’s most in the middle).

Bake at 350ºF (175ºC) in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in a few spots in the center of the cake and it comes out clean. Bake times vary from oven to oven. I baked mine for 35 minutes, but my oven runs hot. If it doesn’t pass the toothpick test after 35 minutes, bake it for 5 more minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven when it passes the toothpick test.

Cool the cake on a cooling rack or wire rack. My stove isn’t above my oven, so I often use my stove as a cooling rack. Don’t try this if your oven is below your stove. quarter sheet pan size vegan vanilla cake

How to make Vegan Vanilla Frosting

prep time: 30min

  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (176g) vegan butter or margarine*
  • ¾ cup (144g) organic palm shortening*
  • 4 ½ cups (540g) organic powdered sugar*
  • 2-4 teaspoons nondairy milk, room temp

If you’re short on time, use 2 containers of Miss Jones organic vanilla frosting instead making your own from scratch.

Leave the vegan butter and nondairy milk on the counter if you have time. Frosting tends to come out fluffier if you use room temperature ingredients.

Whisk 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla, 1 cup (176g) vegan butter or margarine, and ¾ cup (144g) spectrum sustainable organic palm shortening until it’s light and fluffy. Use a stand mixer (or a handheld electric mixer) fitted with the whisk attachment and set it to medium speed. It might be possible to whip butter and shortening by hand if you have a lot of upper body strength and time. I have neither of those, so I’ve personally never tried it, haha. With an electric mixer, this step takes 3-5 minutes. By hand, it could take 20 minutes.

Stop the mixer after a couple minutes and use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl. Mix again.

Sift 4 ½ cups (540g) of organic powdered sugar into the butter mixture, a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping the bowl with the spatula between each added cup. Everytime you add powdered sugar, start your mixer on low speed and then increase it slowly. (If you like to be dusted with powdered sugar like a donut, then go ahead and start it at a fast speed.)

Add 2-3 teaspoons of nondairy milk, little by little, mixing in between each addition, until the frosting is a creamy and spreadable consistency. This step is optional and only needed if it looks too thick. vegan vanilla frosting

Cover the vanilla frosting with plastic wrap if you’re not ready to use it right away.

Now is when you decide how you want to decorate your vegan vanilla cake. If you like Sanrio, skip to the next section on how to make a Pompompurin cake.

If you aren’t into Sanrio, consider coloring your frosting with a few different colors. Then use the method I used for my easter sheet pan cake to decorate this cake.

If cake decorating doesn’t bring you joy, just cover your cake in frosting and vegan sprinkles. Or if this cake is just an everyday cake for no special occasion, you can spread the frosting on the cake and call it done.

coloring the frosting: 5min | assembling the cake: 10min | decorating the cake: 20min

To save time, use the microwave to melt the chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in between each. As soon as there are no more lumps when you stir it, it’s ready.

Add yellow food coloring to the frosting. Whisk with a stand mixer or mix by hand. To make my yellow frosting, I used ¼ teaspoon of Nature’s Flavors liquid yellow food coloring. I like using all-natural food coloring for cake decorating, because there’s no chemistry to alter the intended color. You can use any type, as long as it’s vegan. Consult my list of vegan food coloring for ideas.

Shimmy a baking spatula around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan.

Print and cut out a picture of Pompompurin if you haven’t already.

Set the paper on top of the cake and use a knife to cut around it.

Repeat for a two-layer cake.

Tug on the edges of the parchment paper to help you get the cake layers out of the pan.

Set the bottom cake layer onto the center of one of your 10″ cake boards and try to get it in the center of the cake board, if possible. the bottom layer of the vegan vanilla pompompurin shaped cake on a cake board

Spread frosting all over the top of the bottom cake layer. Smooth it out using an offset spatula if you have one.

Set the second cake on top, trying to line it up perfectly with the bottom layer. two layers of vegan vanilla cake with frosting between the layers

Spread the rest of the vanilla frosting on the top and sides of both cake layers using an offset spatula or whatever kitchen tools you have.

spreading yellow vanilla frosting onto the Pompompurin shaped vegan vanilla cake

Melt 4 ounces (120g) of vegan chocolate chips using a double boiler. I don’t have an actual double boiler, so I set a metal bowl on a small saucepan that has about an inch of water in it.

Stir the chocolate as it melts. This step takes me about 5 minutes on my gas stove. If your stove is electric, it may take longer. If it’s induction, it may take less time. Remove from heat once you no longer see any chocolate lumps.

Fill a piping bag fitted with Wilton round tip 4 or a Lékué deco pen with the melted chocolate.

Draw Pompompurin’s hat.

Draw the outline of Pompompurin on the entire cake.

Draw Pompompurin’s eyes and mouth. finished Pompompurin vegan cake

Can I make this delicious vanilla cake recipe in round cake pans?

This vanilla cake is easy to convert from a sheet pan to 2 round cake pans. When you cut the parchment paper, cut 2 round pieces that fit in your cake pans. When you pour cake batter into the cake pans, divide the batter as equally as possible in both cake pans.

When you take the cake pans out of the oven to cool, turn them upside down on cooling racks so they’ll fall out of the cake pans on their own.

Can I convert this vanilla cake recipe to a vegan vanilla cupcakes recipe?

To make cupcakes instead of cake, line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. Then scoop about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner. Bake them for about 18 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test I described above.

Are there other frosting options for this vanilla cake?

The frosting recipe included here is a plain vanilla buttercream. If you’d like some variety, try my almond buttercream frosting or even a chocolate ganache would be good.

Vegan vanilla birthday cake decorated to look like Pompompurin
  • Sunflower Oil: I recommend safflower, sunflower, avocado, or coconut oil for baking cakes. These oils are good for high heat, which helps you avoid transfats. However, you can use any other oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc. People even make olive oil cakes, but I don’t recommend it.
  • Nondairy Milk: You can use any kind of plant milk in this cake recipe. I used organic soy milk because that’s what I had in my fridge. If you don’t already have dairy-free milk at home, just buy the cheapest vegan milk you can find. If you use soymilk, I recommend buying organic or non-GMO to make sure it’s vegan. If you avoid soy, choose macadamia milk, almond milk, or oat milk.
  • Sugar: I use organic sugar to be certain that it’s vegan. You can use organic, vegan, raw, or brown sugar. Watch out for conventional granulated sugar. It’s sometimes processed using animal bones, and therefore not considered vegan by some vegans. If you’re trying to eat less processed sugar, replace the sugar in the cake recipe with 1 ½ cups (215g) date sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract: If you don’t have vanilla extract, you can omit it. But if you want this to be the best vanilla cake recipe you’ve ever had, make sure you include it. Most vanilla extracts and vanilla flavors are vegan, but not all of them are created equal. I always use 100% pure vanilla extract because it tastes better. If you have vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste, or vanilla powder, any of those would be suitable replacements.
  • Flour: I use unbleached, all-purpose flour in most of my recipes because it’s the kind of flour every household usually has. However, if you are an experienced baker, you are welcome to replace the regular flour in this recipe with cake flour, spelt flour, or whole wheat pastry flour. If you use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, increase the amount to just shy of 4 cups. If you avoid gluten, or if you have friends or family who are gluten free, you can easily substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend to make this cake gluten free.
  • Baking Soda: If you are out of baking soda, replace the 1 ½ teaspoon (9-10g) baking soda in this recipe with an additional 1 ½ tablespoons (24g) baking powder.
  • Baking Powder: I use the non-aluminum kind, because I need all the brain cells I have left. If you’re out of baking powder, replace the ½ teaspoon (2-3g) baking powder in this recipe with an additional ⅛ teaspoon (1g) baking soda.
  • Salt: I buy pink sea salt because it has trace minerals and micronutrients in it that our bodies need. However, you can use any salt in this cake recipe. You can also omit the salt entirely.
  • Vinegar: I usually use apple cider vinegar in my recipes because it’s supposed to be healthier (I actually don’t even know if that’s true, haha). Since vinegar is just in this cake to cause a chemical reaction to make the cake rise, you can use any acid, like white distilled vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice.
  • Vegan Butter: If vegan butter or margarine is hard to find or not something you have in your house, you can use an extra cup of shortening in its place. I always use organic whipped Earth Balance because it works well in every recipe. Not all vegan butter is created equal. For instance, Miyoko’s butter makes frosting a really weird consistency, so I do not recommend using that brand. If you avoid soy, buy the soy-free earth balance. If your vegan margarine or butter has soybean oil as one of the ingredients, make sure it’s organic or non-GMO.
  • Vegan Shortening: I always buy Spectrum organic palm shortening, because it’s sustainably harvested. If you don’t have access to vegan shortening, you can replace it with additional vegan butter or margarine.
  • Powdered Sugar: Try to find organic powdered sugar to make sure that it’s vegan. Read more about which powdered sugar brands are vegan here.

This nutritional information is for one piece of cake without frosting, if you cut the cut as a sheet pan cake. I’m assuming that the quarter sheet cake cut will be cut into 15 pieces.

  • Servings: 15
  • Calories: 279
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Total fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 194mg
  • Sugars: 20g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 44g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Calcium: 45mg
  • Potassium: 80mg
  • Iron: 2mg

If you make this homemade vanilla cake recipe, I would love it if you’d snap a pic, post to instagram, and tag me @vegandollhouse. It seriously makes my day/week/month!

Please message me (instagram or email) if you have any questions or feedback about the recipe.

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* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook. I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to buy only organic ingredients. So, I only specify organic on the ingredients that matter: when buying the organic (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that an item is vegan.

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This article originally appeared on VeganDollhouse and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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